I cut my body fat percentage in half with a high-protein diet – Insider

Nearly three years ago, I decided to work on my relationship with food. I vowed to stop overeating, and I wanted to lose fat.
At the same time, I wanted to hold on to the muscle I’d built through 18 months of weight lifting — or even increase my gains.
Over six months, I lost 35 pounds and reduced my body fat percentage from 30% to 17%.
Since then, I’ve kept the weight off, fluctuating a little over a small range, and continued to lose fat and build more muscle by altering my diet and training consistently.
Here’s how I do it.

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I’m now in a position where I know how to manage my weight, body fat, and physique.
I go through phases where being lean isn’t a priority, and I just want to relax a bit and enjoy celebrations with friends and family, or maybe focus more on muscle-building (which is best done in a calorie surplus), even if that comes with an increase in body fat. 
At other times, I decide I want to trim off those few extra pounds, and I know how to do that healthily without losing muscle.

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During fat loss phases, it’s important to only cut calories slightly and to maintain a high-protein intake — eating protein keeps you full and also helps you to hold on to or build muscle, depending on your body and how you’re training.
“Protein is a really satiating macronutrient, which means it can leave you feeling fuller for longer,” dietitian Nichola Ludlam-Raine told Insider. “Protein also takes more energy to break down and metabolize in comparison to simple carbohydrates or fats.”
I don’t really change my diet when I want to lose fat, I mostly just alter my portion size and manage my overall calorie intake.
Every day is different, but here’s what an average day of eating might look like when I want to eat in a calorie deficit:
While I try and cook from scratch and keep ultra-processed foods to a minimum, I definitely do eat some out of convenience. I love low calorie ice creams and protein bars, but I also incorporate donuts, cake, pizza, and burgers into my diet.
I follow the 80/20 rule, so I aim to eat nutrient-dense foods 80% of the time, and whatever I want for the remaining 20%.

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If you tell yourself particular foods are off limits, but they’re foods you enjoy, you end up putting them on a pedestal.
In my experience, this isn’t a sustainable way to live, because the more you restrict, the more likely you are to binge. That’s why I include all foods in my diet, even when in a fat loss phase.
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