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How to Drop your Body Fat by 8% in 8 Months

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Delicious Waffles from Live Well with Lynn

By Christine Ardigo MSRD

Drop your Body Fat by 8% in 8 Months? Is that Possible? 

Last month when I posted Women & Weight Lifting – what are we so afraid of? I mentioned that I dropped my body fat by 8 percent. I went from 22% down to 14%. I received a lot of questions as to what I ate during that time. Yes, I worked out hard but what about the food? What you eat is the most important part of the equation. Like I always say, no amount of exercise will undo a bad diet. Nutrition is 80% of the transformation.

I can’t tell you what will work for you specifically, because we are all different, but I will tell you what worked for me. It wasn’t a nightmare or even hard. I needed to give my muscles the nutrients required to rebuild themselves. I found the healthiest foods available and incorporated them into my diet every day.

How do you Clean up your Diet?

Very simple. You Eat Clean. These are the Clean-Eating principles to live by:

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My Specific Meal Plan

I found that planning ahead helped tremendously. Sticking to the same foods every day also meant I didn’t have to think too much. This is basically what I ate every day for 8 months:

*Breakfast

1 Whole Egg with 1 slice of Turkey & peppers, onions, tomatoes in an Omelet – 150 calories

6oz Kashi Go-Lean Cereal with Blueberries and 8oz Skim Milk – 250 calories

*Lunch

Large salad with either Chicken or Fish, 3oz, and spinach leaves, mandarin oranges, red & green peppers, cherry tomatoes, shredded carrots, tsp walnuts, tsp almonds, tsp dried cranberries, berries (no salad dressing – the fruit makes it moist & sweet) -350 calories

*Snack

Greek yogurt fat-free with raspberries – 150

*Dinner

3oz of chicken or fish, 1 cup vegetable, 40z milk – 200 calories

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 Fresh Chick Pea & Veggie Salad from Live Well with Lynn

Now granted, I am 5’1″ and 104lbs, so you may need to eat a little more, but this does not mean add in three Dunkin Donuts. It means add a morning snack of fruit, or another glass of milk or increase your meat portions to 4-5oz.

Looking at this meal plan you can see a few things:

  1. It provides 7-8 servings of fruits and veggies a day, supplying you with all those great vitamins, minerals & fiber
  2. It provides a significant 102gms of protein a day
  3. There is very little starch but the majority of carbs that you need come from fruits, vegetables, nuts, milk
  4. It is only 1,100 calories a day but it is nutrient dense, meaning a small amount of calories with a ton of nutrients.

That’s what you want to shoot for. This meal plan will help you keep full by giving you high satiety fiber and protein which fill you up because they take longer to digest, therefore food stays in your stomach longer.  Also it’s not weird, fake food that you will hate two weeks from now.

I also believe that since my body needed calories to rebuild my muscles, and I ate so little, it took any extra calories it needed from my fat stores. 1,100 calories is kinda low, and sometimes I even dipped down below 900 calories. Normally you’re body would break down your muscle to get the calories it needs, but since I was weight lifting 5-6 days a week and ripping my muscles, I think that it couldn’t take from there, so it took from my fat stores instead. Not sure, just my theory, but it made sense.

So with 8 months of solid weight lifting and low calories, I dropped my body fat by 1% a month, while building a tremendous amount of muscle.

What Did I Do After the 8 months? Do I Still Eat the Same?

No. People think that when you ‘diet’ you have to eat this way forever. Not true. The great thing about reaching your goals is that once you do, you can enjoy yourself to some degree. This does NOT mean go back to your old habits. Hopefully once you’ve come this far you will want to continue and that is exactly what I did.

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I subscribed to Clean Eating Magazine and went on a shopping and cooking spree. Suddenly I was buying Steel Cut Oats, Avocados, Quinoa and Flaxseed. I was creating new recipes and alternative meal options. Every thing I made, I tried to make even healthier.

  • Instead of boring oatmeal, I made Steel Cut Oats and plopped in walnuts, blueberries, and Flaxseed.
  • Protein shakes with Whey and mangoes, coconut milk and pineapple, Greek yogurt too.
  • Avocado was spread on toasted whole grain nutty breads or smeared on sandwiches instead of mayo.
  • Flaxseed was added to everything, even used as a breading for chicken, mixed inside baked treats and stirred in protein shakes.
  • Meats were topped with homemade salsas consisting of mangoes, tomatoes, avocados and peppers.

There are endless possibilities. And the great thing is, you can take foods you’ve come to love, mix in new foods you’ve found, and create recipes that you enjoy. The important thing is to keep your calories low.

Sure an occasional or daily small treat is fine. But watch your portion sizes. 1 or 2 cookies is a treat. A half gallon of ice cream is just being gluttonous. Are you really that hungry? Do you NEED all of that? Think of your poor muscles, trying desperately to repair themselves. Your real treat should come in the end, when you can slap on that bathing suit with confidence. Those desserts are not going anywhere. They will always be there in the future.

P.S. I stopped drinking alcohol too. I ‘grew up’ one day and realized I really didn’t need it. I only drink water or milk. Drinks are a major waste of calories.

How about you? What are your biggest challenges? Have you transformed your diet? What new foods have you come to love?

I love hearing from you.


The greatest compliment you can give me is when you share this with others.               I sincerely appreciate it:

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23 Thoughts on “How to Drop your Body Fat by 8% in 8 Months

  1. Awesome this is dedication!
    You suggest a gram of protein/pound of body weight?

    • Christine on October 4, 2013 at 1:23 pm said:

      It’s higher than the norm, but i found the extra protein and less carbs (starch) really helped me keep full, satisfied and still provided me with needed calories. Thanx Ann! :P

  2. Rene Pesce on October 4, 2013 at 1:31 pm said:

    Hi Christine,
    Thank you for sharing how you changed your diet for the better, and what it was that you changed it too. You said that you lifted heavy during this time, what kind of lifting did you do, how long (1-2hrs?) and how often? just curious, really trying to drop at least 10% body fat (24%-14%) Thanks so much!! Oh one more thing, does adding cardio to a work out burn more fat than just lifting? Thank you again!!
    Rene Pesce:-)

    • Christine on October 4, 2013 at 1:45 pm said:

      thanx for the wonderful comment!
      My next post will actually be my weight lifting routine, so stay tuned.
      I personally did not do ANY cardio during this time but i never stopped
      between sets. Go Go Go! I feel weight lifting & cardio CAN burn the SAME amount
      of calories it all depends on how hard you push. For example, do you casually
      stroll on the treadmill or do you lift heavy weights for an hour. Or do you run
      uphill fast on the treadmill or lift pretty pink 3 lb weights with 5 minute rest
      periods between each set?. The calories burned depends on what you put into each
      exercise regimen.

  3. Jennine on October 5, 2013 at 10:47 am said:

    Eating clean has really changed my life and I have Christine to thank!! When I met Christine I thought I knew what I was doing when it came to eating healthy. I mean come on, I just finished 5 years of college with a BS in nutrition and I was now a RD! My diet consisted of low-fat low-cholesterol foods with lots of fruits and veggies BUT on a daily basis I was eating a TON of processed foods such as….frozen picks like lean cuisines, soy nuggets, bean burritos. Which don’t get me wrong, these are better than a lot of other choices out there and also okay to eat sometimes but not everyday! Christine gave me Tosca Reno’s book “Clean Eating” told me to read it and follow it! We’ll I did exactly that and I can’t tell you how much better I felt mentally and physically! It changed my whole outlook on eating! Having suffered from IBS and GERD for years I felt like a new person! I strongly encourage you to follow the advice of eating clean like I did. And no it’s not impossible and it’s not boring. Its a way of life!

  4. I love this article and I like that you included the meal plan! I found you on the Harvest of Friends Blog Hop. I’m looking forward to your next post and your weight lifting routine.

    • Christine on October 6, 2013 at 10:13 pm said:

      Thank you! If there is anything that i can help with, let me know. Ask away. I usually post every 10 days. If you like my articles, share with your friends and spread the love! I will check out your FB page too. :) Thank again.

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  7. I’m a huge fan of clean eating. I’ve made several changes in my diet which has ended with me being a vegetarian but I noticed the biggest difference overall when I switched to clean eating a few years ago. I didn’t realize how bad I felt until I felt amazing!

    • Christine on December 1, 2013 at 9:24 am said:

      Me too Jill. Just because i was a dietitian didnt mean i ate well.
      I used to think that as long as i ate a few carrots every day, that i would be okay! hahaha

  8. I like the idea of bringing a cooler to work. I’m totally starting that this week! Now I need to buy one :)

  9. 1200 calories a day is very little, even for a 5″1 woman.

  10. I am a meal super sizer – but…….. Is eating 2 pounds of spaghetti squash all that bad? LOL!

  11. Couldn’t agree more! My weight and my body fat percentage plateaued last year in August and no matter how much running, cycling or swimming I did seemed to make any difference. But then I changed my diet. I switched to a (mostly) vegetarian diet based on whole, real foods, and stuck to this formula: 2:1 carbs to protein ratio and no more than 30% of lean/healthy fats daily. Lots of fruits and veggies. Plenty of water. Reduced sugars and breads to the bare minimum. The result: I went from ~20% body fat last August to 14% now. I also changed my core workout regiment to focus on creating more lean mass, but I really believe most of the body fat loss was due to diet. Worked for me, but like you said, it may not work for everyone.

    • Christine on February 1, 2014 at 4:20 pm said:

      Thanx Chris. Like i always say, weight/body fat loss is 80% diet and no amount of exercise will outdo a bad diet. Glad it worked for you. It takes a lot of work but it is so worth it!

  12. Your discipline is AMAZING. It sure does take a lot of work.
    I have my last 5 stubborn pounds to lose and you just helped me get that “zing” back. Nice post.

  13. Christine on May 30, 2014 at 9:19 pm said:

    How would you modify this for a vegetarian? I find it so hard to eat clean because I don’t eat meat. I’ve always wondered what advice I would be given to adapt a diet like yours to a vegetarian lifestyle. I need to lose the remaining baby weight!!! Thanks.

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