High Performance Vegan Letters

Fat Loss Cheat Codes I Know At 31 That I Wish I Knew At 21

Published 30 days ago • 5 min read

Fat Loss Cheat Codes I Know At 31 That I Wish I Knew At 21

Date: January 30th, 2024

I always wanted to be lean.

And toned.

Having a strong, lean physique was a goal of mine for many years.

And for many years - I failed.

Yet, just because I failed didn't mean I had tried everything.

I hadn't even come close.

So, after years of trial and error and investing in countless mentors and coaches, I finally systemized my newfound success.

Here are ten fat loss cheat codes I know after this past decade:

#1 Set up your negative energy balance goal (caloric deficit)

This is FOUNDATIONAL if you’re serious about dropping fat consistently and sustainably.

Without this principle in place - fat loss can NOT be guaranteed.

I’d even say I wouldn't even consider moving on any of the other principles because they won’t make a difference over the long term without this in place.

Calculations: A good baseline ensures you’re at least in a negative ~500 k/cal daily deficit.

#2 Aim for 1 pound of fat loss per week

Since a pound of fat has approximately ~3,500 k/cal per pound, a ~500 k/cal deficit should leave you at around 1 lb of consistent fat loss per week.

Focus on weekly progress, not daily perfection.

The goal is to create a sustainable transformation that you can keep for years to come (not go backward after quick results).

#3 Stay consistent

More than anything else - focus on consistency.

In a world full of shiny object syndrome, sticking to your standards regarding hitting your caloric budget and being consistent with your tracking will aid more than any new fancy 'trend.'

At its basics, fat-loss is about eating less than your body needs to maintain itself.

While simple in theory, what's hard is doing this consistently.

Focus on staying consistent.

#4 Use a tracking log

What you measure can be improved.

What you don't, can't.

Having a database to track your nutrition, meals, body measurements, photos, and body weight is a crucial part of seeing sustainable transformation.

If you want to see results, you need to track your behaviors and results.

A tracking log can be used in various ways, but I suggest having a nutrition tracker, a physique tracker for body composition changes, and a workout tracker.

Ideally, have all 3 of these metrics tracked on one app, and it's even more accessible.

Here's an article I wrote recently on 4 of the best fitness tools I'd use if I had to start all over again.

#5 Focus on staying full longer

Satiety or fullness is often overlooked during fitness journeys.

But it's massively important.

Ever get days when you feel HANGRY as heck?

It's easy to slip back when your belly is growling at you all day.

Enter the fullness food factor (FFF).

Aim to eat foods HIGH in fullness but low in calories.

Choose foods higher in bulk, like non-starchy vegetables, salads

(w/out dressing), and high-fibrous foods. The key here is to ‘bulk’ your

foods to make you feel full even though the foods may be LOW in


Another good example would be eating a kale salad with sweet potatoes, tomatoes, onions, and chickpeas with/ LIGHT hummus.

Normally, most people stack up on high-fat foods (which is the next point).

Instead, focus on eating whole foods, fruits, and vegetables.

Lean minimally processed plant protein also works nicely here too.

#6 Reduce high-fat foods & alcohol

One gram of fat has nine calories.

Compared to protein and carbs, which have four calories per 1 gram, high-fat foods will leave you wondering why you aren't seeing results.

Paired with alcohol, which is notorious for adding unwanted calories quickly during a cut, high-fat foods and alcohol are two BIG opportunities to use a quick fat-loss cheat code.

Does it mean you need to go dry and fat-free?

Not necessarily.

(although I'd add that alcohol has no benefit for our health or well-being).

It just means being more strategic.

High-fat foods are easier to overeat due to their palatability.

Which means they are very tasty.

So, to circumnavigate these two pitfalls, aim to drop your fat intake.

Reduce fattier foods.

Drop your alcohol intake.

And stay focused on what your goal is.

#7 Cook home-cooked meals and eat less processed foods

Eat less processed foods.

Cook from home more often.

Eat out less.

Simple cheat codes are often overlooked.

Progress is made by making small tweaks.

Slight adjustments.

Not about going 0 to 100 overnight.

Eating home-cooked meals may also change how you view food.

And your relationship with food as well.

I've found over the years that cooking and eating from home has given me a greater and deeper appreciation for my food sources.

And there's no greater meal than one made from your own hands.

It's a truly satisfying feeling.

#8 Add fruits, vegetables, and whole foods

Stack up your fruits and veggies.

Eat more foods that come directly from the soil.

Especially during fat loss phases, when your body receives less food due to a lower caloric intake, it's essential to keep vital vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.

The other advantage is that by eating fruits, vegetables, and whole foods, your caloric intake will be lower, and you'll be eating healthier, too.

Two for one benefit.

Moms were always right.

Eating your fruits and vegetables makes a positive difference.

#9 Eat slowly and be present

Most people notoriously underestimate HOW MUCH they truly eat and overestimate HOW MUCH they move during the day.

Eat slowly and chew your food.

Slow down.

Be present with each meal.

So much of our society is based upon doing more.

Do less.

And be more present.

As a side note, 30-40% of digestion happens when we chew our food.

It's like our body wants us to slow down.

How incredible.

#10 Make adjustments when metabolic adaptation hits

There will come a time when change slows down.

And you hit a plateau.

That's expected.

When that time comes, make the necessary adjustments.

On average, you can typically stay at your caloric numbers for 4-6 months before your body adjusts.

Sometimes, it's faster; in others, it's later.

But eventually, your body will adjust and assimilate to your current calories and workouts.

If you've been consistent (this is KEY), it may be time to revisit your current goals.

Make the necessary adjustments.

And move forward.

For 95% of us - we need to be more consistent before making new changes.

Start from consistency, improve what's needed, and only consider adding something if you've stopped seeing changes for 2-4 weeks.

Use these cheat codes for your success.

And keep me posted on how it goes.

Rooting for your health, too. :)

- Gabriel

Whenever you're ready, there are three ways I can help you:

#1 Join our free high-performance fitness FB group to get access to dozens of free live trainings recorded, plus a tight-knit group of leaders who want to become healthy role models.

#2 Are you a high achiever who wants to be lean, strong, and lead by example? Click here to read our complete archive of free high-performance articles at your leisure.

#3 Want to fuel your fitness curiosity and follow along with the latest findings, insights, and evidence-based practices? Tap below to stay connected.

Let's be friends:

(feel free to DM me anytime - I love connecting with new friends worldwide).

Enjoyed reading this letter? Forward this to a friend.

Didn't enjoy this email and want to be permanently removed from all future letters? Unsubscribe here.

To change your email or preferences manage your profile.

83 Alta Avenue, Yonkers, NY 10705

High Performance Vegan Letters

by Gabriel Zhanay

Join the top 1% of plant-based founders, leaders, and creators. Every week, you'll receive practical advice on how to build muscle, get lean, and build a high-performance body that fuels your busy plant-based lifestyle.

Read more from High Performance Vegan Letters

Quit Relying on Motivation and Use the D1-D4 Behavioral Change System Date: February 27th, 2024 Read on: I used to rely on motivation exclusively. Yet for years, I struggled to build consistency in my health and fitness. Part of the reason why? I wasn’t clear on my deep WHY for my goals… And I wasn’t familiar with how motivation ebbs and flows paired with skill development. Motivation comes in different levels. To be more specific, there are 5 levels: Courtesy...

2 days ago • 3 min read

How Much Sleep Do You Need To Burn Fat and Top 5 Foods To Have In Your Kitchen Date: February 23rd, 2024 Read time: 5 minutes Today’s issue is brought to you by Vegan Fitness Redefined. We help vegans, veg-curious, and plant-based humans get lean, strong, and build healthy bodies. Are you a high performer who wants to drop body fat, build lean muscle, and tone up while feeling confident in your health? Click below to apply for a free 1:1 consultation and see if our Accelerator Program is a...

6 days ago • 6 min read

My Strategy For Doing Hard Things Over the Past 8 Years Date: February 20th, 2024 Doing hard stuff sucks. At least, that's what my former self used to think. I used to procrastinate harder than anyone else I knew. I'd leave my workouts till the last minute. Meal prep till the end of the week. Projects till last week. Doing hard stuff was tough for me. Yet, over the years, I've found that 'hard things' was just my perspective. There's 3 part framework I've developed that's helped me knock out...

9 days ago • 3 min read
Share this post