When people say they want to lose weight, what they really mean is they want to lose fat.
Most people don’t want to lose muscle, especially as they get older.
Unfortunately, many diets cause muscle to waste away as the pounds come off. That isn’t a great compromise.
The better option is to improve body composition by maintaining lean muscle mass while shedding fat (especially the problematic visceral fat).
This can be accomplished by following what I call the 30/30 Diet.
The guiding principle of the 30/30 Diet is incredibly simple — at every meal, eat at least 30 grams of protein and no more than 30 grams of carbohydrates.
It is fine to eat more than 30g of protein and less than 30g of carbs at a meal — anything above the protein floor and below the carb ceiling is personal preference.
Eat 3 meals per day and 2–3 snacks as needed.
Snacks should cut the 30/30 rule in half — containing at least 15 grams of protein and no more than 15 grams of carbs.
If you follow this plan, daily protein intake should be at least 120g, and carbs per day will be below that amount. Moderate amounts of fat will make up the remainder of the diet.
This is what a day of eating could look like on the 30/30 Diet:
- Breakfast: Omelet (2 whole eggs + egg whites) with spinach, mushrooms, light cheese, and diced chicken; side of fruit
- Morning Snack: Greek Yogurt topped with berries
- Lunch: Big salad with grilled chicken, lots of veggies, light cheese, olive oil based dressing
- Afternoon snack: Turkey and cheese rollup + baby carrots
- Dinner: Salmon + broccoli and asparagus
Carbs are lower than the Standard American Diet on this plan, but high enough to maintain energy levels.
This is key because to maintain muscle mass, you need to exercise — specifically resistance training.
Make sure to do resistance training (weightlifting or other strength training) at least 2 times per week.
The combination of high protein intake, some carb restriction, and resistance training will improve body composition — helping you maintain (or even grow) muscle while losing fat.
Additionally, you won’t have hunger pangs on this diet, since protein is the most satiating macronutrient, carbs are sufficient, and some fat is allowed as well.
Give the 30/30 Diet a try to achieve your body composition goals.