How To Eat Pizza and Still Lose Fat
Yes, you can still eat pizza and lose fat.
You’re probably like “no way, pizza is bad”.
There are no good or bad foods.
Everything has context.
I’m gonna say something and this may also trigger you a bit: You can get STILL get fat eating “clean”. Yup, I can be eating super clean and STILL see weight gain and even fat gain. The food itself isn’t necessarily the first aspect of your journey toward fat loss you need to consider. Of course, it’s important, but here’s the first thing you need to worry about: Energy Balance.
The first tier of weight and fat loss is going to be determining where you stand on the energy balance seesaw. Are you consuming more calories than you’re burning, or the other way around? Are you UNDER eating? Yes, under eating can also be the culprit. You can eat clean food all day and still bash your head against the wall a month later when that scale hasn’t moved, and you’re not seeing fat loss. I know this can be frustrating because at that point you’re like “fuck it, I ain't losing fat eating clean, might as well just have all the pizza I want anyway”. And you go right back into that disastrous cycle I talked about in my last article.
Trust me, I feel you. I was there. I used to give up when I first tried to lose fat. Before today, the only time I felt comfortable eating pizza, was when I was doing Insanity everyday burning who knows how many calories and going balls to wall daily. But you don’t have to do that either. I’m going to show you 3 REAL ways to still enjoy pizza (or really any food you love) and still see fat loss.
Strat #1: Track Yo Calories
As I mentioned earlier, the most accurate way to eat pizza and still lose fat is controlling your energy balance.
Do you know how many calories you’re eating per day?
Do you know how many calories you need to eat to maintain your weight?
Knowing these caloric amounts is going to be key for you to develop the most efficient strategy for losing fat with or without pizza. So I recommend you slowly build up into your maintenance calories which can be determined HERE. This won’t be EXACTLY perfect. However, it will certainly be a good ballpark number. Once you find out your maintenance calories, you may be surprised. If you’re pretty active, you’re going to need a good amount of calories. You may even find that you’re barely hitting your RMR (Resting Metabolic Rate) calories, or the calories needed for basic bodily functions. You NEED to be above this intake otherwise your body will NOT want to lose fat.
Because if you’re barely hitting your RMR your body is not going to want to let go of fat at all since you’re barely giving it enough to even function. Once you get to that maintenance level and your body is used to this much intake, then we can start a slight caloric deficit (3-500 calories) to start leaning you toward fat and/or weight loss.
Now download MyFitnessPal and start tracking your calories stat. Track for 5 days and review the following:
Start with these two factors. We need to BUILD MUSCLE to burn fat, but if we’re not hitting our caloric intake requirement and protein requirements especially, we’ll never see that muscle gain or fat burn. Carbs and fat are definitely very important, but I don’t want to overwhelm you at first. One step at a time. And getting muscle doesn’t mean getting all bulky and huge. You can have moderate aesthetic changes and still build lots of muscle. If you’re having trouble tracking and/or knowing how MFP works, hit me up and I’ll help you through it!
Once you’ve determined the proper caloric intake and protein intake you need to get to your maintenance calories, progress into these numbers. Building a balanced lifestyle around nutrition takes time, just like training does. I wouldn’t expect you to hit a pistol squat (single leg squat) on your second day in the gym if you can barely squat with both legs to depth due to mobility issues. That goal has to chipped away at through time, diligence and having the right plan to get there. Nutrition is no different. If you’ve been consuming 50g of protein per day (it’s more common than you think) and you need 120g per day based on your body weight (.8g/lb of bodyweight is standard) there’s NO way I’m gonna tell you to hit that amount right away TOMORROW. That’s more than doubling your habitual intake. From an adherence standpoint, that would be VERY hard to stick with.
Instead, add another typical serving of protein per meal: 25-30g. Adding just one more serving suddenly seems more doable. So, every month add one more serving and slowly progress your way to your daily goal.
(What about pizza bruh?? We’re getting there.)
There’s two ways to track food that people usually go with: on the go, and pre-planning. Both ways work, but the latter option usually works a bit better because if you lay out your macros for the day, you know what you’re going to eat and there’s a way smaller chance that you’ll veer from that path. You can also use it to PLAN that pizza (there it is).
I had one client who was a vegetarian and pizza was one of his favorite foods to eat throughout the day. He usually followed it with a coke and a snack later in the day. His protein intake was very low. It was around 40g per day on average after we started tracking his macros. He needed 120g to hit that .8g/lb of BW figure I mentioned earlier. He was in shock. Because before we started tracking he would NEVER have been aware of this. Awareness is such a powerful tool for fat loss. Now that he was aware of what macros he needed to hit, we were able to have a better discussion and create a road map of how he was going to get there.
We are all creatures of habit so to tell him to STOP eating pizza 100% would be so hard for him because not only does he love it, but he’s been eating that way for so long. You can’t really take away things cold turkey initially, just doesn’t work long-term. A more progressive approach like modifying what his current habits are to make them a little bit better is going to be much more effective. So we did that exactly. We added vegetables to his pizza as a first tactic which would increase the amount of fiber and micronutrients in his diet. Then, he would be a bit more fuller and would be way less likely to have a bunch of slices with just cheese. We ADDED more sustainable protein sources for him to consume at home. We ADDED a super shake in the morning which would be full of the good stuff: fruits, a green vegetable, a nut butter (small dab), protein and water. So now his caloric percentage was no longer primarily processed foods like pizza. He was slowly incorporating an 80/20 lifestyle (a strategy we will discuss next).
He was on his way to a better life and moving closer to his fat loss goals. Because he was UNDER eating (sometimes 8-900 calories daily and that’s VERY low) we had to get him consistent in the gym and refueling his body efficiently with the good stuff so we could slowly get him toward his maintenance calories for fat loss later on.
All these changes started with tracking his calories. It started with becoming AWARE of what he needed before he was willing to make some changes. Notice I didn’t take away his pizza. He likes pizza. He’s been eating pizza daily for a long time. We just made his pizza a little better and added some other great habits, together! So he was still eating pizza and moving toward his goals. For a more detailed guide check out my nutrition E-Book on macros HERE. In “How To Macro” I give you all the tools you need to track your macros for bulking, cutting and maintaining your weight. Check it out!
Strat #2: 80/20
I’ve thrown this strategy around pretty often in conversation with people, on social media and in other articles. I always get this question: “Coach, what should I eat?” And I always respond: “It’s not what, it’s HOW”. HOW should you eat is a better question to ask when you’re trying to lose fat. Because the way you eat food, the way you APPROACH eating food and how you THINK about food is going to ultimately determine how successful you are.
With that in mind, here’s HOW you should eat for fat loss: 80% of your diet is wholesome, nutritious and non-processed while 20% are foods are that you really enjoy (like pizza). This strategy can be applied in many different ways but usually there’s two main ways: the sprinkle approach or the TREAT (not cheat) approach. The sprinkle approach means throughout the week you’re having small portions of your diet (20%) consist of things you enjoy. So, you can find spots throughout the week to eat pizza (moderately) or you can have a larger portion at the end of the week. Regardless moderation is the key. What we want to avoid is bingeing after a prolonged cold turkey session from things we enjoy.
To reference that client from earlier, let’s say we applied a cold turkey strategy and he cut pizza from his diet ALL TOGETHER. Let’s say he did it and saw some great results (arguably probably a lot faster). He would be happy with the results but would most likely CRAVE the hell out of pizza. After eating it for so long, then applying an all or nothing 100/0 strategy he’s most likely going to give in at some point and go nuts. Then he would binge on a ton of pizza and see all those results get cut in half or even disappear in a matter of weeks. The all-or-nothing approach just doesn’t work long-term as we are bound to eventually slip up. Life isn’t a perfect cut out picture where everything always fall in place perfectly. I highly recommend Courtney Sturgeon’s article from the BoomBoomPerformance team on this approach and why it doesn’t work in depth. Check that out HERE. But this approach almost inevitably ends up failing because we feel like we need to be 100% on point 100% of the time. Just doesn’t work like that.
You want some pizza, eat some damn pizza. It’ll be okay I promise.
Sticking to a plan long-term, adjusting as you go, applying this 80/20 strategy as opposed to a 100/0 strategy will be WAY better off for your life and your sanity. This adherence is the KEY component to success in any journey. Don’t give up and quit because you slipped. Don’t fall into this trap:
Stick to a sustainable plan that allows you to still enjoy food like pizza on your way to losing fat! The more greens you can get into that 80% the better. Greens and veggies have tons of fiber and vitamins in them that fill you up a hell of a lot faster than most other food would (as mentioned earlier). So putting more of the good stuff into your diet (the 80%) fuels your body to perform in movement, build muscle/recover and ultimately lose fat while still enjoying the fun stuff (the 20%) here and there.
So the point of this strategy is this: LIFESTYLE.
Once you adapt pizza around your lifestyle and not the other way around things become that much easier. We stress too much around this food and that food and this food.
Relax. We can figure this out! I promise.
If you’re still struggling to apply this 80/20 strategy after reading this, reach out to me! We can chat for 30 minutes and help you develop and adapt this lifestyle to see the fat loss you want while still enjoying the foods you love!
Strat #3: Moderate Your Alcohol Intake
If you don’t drink, feel free to skip this section. Thanks for reading! I appreciate your support!
If you do drink, and know where I’m going with this, keep reading.
Let’s face it, alcohol is a huge part of our culture as I mentioned in my previous article on Alcohol and Fat Loss.
We drink it during during lunch, dinner, during the weekends, and sometimes even for breakfast (boozy brunch anyone?) Mimosas are the shit, by the way.
Anyway, alcohol is a huge part of our lives but when we drink it in copious amounts, particularly on the weekends, we usually do this activity after we drink: eat shit tons of pizza. I did this in college just about EVERY weekend. Everyone did it. You would see the pizza line at the local shop that was open till 3am out the door and around the block. Shit, outside of college that stuff still happens. Go to ANY city and look around at 2am, where are people at?
The Pizza Shop.
If you were fortunate enough to be around a $1 pizza shop, you could eat 3 cheese slices for 3 bucks. That’s a freaking steal. And when you’re drunk, food tastes way better than usual. After drinking a lot, we get really hungry and proceed to eat whole pizza pies and wake up usually feeling like shit. So at this point, not only are our bodies trying to flood the alcohol out of our bloodstream, but after that, we handle those 1000 calories of cheese pizza we ate last night. And be very clear, alcohol ain’t light. One shot of whiskey is usually around 100 calories. Yup, all those calories are packed in that tiny little thing. And those calories are empty because they basically have nothing that benefit the body. Combine that with all those pizza calories and the majority of our calories for that day aren’t the best.
But wait, this isn’t a war on alcohol. I’m not going to tell you to NEVER drink (remember all-or-nothing doesn’t work). Just fit alcohol into your lifestyle in a sustainable way. Light beers, hold the mix on the drinks, and drink slowly. The college lifestyle was having competitions on how many shots you could fit into a night. The young corporate worker during the weekend lifestyle was basically the same, because we’re all still fresh out of college trying to relive those days. It’s hard to escape that lifestyle during the weekend. In fact a study found that non-student emerging adults (18-25) consumed almost 3 times the amount of alcohol on the weekend vs. the weekday. So the data says it too, we drink a lot on the weekends. But we can fight this trend.
It’s starts with just saying no.
Hey, you want a shot?
No thanks, I’ll stick with this beer.
C’mon, you want this shot.
No, thanks, I’m just gonna drink this beer instead.
Stick to your guns. You want to drink but you’re not trying to go HAM anymore. You’re just trying to have a good time for the night, wake-up hangover and guilt free from not binging on pizza the next morning. You can still drink y’all, just don’t fall into binge drinking contest trap. It’s not just awful in copious amounts for fat loss, it’s awful for your liver. Moderate drinking is just fine for both of those things.
So you go through the night drinking 2-4 light beers over 6 hours or so and you feel good! You’re not sloshed and sure you want pizza, but you feel good after a slice or two instead of 8. You don’t feel the desire to drown your body in pizza because you’re not super drunk tonight. You wake up the next morning feeling pretty good and proceed about your day!
So if you find yourself being this person who drinks a lot on the weekends and eats a lot of pizza after start slow. Slowly decrease the amount of drinks you intake, slowly decrease the amount of pizza you eat (or throw some veggies on it) and space out your drinks hourly. Add habits, don’t take things away. That’s the key.
If you find yourself still falling into this boozy pizza binged lifestyle on the weekend submit a request to chat with me for 30 minutes HERE. We can work on this, and figure it out! You can still drink and eat pizza while losing fat. It’s completely possible. Let’s work through it, together.
There’s a residing theme here that I want you to remember: lifestyle. Adapting pizza into your lifestyle is 100% doable and 100% okay to do when trying to lose fat. Really ponder on these strategies I’ve presented to you. Really think about how they apply to your life and how they fit. Fat loss doesn’t have to be complicated.
It’s simple, but not easy.
It’s simple to lose weight and/ or fat.
As a good friend of mine over at EveryDamnDayFitness says: “It’s just math and willpower”.
But it’s not easy to do.
It’s take hard work.
Life throws you so many curve balls and shit just happens. But if we learn how to bounce back from any shit that life gives us, when unexpected turns and shorts come our way, we can stick with this process long-term and still see those great results we want.
I’m here to help you.
I specialize in helping people build a lifestyle around movement, nutrition and adherence.
If you’re ready to stop bouncing around from program to program, from diet to diet, from trend to trend and if you’re ready to make build a lifestyle for yourself, let’s talk.
Apply for a free 30 minute chat with me HERE and we can discuss how you can get started on your journey toward those fat loss goals. Let’s work!