I cut my body fat percentage almost in half after starting a high-protein diet. Here’s what I eat.

Rachel Hosie in 2018 and 2021.
in 2018 (left) and 2021. Rachel Hosie
  • Over the years, I’ve reduced my body fat percentage from 30% to 17%.
  • Eating a high-protein diet keeps me full and helps me maintain muscle.
  • Here’s how I eat every day to maintain my physique.
  • Visit Insider’s homepage for more stories.

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 (16kg) 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 alter my portion size when I want to lose fat

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.

I include donuts and cake into my diet

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.