OK, time to get down to business. You should know by now, that it's simpler than people make out to build your diet, and if you pack it with the foods you should eat (link to section), you're not going to go far wrong. Base your diet on that and eat as few of the foods you shouldn't eat, as you can bare and you really can't go far wrong.
Now we need to get some structure. Are we going with the insulin hypothesis or the eat less move more system?
Or are we hedging our bets and committing to both?
I say both. So besides generic removal of crap from your diet, we have 3 main strategies at our disposal.
1. EAT LESS OFTEN
All things being equal: the more often you eat, the more likely you are to become hyper-insulinemic and the less likely you are to burn fat.
Modern ways have us eating or snacking or drinking calories minimum 3 and more often 5, 6 and 7 times per day. This means we are constantly spiking our insulin ('The storage Hormone'), as well as taking in too many calories, and therefore our bodies have no choice but to store these calories in our fat cells. Seeing as we can't store and burn from our fat cells at the same time, we then have no choice but to get fat.
Not only that, but as we are storing all the time, it's hard to access the energy stored and we will experience the constant need to eat more so that we have fuel to use for doing stuff.
A nasty little cycle.
So our first tactic is simple: EAT. LESS. OFTEN.
In terms of compliance, adaptation and longterm sustainability, the right eating freqeuncy for each of us is open to discussion, but in general terms, what's better for fat loss...
3 meals, no snacks is better than the same calories spread throughout the day in 3 small meals plus snacks
2 meals per day is better still
2 meals per day in a smaller eationg window is better than two meals per day spread out
1 meal per day is better than two meals per day
alternate day fasting is better than one meal per day(OMAD).
Extended fasts (within reason) are better still.
Choosing your ideal eating frequency is your first thing to do. The more you can get used to going hours and hours without food, all things being equal, the more you can get used to that fasted feeling, the more time you're going to give your body to normalise hormones and burn fat.
2: EAT FEWER CARBS
Yes, you could lose fat eating higher carb and lower fat -- as long as you are getting your essential fatty acids. It's the obesigenic low protein, high fat and high carb (doughnut) foods that you need to watch out for. So you could change all the below to include more carbohydrate, but your odds of success are probably lower. Your chances of fat adaptation and effortless fasting are probably lower too.
But, in my experience, and that of many -- it's often the carbs that make you overeat. That's why bodybuilders eat carbs during bulking cycles -- it's the only way they can take in enough calories -- too much protein and fat makes them too full and they can't get in enough calories per day.
So, our second tactic is to reduce your carbohydrate intake. This is often a watershed moment for most of my clients, as most eat carbs at every meal. This is the thing that changes people's minds of how to eat and forces the key thinking change towards prioritizing protein and fueling with fats. No more cereal for breakfast, sandwich for lunch, pasta for dinner.
So, second tactic, for your challenge, will you reduce the size of your carbohydrate portions, move to only one carbohydrate portion per day, per few days or move to almost none at all ('keto')?
3: EAT LESS FOOD
Third tactic: We can eat less. Take in fewer calories. Whatever they may be.
Does that mean you need to count calories? Not neccessarily, just reduce what you're eating in a week. Measure if you need to. As you go down the ladder, this may well happen naturally from following the system, but keep it in mind. Calories do matter, and you may need to consiously reduce your portion sizes if you aren't getting the results you want.
ABOUT THE LADDER
It's a bit silly and oversimplified, but it will give you a framework, give you options and give you hope.
RUNGS ON THE LADDER
UNO: JUST EAT A BIT BETTER OR TAKE IN FEWER CALORIES
The first rung and the only for many who think they want results but haven't really dedicated to it. Here you simply pick a few improvements you can make and see how your body is affected by them. I suggest you pick one to three clear, definable changes, per challenge/experiment. Define them, strategise how you'll execute them and analyse how they've effected you at the end of the month.
This is where you can test the traditional ...
TWO: EAT ONLY ONE CARBOHYDRATE MEAL PER DAY
The next step, pick your favourite time to eat your carbs and keep doing it, then make your other meals protein and fat based. This is the first step on the ladder where I start to think people are actually serious about results. It might be all you need, but you might have to venture further.
iii: EAT STOP EAT (5:2) STYLE
Here you stick with your newfound one carb meal per day method, but you bring in some intermittent fasting. Two days per week you either don't eat anything, or you eat only one 500 calorie meal. Now we are starting to have a bit more of a serious fat loss setup.
QUATRO: 16/8 INTERMITTENT FASTING, ONE CARB MEAL PER DAY
The next step, is to make sure you have a 16 hour fast every day, with only one carb meal per day as well. So you get 16 hours every day where you take in nothing, and you get 23 and a half hours per day rest between carbohydrate feedings. That's a lot of time between severe insulin spikes, without having to adapt to living carb free. That's a lot of time to learn to fuel your body mostly off fats. Most people are going to be getting some serious physique sculpting results when they start eating like this, but we still have plenty more options if needed/desirable.
OMAD WITH CARBS
Here you eat one massive (or not so massive, but still fully satisfying) meal per day. With carbs. Bloody well enjoy it too, won't you. Then you don't eat again for 23 hours. You gotta be pretty damn unlucky or pretty damn good at bingeing to eat like this and not lose fat. Do it too soon and you'll hate it, but adjust to it and eat the right stuff and you'll find it freeing, energising and rewarding as you'll really enjoy it when you do eat. many successful OMADers find it way more enjoyable to eat this way and be fully sated after their meal, than to pick at small little meals throughout the day whilst always wanting more.
16:8 KETO STYLE
This is the first step into something that would be thought of as a keto diet. We remove all the obvious/traditional carb sources from the diet and eat protein, fat and optional vegetables, with a 16 hour fast each day.
OMAD KETO STYLE
Still hungry for more faster results/more extreme methods? No problem. Move to one meal per day, whilst remaining in ketosis and avoiding arbs altogether. Eat one fully satisfying protein and fat meal per day, then fast for 23 straight hours. For most people, this is a radical change from how they've eaten all their lives, but of course, the results will likely be radical too. As your hunger signals normalise and your hormone profiles improve, you'll build muscle, maintain your lean mass and the fat will melt off.
ALTERNATE DAY FASTING
Even more serious? Comfortable fasting? Take any of the last few rungs of the ladder, and take it to the next level by adding a full days fast every other day. If you're fully fat adapted, have enough spare fat to use up, you should be able to burn it off even faster here.
SNAKE DIET / EXTENDED FASTS
Finally, of course, you could just not eat (but drink salt water!), for 2, 3, 4, 10 days at a time. That's not really my area, but it's something you need to know is a viable option. If you still arent getting results, but have the confidence (and medical supervision if required) and motivation to do so, you can step towards the snake diet and fast yourself super lean, super fast. Or you can simply speed up your results by incorporating a weekly, fortnightly or monthly extended fast.