A Sensible Approach To Better Nutrition

7 Jul

I get this all the time:

“Greg, I am going on a new diet starting tomorrow, 2,000 calories a day, I’m cutting all my carbs and I’m not gonna have a beer for 8 weeks!”

Then I get this:

“I just couldn’t do it man, I broke down. Whatever though I’m trying to eat better and I’m only having drinks on the weekends. I think I’m looking better.”

If I had a dollar for every time I heard this I would probably only be about 60 bucks richer. Kidding aside, it’s time to take a new approach ladies and gentlemen.

Here’s a few tips on making a change to the way you approach better eating, tried and tested.

  1. Taper your calories – If you have no idea what your caloric intake is right now, it’s plain stupid to just wake up one morning and say Boom Baby! I am only eating 2,000 calories a day.  Instead do it like this. Figure out your DEE (Daily Energy Expenditure), not sure how – see my post “Fit For 50” After you have that start easy on yourself. In fact Eat over your DEE for the first week or two, ya that’s right you want to lose Body Fat and I want you to eat more than what you expend. 10 – 15% over is a nice starting point. Here’s the catch – start doing it with all healthy foods! It will be ten times easier to adopt a healthier diet when you feel like you’re eating a ton. So no boxed goodies, all natural – stick to the basics, meats, veggies, fruits, nuts, legumes, etc.. Now, I want you to have a number in mind of where you’re going to end up. By this I mean I want you take your DEE and figure out what 10 – 15% under your DEE is. From there you’re going to slowly taper, cutting 100 – 200 calories a week until you have hit this number. Once you’re there stick with that number, if you’re still dropping body fat at that number then no reason to go lower.
  2. Taper your Macro Nutrients – In exactly the same fashion you have done for your calories, do it for your macro nutrient ratios. Again, re – visit the “Fit for 50” post to see what macro nutrients are and how you allot the ratios. I can’t deny that people, my clients, and myself lose more body fat as they drop down the amount of carbohydrates they eat and replace the calories with a variety of fats. So, start easy again, I recommend you start even. Eat a gram of protein for each pound of lean mass you have and split your fat and carbohydrate intake 50 -50. Each week you can switch the ratio by 5 – 10% and up your protein by 10 – 20 grams / day. Eventually you will get to a ratio of 90% fats and 10% carbohydrate, and be taking in roughly 1.5 – 2g of protein for each pound of lean mass you have. The key is you eased into it. You won’t get groggy or feel like you have deprived yourself. In fact if you’re dropping the fat at a more even ratio then it’s trial and error. You may be fine at a ratio of 70% fat and 30% carbohydrate for a few weeks.
  3. Set a Drink Limit – I got this advice from Nate Green a while back. Pick a number, and you can start high, let’s say 6 drinks for guys and 4 for women. You can use these drinks like an allowance. Either you have a beer a night with dinner Mon. – Sat. or you save them all for the weekend. As the weeks progress and you’re dropping fat like a bad habit, start to taper your drink limit down to 1 or 2 drinks a week.
  4. Cheat! – You have to cheat, allow for it. I like to plan my cheat meals. I know I am going to dinner with friends on Thursday night so I let it happen, I order what I want. It keeps you sane and it keeps your friends wondering how you get leaner every week and yet when you’re with them you order a cheese burger, I love that. Set a cheat limit, no more than 3 a week. As the weeks progress, I recommend every two – three weeks, cut the cheat meals down until your only having one. Remember that if you plan to cheat you don’t feel guilty about it, and the next meal you can get right back on track. As far as calories, I just call all cheat meals 600 calories and base my other meals in the day around that number.
  5. Start Drinking Water – You hear it all the time but it warrants repeating. I had to throw this in there. If you’re not drinking near a gallon a day you are making life way harder. Don’t believe me? Try it and see.
  6. Shop for Your Macro’s and Pay Attention to Your Calories – Figure out what your weekly total for macro nutrients is and then shop for them. Go to the grocery store and spend the extra 30 minutes to make sure you are only buying exactly how much protein, carbohydrate and fat you need for the week. After that, fuggedaboutit! Just eat the amount of calories you should be every week and invest in the idea that you already know the food you selected is giving you a sufficient amount of macro nutrients. It’s easier and it works.
  7. Nutrient Timing – Since you’re not going to be paying attention to how much of each macro nutrient you are taking in per day. Just adhere to this principle: Protein every meal and carb intake stays heavy early and light late. You should have the majority of your grains and fruits in the morning and afternoon. Late afternoon and dinner should be straight protein, fat and veggies.
  8. Tell The World – My best advice on losing fat, tell everyone that you’re losing it. Now you’re held accountable. It shouldn’t be a secret, you shouldn’t feel guilty about packing healthy food for work and eating it in the break room. You’re not acting High and Mighty – In fact the people that give you grief are probably soft and jealous. You’ll probably even serve as an inspiration to many of them.

Rushing into better nutrition is a sure fire way to fail. Take it slow and make it easier. You’re not starting a diet – you’re making a permanent change. As creatures of habit it just isn’t commonsensical to think you can over turn years of eating differently right off the bat. Not to mention you may even deprive yourself of things you don’t have to by cutting them out of your diet right away. Give it a try, you won’t be disappointed.



4 Responses to “A Sensible Approach To Better Nutrition”

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