How to Create Your Own Low-Calorie Diet Using Built's Do-It-Yourself Diet Plan

Chicken Strips with Teriyaki Sauce
How to create your own low-calorie diet
by using Built's "Do It Yourself" Diet.

When it comes to setting up a calorie deficit that you can live with long-term, comfort is the name of game.

Everything on your diet should be yummy and contribute to reaching your weight-loss goal.

Don't leave your favorite foods behind. Create your own low-calorie diet that makes you feel happy and content. Built's "Do-it-Yourself" Diet Plan can help with that.

I've been struggling with my weight, and especially low-carb diets, for quite some time now.

After abandoning my own personalized low-carb diet plan, due to peer pressure, the owner of the A Pinch of Health low-carb forum told me about Lyle McDonald.

Lyle McDonald is a well-respected expert and authority in the field of sports science and exercise physiology, also known as kinesiology. He specializes in all aspects of physical performance, including training, nutrition, supplements, fat loss, and lots more areas.

He has written several books on dieting, protein, and stubborn fat, including The Ketogenic Diet, which led to a large Keto Diet movement over at the Reddit forum. He has a website and forum called Body Recomposition.

At the time that Sherrie shared this information with me, she also revealed that the only way she was able to lose the last few pounds was by doing re-feeds. She thought the information I would learn from reading Lyle's forum and the articles at his website would help me figure out my own personal challenges, so I decided to visit the website.

And I am so glad that I did.

It is through the Body Recomposition website and forums that I have been able to piece together the truth about low-carb diets, coupled with my own research and analysis, of course.

It was at one of the forums that I became aware of the Do-It-Yourself Diet Plan, created by an online presence known as Built.

Pinterest Image: Chicken Strips and Teriyaki Sauce

How to Create Your Own Low-Calorie Diet

At the Body Recomposition Forum, I happened to see a post that guided me over to another online forum called Beyond Low Carb. The owner of that forum went by the screen name Built, and she used to have a blog called, Got Built?

Neither the blog nor the forum are still alive today, so I wanted to put the information that I learned at Built's blog here, for safe keeping.

One of the most popular posts at the blog was on how to create your own low-calorie diet. This diet was called the "Do-It-Yourself Diet Plan" because it was designed to help you create your own weight-loss diet.

The post focused on how to put together a sensible, yet flexible, low-calorie weight-loss plan, so you didn't have to submit to the whims of any diet author. Diet authors tend to overstep their bounds by filling their diet plans with personal preferences and contradictions that have nothing to do with the diet's principles.

For that reason, this Do-It-Yourself Diet plan has only has 4 steps:

Number 4

To kick off this do-it-yourself plan, you plot out:
  1. Adequate protein (minimum of 1 gram per lb of lean body mass)
  2. Adequate fat intake (minimum of 1/2 gram per lb of lbm)
  3. High fiber (25 grams that you get from whole foods)
The aim of this weight-loss diet was to keep full, so after setting your:
  • protein
  • minimum fat intake
  • and fiber
The rest of your calories can come from whatever you want! Use your favorite foods, foods that fill you up, and foods you find comforting and satisfying. Just make sure you're eating at a calorie deficit.

How large a deficit is up to you.

It can be small or large, depending on your comfort level. What you don't want to do is create a diet that will leave you feeling deprived and victimized. You want to use your favorite foods, so you will enjoy being on the diet.

Once you get to maintenance, your final diet won't be a whole lot different than the diet you created to lose weight on, so make your weight-loss diet enjoyable.

Like any low-calorie diet, you'll have to readjust your calories downward as your weight goes down, to maintain an adequate deficit. Nutritionally speaking, a smaller deficit and slower weight loss is best because the body won't freak out as much and adapting to what you're doing will take the body longer to accomplish.

The Name of the Game is Comfort Foods

Shrimp Alfredo Dish
Chicken or Shrimp Alfredo is the ultimate
comfort dish, even using gluten-free noodles!

When it comes to calorie deficits, the name of the game is using comfort foods to keep you satisfied while eating fewer calories.
Everything you eat should taste good.

However, the definition of comfort isn't exactly the same definition it was for me when I weighed 256-1/2 pounds.

Before I turned to the Atkins Diet for help in 2007, comfort meant lots of homemade bread. Now that I'm gluten free, my definition of comfort has changed. I'm more likely to make a casserole of scalloped potatoes and pork chops or a rich-and-creamy chicken or shrimp Alfredo.

Add the foods and recipes to your plan that you enjoy best.

For you, the definition of comfort might be quite different than mine, so sit down and work up your own list of favorite foods. There is no reason to eat bland or just okay foods when you're in weight-loss mode. In fact, there's never a good reason to eat foods you don't like.

Do-It-Yourself Low-Calorie Diets

I'm really into do-it-yourself diets.

If you've been following me for any length of time now, you have probably figured out that I never follow a diet, as written.
None of them! And that includes Dr. Atkins' work. We are all individuals with our own unique health challenges, and those challenges need to be taken into perspective.

Most diet books are authored by someone who invented a diet that worked for them. After experiencing some degree of success, they wrote a book for the masses. The book isn't magic. It just details exactly what the author did to lose the weight.

Many people have trouble understanding this point.

For example, there are a lot of people who struggle with The South Beach Diet. The book recommends that you add a serving of fruit and a serving of starch back into your diet for the first week of Phase 2. Dr. Agatston, now on maintenance, can't eat that many carbohydrates. He rarely eats grains, so a lot of the South Beach dieters are pretty confused.

As for Dr. Atkins, he made his One Golden Shot count, then drank orange juice every morning thereafter and ate white potatoes on maintenance, enjoying about 100 carbs per day. He ate just enough to keep his body out of ketosis.

Yet, we have a lot of his hard-core followers running around telling the sheeple that ketosis is for life. High-fat is for life.
Everyone should be eating low carb -- forever!

Dr. Atkins wife tried to correct some of the misconceptions over at her Veronica Foundation website, but there's just too many people who don't want to know the truth.

It's like the whole Nutritional Ketosis thing. Although, most people who are doing Nutritional Ketosis (sometimes referred to as LCHF or Keto) are actually doing Jimmy Moore's version of Nutritional Ketosis, they continue to insist that their way is the correct way to do it.

No. It's not.

A few years ago, Atkins Nutritionals, Inc. tried to move the low-carb community in the direction of eating lean meats. Most of the community went bezerk. For the most part, those doing low carb are too addicted to high-fat foods to change their diet, even if it's in their own best interest.

So all of the low-carb gurus stay fat and keep preaching the high-fat religion. They are happy and content eating a low-carb, high-fat, high-calorie diet, with a few days fasting here and there, so there is nothing wrong with what they're doing.

They have been doing low carb long enough that their body has completely adapted to their way of life, so without a large calorie deficit, they are going to stay as they are.

Because of the resistance to truth and change, it's time to figure out how to get the rest of the weight off ourselves.

My Experience with the HCG Diet

When I originally wrote this post, I was doing a low-calorie, low-carb diet that was patterned after Lyle McDonald's Rapid Fat Loss Diet because Dr. Simeons' Protocol was a bit harsh.

Foods were limited to what was available in Italy in the 1950s and what worked well for 100% of his patients, which is why the success rate for that diet is quite high when compared with others.

Personally, I've been grateful for what I've learned from Dr. Simeon's book, from the HCG Diet community, and from taking homeopathic hHCG itself (back when it was still legal). It seems that no matter which diet rainbow I chase after, there was always something new to learn.

But let's be honest.

The claims of resetting the hypothalamus is flat-out garbage.

Dieters constantly struggle to keep the weight off in between each diet round, even when they move to a low-carb diet. I'm guessing this is because they are eating too many calories and too much fat for their new body fat level.

The rest of the so-called science in the book isn't much better. It mostly parallels what we know about low carb and very low-calorie diets today.

Dr. Simeon's Protocol contains only 500 calories and about 50 to 60 grams of carbohydrates. My glucose control wasn't good enough to allow me to eat the fruit without cravings, so I skipped it and upped my protein a bit, so the daily calories would still be 500.

However, the HCG drops were a fairly good appetite suppressant, and the fat the body used for fuel just happened to be in the typical places that women pack it away to feed a baby when first pregnant.

So for me, it worked.

It fit my needs.

It got rid of my thigh pockets and the fat on my hips that a typical low-carb diet never touched before.

Course, it could just be that I've never been this thin before either, not since I was pregnant with my first son. I have jumped over several hurdles, though, several set-points that were right in a row, and I'm currently hovering at my last one.

I'm sitting just above 150 pounds today (October 2010). Once I break through that, I'm hoping the rest of the way will be a downhill stretch. But I'm not holding my breath. The body does like to fight fat loss every step of the way, and I've been fat for a very, very long time.

UPDATE: I kept the above section in this post due to the HCG Diet review, but I was not able to maintain the losses. Shortly after I published this post, I had a rude awakening as to just how skimpy my maintenance calories would have to be to get down to 125 pounds and stay there. I didn't like the idea of eating only once a day, so I decided to settle for a comfortable 160 to 165 pounds instead.


  1. Nice info, Now i'm following your blog :(



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