In this final section of part 1 I will mainly talk about initiating your journey to eating better. I am not going to bore or detail out several days of foods, but try to give you some concepts that will help you find your way. I personally haven’t quite reached my “ripped physique” yet, but I am within ~15lbs of that for sure and I know the weight I am at right now is healthy. I have lost over 70lbs now with very low effort (compared to all the other methods I tried), and I am pretty sure that doesn’t tell you the whole store in itself because I believe I have put on at least 15lbs of muscle during my journey (if not more, never been stronger in my life).
If your just now wanting to start to change your diet, the first things I would say to you are:
- Be ready to put in more effort to eat proper foods
- Get the sugar out
- If at all possible, plan for the unexpected
- What your going to eat will never be “perfect” 100% of the time
Be ready to put in more effort to eat proper foods
First thing is first, most of us wanting to get healthy, fit, or lose fat have probably been living eating drive in to restaurant to pre-packaged store bought meals for a very long time. Sure it is easy, quick, and requires very little brain power other then deciding what would taste good at the time. The problem here is its dreadful for our bodies, it loads us with toxins, throws off our hormones, makes us fell bad, and sets us up for disease on down the road. Whether you believe it or not, what you do or don’t do does eventually come full circle in later years. Keep in mind it is not always just how long we live either, but the quality of life we have at the end of our years. Do you want to grow old and be bed ridden and taking handfuls of meds to stay alive? Or do you want to be so active that you may even offer a challenge to the young whipper snappers? The choice is really up to you, but you make that choice at young age, not when you get old. Yes, you can dramatically change your life with proper diet when your old, but if you have 60+ years of damage done already, your starting very far back in the pack to ever get there.
So having said that, just be prepared to think more about what you eat. This can be frustrating, especially at first when you have no “go to meals” and are still confused about what to eat. My advice is hang in there, find things you like to help you get through this phase, and keep trying new things. I believe in varying your diet, we probably ate a lot of different things when we wandered the land and lived off it. However if all you like initially are a few things – eat those to keep you on track. Once you establish this new way of thinking/eating, and have spent some time with it so your more comfortable, you will start to find all sorts of things you like.
Also don’t underestimate how your taste can change over time, once you get the chemicals and sugars out of the system, things will taste different. So don’t be afraid to try something you did not like before, after you have had the processed junk out of your diet for a while.
Expect to be tired initially since most likely your going to not be eating nearly the same amount of carbs that you have been, your body is not used to relying on fat for energy, it takes some prodding and time to adjust but it will happen if you can remain consistent. Once it does you will feel better then you ever did living carb meal to carb meal.
So basically, be prepared to put in some effort, remember that all change requires effort. Also be willing to be patient and to give this some time, and if you need to pick a few things you like to eat to keep on track with, do so but be open to try or retry new things.
Get the sugar out
I can’t say this enough, if you don’t get the sugar out you will always have issues with fat loss. Insulin shuts off fat burning, sugar spikes insulin, spikes of insulin make you tired and groggy and lead to bad decision making skills. If you simply must have some sugar, please try to make it only after intense workouts. There is some science behind this, your muscles are normally insulin resistant so insulin primary works on fat cells, however if you have just worked out intensely (within 30-45min or so is optimum) your muscles become very sensitive to insulin. So theoretically if you have your sugar post (intense) work out all of that (within reason) will go into the muscles as glycogen – much better then fat. This is not a free pass to eat sugar though, if you don’t consume this sugar you will burn more fat over time (usually the goal we are after) replacing the glycogen through gluconeogenesis.
And when I say sugar, I mean all sugars including fruits (especially juices). Wait, but you said I can have fruit before right? Yes, some fruit in moderation is fine, especially after your at your goal body fat percentage, but there is building evidence that a lot of fruit can be bad for you:
Mercola Fructose 1
Mercola Fructose 2
Mercola Fructose 3
Probably best to eat fruit in moderation, or to cycle it in and out of the diet, remember with fructose your liver is required to process it. When the liver is tied up processing fructose its not going to be burning fat.
I’d even suggest removing any sugary items from your cupboards and panty, I know if you live with others this might not work but if you can do so. You won’t be as tempted to eat bad things, and even if you are you will have to perform some activity to get them (get up, get dressed, drive somewhere, etc..). Often if you just add in some “work” to getting an item like this, its enough for you to realize you don’t really need it.
Basically sugar will be a down fall, avoid it as much as you can initially, eat fruit in moderation or cycle it, and if you simply must have it -have it only have it after an intense workout.
Plan for the unexpected
Not easy to do, but if you can come up with some staple “go to” snacks and meals you can take a lot of the stress out of unexpected life events.
Say you come home and need to rush off somewhere unexpectedly, but you haven’t eaten dinner yet and what you had planned to eat takes too long to cook. If you have a go to snack on hand you can snack till later when you can cook, keeping you from reaching for junk because your in a hurry.
Another one is when the office decide to take you out for lunch, dinner, or whatever. Initially it may seem like you can’t eat anything, however most restaurants have salads or some form of meat and vegetables without the carbs (even if you have to ask for it that way). For example tonight I will be going out with some work friends to a Mexican restaurant, I’ll order carne asada (flank steak) with grilled vegetables, hold the rice and beans, and a side order of guacamole. Event the worst places like pizza joints usually have salads.
Another thing to do is keep groceries around that let you make quick meals, all you need is a protein, some salad mix, some olive oil and vinegar (flavored is nice), and various veggies to make a healthy meal.
What you are going to eat will never be perfect 100% of the time
This final part I just want to say, don’t obsess or go too crazy with this. Yes you need to eat healthy, yes you need to avoid processed foods, yes this is all very important to your life. However, its not easy to find “perfect” meals, occasionally your going to eat something that’s processed or has chemicals in it (salad dressing at a restaurant for example). Occasionally you may just slip up and eat a roll, biscuit, or other gluten like item, or maybe you want a dessert and just can’t resist. It happens, don’t give up because you slipped up, but also don’t let your eyes wander from your goals either. If you obsess over how bad you did, that’s negative energy that does nothing to further your goals, simply let go of it and move ahead.
I personally think its even probably healthy to slip up every now and then, it reminds me how horrible I used to feel, and each time it is getting further and further between as well as it seems to purge a little of that energy from coming back the next time. Maybe some day I’ll never eat off course, but for now I think it’s a balanced approach to greatly limit it. I try to focus it around social events like major holidays, birthdays, anniversaries, and the like.
One thing I had to deal with personally is that when I slipped on my diet, I would start telling myself things like “The day is lost, lets eat everything we aren’t supposed too today to get it out of my system, and just restart tomorrow.” Sounds logical and rational right? It is hogwash because every time I would do this I would not be back on track for up to a week afterwards. It also tricked me into going off my diet more often, sooner in the day so I could eat more crap, and it was also extending my time to recover the more it happened (as well as stalling out results). I have found if I go off track for one item, then stop and resume my normal regime, its easy to restart the next day and I really didn’t do much harm anyways. But if you go off track for a 1/2 day, your setting yourself up for having to confront your demons all over again, but this time perhaps with less resolve then when you first beat them back. At some point this can start to feel hopeless, totally counterproductive to your goals!
Hope this has some useful information, my next blogs will talk about dealing with “baggage” and “stressors” in your life.