I've been asked a few times what's my diet like, specifically, and I wanted to write it up here so I actually remember in years to come. This is because I've gone from 30%+ body fat (obese) to 11.75% (inside athlete categorisation) over 2 years.
The first consideration I had back at the start of 2013 was how do I start and what do I want to achieve?
I'd read a lot around the Palio diet and the Slow-Carb diet and a decided that if I was to get outside of the obese categorisation, I needed something simple. I needed to lose weight (body fat) and diet is 80% of the job (20% is the gym).
I decided that I would cut wheat and dairy out of my diet. That's all (to start off with).
That means no cheese. No sandwiches. No cheese sandwiches either. I can't say it was easy, and lunch was very hard. Lunchtime became falafel or burrito salad boxes. But there's no avoiding it, what you ultimately have to do is cook your own food ahead of time.
In addition, by mid-March that year, I also quit drinking for 3 months, long enough that I'm not really bothered about drinking today.
This diet change, combined with the gym (not cardio, just lifting heavy and compound lifts) 3 days a week go me what I needed: down to 25% in 4 months.
You can't change your habits overnight. It typically takes two months to create a new habit. For me, that was my change of diet (and knowing what to eat at lunchtime!) and the gym.
It's hard, there's no doubt, but for me, it was, and is: worth it.
But to achieve that first hurdle of 2 months, you need to prevent failing.
I've written about this before, but here's the short version: cheat and do everything you can to make it impossible to fail.
Too often have I tried to start something new, only to miss one day of that something, then a week, then I'm procrastinating, then I'm embarrassed and eventually I admit I've failed.
In this case, if I miss a day (of the gym or slip up on the diet), then it's a cheat. I'll tell myself I'm allowed to, and it's intentional. If it's going to be two days of cheating, the it's all part of the plan.
I plan Saturday as my cheat day. And I go bananas...
It's possibly not ideal to go so nuts, and more recently I've backed off a bit, but it's my cheat day, and it keeps me sane and it can be fun too!
Just to be clear: this is not a diet, this is just my diet. This is based on a roughly 1,500-1,700 calories consumed aiming for a carb, protein and fat split of 30%, 50% and 20% respectively (though gym days would tend to be at the high end).
I've broken my day into the times that I eat. When I include more than one item, it means that I'll rotate any of these foods. Where I've included links, it's either to the specific product or recipes.
Note that this is also based on working from an office that only had a fridge, but no heating equipment. And yes, it's dull. It doesn't vary that much, but heck, when I was buying the same sandwich 3 times a week from the cornershop it's like that was variation!
|7am / breakfast
within 30mins of waking
|Breakfast on the go
Oats & Whey shake (choc with a scoop of almond butter)
Smoked Salmon on 2x wholemeal toast
|10am (gym day only)||Protein shake (mint or extreme milk choc)|
|10:30am||1 precooked chicken breast (skin removed)
Sweet chilli chicken
Additional raw broccoli is optional
|1:30pm / lunch||~150g Chicken & 50g egg noodles + hot sauce
Guacamole Omelette (looks bad, tastes great!)
Mexican chicken salad with avocado from La Choza
|4:15pm||0% fat Total yoghurt
20-45g Cashew nuts
|8pm / dinner||Fajita chicken, fresh guacamole & refried beans
Tescos Healthy Living Oven chicken with refried beans
Turkey stuffed peppers
Nandos 1/2 chicken & beans
Sweet chilli salmon fillet, rocket & 100g of soya beans
|10:30pm / bed
|Vanilla Casein protein shake|
I would pre-cook 3-4 lunches (chicken and taco salad) each week (ideally on Sunday, but possibly in the morning when I've been slack). I've got lots of tupperware and keep it in the fridge (and yeah, the chicken gets dry). I'm definitely weakest at breakfast. I'd love it to be scrambled eggs with salmon flakes, but this has worked for me.
My big pro tip: I have alarms reminding me when I need to eat, because without them, I'd just soldier on and forget. Not good.
I'm eating larger meals throughout the day in place of the "snack" bars, and my breakfast is around 400-500kcals via a shake I make, which I rather like.
Here's a few resources I found useful:
- Nerd fitness - there's a few inspiring stories along with some good information
- The 4 Hour Body
- My Fitness Pal - site and app for Android & iPhone, allowing you to scan barcodes to determine your macros
- The Diet Kitchen - just recently found this & youtube channel, but lots of good looking recipes available
- Kamil Ogórek's nutrition & training resources
- Why Calories Count
- Recommended book by Kamil: Flexible Dieting Book
If this is useful to anyone, that's awesome. If you have any questions, please do ask in the comments below, I'm more than happy to answer or update the blog post with more details.