I’m feeling pretty jacked these days. Like feeling like I can bench press a truck. While I don’t look like the healthiest chap alive, I feel like the healthiest version of me that ever existed. I just seem to have found a sweet spot. I just saw one of my vlogs last night where they talked about the 5 pillars of health, which seems to mirror what I wrote in my last blog where I was shooting from the hip. So – I seemed to be on a good path with nutrition, water, exercise, strength training, etc.
My scale numbers continue to decline despite the ludicrous amount of food my trainer has asked me to ingest. However, almost immediately I’m feeling a difference with losing inches and feeling more solid. I’m seeing a difference in the mirror now. I have a lot of energy. I have a pretty packed schedule now over my “vacation”, but I wanted to spend an hour or so this morning and update you all on the nutrition side of things.
First, I wanted to talk about macros. My trainer has taken me from 50% carbs, 30% fat, 20% protein (default for MyFitnessPal) to 40% carbs, 30% fat, 30% protein. I’ve been there for maybe a month now, and unless I’m eating a lot of chicken every day, it’s been a little difficult to hit my 30% protein without jacking up the fats. So, what I’ve done is to kinda sorta reverse engineer my day. Hitting the macros for me is what I’m focusing on, followed by the quality of the macros. For example, I’d prefer to have carbs from veggies like broccoli. However, you can’t possibly get 40% of your carbs from veggies, there’s just not enough time in the day to eat that many. So I then use things like starches like potatoes, brown rice, whole grain bread, etc. It’s a game every day. Here’s a typical day for me the last month.
What you might notice is my fat is a little high and proteins nooooot quite at 30%. I wanted a way to add proteins without adding fat. You also might notice the “French fries”. These obviously aren’t “healthy” but it was part of my cheat meal for the week. Plus, I’m working out a good amount, so I wanted something to perhaps assist with those results. And here you go…
I looked at like 15 lists for “top whey” and this was on a lot of those lists and won probably 40% of them or so. I like it better with milk, but not bad with water, for sure. Now, I’m able to add 24g of protein without adding fats. I’ve also switched my milk to 1% and my fage is down to 2%.
My “cheat meal” was a cheesesteak and fries. Let me tell you about my cheesesteak. I used to perhaps do TWO of these on special occasions. Each one might have had 5 or 6 steaks, 4 pieces of cheese, sauce, fried onions, and the big rolls. Then, perhaps I might have made fries in hot oil and eaten a plate of them. To “wash it down” later on for my Christmas meal, I’d have a giant banana split. I’d rationalize that it was a once a year event. We celebrated with food, after all.
Well, this year I did something different. I said, “I’m going to have a cheat meal Christmas Eve, I want a cheesesteak. How can I make this meal work and still stick with my macros?” Get this. Friday night, I planned out the details of what I would eat Saturday to the morsel. I first started with the cheesesteak. Then the fries. I then worked backwards through the day, and nothing really seemed to work out exactly. So I changed up some things. Instead of 6 steak umms, I moved it to 4. Instead of 4 pieces of cheese, I did 3. I limited the portion of my fries to 2 servings out of the bag’s 11. So, I ended up balancing everything – and the pie you see up above were my macros for the day. I then also decided I wanted to put in a good workout, which I did. I did a brutal bike workout, then hit the bowflex for 45 mins. I ended up the day with a deficit of 728!! So – I got my beloved cheesesteak, but didn’t gain anything, instead I lost. This is the missing piece of the puzzle I also needed. How can I eat a few of my really bad things, occasionally, without blowing my way of living? (Notice, I didn’t say diet).
So, for any of you out there feeling anxious over “changing your life” and you have to give up everything…the truth is, you can do it, occasionally, just ensure your macros and everything balance out for the day.
Another example…..moving on to ground turkey. This is a hidden jewel that I need to discuss. My experiences with this growing up were that occasionally my mom or grandparents might substitute ground turkey for ground beef and not tell us. Then you have a really odd colored meat ball. It really bothered me, don’t ask me why. I had mental blocks growing up of eating pretty much anything out of my wheel house. Anyway, ground turkey I’m now adding to my arsenal due to the extremely low calories and fat.
I found a recipe I wanted to try. It turned out awesome, I just fucked up a little. I had the meat thermometer in to alert me at 165 or so, and what I did was then quickly check the temps of the other 3. They were all good, but I had just poked holes in them, and these are really sensitive to the pokes. Some juices came out, and they were a little dry because of this. So cooking tip – let these rest for a few mins.
By the way, these were bacon wrapped to up the protein a bit. I didn’t really plan this out too well, so I just slapped it together with some spinach on whole grain bread. The recipe also calls for making 5 patties rather than 4, and I should have done that for sure…these were huuuuuge. I also felt some tomatoes would have given some real juiciness to this. I’ll get to that in a minute.
Here’s the recipe…
- 20 oz package of ground turkey (I used 93%, as I wanted some fat in it for flavor and cooking)
- 1 egg
- pinch of sea salt
- 1/2 spoon of minced garlic (I used garlic powder since I didn’t have any of this on hand)
- 1.5 TBSP paprika (this gave a nice little bite to it)
- 1 TBSP chili powder
- 1/2 tsp pepper
Mix up with hands…form 5 burgers. Wrap 2 pieces of bacon around each. Sear first on a stove to get the bacon a little crisp and cooked, then finish in the oven at 400 degrees for 25-30 mins. I used a meat thermometer and it came out to be like 22 mins until it hit 165.
So – this then left me with 2 left over. I then cut these smaller, heated them up in the microwave the next day, and got out the taco sauce and corn tortilla shells. Added some lettuce some shredded cheddar, and chopped tomatoes. This was stellar!
Last I have a suggestion with taco seasoning for rice/chicken. It was interesting, but not my favorite. It looks pretty, that’s for sure. What the vlogger didn’t also realize, is that taco mix is pretty high is sodium, so this ends up being a little salty. I spread one packet between the rice and chicken, and I think the one spice you get from this more than others might be the cumin. What it did do was give me some ideas on seasoning the chicken/rice so it’s not bland….
Above is 12 oz chicken, 1.5 cups cooked brown rice, maybe 2 cups of broccoli.
Finally…….I’m also getting blasted for sitting on my ass this morning writing this when there are things to do. Yesterday, I advised people to prioritize their health and well being. And that’s what I’m doing. I’m taking some “me” time and prioritizing my health, as all of the other tasks can be done a little later. Whether this is called journaling or blogging, who cares. It’s helping me to keep myself accountable and makes me feel good to share some of my battle stories. Part of me feels like when this is all said and done, I’m going to write a book on this. Why? I have spent the better part of the last 4 months watching a lot of fitness vlogs. What occurs to me is that most of these professionals may have never been overweight their whole lives. Maybe some had 20-30 pounds. Many of us look to them for the answers, the magic bullets, the “why” we are overweight…perhaps some insight as to how fat is actually burned? By the way, I want you to do yourself a favor, and look this up. “How is fat burned”. Apparently, there’s like 200 different answers on this. Some bring out their master’s degrees and say you need to have 5-10% carbs to get your body in permanent keytosis and need 65-80% fats. Others say fats are bad for your cholesterol and you need grains. Others are vegan. However, I see some repeating themes that most seem to agree on:
- You lose weight by creating a calorie deficit. But if you cut too much, you will go into starvation and your body will adjust and shut down things to protect itself. Finding a BMR from a professional is a good place to start. Mine was told to me at 2880. Less than this, I’m not doing basic functions. So, for all of those years in my life I’d eat 1200 calories for months on end…or 1600 calories for another diet…or 1800 for another….I had been defeating myself by cutting too much.
- If you have excess fat, you can create some muscle and still lose fat. It’s not a 1 to 1 ratio, for sure. Maybe you take off 8 pounds of fat and put on 1 pound of muscle every month.
- Excess tummy fat is bad, called visceral fat. This can start to mess with your organs as you age and cause high blood pressure and type 2 diabetes. You cannot target fat loss.
- Some cardio is good. If you are wayyy overweight, you might also be over training and causing injury to yourself – like how I broke my foot with a stress fracture. I am doing swimming, biking, and elliptical 3 times a week for 20-30 mins at a time to burn some calories and get in some time. I will add some walking back soon as my foot improves. To the cardio, I’ll probably also try to hit about 8,000-10,000 steps a day which can further create some deficit.
- Some strength training is good. Again, no need to over train unless you are a pro competitor. I’m doing twice a week and targeting different groups when going. The trainer has showed me a TON of new things to do in the gym. By adding some muscle mass, you bring your BMR up. So you have to eat more to maintain the muscle.
- Water is great for you! I stopped sodas of all types about a year ago and haven’t looked back. My trainer has me on 5 quarts a day.
- Hit your macros. Whatever it is you decide is best for you, track your food and macros.
- BMI might not be a great measurement, but it serves a purpose. Those who tend to live really long are fit, yes, but they are not carrying 40 extra pounds of muscle. The concept is you’re looking for a weight that is decent for the frame. Some other measures like waist to hip ratio might be more accurate due to visceral fat measurements. Body fat percentage is not something that is 100% accurate, but can give you a decent measure. So – if you’re 6’1″ and 225 and sculpted, no one is really going to call you obese. However, the extra 35 pounds of muscle you have might cause some stress when you’re 70, 80, etc when you have to get yourself in and out of a tub, etc.
- You do not want to play with the blood sugar game. I went to a nutritionist maybe 7 or so years ago, and she advised not having more than 80g in any given meal. Also, it was of interest to pay attention to the glycemic index. Having a more steady blood sugar is optimal rather than having massive spikes several times a day which ramps up your insulin and creates insulin spikes and crashes.
- Smoking is bad. I did this for a lot of years, quit for 3 years, and the past two years I’ve done it here and there. I think I smoked 2 months this year. This is bad. Bad. BAD….Never again.