T Nation

Confession: I'm Not Vegetarian


#1

I was, for a year and a half. I was serious about it from an ethical perspective (climate change, factory farming, you can feed more hungry people with an acre of grain than an acre of pasture). I wasn't a sanctimonious asshole about it, but I felt it was the least I could do -- and it was so easy! It was easy to eat, and it was easy to lift, and I never missed meat.

But I couldn't diet. I was trying to lose weight (nothing enormous, 10 pounds, 6.5 of which are gone) and I couldn't eat "clean" to save my life. I was undereating and then being an idiot and having dessert as really my only substantial "meal" of the day. Way too many carbs. And some fatigue.

Part of it is my shitty willpower, but I really think I've improved on that. I don't really have food cravings. I just crave having enough to eat.

I was cheating with meat, and today I just decided that "vegetarian except when nobody's looking" isn't really vegetarian, and I may as well admit it to everyone that I'm giving up. And now that I actually can, I'm going to try sticking to an actual diet.

Just thinking out loud:
Breakfast: cheerios or protein powder (when I don't have time to go to the dining hall) egg white omelet with veggies when I do, or sometimes whole wheat bread and peanut butter
Workout

Lunch: vegetables (salad and whatever else is on offer) and lean meat (usually grilled chicken breast) and fruit and/or eggs if I'm hungry

Dinner: same, except there's more often cooked vegetables and different kinds of meat; sometimes fish.
If I can get tofu, I will, because I love it. Sometimes there's also cottage cheese. Beans when they have them. Eat enough at dinner that I don't need dessert out of simple hunger.

I've largely managed to do without bread & pasta already, except in the mornings (I'm hungriest before noon.) Pizza has happened all too frequently this month, but those were nights when there was nothing substantial to eat: just salad and pizza, so I had a piece of pizza.

In practice I need snacks, but I haven't yet figured this out: I like Greek yogurt, milky coffee/tea, beef jerky, nuts (to excess, though) and fruit. Often I have protein powder. But I have to buy my own (meals are served three times a day) so I feel guilty about the expense, since it's my parents' dime.

Can I do this? Is it sustainable? Do you think it will be easier not to cheat?

Relevant info:
20yo female, 130 pounds, 5'6'', lift three times a week, run three times a week, fairly sedentary otherwise except that I walk everywhere.

Sorry for the long post -- just looking for feedback if you've got it.


#2

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#3

Hmm. I assume oats are better because of the fiber? I can try that.


#4

Wow, I really don't know where to start to be honest. But for starters, good job eating meat. Meat is Gooooooood!

Second, you should probably read some of the nutrition articles around here.

http://www.T-Nation.com/free_online_article/sports_body_training_performance/nutrition_for_newbies_part_1&cr=

http://www.T-Nation.com/free_online_article/sports_body_training_performance/nutrition_for_newbies_part_2&cr=

http://www.T-Nation.com/free_online_article/sports_body_training_performance_nutrition/7_habits_of_highly_effective_nutritional_programs&cr=

Do you have a clearly defined set of goals at the moment? Like short term, medium term and long term?

Plus things you want to achieve during that time i.e. add X amount of lbs to lifts, loose inches, gain muscle, better endurance etc...

Once you have these clearly defined, it'll be much easier to choose the right nutritional and training programs, and it'll be a little easier for members to recommend things.

LR


#5

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#6

Thanks! Lots of science!
(I was wondering why I was never full after a cup of cereal.)


#7


Nice thread title. :wink:

Seasiren is a vegan figure competitor. She doesn't post around here too much anymore, but she had a training journal, as well as one on Veganbodybuilding.com. You might want to take a look at them, even though she's 120-ish pounds and dieting for contests, it might give you some meal ideas.

http://www.T-Nation.com/free_online_forum/sports_women_training_performance_sorority/denise_nicoles_figure_journal
www.veganbodybuilding.com/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?t=6623

And no, I'm not trying to drag you back into the land of veggies. If meat helps you reach your nutritional goals, absolutely go for it. The reasons behind any diet are always up to the individual.

Those would all be good snacking options, though I'd be sure to pre-pack the nuts into portions ahead of time, and I wouldn't exactly call coffee or tea a "snack".

You shouldn't feel too badly about eating healthful foods, even if it isn't coming out of your pocket (which you might want to remedy ASAP). Do you really think your folks would want you either wasting away or chowing down on pints of Ben & Jerry's?

That's rhetorical, right? (Wait, can I answer a rhetorical question with a rhetorical question?)

With planning, definitely. This article has a bunch of tips for planning, packing, and properly scheduling your week's meals:
http://www.T-Nation.com/free_online_article/sports_body_training_performance_nutrition/preparing_for_battle

That should help quite a bit.

That's entirely up to you. Shitty willpower is shitty willpower, but if you're motivated and sincerely want to reach your goals, then you'd be on the right track.


#8

Thank you so much. The articles are great.
I am motivated to do this right. I won't want or need to cheat if I'm getting enough of the wholesome stuff. And I think -- at least for a while -- it will be much more attainable with meat & fish. The classic "plain chicken breast & broccoli" dinner is delicious and satisfying; a broccoli dinner, not so much.


#9

Londonrunner:
goals are to lose fat while increasing lifts. (I'm still a newbie, so should be possible)

Quantitatively: from 130 lbs to mid 120's (a guess; I'd be fine with the same weight and more muscle)

lifts: squat from 135-155 to 200
deadlift to 225 (I've done them at 225 with bad form; working back up from 110 with good form)
bench 135(from 105)
press 90 (from 75, seated)
10-12 chinups (from 3)

Timing: by August at the latest.
Are these reasonable goals, and what do they mean for diet?


#10

To be honest, from your pics you actually do not look like you have a lot of fat on your body, but your goals are your goals.

In my opinion, something along the lines of starting strength to increase your lifts would be a good program. Some info on it;
http://www.T-Nation.com/free_online_article/sports_body_training_performance/starting_strength

http://www.T-Nation.com/free_online_forum/sports_body_training_performance_bodybuilding_beginner/starting_strength_the_guide

Coupled with a Carb Cycling diet aimed toward fat loss, with moderate-high carb on lift days, and low carb on non lifting days, with some low intensity cardio on off days.

http://www.T-Nation.com/free_online_article//the_carb_cycling_codex

http://www.T-Nation.com/free_online_article//a_beginners_guide_to_carb_cycling

That should do the trick, have you thought about starting a training log in the training logs section, just to keep accountable and keep track of your progress?

LR


#11

I do Starting Strength,have been since November, and I have a training log (in Powerful Women). Carb cycling looks good; can try that.

As for the fat loss: I'm somewhat conflicted about that, as I could also stand to gain some muscle. And no, I'm not a nutcase in danger of dieting to extremes. I don't want to be ultra-skinny or anything. If it's going to make me weak, groggy, and physically miserable, it's not worth it to me. If it's going to make me stronger and more able, then it is worth changing some of my lousy habits.


#12

Question about carb cycling: what do you do on days with a long (6-8 mile) run? Are those "off" days or "workout" days?


#13

I second BBB's oats + applejuice choice.

Although, I must admit I prefer porridge oats (cooked) mixed with dried fruit. Just a taste preference though, same general idea. I usually mix a bit of whey into my oats as well, FWIW.

And as for meat, it's just the best thing ever. I just love the idea of "winning" and what opitimises the act of winning more than killing and eating something else?

If you've ever killed something yourself, you'd know. But just thinking to yourself; "ha, I win" rules.


#14

Yeah I like to do oats+frozen blueberries+whey protein in the morning for a quick breakfast. Or wheat pancakes with maple syrup and a whey protein shake mmm........sometimes whole eggs to

quick things you can do is whey protein shake + couple tbsp's of light tasting olive oil

scrambled eggs and veggies in the evening for good p+f meal
chicken or steak + almonds are another good p+f meal

since you're dieting lots of fiber things like dark rice (darker the better, oh pilaf is great) with lean meats is a good p+c meal

Oh and drink ya green tea ...green tea + honey is the best!!


#15

I've killed a mouse. Felt good about it though -- my roommate was frightened, so I felt I was defending our home against the invading foe.

Never understood why people take oil by itself. Can you explain that, Carlitosway? I have fat in my diet -- probably more than enough. I eat vegetables cooked with oil sometimes, sometimes dairy products with fat or egg yolks, these days also meat and fish that contains fat.


#16

Wow, I bet that was difficult! Was it armed?!?

For the record, meat eating doesn't cure stupidity(sp), so if you think the vegetarian equivalent of chicken and broccoli is broccoli, and that cheerios is decent breakfast... well I don't think there's much hope left for you.

Oh it doesn't cure lack of willpower either. :slight_smile:


#17

I don't mean to be down on vegetarians, and I'm sorry, I'm still figuring out the nutrition thing, and I am going to make a serious effort. I apologize if I came across as an idiot.


#18

Alisa,

The Olive oil on its own is a great way to get some healthy fats in your diet, and to get the extra calories as well. Sometimes I just put it in with me protein shakes, but that's just me.

As for the running, I'm guessing you run the 6-8 miles in 40-45 mins? That would be considered low intensity cardio and can be classed as an Off day.

LR


#19

Concerning starting strength, have you kept track of your numbers since the beginning?

How many Lbs have you added to each of the lifts since the start?

I'm guessing you've read the whole book? I've just started reading it myself. I plan to start it soon myself.

LR


#20

Do it for yourself. Find out what works for you, and run with it.