Nailed it. Again.
I’m in the zone with this diet. Leanness indicators are all positive.
It only takes a week or so of 40/40/20 at a slight or moderate energy deficit for me to remember how quickly this diet works its magic.
I was thinking about how I landed on this diet. I guess it’s just a mash-up with elements from things I’ve learned along the way.
Clay Hyght has an article on here about how bodybuilders should eat. It’s a great no-bullshit template that makes sense. I don’t think the cycling part is needed for a non-competitor with goals like mine, but I like the basic diet outline.
From an overall planning standpoint, I’m a big fan of the Jade Teta articles. I always knew how to play the “Eat More, Exercise More” card, and I definitely knew how to “Eat Less, Exercise More”, but now I have a much better understanding of the Eat Less, Exercise Less option. I don’t really plan out different phases in advance, but I tend to just automatically match the input to the output in a way that sets me up for quick surges of progress when needed.
Similar to the Velocity Diet or the Swole Cat diet (anyone recall that one?), there are many days when my first 3 meals are based on a 2-scoop protein shake and a carb source, with a somewhat normal meal for dinner.
However, I am more flexible and opportunistic with those first three meals of the day. If a lean solid protein source is easily available, I’ll go with that.
I am also flexible with the carb sources. I tend to choose the more filling, less energy-dense carbs when I need to quiet my appetite. If appetite is in-check and I’m not at-risk for any kind of carb-binge-ish behaviors, I’ll have more rewarding carbs like cereal, granola, or cereal. Seems to be mostly cereal.
I try to keep the fat at an absolute minimum during the first three meals, and I think this is KEY to my approach. Some of these diets include fat at every meal. For me, a serving of almonds doesn’t do anything for appetite. It really just reminds me of being on a diet and pisses me off. I’d rather save those fat calories for dinner.
Last night, for example…my wife wanted to try a recipe she found, and she wanted to use ground turkey thigh. We love that stuff. It actually tastes like turkey. On a more typical bodybuilder-style diet, I’d have to ask her to sub that out for extra lean ground turkey, which tastes like paper.
In short, 40/40/20 works. Front load the protein because it pays off later in the day with appetite. Backload the fat because it lets you eat with other people at dinner.
The most important macro is fat. A 60 gram/day fat limit serves many purposes. It enhances adherence because it’s just hard to eat junk food without going over 60g. I believe a lower-fat approach is very effective and re-programming the brain to start preferring healthier foods.
(This one happens more gradually, but it can also happen quickly if you are willing to be more aware that habits and associations are driving your current preferences, which you are free to opt-out of at any time.)
Also, it has always just made obvious sense to me that if a macro should be limited, it makes sense to go with the least-satiating, most calorie-dense macro.
Long-term, the challenge becomes less about all of this stuff and more about getting better at preventing complacency from creeping in, getting comfortable with doing the same thing every day over the long-haul, building up resilience to stress, and staying committed to finding joy in the pursuit of my goals.