Pic of Jason sitting on bench

“I’m feeling pretty good about everything else, but how do I lose my stomach?”

“Should I do more cardio?”

“Do I need to cut carbs?”

“It’s gotta be gluten and sugar right?”

Now that fall's here many I’ve spoken to are looking to take advantage of the next 3 months before the holiday season to tighten things up and get leaner. 

If that’s also you whether you want to drop a size or few, see more of your hard-earned muscle, level up your energy, or feel more comfortable in your skin how and what you eat is a big part of this. 

Making the right choices to get in shape is often made needlessly confusing by fitness marketing. I like simplifying ideas into frameworks so we can focus on what actually matters and you don’t get stuck confused or majoring in the minors.

3 Essential of Getting Lean(er)

  1. 1
    Getting enough protein
  2. 2
    Creating a Calorie Deficit
  3. 3
    Choose a strategy you don’t absolutely despise

1.Getting Enough Protein 


Protein keeps hunger and cravings in check when you’re trying to restrict calories. There’s a whole lot of talk about weight loss drugs in the media, and you know how they work? Keep hunger in check. That’s how important this is. Protein is also essential for keeping, repairing, and growing lean muscle which is critical for not only looking but feeling good, strong, and capable.

How much

0.8-1g/protein per lb of body weight

My favorite lean sources of protein

  • Chicken Breast
  • Ground Turkey
  • Flank Steak
  • Sirloin Steak
  • Pork Tenderloin
  • Pork Loin
  • Salmon Tuna
  • Shrimp
  • Egg Whites
  • Protein Powder
  • Cottage Cheese
  • Greek or Skyr Yogurt 

Protip to curb afternoon & evening cravings

get 30-60g of protein in the first meal of the day. Most people I meet who struggle to stay on plan later in the day eat like crap in the first half of the day. Fix that, and I can pretty much guarantee you’ll likely find more success.

2.Creating a Calorie Deficit 


To trigger fat loss no matter what the weapon (strategy) of choice it needs to satisfy the energy balance equation. Energy balance is the relationship between energy taken into our body and energy expended by our body.

Energy Balance Equation

If there's a surplus you gain weight

If there's a deficit you lose weight.

If you break even you stay the same.


These are the strategies that have worked most consistently in my experience.

Level 1 (Your first wins)

  1. 1
    Write down or take pictures of everything you eat and drink (including alcohol) as often and honestly as possible. I like using the phone note app but choose whatever method comes easily and most naturally
  2. 2
    Do what you know like replacing and removing the obvious crap, I promise you will see it and you will know what to do.

Why this works

I haven’t met a client who committed to this practice and didn’t find success with it. There’s a lot you already know you should be doing but it’s not obvious until you see it and/or acknowledge it. Our brain automates 90% of our conscious experience, this is why habits can be both helpful and hurtful. 

Level 2 (Most stop here)

  1. 1
    Continue writing down or taking pictures of everything you eat and drink
  2. 2
    Choose a calorie restriction method (listed below):

Portion Control  

  • Hand portions
  • Calorie Tracking
  • Fixed Menu (Eat the same foods)

Intermitting Fasting 

  • 8/16
  • Protein Fast (Eat only protein and veggies the first 1-2 meals of the day)

Remove a food group 

  • Low Carb
  • Modified Paleo

Guiding Restriction 

  • No dessert
  • No junk in the house 
  • No Drinking 
  • No Snacks 
  • No eating after a cutoff time

Choose one or a few of these strategies staying on plan at least 80% of the time. This means if you eat 3 meals per day for 7 days, that’s 21 meals, which gives you 5 that aren’t 100% according to plan.

Level 3 (Getting shredded)

  1. 1
    Continue your level 2 strategy
  2. 2
    Be more consistent will following the plan (90%+)
  3. 3
    When in doubt portion control
  • Calorie Tracking 
  • Fixed menu (eat the same foods), adjust portions down if weight loss slows

3.Choose a Strategy you don’t Absolutely Despise 

Having helped clients lose hundreds of pounds, and having lost upwards of 70 lbs multiple times in my life I can tell you I’ve had success in a lot of different ways. I’ve given you the best steps to do it above based on that experience. 

Weight loss by nature isn’t necessarily fun, it does require doing things we don’t by default want to do, but it doesn’t come with the prerequisite of being miserable.

Weight loss by nature isn’t necessarily fun, it does require doing things we don’t by default want to do, but it doesn’t come with the prerequisite of being miserable.

Jason Ingham at 23 vs 36

Weight loss by nature isn’t necessarily fun, it does require doing things we don’t by default want to do, but it doesn’t come with the prerequisite of being miserable.

What creates misery is a misalignment of values in the method chosen. Like trying to go gluten-free in an old-school Italian family. There’s too much friction for most. Does that mean you can’t do it? No, I’m just saying there might be a compromise in there.

I’ve found the most success by choosing a method that aligns most with how I want to live long-term. 

If you do this from the jump, it’ll be slower but you’ll be more likely to keep the progress you make. 

About the author 

Coach Jason

Coach Jason Ingham is a personal trainer, nutrition coach, and founder of BID Health and Performance. Jason has spent more than 20 years practicing the art of lifting and coaching, continually refining his skill set to help his clients build bodies they're proud of pain-free while doing what they love.

When he's not in the gym you'll probably find him buried in a book, exploring the city's restaurants, or crushing the latest streaming sci-fi or fantasy series with his partner Bailey.

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