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Nutritional Guidelines That I Followed During My Transformation

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.

Carbs
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 replaced table salt with Sea Salt because table salt has a negative effect on your body and Sea Salt provides electrolytes and minerals for your body.  It contains some great health benefits.

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.

Wake up
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

or
Oatmeal Pancakes
Grapefruit

3 hours later
Almond Coconut Honey Chicken
Tropical Sweet Potato 

Spinach

Prior to workout
Protein Shake with half a sweet potato blended into it

Post workout
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
Asparagus

3 hours later
Protein Shake

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.

Not the Right Diet for Me. But a Great Story:

 

During the beginning of my transformation I had started a particular diet.  I had been trying it out for several weeks and almost every time that I ate, I felt like I was suffering.  There were some exceptions. Some of the food I really  enjoyed.  There were some other positives because I started to eat organic fruits and vegetables and grass-fed beef and free range chicken and eggs.  The problem with it was the way that they were prepared.  I figured that if I suffered long enough then I could get down to my goal weight and go back to another diet (probably the same thing that I was already doing, which would eventually bring me back to 240).
I found out that the guy who created this diet was coming to St. Louis and would evaluate me and give me a more specialized diet.  I agreed and was hoping that he was going to tell me that if I did this diet for 3 months I would be ripped and could stop eating something that made me wish I had no taste buds.  

The founder of the diet comes into town and when I met him, he looked into my iris and would say things like, “Hmmm”, “Ohhh”, “Ahhhh”, “Ewwww”, “Holy Shit”.   I guess that can’t be all that good.  I felt like I was seeing a fortune-teller and come to think of it he did look at my palms.  I think I got a “enhh”.   He then went on to tell me, “You have toxins throughout your body.  It’s a good thing that you are a fat guy, because your fat is holding the toxins in.  If they get released you will become very sick.”  Well that wasn’t something that I wanted to hear.  Sick or not, I’m getting ripped up.  “Oh and you have a tumor in your lung”.  “This diet that I will give you will clean out all of the toxins in your body”.  Ok great, now I can do this diet until the toxins are gone and then get ripped.  “Now what I want you to do is eat a tiny piece of raw unsalted cheese every 5 minutes of the day.  You can carry it in a little pouch.”  Did he just tell me to eat a little tiny piece of cheese 5 minutes of the day all day long?  Do I have whiskers and a pointy nose?  If I do this am I going to be eaten alive by Garfield?  What the hell. That won’t make me lose the weight that I want to lose and get me ripped.  I don’t know about this diet.  “You see there are certain things that need to be done to have an effect on your body.  For instance…if you are depressed it is because your e. coli are lacking in fats.  You need to get fats to your e. coli.”  I’m wondering where he is going with this. I know what e. coli are and this isn’t making too much sense to me.  “So you need to do this by inserting fats in your rectum.”  I’m sitting there in shock, this isn’t what I signed up for.  This dude wants me to stick a F***ing T-Bone up my ass.  Are you serious?  A steak. There is no way that I am doing that.  After this I don’t even know if I want to eat a steak again.  He goes on, “So you would do this by taking some raw unsalted butter and naturally heating it to 105 degrees.”  I don’t understand.  What is natural about that?  Is it something that I was already supposed to know?  Were my parent suppose to tell me when I was a little kid that I was supposed to heat raw unsalted butter to 105 degrees for a reason that I was about to find out, but I already knew what was coming?  Was it instinct?  I think it’s instinct that dogs lick their ass, so maybe it’s instinct that I heat butter to 105 to stick up mine.  At least it’s not a steak.  “And then you take a turkey baster…” Wow, this is really interesting.  So interesting that I was already done with this diet when he got to heating up butter.  A turkey baster.  Really?  If I weren’t depressed, I am sure that I would have been after following his basting procedure.  I feel like there is a popcorn joke coming, but I’m sure that it would come out kind of crappy.

So that was it.  That was the end of my evaluation and that was the end of my diet.  As I got up to leave, he reached his hand out and I said, “Forgive me if I don’t shake your hand.  But wasn’t that  a turkey baster that you had in your hand when I walked in?
The things that I did get out of this diet were some good recipes (that had nothing to do with cheese, butter or turkey basters), I learned about the positives of organic food and free range chicken, eggs and grass-fed beef, and most important I got a great story.  

Oatmeal Pancakes

When I started my transformation, I wanted to find a diet that worked for me.  Instead I found a nutrition plan and I set up my own guidelines.  Bill Phillips and his program Transformation have provided me with the information that I needed to help me come up with a nutrition program within his.  I personally am a little more strict with mine but it comes down to what ever works for the individual.  If you don’t enjoy the food, than you will never stick with it.  I had started with a different diet and realized that it was set up to fail.  At least for me.  I started getting my nutrition within Transformations educational guidelines and started to stick with Free Range Chicken and Eggs, Grass Fed Beef and Seafood for Protein and Organic Fruits and Vegetables.  The food that I was making was so good that I knew that I could eat like this for the rest of my life.  No More bland diets for me.  I’m eating food that tastes so good that you would think that there was no way that it was healthy.

Start the day out right with both protein and carbs.  You have heard, “breakfast is the most important meal”

One of my favorite meals is out of Bill Phillips cook book “Eating For Life” :  I use RAW honey as the sugar replacement.

Oatmeal Pancakes with Banana and Walnuts.
Makes 4 Servings
1 cup of Old Fashioned Rolled Oats
6 eggs or egg whites
3 Tablespoons of RAW Honey (make sure that it is RAW-look for it on the label)
1 cup low-fat cottage cheese (For those of you who don’t like cottage cheese.  Don’t worry you will never taste it.
1.5 tablespoons of cinnamon
teaspoon of organic vanilla extract
One banana
1/2 cup of walnuts
Unrefined Coconut Oil

Blend Nuts into a rough powder in a food processor add Uncooked Oatmeal, Eggs, Raw Honey, Cottage Cheese, Cinnamon, Vanilla Extract and Banana.  Blend together.
Heat Skillet on Medium and add Coconut Oil as needed.
Poor several pancakes and cook until golden brown.
No syrup need.  If you use syrup try Raw Agave.

Also try out
Oatmeal Pancakes with Macadamia Nuts with Fresh Coconut
1 cup of Old Fashioned Rolled Oatmeal
6 eggs or egg whites
3 Tablespoons of RAW Honey (make sure that it is RAW-look for it on the label)
1 cup low-fat cottage cheese
1.5 tablespoons of cinnamon
teaspoon of organic vanilla extract
1/2 cup of Macadamia Nuts
1/2 Cup of Fresh Coconut
Unrefined Coconut Oil

Blend Nuts and Fresh Coconut into a rough powder in a food processor add Uncooked Oatmeal, Eggs, Raw Honey, Cottage Cheese, Cinnamon, and Vanilla Extract.  Blend together.
Heat Skillet on Medium and add Coconut Oil as needed.
Poor several pancakes and cook until golden brown.
No syrup need.  If you use syrup try Raw Agave.

Eggs Benefits:
May prevent macular degeneration
Lowers risk of developing cataracts
May help prevent blood clots, stroke and heart attacks
Helps regulate brain, nervous system and cardiovascular system
May improve lipid profile (Cholesterol Levels)
May lower risk of breast cancer
Promotes healthy hair and nails

Oatmeal Benefits:
Lowers Cholesterol and reduces the risk of heart disease
Makes you feel full longer
May reduce risk of type 2 diabetes
May reduce heart disease
May reduce high blood pressure
Contains vitamins, minerals and antioxidants
May reduce risk for certain cancers

Cottage Cheese Benefits:
Slow burning protein (Casein)
Helps control appetite
May increase hormone levels (helps with muscle gain and promotes fat loss)

Cinnamon Benefits:
May lower cholesterol
May help treat Type 2 Diabetes
Contains antifungal properties and may rid the body of candida
May reduce proliferation of leukemia and lymphoma cancer cells
When added to food inhibits bacterial growth and is a natural food preservative
Boosts cognitive function and memory
Helps eliminate headaches and migraines
Helps stabilize blood sugar
Increases metabolism

Banana Benefits:
Provides Energy
Helps circulatory system deliver oxygen to the brain
Helps reduce strokes and regulates blood pressure
Helps maintain regular bowel functions
Helps the mind relax
Makes people more alert
May help lower depression
Helps reduce menstrual pains
Reduces physical and psychological effects on nicotine withdrawal.  (Helps people quit smoking)
Promotes intestinal health
Gets rid of heartburn
Promotes hemoglobin production in blood.  Helps you clot faster

Walnuts Benefits:
Contains minerals, antioxidants and vitamins
Contains good fats including omega-3’s
Helps lower Cholesterol
Helps prevent heart disease and high blood pressure
Helps prevent certain cancers
Promotes Anti Aging
Helps remove free radicals from the body

Macadamia Nuts Benefits:
Increases energy
Contains minerals, antioxidants and vitamins
Helps maintain healthy cholesterol levels

Coconut Benefits:
Antibacterial and Anti-Fungal: Fights infection and is a cleanser for intestines
Fights cancer
New research claiming that it has been helping Alzheimer’s patients improve and even reverse effects.
Positive results for people affected with Type 1 and 2 diabetes.
Increases thyroid health by raising body temperature.
It increases metabolism (increases body temp)
Increases energy

Cristian Mihai

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