The most important thing about my transformation was and still is mostly psychological. It is all about controlling my own mind. I have to make choices and they include not eating processed foods, sugar, drinking alcohol. It also means that I will make sure that I eat 6 healthy meals a day.
More Self Control. Know when to say when.
Portion control is something that people have a great deal of trouble with and I was no exception. When people eat out the portions are typically huge. An easy way to figure out a good portion is to look at the palm of your open hand and that is what your protein portion should be. Your fist would be your carbs and for vegetables that would also be your fist.
I don’t really like to refer to what I eat as a diet, because I believe that the word diet comes with a negative connotation. People try diets. People do diets for a set amount of time and in some cases an undefined period of time. Low carb no carb, grapefruit, 30 day diet. These are diets that you can’t stick with. I guess you get on them and lose some weight and go back to your old ways. You are setting yourself up to fail. Planning is a great idea, however, I don’t like to plan to fail. If it happens, I’ll learn from it but I don’t want it predetermined. In 1998 when I did the Body for Life and got my body fat into the single digits, I was on a diet that I couldn’t stick with. It was pretty much a bodybuilder diet. All of my food was bland. If I wanted to get crazy and spice things up, than I would put spicy mustard on my bland chicken. In some cases I would also cut my carbs. You do cut fat, but you also burn muscle and you feel like crap. I stuck with it for a long time. Eventually, I failed.
My new program had to include a nutrition plan that I could stick with for life. I had to enjoy my food. Based on my past history this would have been impossible. I didn’t think that I could find something that was good for you that also tastes good on a daily basis. I learned enough from the turkey baster diet to start looking into organic vegetables and fruits and free range chicken and eggs and grass feed beef. Plus seafood. First of all this way of eating tastes so much better than the crap I was buying prior to my transportation. I already knew that processed foods were not good but still had to have the self control to avoid those foods. I got rid of all of the food that I no longer allowed my self to eat. I cleaned out my cabinets and it all went to a food drive. Instead of getting sauce out of a bottle or can, I started to make my own with organic tomatoes and other organic vegetables.
The following are the guidelines that I set up for my transformation and that I continue to follow:
It provides more of a view of what to eat and what not to eat. I did make changes throughout my transformation but most of it was early on. I still make changes occasionally. I started screwing around with a different diet and dropped it close to the start of the program because I looked at it and realized that I could not do it for life. I didn’t think that I could do it for another day. Oh, I guess I couldn’t. The nutrition program that I ended up following is awesome. The food is great and I can do it for life. I don’t feel like I need a cheat meal and I am not anxious. I have been ripped before and ate bland food and it doesn’t work as a life style. You always want to cheat. There are lots of options with the way that I eat.
When I finished the first 12 weeks I had started to pay attention to calories for the next 4 weeks, in order to see how many calories I was eating. They ranged between 2500 and 3000. I eat protein and carbs with every meal and I have 6 meals a day. Protein intake is close to my body weight in grams. I am estimating that I eat around 200 or more grams of protein a day. Typically, my carbs in my first two meals come from Oatmeal. It ranges between 1/2 a cup and a full cup. Oatmeal takes a long time to break down and it is low on the glycemic index. The other meals are usually sweet potatoes which break down quickly. Sometimes I replace them with brown rice or quinoa. Carbohydrates are fuel. These foods will provide you with energy and will help you build and retain muscle. They also possess many other benefits. I actually use them in several different recipes.
Vegetables – I eat organic vegetables – for the most part I stick with spinach and asparagus, sweet potato and occasional will add other vegetables to food that I make. There are plenty of choices.
Fruits – Go with organic here also – tomato, avocado, grapefruit, bananas. I add a number of other fruits to my diet as well. Tons of choices here also.
Grains: I stay away from grains with the of exception of oatmeal, quinoa, brown rice.
Nuts: They are high in fat and carbs, however they are very nutritious and should be a part of your diet. Just don’t overdue it. I probably eat almonds more than any other type of nut. And I do eat peanut butter or almond butter every once in a while.
Protein – I stick with food that doesn’t have hormones or other crap in it. Grass Feed Beef, Bison, Seafood (usually fish), Free Range Chicken and Eggs
The way I define processed is anything man made. This includes bread and pasta. Both of which I love. When people talk about carb loading the day before an event, I don’t consider pasta. I eat, extra sweet potatoes and oatmeal.
I eat RAW honey and cinnamon 2 to 4 times a day. Both of these are very beneficial. If you are going to try it out make sure that you get RAW Honey. In order for your body to digest it easily it has to be RAW. Processed honey will cause your blood sugar to spike.
I take supplements which includes a good protein powder every day. If I want additional carbs with my protein shake, sometimes I will add half of a baked sweet potato to it. One way to see if you are taking a good protein powder is to check the label and see how high Cholesterol is on the product. Good protein will be low in Cholesterol. Typically it is going to be more expensive.
I also add Metamucil or Psyllium Husks to my regular diet. It adds needed fiber to your diet and has many benefits including reducing cholesterol.
This is my sample diet on a typical day
I add things to my diet which will help burn fat, lower cholesterol, provide energy, lower blood sugar and other things that play a role in being healthy. If you take a look at any of the recipes that I put in my blog, you will notice that I put the benefits of the ingredients at the end of the recipe.
Make a shake with 3 raw eggs, 1/2 a cup to 1 cup of oatmeal, raw honey, cinnamon sometimes add protein powder sometimes add a banana or other fruit – add a couple ice cubes
Run within one hour
1 hour after run
3 egg omelet with tomatoes, onions, garlic, hot peppers
cup of oatmeal with honey and cinnamon and a grapefruit
Prior to workout
Protein Shake with half a sweet potato blended into it
I take a recovery product that has carbs and sugar immediately after workout (I stay away from sugar other then post workout)
Protein Shake within 15 minutes of my workout ending
1 hour later
Seared Tuna with Mango and Ginger
3 hours later
I usually get my carbs from vegetables at night.
Water is an important for health and it will also help fill you up. Drink 50% of your weight in ounces of water, plus 16 ounces for each pound that you lose working out. I try not to drink water 30 minutes before or after I eat. It can interfere with digestion.
I allow for one cheat meal a week. However, it usually ends up being once every two weeks.
It could be pizza, pasta, pf changs, a steakhouse where I eat bread, ice cream or something out of the ordinary for me. It never seems as good as i use to think that it was. Still tastes good but i eat so many other good things that are good for you. To tell you the truth I have felt terrible the day following a cheat meal several times. My body isn’t use to some of the things that I rarely eat and it reacts in a negative way.
Self Control and Will Power are crucial for your diet. I still go to dinner with friends and I am very careful when ordering out. There are plenty of temptations when you go, from bread to alcohol. You have to be strong enough to control your mind. Also, if you don’t plan on eating something that comes with your meal it is always better to have it removed from your plate before it is brought out. Remove the temptation. Plus it’s a waste of food.
Funny thing is that people think that when they are trying to lose weight, they can’t enjoy their food. That is exactly what I thought because that was my past experience. Not only are my regular meals good but I eat several things that make me feel like I am cheating, including the Oatmeal Pancakes. If you love chocolate checkout the recipe in my blog for Coconut Flavored Chocolate.
Planning is another important aspect of the nutrition program. I wrote down everything that I planned to eat and followed up with what I actually ate during every meal, every day. I got into such a routine, even though my meals varied that after about week 8 or 9 I stopped writing anything down.
Enjoy your food and make it work for you not against you. Take advantage of the healthy benefits that these foods provide. Learn to S.W.I.M. to improve your life.