Preparation is a massive key to success. A person with a structure of eating in place will more likely have an easier time following a plan than one without structure. In following that structure, habits are put in place which dictate the success of the person in following a plan. Below is a sample of 3 successful people and their plans:
Jennifer Age: 32
Meal 1: 6am Turkey Bacon and Egg Whites, 1 slice toast (2 slices and 3/4 egg whites)
Meal 2: 10am Tuna Wrapped with Lettuce and a Side of Carrots
Meal 3: 2pm Cottage Cheese with Diced Strawberries
Meal 4: 6pm Grilled Chicken and Veggies
Meal 5: 9pm Greek Yogurt
Insights: Jennifer starts her day very early, and has to work through regular lunch hours. She is often very hungry in the evening due to these long days. She is relatively active, and requires a little bit of food, pre workout before heading to the gym after work.
This plan is typically what Jennifer eats throughout the week. She has some substitutions throughout the week for her Food Plan #1 but generally sticks with this plan as it is easy for her.
Meal 1: The only variation here is that the meal sometimes becomes an English muffin sandwich.
Meal 2: Sometimes the tuna wrap is substituted for leftover chicken from the night before with some light dipping sauce accompanied by other types of veggies.
Meal 3: Half of the cottage cheese is sometimes substituted with equal portions of greek yogurt to alter the consistency, with berries substituted with diced apples or slivered almonds.
Meal 4: Once a week, fish replaces chicken, as does steak once a week. Occasionally, the steamed veggies are replaced with grilled, sauteed veggies, or a small side salad with low fat dressing.
Meal 5: 15 almonds replaces the greek yogurt from time to time.
James Age: 40
Meal 1: 7am Protein Smoothie (with 1.5 scoops protein, greek yogurt and berries)
Meal 2: 11am Grilled Chicken and Yam
Meal 3: 4pm Chicken Burrito Bowl (Grilled veggies, tbsp beans, salad and double chicken)
Meal 4: 8pm Grilled Steak, 1/2 cup Rice and Veggies
Insights: James is extremely busy with his work. The job demands long hours and is high stress. He has time for four meals, and being a man with a big structure and plenty of muscle, requires plenty of protein. He needs something very quick in the morning and has little choice but to have one purchased meal due to travel considerations.
This plan is typically what James eats throughout the week. He has some substitutions throughout the week for his Food Plan #1 as follows:
Meal 1: Berries are substituted with 1/2 banana, or peaches.
Meal 2: Some days its grilled chicken, other days its extra lean ground beef with salsa and the yam also switches with cubed potatoes mixed in with the beef.
Meal 3: This is a store purchase with the meat substituted at times as well as rice instead of the beans in equal quantities.
Meal 4: Steak is often exchanged for other lean proteins, and the rice is traded for couscous or replaced entirely by a salad with light dressing.
Steve Age: 36
Meal 1: 8am Ham and Vegetable Omellete
Meal 2: 12pm Grilled Chicken Salad
Meal 3: 4pm Chicken and Veggies Stirfry
Meal 4: 7pm Salmon and Asparagus
Supplement: 10pm Protein Powder Shake (Supplement 25g)
Insights: Steve’s needs require a moderate protein, lower carb approach for 5 days per week. We supplement his protein needs with the protein shake before bed. He has a mini-refuel mid way through the week, spiking carbs that day as well as a full scale Saturday Refuelling.
This plan is typically what Steve eats throughout the week. He has some substitutions throughout the week for his Food Plan #1 (Steve has an alternate plan for variety or while on the road) as follows:
Meal 1: Different veggies from one day to another, with the veggies sauteed when he has time.
Meal 2: Change of lettuce as well as salad dressing, and/or exchanging the chicken for tuna or lean steak.
Meal 3: Change of vegetable in the stirfry from day to day and a change in meats from chicken breast to chicken thigh, or pork tenderloin. Sometimes the vegetables are lightly steamed instead of stirfried.
Meal 4: Fish is often exchanged for other lean proteins, and asparagus is switched to broccoli, green beans or mixed vegetables.
Meal 5: Protein shake is sometimes substituted by cottage cheese with a sprinkling of cinnamon.
What should I do with breakfast?
There’s a couple of key guidelines:
1) Don’t skip breakfast. (There is only one exception here that will be explained later in this section)
2) Consume 30+ grams of protein for breakfast.
3) Eat breakfast within 30 minutes of waking.
For whatever reason, breakfast has traditionally been established as a cereal or carb based meal, where people grab a bagel, muffin, or a bowl of cereal. The other challenge is taking something quickly on the run due to time restraints.
This area of nutrition is the single biggest area for improvement that will impact the rest of your day. Research suggests that how you fuel your day determines, to some degree, how you will use food fuel for the rest of the day. In addition, in order to meet your crucial protein needs for day, if you don’t make inroads in the morning, its very hard to make up for it later on. Finally, protein tends to satiate you, leaving you less hungry and less tempted to grab a snack mid morning which usually contributes to a calorie surplus challenge.
Tip: Have a “go to” breakfast and a back up and alternate between them on a regular basis.
What are some good options for breakfast?
If you treat breakfast less like its name and more like meal #1, you will free yourself to have foods traditionally more “suited” for lunch. Nonetheless, here are some decent “breakfast” options:
1. Cottage Cheese with a sprinkling or almonds or a small portion of granola
2. Eggwhites or eggs with turkey bacon or extra lean ham and a side of tomato
3. Protein smoothie with greek yogurt, protein powder and a 1/2 cup of berries.
4. Omellete (You may put a bit of low fat meat in your omellete, a sprinkling of cheese and perhaps some veggies)
I love my pancakes, and waffles, cereal, etc. Do I have to give them up?
No you do not have to give those foods up. Save them as options during your “refueling” days on Saturday as a later in the day option.
What is the breakfast exception alluded to earlier?
If you have been assigned a particularly significantly sized refueling on Saturdays, there is no need to break any fast.(Hence the term breakfast) You were doing the opposite of fasting the previous day, and your body is fully loaded. In this case, you may skip breakfast and wait for lunch or have a small protein based mini breakfast Sunday morning.
Definition of snack: A small portion of food eaten between meals.
We are going to do away with the term snack for our intents and purposes. All food consumed are MEALS, and they all serve a purpose in the day.
When you go to a doctor and get prescribed medicine, the doctor will often suggest you take 4 doses, timed every 4 hours. It’s a prescription that best serves your body. We want to look at food the same way. Every 3-5 hours, you should be having a meal. With that said, your day may look something like this:
Meal 1 (Breakfast): 8:00am
Meal 2: 12:00 noon
Meal 3: 3pm
Meal 4: 7pm
Yes some meals may be slightly bigger or smaller than others, and that’s okay.
But I’m hungry and like my snacks?
If you had a proper breakfast, lunch, early dinner, and late dinner, you should not be hungry for a snack. Snacking is a result of one of only a few things:
1) You did not consume enough protein in on of your scheduled meals
2) You are not used to systemized eating (Again, just because you may feel badly while ill and taking medication, it does not mean you take a “snack” dose to better help your illness, apart from your every 4 hour medicine dose)
3) You are bored and use food as your tool to cope with boredom, which is a huge trap in itself.
4) You have a craving for something which is often the case with those who are lacking certain nutrients due to poor choices in their meals. (For example, while lunch calories can be the same when you consume a chicken spinach salad vs a chicken wrap, the spinach salad has both more volume of food and more nutrients, which helps stave off those cravings)
5) You have mistaken thirst for hunger because you have not consumed enough water throughout the day.
6) You have a psychological addiction to food, which is usually associated with boredom, escapism, or procrastination. These addictions are separate from your plan and need to be addressed separately. Treat boredom for what it really is and find ways to occupy your idle time with interesting or meaningful tasks or hobbies.
I can’t help myself, there are snacks in the house and I’m tempted. What do I do?
If this is the case, go back to the compelling reason why you are trying to get into shape in the first place. “Looking and feeling great tastes better than a measly snack” is really the key. The short term gratification of indulging in a snack almost always makes one feel guilty afterwards and rarely addresses the real desires.
Screw it, I just want to live life and enjoy my food whenever I want. So what?
Wayne Gretzky was once asked what the greatest advice he ever received was. He said “Pay now, play later”. This often works in reverse, where people play around now, they invariably will have to pay later, and that usually rears its ugly head in the form of health complications somewhere down the road as we all know, whether it be diabetes, heart challenges, obesity, joint ache from bearing more than the necessary amount of weight that are individual structures are meant to have, etc.
You don’t understand, I’m ravenous. I need to munch on something?
Again, this is usually a problem associated with too little protein in a meal, or you had too much of a window between meals. Sometimes it’s a lack of hydration, and sometimes it’s a poor choice of “empty calories” in a previous meal that leaves you nutrient poor. If that’s the case, ask Coach for help with dealing with the real issue.
Secondly, this feeling may in fact be a psychological one, where it’s important to recognize that when your stomach is growling, your body will find a source of fuel in the form of stored fat from the body. Embrace this opportunity as this is going to help you get leaner.
Finally, everyone gets hungry at some point in the day, whether it be super human athletes or skinny people. If you constantly question your hunger yet you notice an increase in your weight over time, the scale does not hide the fact that you are consuming more food than your body requires. This is the ultimate feedback mechanism whether you are “hungry” or not.
I feel like my blood sugar is low and need a snack. I am lightheaded. Help?
Your choice of carbs for each meal is usually the cause of this. Choosing slower release carbs, combined with protein and healthy fats will slow down entry into the bloodstream, preventing this occurrence from happening.
Are there any exceptions to the no snacking rule?
There are some instances where one may work very long hours. If thats the case, we adapt by creating an additional MEAL and a daily strategy to best meet the caloric and nutrient needs of the individual. There are also times where one may not be able to eat the protein required to meet their needs each meal, due to volume of food, to which protein is used as a supplement later in the evening or strategically placed (for example, after a training session)
These little snacks only contain 100cals and taste so good. Can I fit them in?
Once again, the is a psychological challenge. save those foods for your “refueling” day. You are never deprived of those foods in a given week, you are now just eating them strategically on your GOAL’S TERMS.