In my last post, I talked about how most of the world has been searching for the Holy Grail of diets and that like the Grail from Indiana Jones, fat loss is really just a simple and boring “chalice” and not some flashy, jewel encrusted cup: i.e. to lose weight you have to be in a calorie deficit.
In the 2nd chapter of our story, I want to cover the topic of Food Selection or as most of us call it “diet.”
Growing up in the 90s our health classes drilled into our heads that the “balanced” way to eat was to follow the Food Pyramid.
Each block of the pyramid had its own “recommended” range of servings. The larger majority of people just eye-ball their servings. A helping of pasta or the perfect sized burger now become a little more ambiguous from person to person. Take cereal, for example, something we all grew up eating. In cereal commercials, no one empties the cereal into a measuring cup to get the “serving size.”
We only see a bountiful pour of those sweet Sugar Smacks into a bowl the size of Manhattan. The milk that we pour on our cereal is usually treated the same way. No one measures 8 “ounces”, or one serving, of milk into their cereal. We just pour until the cereal is drowning. *soggy cereal is the best and if you don’t like it we can’t be friends*
The Food Pyramid failed to prevent the rise of obesity, which only lead to more “fad diets” popping up on TV, in print, and when the internet was born it seemed every one became nutritional experts.
The prophets of “fad diets” demand that we eliminate or avoid the foods that we truly enjoy. “No more ice cream or bacon, why don’t you just rip our hearts out Mola Ram!”
Mola Ram, the villain in Temple of Doom, enslaved the children of a nearby village and used mind control to keep them in order while they dug for ancient stones he needed to gain power. Hardcore zealots of diets or people like Food Babe share similarities with Mola Ram.
Similar to Mola Ram, the leaders of these “fad diets” spread beliefs like:
Carbs are the devil and make you fat.
Gluten is causing obesity and disease.
The government is feeding our kids foods to make them dumb, so they can control our minds like Thuggee worshippers!
Thanks to the Internet, these Mola Ram types are indoctrinating more people than ever. The “diet gurus” of the introwebz typically lack a degree in nutrition and usually make outrageous claims with no scientific fact to support their wacky theories.
They vehemently preach the dangers of ice cream, pizza, Subway’s bread, and warn you of chemicals in processed foods, but since they goofed off in high school science class, they forget that everything we eat is made of chemicals.
No one should ever enslave themselves to foods they hate nor should you have to rip out your heart and sacrifice your sanity on the Altar of Dieting Doom.
Instead, you can build a Temple of Boon (I linked the definition here because it is a word, archaic, but a word).
Below is a guideline you can follow or implement when it comes to planning out your meals and leaving yourself room for those treats:
*4 OUNCES OF CHICKEN HAS ABOUT 22 GRAMS OF PROTEIN AND ONE CUP OF GREEK YOGURT HAS ABOUT 20 GRAMS, SO IT ISN’T HARD TO EAT 30 GRAMS AT EVERY MEAL*
For men make sure you get at least 100 grams (70 grams for women) of protein from lean (low fat)/high protein sources like chicken breast, lean pork chops, lean beef, Greek Yogurt, Cottage Cheese, or fish (shrimp is a great choice as well). The rest can be filled from sources like protein powder or bars, complex carbs with high protein like lentils/quinoa/beans or dairy sources like cheese/milk. Aim for 30 grams of protein per meal (if you eat three times a day).
I keep protein flat across the board on all days, for myself and clients, as it gives more room to play with the tasty stuff, i.e. fats and carbs.
75% of your carbs should come from complex carb sources like rice, potatoes (sweet and white or even purple ones!), quinoa, oats, fruit, beans, or pasta. The rest can be filled in with treats or things that have simple sugars like honey, maple syrup, agave, or Ben and Jerry’s Cherry Garcia Fro-Yo.
Example: if you have to eat 300 grams of carbs a day, then you would need to make sure 225 grams is from whole sources.
Half of your daily fat should come from whole food sources like fatty cuts of meat (rib eye, chicken thighs, lamb, fatty fish like salmon/tuna/trout), fatty cheeses or whole milk, avocados, nuts/nut butter, or whole eggs.
Keep a small portion of your fats for oils or butter, which are great for roasting veggies, as dressing on a salad, or cooking a proper steak.
Getting half your fat from whole sources means you have a little more room to play with adding treats i.e. dark chocolate, Almond Joys, or cake.
Leave room to cook some veggies in olive oil or add that ever so tasty butter to your morning coffee (no don’t do that, it’s dumb and tastes like crap). You can also bank a few grams of fat and throw in some scotch instead.
Scotch and Squats: the finer things in life.
“What about vegetables? You didn’t mention them!”
Here is the great thing about veggies: I don’t count them.
Leafy green vegetables are very low in calories and for most part actually cause you to burn more calories eating them than they contain. I follow this list here. My basic guideline, for myself and clients, is to have at minimum two different kinds of veggies per meal. Have as many from that list as you want, the more color on your plate the better!
I recently attended the 2015 Fitness Summit where Alan Aragon spoke about the Diet Wars that continuously rage in the online and print media world. He showed two different pie graphs of the80/20 rule. The first was a representation of how he describes the “ideal” diet: 80% coming from whole food sources, 10% not-so junk food, and 10% junk food.
The second slide, however, is where he brought home an even better point. His 80/20 graph now said 10% diet, 10% exercise, and 80% having a fucking life.
Alan’s sentiment of “80% have a fucking life” felt similar, for me, to Indy’s motto in Temple of Doom: Fortune and Glory. Isn’t that what we all want after all in regard to our diets? We want to have the fortune to eat the foods we love and crave and the glory not to gain weight from them.
Fad diets propagated by real-life Mola Rams are everywhere in the world. They see no issue with mind controlling their followers and turning them into worshippers like the Thuggees, all the while gladly taking their money and enslaving them to their products and mislead ideologies.
The truth is you can eat the cheesecake, ice cream, or the cookies from the bakery down the street. Flexible dieting is a long term, sustainable approach to diet. If you have never heard of flexible dieting check out Armi Legg’s article here, as it is one of the best resources out there on the subject.
As long as you strive to make the whole foods I mentioned above the pillars in your Temple of Boon adding some more decorative ornaments to your diet like cake or cookies or a Dairy Queen Blizzard will help you to build a sustainable lifestyle of eating.
For thousands of years, food has been one of the most important cornerstones we share as communities and families. Do not live in fear and let someone preach to you from their Pulpit of Doom. Instead use these guidelines to build a sustainable long term diet that will stand the test of time: so let us raise our Grails and toast to Ice Cream (Fortune) and Pie (Glory) and keeping slim waist lines!
Wait. Did you just make a toast?
But alcohol has calories!
Beer gives you a belly!
If I am losing weight, I have to give up booze, which means I can’t go out with friends!
Hold on to your potatoes there Short Round, I got you covered.
I mentioned this was a trilogy. This time I shot video and did a V-Log for you. If you want to be the first to get an update on when the third part in this exciting trilogy comes to an end, leave your email below.