T Nation

Advice on Nutrition to Lose Fat


#1

I am 6 foot 2 214 pounds. Large belly. (Beer, fast food, junk, etc.) No idea on body fat. I was pretty lean at maybe 175 in college.

I feel I have a decent idea on the training aspect. I lift heavy, legs arms, abs, back etc. I also do a sprint workout 4 or 5 times a week. Still needs some tweaking. I hate long duration cardio. I prefer 5-15 minutes of hell.

Where I am completely lost on is how to plan when to eat what, how much, what specific foods etc.

I hear and read so much crap. I have no idea what to believe
Today i had oatmeal, with strawberries and bannas for breakfast. Homemade jerkey and water for a snack/lunch. Squash, asparagus, mushrooms, cucumbers and a small serving of spaghetti and some whey protein after my sprint workout.

I have a very horrible memory so i am planning to write down every meal I’m going to eat for the week and when. The problem is what, when and how much.

I will say my goal is to find a permanent diet that is good for strength gain and maitenance of fat. But right now i need to lose a lot of fat. I hate meticulously counting every calorie as i go along but will do it if that what it will take.

I’m rambling i know. So my question is. Can anyone give me any advice on what to eat and when? And how you plan your diet? Any advice at all would be greatly appreciated


#2

I’m not sure how basic or complicated you want this, so I’ll start at the bottom and work up.

Eat lean protein and veg for the majority of your food. Drink water for most of your drinks.

In relation to the diet you posted, is that all the food you’re eating? If so, you (unusually) have the veg down, but are missing the protein, and probably a few calories.

In terms of diet specifics, one overlooked question is how much variety do you mentally need in your diet?


#3

Variety isnt much of a problem. I love chicken and fish. Vegetables and fruit, eggs. Ill basically eat whatever i need. I dont want to eat for pleasure anymore. Just necessity. Also the diet i listed wasnt really planned. Just what i had. I just eat until I’m not hungry. Sometimes i feel like i dont eat enough so i eat some sort of a snack later. Like i said, i dont like to count calories, but will if it’s the only way to do it efficiently

I figured lean protein, water and veggies would be a big component. The only thing i guess i was worried about is energy for workouts. Those things give me fine energy usually, so that’s good


#4

My doctor got on my case about my A1C levels, so now when I cook a meal I use a measuring cup to make sure I only add 1/3 cup of pasta to cut carbs. I also stopped eating bread for the same reason. And when I eat out, I ask the waitress for a box at the beginning of the meal and then scoop half of it into the box for tomorrow before I even start eating.


#5

I dont really understand this. Really good food is awesome and even pleasurable. I equate this as having sex only for the purpose of procreating.


#6

Well you’re reasonably overweight now, so you’ll probably find that just cutting out the beer and junk food is enough to drop a few, so do that first.

As to “what to eat” and “when”, the answers to those are “healthily” and “always.”

The basic guidelines which I think serve people pretty well are:

-1g of protein per lb of your bodyweight (because you’re overweight I don’t think you need to hit that exactly. Shoot for about 200g)
-Get all your carbs from rice or potatoes
-Get all your fats from animal sources, olives, nuts (go easy on those - very high calorie) or avocados
-Eat veg with every meal. Try and make them all different colours.

Again, fairly simple but doesn’t really require any calculations or anything. Once you’ve gotten used to eating like that for a while you can start thinking about reducing overall carbs and calories and taking shit to the next level. For now, this’ll get you used to eating better and get the scale moving in the right direction.

Good luck! Hope that helps


#7

I hear you on that. It is a very good way to go actually–and helps the grocery list a ton because you know exactly what you need to buy every week if you stick to the plan. This is actually a foundational habit that most people are lacking. When life is easy and the schedule relaxed most people can find a way to eat semi healthy–it is when life and work gets crazy and you’re working long hours and doing a million things that the siets always go to the shitter. That’s the time you need a plan–a written plan. Not to mention it helps you remember.

Keep that up at all costs.

What you need to know is that a lot of different diets work. There’s not just one plan thats good and a bunch of bad ones. This isn’t like math where there is one formula and 1 way to get the right answer…there are a number of different ways to get the right answer.

What that means is 2 things – 1: it comes down to habits. You can have any plan you like but if you don’t build and cultivate good habits the plan will go to shit when things get hard. Same way as studying for a degree, or building capital at your job, or training in a sport…you perform in a game the way you make a habit of practicing, so whether you’re tired or stressed or angry or frustrated when you show up to team practice doesn’t matter, you have to give it 100% and work on the basics the coach says. And when you screw up, you take the blame and get back up and back to practice.

2: it means different things work for different folks. Some people are natural athletes and get away with stuff that others can’t (Lebron James), and some have to work harder than anybody else to make it to make up for not having raw athletic talent (Larry Bird). It doesn’t change the rules of the game (biology is the same for everyone) it only changes what an idividual needs to do (some people can diet successfully easier than others, but everybody can get there).

So basic rules:

*have protein with every meal or snack. doesn’t have to be a ton, but has to make up a good proportion of the meal or snack.

*don’t eat or drink obvious shit. You got this one down.

*put the majority of carbs around your activities. if you work out in the evenings, then some healthy carbs in the meal before the workout is a good idea. Some carbs in morning prior to work is generally a good idea to duel brain power for thinking or muscles for physical work. Obviously it needs to be healthy (strawberries, oatmeals, etc).

*the more active you are all day the more carbs you can reasonably eat. Goes with the above. But you do have to earn them…none of this “I jogged 30 minutes so I can have a pint of ice cream” bullshit. And anyway oce cream violates the “don’t eat shit” rule regardless.

*when you make diet changes, chisel off calories don’t hack them off at the knees. Wait til the scale stops moving and THEN change something, don’t do it if you’re still making progress, even if its slower than you’d like. Get the most out of the least suffering (while obeying the other rules).

Thats really it. You need healthy fats to run your immune system and nervous system, and hormonal systems, so you can’t kill off fats from your diet, they just need to be healthy and in proportion.

Low carb, high(er) carb…all that stuff is more along the lines of what you feel better on. And there’s no point in trying to make a specific diet style/brand til you have build good habits and started writing everything down to know where you are. After all you can’t know how to get somewhere if you don’t know where you are starting from.

Keep meal times predictable–obviously life happens, but the more predictable your body can rely on it, it adjusts to that and starts to increase your metabolism. So don’t skip meals and don’t go very long periods without eating (5 hours or so), assuming you can stop work long enough to scarf something. Again, snacks count as meals.

Any time you eat should have at least protein and fiber, or protein and fat (jerky + small salad, or jerky + 1 punce almonds) No protein only meals


#8

Its not. But you do have to have some way of tracking food intake, so writing down meals or something has to happen.

Good change in attitude–eat for necessity. You can’t run a Top Fuel dragster on shit gasoline, you need quality fuel. Same for your body.

Build a meal plan. Two basic templates as follows

protein
healthy fat
veggies

protein
healthy carbs
veggies

these work for snacks too, just smaller amounts obviously.


#9

Thank you everyone for taking the time to reply! It doesn’t sound as daunting now. Actually sounds very doable. Protein is usually my hardest one to do. But if i have a plan it shouldn’t be a problem.

Im sure I’ll be back in the future for more advice.
Probably with workout questions. Once I get past my “weak as hell” part of getting back in shape.


#10

this video help to dude


#11

If want something prescriptive, this is good…

Honestly if actually are sprinting 4-5 times a week and have given up sugary crap/beer etc you will get in shape pretty fast on those alone


#12

Backed off the sprinting to 3 days this week.

I like doing the bike in the gym at highest resistance where I can go 30 seconds as hard as I can, as many sets as i can, adding a set each week.

I just made that up. But i figure anything that sucks ass, (that isn’t dangerous) has to be good for me.

Diet going okay so far. I had one moment where i had a few beers. I was very disappointed with myself. I’ve decided that anytime i feel super anxious(that’s my “trigger”) and want some alcohol, I’m going to do a shit ton of crunches.

My hope is to eventually trick my brain, so that as soon as I start feeling anxious I think, f**k that, i dont want to 1000 crunches every day, I just won’t be anxious.

I dont know, im probably crazy. Ha


#13

Yeah any kind of fast HIIT will do the trick. These are ultra effective btw…

As long as training hard a couple beers once a week(and only once!) should make minimal difference.