My SECRETS to <10% body fat for almost 20 years

To begin, here’s what we’re NOT going to be talking about:

  • A new diet that will burn fat faster than the speed of light
  • 2 secret foods hidden by the Chinese government to keep the west fat and stupid
  • How doing this ONE trick before you eat will turn every ingested calorie into rock-hard muscle

tapeworm-diet

If these are the kinds of things you’re looking for, I suggest you click away now…

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If you’re still here, kudos to you and your 90+ IQ

Now, what we are going to talk about are the things I believe have contributed to me being able to maintain a <10% body fat since I began measuring it at 16 in my high school gym class and having gone through the struggle to build a successful business, marriage, having a baby and dealing with my baby’s severe health issues.

That’s almost 20 years.

“But Eric, you must have good genes!”

I don’t deny the contribution my genes have had on my ability to maintain a lean frame…

However, I have family who carry extra body fat be so it’s clearly not the only reason.

It’s just one of many.

I’m going to share as many of these reasons as I can in this post, but I’m not going to tell you what to eat.

I know you already have a good idea of what to eat that will help you lose fat, right?

Instead, the points I’m going to list below are those that have helped me to continue to eat in the way I know and want to eat, based on my goals.

So come from that perspective instead of, “Just give me a diet to follow” because the looking for the right diet is a leading indicator of someone whose weight will yo-yo up and down over time.

eric-livia

Family trip to Florida, February 2016

In no particular order, here are some of the reasons that I believe have helped me stay under 10% body fat for almost 20 years straight:

  • I link what I eat with my core value of "walking the talk" and wouldn't be able to work in the field I do if I ate poorly
  • I know my credibility with you would be diminished if I looked like I didn't eat well and I believe credibility leads to influence and success
  • I believe that big public corporations like Monsanto and Kraft have only one priority - making their shareholders money - and if push comes to shove and if the decision comes down to making more money or doing something to benefit consumer health, they'll choose to make money so I inherently don't trust the products they produce (this movie was a big influence)
  • I practice progressive strength and conditioning training
  • I love nature
  • I love cooking
  • I make time for things I love
  • I have a few quick, simple recipes for breakfast, lunch and dinner that I can cook from scratch and use 90% of the time
  • I listen to my body, yet understand structure can prevent uncontrollable urges from taking over
  • I frequently practice going "cold turkey" on things I love for various periods of time (weeks to months); some of these things include coffee, alcohol, all sweeteners including things like honey, meat, gluten products, etc... for 3 reasons - seeing how my body will react, cleansing and practising having control vs. being controlled
  • I don't get depressed if I eat something I "shouldn't" - in fact, there's nothing I believe that I "shouldn't" eat (other than poison)
  • I understand basics about nutrition including what constitutes a fat, carb, protein, calorie, how foods are processed and the needs for a variety of vitamins, minerals, probiotics and other micronutrients
  • We don't know and we'll never know all of the micronutrients that contribute to good health or how they interact because our ability to measure things is limited and individuals have different needs
  • I do know enough to be where I want to be and as such, I do little research/reading on the topic nowadays to avoid information overload
  • I believe there's no need to be perfect because our bodies are resilient and adaptable; they just need to be treated with respect and like you care

OK there’s enough for you to digest already so I’ll stop.

Take from it what you will but just notice that there’s not much about the actual foods to eat, how often, how much or in what combinations because those things are in my opinion no more or less important than the rest.

So, I’ve got a question for you, depending on where you are right now:

1) If you’ve been struggling with nutrition, what are your thoughts about what I shared in this post? Does anything particularly resonate with you?

2) If you’ve been consistent with your eating, do you jive with anything here or have anything to add?

Please let me know below and also, Pearl Jam’s song “Daughter” just came on AccuRadio and I’m loving it because I haven’t heard it in so long. 🙂

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Adrian
Adrian

Great stuff Eric. I agree. Have been toying with ‘cold turkey’ as a body cleanser though not 100% sure how to go about it! Any basic information you could pass on would be appreciated. As would further details of the ‘Nutrition It’s u’ book that has been mentioned a couple of times. Who is the author?
Keep up the good work. As a PT that reads a lot (possibly too much and not too sure where to draw the line), you provide refreshing angles to fitness. Love it!

Darryl
Darryl

Love it! Keep it going Eric!

Marilyn McDonald
Marilyn McDonald

Your thoughts sound pretty good. Haven’t done the cold-Turkey thing for control on things I love so that would be a challenge! Need more flexibility and am consistent with trying to become more flexible and building strength. Some of your exercises are way beyond my skill level so I do what I can. Some of the hip flexibility ones are hard to do for sensitive knees. (Also hate doing lunges just so you know!) not concerned about body weight (although I could loose some) good legs from cycling and walk/running but TIGHT muscles! Doing the curcumin thing for inflammation, just started Heal and Soothe but don’t know if that’s going to work although it’s got good ingredients. Body rolling helps. I think there’s a muscle imbalance that’s getting worse, affecting left leg flexibility (lifting my knee and going inward and outward with it). Nutrition pretty good.

Andrew
Andrew

I like where you put the emphasis. Usually advice is about specific foods or times to eat but we miss the underlying behaviors that throw us off track. I’ve been trying a ketogenic diet and feel good on it. But when I don’t plan meals for the week it falls apart fast. I really liked your point about having go to recipes to cover 90% of meals. Thanks.

jeorme donoho
jeorme donoho

good jive ! amen to all above

Steve
Steve

Always love your work Eric, been folowing you for nearly 5 years and loving my Progress’s. Lately I’ve been getting very sore and seem to be going backwards, I stretch and role, yet my hip are good during activity but as soon as things cool down …….man its painful and I’m lost at the moment . I’ve training hard at the moment as I’ve got my second degree grading coming up in about four weeks , any idea on how what I can do to relieve things without too much reduction in training intensity?????
Cheers as any info will help and you the man…..

Phil
Phil

I’m interested in the psychology of cravings, are they biological(physical) or strictly mental in nature?

Jonathan
Jonathan

Great stuff Eric
Personaly I struggle with the quality of my sleep and bad stress …points that impact the fat % too.
I used to weight over 300 pounds eating crap and fast food. After I lost à lotta weight eating right. ..i’m still strick with my nutrition. It’s like all or none for me regarding to less good food.

Nigel Griffiths
Nigel Griffiths

I am ‘older generation’ where nutrition for strength and muscle was ‘Stuff yourself with bread, milk and eggs!!’ Your training with Power Dojo has helped and rejuvenated me! I look forward to your insight and tuition on nutrition! May the force be with you!

Vince
Vince

Great post, I’m glad it’s not just “do this or that tactic” but more principles. TMI everywhere and it hurts the brain. “Supersize Me” was the start for me to being more aware of what I eat. I’ve boycotted eating McDs forever since then, apart from a few times when I had no choice.
“Doctor’s hate this one trick to burn fat” < I can't believe those ads are still around

Brandon
Brandon

I resonate with “walking the talk” and “credibility.” One needs a real sense of purpose to overcome the obstacles and distractions that try to get in the way of well-being. I heard bells ring when you talk about being aware of when you are in control or being controlled and practicing abstinence/fasts now and then to check. Question: What do you mean by “progressive” strength and conditioning?

merc
merc

All great points Eric. My experience has been that if you are following your purpose ie doing what you love as you are everything else falls into place. Live your love and do what you love 🙂

Ezra
Ezra

I liked the points. I think there are some differences between where you are and where others are. For example, I have been sedentary most of my life. When your hormones that regulate weight get out of whack, sometimes you need more than guidelines. Work must be done to reset your body and, depending on how bad it got, you may need to be in a constant state of change to stop adaptation. I do agree with all that is said once you get into a maintenance mode. Speaking from experience, it was hard to get to that point and I am still struggling to get to the teens let alone single digits of body fat. A lifetime of health has allowed you to really hone in on what works. It’s hard for those that chose a lifetime of poor habits and little to no exercise to be able to… Read more »

Ji Steward
Ji Steward

I would agree Eric with all the above although I would have to qualify that for your point on basics of nutrition. Having watched your prior nutrition videos I agree broadly with what you say. Yet, after curing myself of crippling arthritis and constant pain (after 1000’s of hours of research as I refused to go the surgery route) I now manifest the energy of one 30+ years younger than me. I have pondered saying something before now about the baby’s health which can be restored completely. I misguidedly made that decision for you by not saying anything. Now I would like to say that I am happy to discuss this matter. Or you may rather look at my work in progress website for helping others with “health issues” which is vitalsteps.eu. Either way, I appreciate and will continue to appreciate your input.

Beth
Beth

I’m bookmarking this post so I can read it again anytime for inspiration!! I agree with every point. I admire my body for putting up with everything I have done to it over the past 50 years. It is truly resilient! I want to be healthy and therefore I have to have healthy habits. Structure is important for me. I am in control of my food. I do all of the things you mention. The actual foods we eat are important, but our attitudes, beliefs, and feelings about the foods are more important. I occasionally eat something not so healthy, but 90+% of the time I eat in a way that supports and reflects my core values. I do not look my age and many people comment on my youthful appearance. Sure, good food contributes to that, but my attitude and spirit are what keep me young. Keep up the… Read more »

Roland
Roland

My secret is a strong mind. If I decide that something is bad for me, I can give up on eating it from one day to another, no matter how much I like it. And primarily I view food as fuel for my body, not as a source of joy, that is only secondary.

Fu Chen
Fu Chen

Great post Eric! So much truth in it. I think the key is, as you said, respect our bodies and moderation, control rather than being controlled.

Amé
Amé

Practicing going cold turkey is one of things I often do mainly for cleansing and identifing what adjustments I can make in my overall food choices. My skin has the tendency to breakout so it’s a good way for me to keep that in check by eliminating or decreasing the consumption of certain foods. I love that this focused on the mindset rather than a food plan. Thanks for sharing!

linda
linda

have copy of nutrition its-u. good read. do not feel need to lose weight. at 69 i should know what should be eaten. use braggs; acv sport drink recipe and it aids digestion therefore cutting down on extra fats..

blessed with new great-grandson 12/17/15. Your baby looks good.

Toni Schenk
Toni Schenk

‘The only thing I might disagree with is calling it a “diet”. Too many relate the word to quitting the healthy eating lifestyle they’ve been following as soon as they hit their goal. Most don’t realize it needs to be a life long change. I follow a low carb, high fat eating lifestyle. I was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes in 2003. Took medication for it until I started this way of eating. Blood sugars went down and I went off the meds but in my mind I have the tendency for it to be there so I need to eat this way life long. By the way I weigh 97 lbs and have 12% body fat so weight was not the issue. Even the Dr scratched his head over that one. I also intermittently fast. For the other 20% (the physical) I run, walk, weight train and follow you.

Roy Reichle
Roy Reichle

These are exactly the “methods” I practice to stay lean. I am 55 and have never really carried much body fat. For me, it’s more of a perspective than anything else. What I love to do, rock climb, backpack, bicycle, etc. are tied into keeping my body healthy. I also have a regular menu of foods that I eat 90% of the time. That makes it easy to keep track of intake and the calorie values. In my case, food is enjoyed, but I always keep how I VALUE food in check. I never value food over health.