Choosing the Right Diet Foods

*These are just a few common examples of low-starch vegetables; the full list includes just about any vegetable you can think of, although potatoes should be limited and only eaten in small portions.

**Limit to 2 servings a day.

HOW TO CUSTOMIZE THE DIET We recommend thinking strategically. If you want to maximize fat loss as well as keep hunger at bay, stick with low-carb foods as your habitual diet. No doubt you'll have an occasion—say, Bunco night with the girls or poker night with the guys—to indulge on high-carb foods, and that's OK. But the key is what you do most of the time.

Think of it this way: Imagine that the carbs you eat go into a bucket. When the bucket is full, the carbs overflow and are converted to fat. This is how it works in your body. But by eating lower carb most of the time, your bucket is always about half full. This not only keeps your body burning fat, but when you do eat lots of carbs—as long as you have them when your bucket isn't full—they don't end up on your hips and waist.

So you can stick with straight low-carb all the time, or choose one of these options to learn how to strategically eat high-carb foods. (Keep in mind the best choices are fruit, milk, yogurt, beans, and 100 percent whole grain products, but this is also the best time to "cheat.")

1. Only eat high-carb foods right before or just after your workout. Since you're burning calories with exercise, you'll be burning down your "carb bucket."

2. Only eat high-carb foods one day a week. Consider it a "planned" cheat day. Your "carb bucket" is reduced since you've eaten low-carb the rest of the week.

3. Only eat high-carb foods for breakfast. (Think: cereal). Since you haven't eaten all night, your carb bucket is lowered, making it an opportune time to enjoy them.

4. Only eat high-carb foods for breakfast and around (before/after) your workout.

These are just a few of the possibilities with TNT. But all are quite effective. One caveat: The more frequently you eat high-carb foods, the less likely that the diet will automatically control your hunger. So if these strategies don't get the scale moving--and they often do--you may need to watch your calories a little closer, in order to ensure you're not overeating.

Here's an easy way to calculate your calories. Multiply your target bodyweight (the amount you want to weigh!) by 14. So if you're a woman who wants to weigh 125 pounds, you'd eat about 1750 calories a day. If you're a 220-pound guy who wants to be 180, you'd eat about 2500 calories a day.

Adam Campbell is the Fitness Director for Men's Health, and co-author of the "TNT Diet." A National Magazine Award-winning journalist, Adam also holds a master's degree in exercise physiology from the University of Kansas, and is a NSCA Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist.

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