The 'Get Lean' Diet

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Eating low-fat foods, fruits and vegetables are key components of a healthy diet.
Commissaries are good sources for products that support heart health at significant savings, compared to commercial retail stores. (Defense Commissary Agency photo)

I have been researching methods to lose weight in a healthy manner and called in the "big guns." No, actually, I called the BIG GUNS. The nutritionist who helped me with this diet is also a body builder who knows how to trim the fat off every area of your body, especially the torso. If you want six-pack abs, combine this diet plan with cardio activity and abdominal exercises as listed in the "Achieving Washboard Abs" and "Lose the Love Handles" articles.

For this diet, the goal will be 5-6 meals a day, spaced out every three hours. The stomach takes about three hours to empty, so try to keep it full but never stuffed. The small meals are just enough to keep you satisfied until your next meal. Remember that when you skip meals, your metabolism slows down and you will not burn calories as well. Eating and exercise boost your metabolism. The base of the diet will be high protein, enough complex carbohydrates for the workouts and low fat. 

Here are the diet recommendations:

6 a.m.: Meal 1

This meal can have more fat because you have all day to burn it off.

5 egg-white omelet: You can throw one whole egg in for flavor. (Use a little cheese and pepper for taste.) if you want to add some ground turkey breast or vegetables, go ahead.

2 slices of wheat toast or small multi-grain bagel; I put low-fat peanut butter and sugar-free jelly. The more grains in your bread the better; nine-grain bread is a great toast in this case. Avoid all white breads, pasta, flour, etc.

Work out. Do cardio in the morning.

9 a.m.: Meal 2 (Post-Workout)

Eat carbs now after the workout; it helps with insulin transport and recovery.

Skim milk with banana or oatmeal with raisins in it (you could even go with small portions of both if you want).

No fat yogurt. (You can also have a piece of fruit if you have oatmeal.)

Noon: Meal 3

Ground turkey breast with a little cheese (no mayonnaise -- you can have mustard, A1 sauce, low-fast salad dressing) in a whole-wheat wrap. I often have two of these. (If you like peppers or similar vegetables, you can throw them in since they add no fat.)

  • Baked chips (regular)
  • Broccoli (light butter; you can use the spray if you truly want to avoid all fat)
  • Piece of fruit

3 p.m.: Meal 4

1 can of tuna fish or egg whites here again with a multi-grain, whole-wheat bagel or bread. However, since most people are at work and have to have food that is easy, you can settle for another wrap, yogurt and cold carrots.

5 p.m. workout: Lift or calisthenics in the early evening

Post-Workout Meal 5

I recommend a protein shake right after a workout. If you don't want a supplement drinks, have a can of tuna with little to no mayo or a piece of chicken on top of a salad and a few wheat crackers and pickles mixed in.

Dinner. Again, you can have good carbs here to give you energy back, but avoid fat since you will go to bed in the next few hours. The last thing you want is fat before you go to bed, because then it is simply going to be stored.

Try the Barilla multigrain pasta. It has 10 grams of protein in a serving and almost no fat. I would have this with turkey breast in it or lean steak, fish or a chicken breast with a sauce of your choice; just avoid fat sauces. This way, you are getting good post-workout carbs and protein. Choose wheat bread and use garlic on it so you have healthy garlic bread.

Now your day is done -- good eating mixed with 1-2 workouts. The workouts can be as simple as walking 20-30 minutes or as tough as triathlon training. It is up to you and your fitness level and goals. The diet is great for any person trying to lose body fat.

Do not forget to drink water. See the "Weight Loss Myths" article to read about the importance of water with workouts. Water is the key. Drink it before you eat -- it fills you up. I always tell myself to eat when the clock says to eat, not when my body says to eat. This way, I am never full and never hungry. This is a rough idea of how I eat.

Here are some other meals I would try:

  • Salad-chicken -- no fat dressing
  • Chicken broccoli
  • Multi-grain pasta, turkey sausage, peppers (red yellow & orange), fat free Italian dressing (a cold dish)
  • Turkey breast burger on wheat bread
  • Egg whites are always a good meal. (Egg whites are just so healthy)
  • Subway roasted chicken breast. Avoid mayo; use the honey mustard or nothing.
  • Tuna

Snacks

  • Fruits
  • No-fat yogurt
  • Vegetables

Check food labels and keep the fat down; I would say below 50 grams or so. The goal is to eat fruits and vegetables, multi-grain pasta and breads with chicken, lean meats or fish. Avoid processed foods as much as you can.

If you are diabetic or have other medical issues, contact a doctor or registered dietician before changing your eating habits.

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Stew Smith is a former Navy SEAL and fitness author certified as a Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) with the National Strength and Conditioning Association. Visit his Fitness eBook store if you’re looking to start a workout program to create a healthy lifestyle. Send your fitness questions to stew@stewsmith.com.

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