Friday, September 18, 2015

Let's talk diet, nutrition and eating habits...for the average joe

This is a picture from earlier today, as you can see I have a pretty nice cut going but I am not super shredded at the moment. I hopped on the scale and it looks like I am about 210 lbs. I would assume I'm somewhere between 10-12% body fat if I were just guestimating.

So Am I following a strict diet right now?
Yes and No. Honestly, in the last 2 weeks I have eaten nachos, fried seafood platters, bread, pasta, ice cream and a good bit of other junk. Thus, I am not on some strict torture diet. But, I do try to keep a system going which I feel helps me keep my body fat in order.

So here are a few of my tips...

For Breakfast- 
Oatmeal, Eggs, and/or Fruit!
Now if you are like me, you can't stand the texture of regular oatmeal! I mean I just hate that running snotty texture oatmeal! However, there is a type of oatmeal called Steel Cut Oats and the textures are night and day! I love GRITS but I don't eat them as much as I use to. I say this because when I eat Steel Cut Oats I don't feel like I am missing out much. I'll sprinkle a little cinnamon (natural fat burner), raisons, nuts, and salt and I am good to go. Matter of fact, that salty/sweet contrast tastes awesome to me.

Another option is a Protein Smoothie.
 You can't really go wrong with a banana, ice, some almond milk,a little honey( or maple syrup), and some frozen berries. For added protein, add a scoop of whey protein and you have a healthy energy packed breakfast.

Tip: Get some ripe bananas, peel them and freeze them ahead of time. They make your smoothie take on an ice cream consistency.

Lunch and Dinner-

I try to keep it simple. Veggies, and meat! I'll endulge in a good bit of carbs if it is right post workout but otherwise I try not to go overboard with the pasta, rice, bread etc. A fist size portion is good enough.

I ask my clients time and time again if they drink alot of water and by and large I get the same response. No, I don't like how water tastes, water is nasty, etc...
Look, you need Water! Our bodies are made of more than 50% water. We need it to function, it keeps us from being hungry! It flushes out the toxins. When you are drinking enough water your body will stop retaining water and actually let go of some of the water weight that it normally stores. Your skin will look better, you will feel better. Trust me, you need to be drinking more water! Not sugar water, tea, or water with sweetner, straight up WATER! H2O!
Shoot for a gallon a day, sure that's a lofty goal but if you miss the mark you will still be getting in a sufficient amount of water to keep you functioning on a high level.
Drink a large glass of water before your meals and it will keep you from over indulging on your food as well.
Additionally, a lot of times when you feel hungry you are not hungry but instead you are actually Thirsty!

So if you are like me, you always want to know what can I snack on.  What are my options!?
Here is a brief list of things I use or recommend.
Nuts: Cashews, Peanuts, Almonds, Pistachios etc... High fat content makes you feel full...decent amount of protein

Nut Butters: Peanut Butters, nut butters etc...

Fruits: Can't go wrong with fruits. My philosophy is fruits are from the earth, your body will break them down better than simple carbs so I don't trip about fruit like some people do. Enjoy them, God put them here for you!
Seeds: Sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, watermelon seeds etc... Like nuts, high in fat, good protein,
Greek Yogurt: Taste Good and is a better alternative than ice cream. I like to mix mine with peanut butter! Yum.

Popcorn: Another one of my favorites. I have long stopped using the microwave but I have an Airpop popper I got for about 20 dollars at Walmart. No need for oil and you control your salt distribution so this can be a very healthy snack. One of my go to snacks when I have late night cravings and I want something instead of nuts.
Kale Chips: Haven't made them in a while but sprinkle some oil and salt on kale and place in the oven and bake until crispy. This is actually a pretty tasty treat. There are tons of ways to season this as well so use google and go find some tasty recipes.

Beanitos: These chips are good too and made from beans so they are a bit healthier!

These are a few to get you on your way. Don't sabotage yourself by drinking a large soda or sweet tea with your snacks though. Sugar gets you every time.

Some people like a cheat meal, some people prefer a cheat day and still others don't do either and just calculate their macro and micro nutrient needs so that they can get in a little junk everyday so long as their overall calorie count and protein, carb, fat ratios are not affected.
Personally, I am more of the cheat day type of guy myself. But a cheat meal will probably yield the greatest results as a whole. Myself, I have a kind of addictive personality so let's say I have been avoiding cookies, once I eat one then I want to eat it until it is gone. Thus, on my cheat times I prefer to just cheat the whole day but still with in reason.

Now let's use some logic here for a second. Here is the reason I don't see a problem with this. Let's say you eat like crap everyday...Cookies, fast food, sodas, chips, and no nutrient dense food. All of a sudden you decide I'm going to eat healthy for one meal or even for the day!!! Do you honestly think that will have a long term affect on your health and fitness?  Exactly, and the same applies to your body if you are consistently doing right and have one bad slip up day. Hell, depending on your training and when it is consumed simple sugars and high carbs are actually beneficial to your goals!

At the end of the day, it really all boils down to calories in vs calories out. Don't get me wrong, this is a vast oversimplification however, in a nut shell what you don't burn you store. And how does your body store energy...YEP...FAT! There are many calorie calculators out there. A very simple way to guestimate your calorie requirements is to take your current body weight so let's say you are 185lbs. Then multiply that by 10, That would give you 1850 thus your body needs about 1850 calories to maintain your current weight. Eat more and you will gain, eat less and you should drop.  Here is where a food journal comes in handy because you can track your progress and monitor whether you are seeing the progress you are looking for. Over the weeks you just adjust your calorie intake accordingly and you should start seeing that scale slide in the direction of your desire.


This was a quick summary of tips and tricks I've been using over the years. Hopefully it can help you on your journey. I think this guide will be helpful if you are new to dieting/working out however if you are trying to be a serious bodybuilder or seeking to get into single digit body fat numbers then you will have to be a lot stricter about the things I mentioned above. At this point, I don't have a desire to walk across anyone's stage or be judged by my body so this works great for me. A few things I neglected to mention earlier are supplements. I'll do a separate blog on that on another date.
In the meantime Cinnamon, apple cider vinegar,  cayenne pepper, and green tea are some other ingredients, spices, etc that you may want to incorporate into your routine. They all aid fat loss and help to spike your metabolism as well. If there is something else you would like me to address feel free to ask!

Thanks for reading!

-Mark BFitness

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