Too many guides want you to spend 25 hours a week in the kitchen eating organic-vegan-gluten free-raw food-keto food with no preservatives, sugar, sweeteners or enjoyment of life in general. Most of us live in the real world and have busy lives and jobs and kids and and and and, we’re here to show you that you can live in the real world, eat food that doesn’t suck, and still be healthy and lean. This portion is all about the food side, which is what the majority of people struggle with, but if there’s enough interest we’ll do a Lazy Man’s Guide to Fat Loss Training at some point as well.
So if this is the Lazy Man’s Guide it probably doesn’t work all that well then right? NO, the principles in this guide are what I used to make the first 30lbs of my cut from the 242 to the 181 class (238 first photo, 215 second photo) it’s the same methods my 68 year old father used to lose over 40lbs while he waits for hip surgery and can’t be as active as he wants to be, and helped my clients lose up to 100lbs and keep it off for over half a decade.
In this guide we’re going to teach you how much to eat, how to spread that food out, how to make room for times you want to eat a WHOLE pizza, how to make simple meals that actually taste good and leave you feeling full, spend as little time in the kitchen as possible, save money, make you healthier, and focus on all the stuff that matters while ignoring the stuff that doesn’t or has such a minuscule impact that it’s cost to benefit ratio just isn’t there
So Let’s Get Started
You’ve made the decision to lose some fat and eat healthier – awesome! But as you start to look into what it takes to lose the body fat you want, it can often be overwhelming.
• Where do I start?
• How many calories do I eat?
• Do I have to eat only chicken and broccoli?
• Will I have to spend countless hours in the kitchen ?
• Do I really have to eat that much protein? It’s expensive!
• Want if I want pizza? Dessert? A chocolate bar?
The good thing is we’re going to answer these questions and more in the simplest way possible
Here’s what we’re going to cover:
- Where to start
- How to choose how much to eat, when and how to adjust
- How to eat things you want and still make progress
- Manage a sweet tooth on a diet
- How to feel full on lower calories
- How to make lower calorie food actually taste good
- How to save money while eating higher protein diets
- How to save time and make progress even if you can’t make your own food
- Two samples of what a 2500 calorie day with 250g of protein can look like (high carb and low carb)
- One sample of what a 1500 calorie day with 135g of protein can look like
- How to make your brain work for you instead of against you
- Quick tips for MyFitnessPal and tracking in general
- Going Beyond – MacroFactor
Setting a Simple Starting Point
1 – Download MyFitnessPal
2 – Buy a Digital Food Scale when you go shopping
3 – Buy a scale, Weigh yourself every morning and track it as a note in your phone
Yup, this is the one thing we’re going to be sticklers on. I’ve been helping people lose fat for over a decade now, using many different habit based approaches, Precision Nutrition’s hand measuring system etc etc. No other system works as well or will teach you more about your intake than tracking your food – between your scale and your tracker, you have a compass and speedometer that tells you which direction you’re going and whether it’s too fast or too slow. Once you have spent a long time tracking and have a pretty good idea of what contains what and how to build meals etc you may be able to move away from looking at the speedometer, but if you’re one of those people that starts to get “speeding tickets” the moment they stop tracking, you’re going to have to pay attention to your speedometer again. The beauty of weighing and tracking is that it works every time.
We’ve chosen MyFitnessPal because it’s free, and we give you super simple tips for determining and adjusting caloric needs, but if you want micromanage and optimize even further and to outsource all the calorie and macro decisions to a better app, we talk about MacroFactor at the end
Determining Caloric and Macro Needs
First of all, MyFitnessPal is going to make you fill out a bunch of info at the start to determine your caloric needs. You’re going to have to fill everything out, but ignore it, MyFitnessPal is a great tracker and a terrible macro coach. If you’re a male, take your bodyweight in pounds and multiply it by 14-16, higher on the scale if you are already fairly lean and active, lower on the scale if you are carrying more body fat and are less active throughout the day. If you’re female same rules apply but multiply by 10-12. This number will give you your starting number of total calories to eat daily for fat loss; there’s no need for fancy equations, you’ll know within 2 weeks whether you’re going up or down or staying the same, and we’ll adjust from there. Example: 200lbs male fairly active lean male = 200×16 = 3200 calories per day, or 150lb sedentary female with more body fat to lose = 150×10 = 1500 calories per day. Don’t get too hung up on this number or put too much thought into it! It will correct itself in a matter of weeks as you’ll see below
Go into MyFitnessPal and change your goals. Go to the bottom bar and click on the “more” setting and follow the highlighted path to get to the screen where you can change your calories carbs, protein and fats
Now that you have your calories, play with the percentage sliders until you can get your protein to around 1g per pound of bodyweight, since you’re cutting if you have to choose between too high or too low, choose too high. As for setting your carbs and fats, don’t worry about it! It’s not overly important for fat loss, if you’re more focused on performance, keep carbs as high possible as long as possible by choosing more carbohydrate based foods, but this is the Lazy Man’s guide and we’re just not going to worry about whether you’re eating a little more carb or fat daily – it doesn’t matter!
So you’re going to make sure you hit your total calories, and meet your protein goals, that’s it.
Unless you have extremely competitive physique goals, this will be all you’ll ever need for finding adjusting your calorie and macro levels. Here it is in one sentence:
- Multiply your bodyweight in pounds by a factor of 10-16 depending on body fat, sex, and activity level, set your protein to 1g per pound of bodyweight, drop calories 10% per week to achieve 0.5-2lbs of weight loss per week, repeat until you feel shitty, then take a 1-2 week break at 20% over your current level or reverse by adding 5% per week until you feel better, either stay where you are or repeat the cutting process until you’ve reached your leanness goal
Here’s a little more detail for those of you that want some clarification
So you’re weighing yourself daily, and writing it down, in the first week, take your daily weigh ins and average them. Write it in your notes. Do the same for the second week. If the second week is the same as the first week, you’ve found your current maintenance calories aka the amount of food you need to eat to maintain your current weight. If you’re going down about 0.5-2lbs per week, cool, stay here until you drop below 0.5lbs per week. If you’re gaining weight week to week, drop your calories by 10% and check again next week. If you’re staying relatively the same weight you have two options 1 – if you just increased your activity level significantly, don’t do anything, see what happens next week, if you’re already highly active and not planning on increasing activity, decrease by 10% each week until you are in the magical 0.5 to 2lbs per week weight loss. One tip, if you still feel your clothes and see the mirror changing, but the scale hasn’t changed yet, don’t make another drop, often the scale lags behind other changes, causing you to drop your calories too quickly, wait it out, you can always drop next week.
The next tip, is that as you’re starting to get leaner (muscle separation and starting to see some abdominal definition) the max you should aim to lose is 1lb per week
You can continue you this process of 10% drops until you start to feel like shit. Once you’ve felt like shit for at least a consistent week – aka poor memory, focus, low libido, motivation, moving less, intense fatigue, interrupted or changed sleep patterns etc etc you have two options:
1 – take a diet break – add about 20% total calories for 1-2 weeks, trying to get most of those calories from carbohydrate, then return to yourlast level of caloric restriction and continue from there with 10% drops until you reach your fat loss goal, or if you keep feeling like crap every time you return to your diet, move on to option 2.
2 – Reverse diet. Add 5% per week until weight loss stops and you start to notice significant fat gain (some fat gain is inevitable, that’s ok, we’re going to take 1 step back to set up another 5 steps forward) once you’re here, drop 10% and you should be able to maintain your body weight. Stay here as long as you need to feel sane, regain motivation, feel less shitty, and prepare for another cut, or if you’re happy with where you are, you can stay here forever
How to spread the meals across the day:
- Every meal should have at least 20g of protein, 40g is better
- 2 meals is ok, 3 is better, 4 is best
- That’s it
How to Eat Pizza and Chocolate Bars, or Anything You’re Craving and Make it Fit
Here’s where we’re going to start getting away from conventional advice, some people, we’ll call them “nutrition snobs” that don’t live in the real world will be quick to point out how certain things “aren’t healthy” through various mechanisms whether they’re against artificial sweeteners, certain ingredients or food groups, sugar, preservatives, you name it, someone has a problem with it. In the Lazy Man’s Guide, we live in the real world, and know that 90% of the health benefits that come from your diet come from controlling calories, and that 90% of the fat loss and physique benefits come from a combination of controlling calories and total protein.
Right now, I’m cutting to maintain a weight class for November, my current calories are 2650, and my current protein is minimum 205g per day. I want to eat an entire medium New York Deli pizza from Panago tomorrow, but I don’t want to mess with my calories or protein, or my 4 meals a day, so how am I going to do it?
Easy. The entire pizza is 2000 calories, and contains 105g of protein, that means I need 100g of protein and I have 650 calories to do it, so I’m going to use a strategy I call protein spiking, where I use whey isolate (or cricket or beef or egg isolate etc etc whatever your gut can handle) to make the rest of my meals and leave room for a pizza at the end of the day
Meal 1 = 1.5 scoops whey isolate mixed with black coffee, 1/2 red pepper, 1 apple chopped with Walden Farm’s Caramel Syrup = 40g protein, 275 calories
Meal 2 = 1.5 scoops whey isolate, 1/2 cucumber w/vinegar and salt = 40g protein 180 calories
Meal 3 = 1.5 scoop whey isolate, 50g red onion, 1/4 cucumber, 1/4 red pepper w/vinegar salt and pepper = 40g protein, 180 calories
Meal 4 = 1 Medium New York Deli Pizza, 105g protein, 2000 calories
Total Daily Calories 2635, total daily protein = 225g
I don’t do this often, but this is an extreme example, by protein spiking and using fruits and veggies, you can still feel relatively full, and eat some pretty high calorie stuff that may not be a regular part of your nutrition plan, and still reach your goals for the day. You can scale this technique and use it for one of your meals and make room for some pre or post training sugar. I’ll often have a snickers bar before or after training, or fit in a large cookie or muffin etc while never worrying about whether I was still on track
Managing a Sweet Tooth
Like above, if you can actually make some room in your diet for the real thing – do it! But what if you’re always craving something sweet and still want to eat relatively good food? Here’s a few ideas for you:
Berries and Splenda: 320g of strawberries is 100 calories, add two packs of calorie free Splenda or Stevia and sprinkle it on and you have a delicious dessert that still comes in at 100 calories. Need to make it a staple? Try mixing it into fat free greek yogurt for a protein boost, and if you need even more, mix some protein powder into your yogurt first, and now you have a vanilla/chocolate/cookies and cream/caramel/whatever your protein powder flavour is pudding and some sweetened strawberries as a meat replacement in one or two of your daily meals. They even make a lactose free version for those of you that have trouble with dairy
250g Liberté Fat Free Greek Yogurt, 1 scoop whey Isolate, 300g sliced strawberries, 2 packs Splenda = 350 calories, 50g protein. Total prep time = 5mins
Tic-Tacs, Icebreakers, Other small sugar free hard candies – try these in between meals, they come in at 3-5 calories per mint/candy and couple of them savoured over 10-20mins can be all it takes to satisfy a sweet tooth between meals. Still track them, especially if a couple turns into the entire package
Diet Drinks: No matter what your friends and family try to tell you about the dangers of artificial sweeteners, they’re actually some of the most studied food additions on the planet and only show mild adverse digestion effects in quantities that you couldn’t reasonably consume in a day. This is good news, it means that if you can find a diet drink that you enjoy, you can have it, enjoy it, and not worry about affecting your waistline. I’ll usually have 1-2 monster energy drinks pre-training and usually a caffeine free Coke Zero in the evening with my last meal. Sometimes I’ll have a gatorade zero if I’m feeling like I need something with flavour in between meals
Gum: Chewing on a piece of gum between meals can really take the edge off of the sweet tooth, and sticking a mint style flavour tends to ruin the flavours of things that come directly after it, making you statistically less motivated to want to have that pack of fuzzy peaches while your breath is still minty fresh
Jello: Yup, especially the light aka no added sugar type, you essentially have water, gelatin, and some flavouring, you can eats bowls of this and barely touch your macro count
Halo Top Ice Cream: The ones that say 130 calories per serving clock in at 327 calories for the whole pint, they also have 20g of protein, so if you want to have whole pint of ice cream at a meal, go for it, if you need a bit more protein have a shake with it or some chicken breast or shrimp etc, add some veggies prepared one of the ways we outline later in this article, and you have a meal less than 500 calories that contains decent levels of protein, fibre and micronutrients. My favourite flavour personally is the salted caramel
Feeling Full on Lower Calories
One of the things most likely to derail you on a lower calorie diet is the mental frustrations of always feeling hungry. To be honest, unless you’re on extremely low calories, there’s no reason to feel hungry all the time
The easiest thing you can do is drink more water. Thirst and hunger often get confused in the brain, causing you to feel like you need to eat when really you need to hydrate yourself
The second thing you can do is eat more fruits and veggies. As alluded to before blueberries, strawberries, watermelon, raspberries all have pretty insanely low calories for their weight. If you want even further deliciousness, you can slice and add spenda or stevia. Food bulk and the resulting stomach stretching is one of the first things that signals to the brain that you’ve eaten enough food and starts to kick in the “I’m full” mechanisms. Even lower on the calorie to weight scale and chalk full of nutrient goodness is pretty much every vegetable ever, but the problem is they kind of suck so…
Making Vegetables Suck Less Without Years of Food Prep
Easiest – use yogurt or vinegar based dressings as dips or seasoning. Bolthouse makes some really good dressings (salsa ranch, creamy Caesar, etc.) that come in at 20-25 calories per tablespoon. A tablespoon or two of these can kick up the flavour of just about anything. If you want to make some veggies with an extra bit of pizzaz, but still don’t want to spend forever cooking, toss some carrots or peppers in the air fryer or a pan on the stove and add a tablespoon of reconstituted lime juice and/or lemon, a pack of Splenda, some chili flakes and garlic and or ginger powder and sauté or air fry to your heart’s content. If you feel like taking the extra 5 minutes, use fresh grated ginger or garlic, or as an in between save-on also makes pre-made wet sauces with garlic, ginger, chilli, lemongrass etc. spread some on and cook away and you actually have some pretty delicious veggies with pretty much zero prep work vs just cooking them. Usually I’ll batch cook a bunch and heat them up with my meals as needed.
Use Small Amounts of Strong Flavour Foods
You’d be surprised how little bacon you need to use to get the flavour, consider that a strip of maple leaf prepared bacon is about 35 calories, you’ll often find 1/2 a strip crumbled onto a salad is all it takes to really kick up a boring ass salad into something you actually enjoy eating. Maple syrup on oats or even toast with a bit of Splenda is almost indistinguishable from full strength maple syrup, the key is to get the darker maple syrup, it has the bolder flavour and when diluted with some Splenda, still maintains the flavour of the syrup. I’ll often use this trick on some toast pre workout, or if I need something lower calorie later on in the day, a little bit drizzled on some rice cakes is pretty damn good
Salsa and Spice Make Everything Nice
I try to add veggies and flavour to my protein in pretty much every meal. 2 cups of iceberg lettuce comes in at whopping 14 calories, add in 100g of sliced tomatoes for another 18 calories, but that’s boring, so adding 2 tablespoons salsa and as much vinegar based chipotle hot sauce as my heart desires adds another 25 calories, if I want a little saucier taste, I’ll add some mustard. This make a great Mexican style salad base for my protein that I’ll add cod, chicken, shrimp etc to for a grand total of 57 calories over the meat alone – meaning 250g of cooked cod in my salad base is almost 1.5lbs of food bulk for around 300 calories. If I want to have just a salad but still have it be awesome, you can add some chilli lime Quest tortilla style chips and make a full meal of it clocking in at over 77g of protein and around 440 calories. Turn it into a rice bowl by adding in 150g brown rice for an extra 170 calories, for a grand total of 610 calories, almost anyone can fit this massive and delicious meal into their day.
There are tons of shake on seasonings that are way better than you’d think but I’m going to point you towards two companies that make some pretty damn good low calorie shakers and seasonings that you’ll fall in love with. The first is Flavor God
They make all sorts of awesome flavour boosters you can spice up pretty much anything from popcorn to chicken
and the second is Walden Farms
They make Nutella and syrup substitutes and all sorts of different things that allow you to boost flavours but keep calories low. I will caution you that overeating these won’t cause any real issues, but the sugar alcohols and inulin fibres etc can cause gas and bloating in a lot of people which is unpleasant for you and probably not making you too many friends. So enjoy these but even these you probably want to have in moderation, but they are great tools to mix in with regular foods to make things fit – remember our protein spiking example? Well now you can dip some of those in calorie free ranch dressing even on a day you want to have real pizza.
A word of warning, we’re generally better at faking sweet than we are at anything else, so the chocolate syrup, maple walnut syrup, chocolate spread, caramel syrup etc are all really good, the other spreads and sauces are hit and miss and I’ve tried a couple that are downright disgusting, so you’re going to have to experiment with their products and see what you like
High Fibre Foods
There are lots to choose from, but we’re going to talk about quick oats, you can make them into just about anything, you can cook them with almond milk, add some Splenda or stevia and berries and you have a dessert like meal that keeps you full for hours, you can make them in 1-2 mins, and you can even get the little Quaker packets and keep them with you. I keep the lightly sweetened apples and cinnamon packs in and protein powder in my gym bag at 120 calories each I always have the option of having a high fibre, high food bulk meal instead of running to the convenience store and grabbing something that wouldn’t fit my nutrition plan very well or leave me hungry and trying to fight temptation later in the day
Protein Blends Instead of Whey
Around your workouts using a whey isolate or hydrolysate does have some small advantages, but most people don’t need to worry and this would fall under “shit that doesn’t really matter” for 90+% of the training population just wanting to be lean and healthy. The advantage of whey is that it digests quickly and gives a very quick boost of amino acids in the blood, the problem is that if it digests quickly, it doesn’t stay in the digestive system for very long, and won’t keep your hunger triggers at bay for very long either. My number one suggestion here is high casein protein powders, and as far as taste goes you really can’t beat Eighty/20 by Build Fast Formula, all of the flavours are actually amazing, and trust me, casein is not easy to make taste like anything other than buttered racoon asshole. The problem is the only place to currently get this shipped to Canada is straight from the Kabuki Strength Website store, and shipping and duty definitely hurts. Your best bet is to get a few people together, buy in bulk, and split the shipping and duty charges, but since once again, this is the lazy man’s guide, Magnum Quattro is a decent blend of casein, whey, milk, and egg that will occupy the digestive system a bit longer than whey alone, and you can buy it at most supplement shops as well as online Canadian retailers
I’ll be honest, this portion and the saving time portion are going to be in direct conflict of each other, but you can choose which camp suits you best, or realistically they’ll be times when you need to save time, but your base diet might fall in the saving money category.
The most expensive thing you’ll buy is your protein, even on low calorie diets, protein will push the grocery bill up pretty quickly. So the recommendation here is pretty simple: Costco chicken. All of Costco’s meat offerings are priced very well, but the Kirkland chicken breast is actually priced below cost, it’s their loss-leader meant to get you in the store and buying other items they make a higher profit margin on. Buying food at Costco is pretty safe bet on price, and it saves the headache of price shopping. I’ll buy most of my staples, aka the stuff I’m eating day in and day out at Costco, and freeze the meat so I don’t have to deal with the whole shopping at Costco multiple times a week. Here’s my personal list of things I regularly buy at Costco:
- Kirkland Chicken Breast
- Kirkland Atlantic Cod
- Kirkland Tail-Off Cooked Shrimp
- Kirkland Top Sirloin Cap Removed
- The Potato Company Baby Potatoes
- Quaker Quick Oats – Plain Bags
- Quaker Quick Oats Variety Pack
- Boom Chicka Pop Popcorn
- Veggie Straws
- Bell Pepper Variety Pack
- Coke Zero
- 10kg bag of White Rice
- Kaizen Whey Isolate
- Kirkland Beef Jerky
- Quest Protein Bars
- Kirkland Fat-Free Greek Yogurt
These items make up about 85% of my diet on most days, so I buy them pretty much every time I’m there, I also buy my Splenda or Stevia/monk fruit packs there, many spices and seasonings including seasoning salt, lemon pepper etc – stuff that I’m going to go through a lot and ok with buying in unreasonable quantities. Every time I price check, Costco comes out on par or ahead on price per serving vs most supermarkets sale prices, so it alleviates the headaches of running around town to 4 different stores trying to hit different sales and save an extra 5%.
This also is alluding to a pretty obvious trend, the more you buy in bulk, the more you’ll save.
For any boxed/packaged item that I want to buy in smaller quantities, Walmart is usually your best option. I’ll usually get rice cakes, puffed BBQ chips, energy drinks, quest protein chips, sugar free cranberry juice, almond milk, etc at Walmart.
Lastly if you want to save a bit more on produce, if you have access to a local Farmer’s Market, you’ll be amazed how far $50 can go on fruits and vegetables
It’s a meal prep company that makes fully cooked meals. If you’re busy, you run a business or have a high paced job, there are days you just can’t cook and you often find yourself running to the drive-thru or ordering skip the dishes. Enter meal prep companies. You don’t have to use foodiefit, you can find another one you like (there are many) but I’ve used them multiple times, and they have a meal building option
They have a ton of rotating premade meals that have the macro counts right on the main page, they are cooked fresh and delivered to you refrigerated, and you can deliver them straight to your door, or your work etc.
Most of the time this is going to be on par with what you’re spending at the drive thru and especially less than what you’re going to spend using skip the dishes. So, if for 2 weeks in a row, you keep telling yourself you’re going to prep meals, but you don’t, stop lying to yourself, order however many meals you normally eat at work, and get them delivered Monday morning or on your lunch break to your place of work.
You might need to buy a microwave or a fridge to keep at work, but seriously, these are small expenses, get a cheap ass microwave for under $100, get a mini fridge for $100-$150, or get on craigslist/marketplace etc. If you don’t have access to electricity at your work, buy a cooler and pack a meal or two every day, don’t make excuses, find solutions! If you can’t handle cold food, heat your food and put it in a thermos and bring them work with you.
Say you have really low macro counts right now and you just can’t make their pre-made meals fit anymore, no problem, they have meal builders on the basic protein meals (chicken, salmon, steak, turkey breast, tofu) where you can select exactly how much protein, whether you want a carbohydrate source or not, veggies, and whether you want sauces etc. You can make these meals in myfitnesspal and work out what you need for the day and outsource the cooking to someone else
When I started my business, if I was awake, I was working, I knew I needed a solution to still eat within my goals and I used exactly this strategy. When I compared it to eating out, it was actually much cheaper – not as cheap as what I do now with a bunch of batch cooking, but cheaper and better quality than eating out all the time, and it left me feeling full and satisfied – something that not a lot of drive thru food will do, and less likely to say fuck it and binge on whatever on the way home or at home
Deal with “oh shit” moments – Getting a meal at a convenience store
Even the best laid plans fall apart, and invariably you’ll find yourself in a time pinch, need to get a meal on the run, not even have enough time to stop at the drive-thru, but still need to eat.
Your best protein to calorie ratio option is a Core Power Elite clocking in at 42g of protein for 230 calories, or the regular one coming in second place for 26g at 170 calories
I’ve been told that Fairlife is basically the devil, so you might want to do some research here, but they are the best protein to calorie ratio that you can find at pretty much any convenience store. 7-11 and Chevron also sells fruit (apples and bananas), so you can find a decent meal in 30s or less. Worst case scenario a bag of jerky and a granola bar or two is something most people can fit, is semi-filling and works in a pinch, and can be purchased just about anywhere
What I do now to save time
Food prep companies are great, but they’re still more expensive than I’d want to use forever, if you can make the switch to batch cooking, you’ll save way more time over making each individual meal. Remember my Costco list? That’s basically what I batch cook.
First tip, get an air fryer. A lot of the items you’d normally need to add oil to, the air fryer does an amazing job just on its own, plus it sits counter top pretty much unattended while the stove and oven and counter top are free for other foods. Second is buy a food processor or even a one of those hand operated slap-chop type things, you’d be amazed how much time that can save you when preparing large batches of food. Here’s what a food prep night looks like:
- Start rice cooker with chicken broth and rice
- Take baby potatoes and toss some seasoning (lemon pepper or seasoning salt) and throw them in the air fryer (the Costco baby potatoes are pre-washed, no prep required)
- If I’m really lazy I’ll make chicken breasts and just do a hot sauce medley, using two or three different vinegar based hot sauces and toss them in the oven, if I’m feeling like switching it up I’ll make a Thai sauce of 2tbsp reconstituted lemon juice, 2tbsp reconstituted lime juice, 2 tablespoons of fish sauce, 2 packs of Splenda, chilli flakes, and crushed garlic and let the chicken sit for a few minutes while the oven preheats, then pour the rest over the chicken once it’s on the pan
- now while the air fryer and oven are going, I’ll start chopping veggies. I’ll make what I call hobo pickles – sliced cucumber with salt and vinegar and put them in Tupperware, I’ll chop some peppers and put them in Tupperware and put them in the fridge, I’ll also chop some red onions and do the same
- once the potatoes are done I’ll toss some baby carrots in the air fryer with some chipotle powder or the ginger/garlic/lemon or lime mentioned previously.
- Once the veggies are chopped I’ll move on to washing blueberries and slicing strawberries and put them in Tupperware in the fridge as well
- Now I’m freed up to use the stove top, I’ll do shrimp in the air fryer with some sesame Thai salad dressing or hot sauce medley, and then I can cook some fish on the stove top while that’s happening
By doing this large batch cooking I’ve got the base ingredients to make all sorts of different dishes by just mixing stuff together or reheating, meaning I spend 2-3 hours in the kitchen 1x per week, and every other meal takes 5mins or less of prep.
What A Sample Diet Can Look Like
We want to give you an idea of what putting it all together can look like – what a 250lb person eating 250g of protein and 2500 calories would look like, what a 135lb person eating 135g of protein and 1500 calories would look like. I’m using relatively low calories and high protein on purpose, as one of the questions we get the most is “how can you get that much protein in without going over your calories?”
The parameters are:
- Hit 4 meals, each with 20g of protein, but ideally 40g (that actually puts us over 135g protein in our second example)
- Hit our minimum protein goal
- Be within 5% of our total calorie goal
- One example higher carb and food bulk, one example higher fat
Example 1 – 250g protein and 2500 calories: High Carb
- 2 scoops Vanilla Whey Isolate mixed with 1 cup coffee and Walden Farm’s Mocha Coffee Syrup
- 75g quick oats mixed with cinnamon and 1 diced apple, Splenda to taste, add Walden Farm’s Maple Walnut Syrup after cooking
Meal 2: Shrimp Rice Bowl
- 220g cooked shrimp
- 240g white rice cooked with chicken broth
- 2 cups shredded lettuce
- 25g red onion
- 2 tablespoons Bolthouse Farm’s Honey Mustard Dressing
Meal 3: Chicken Caesar with Side Potatoes
- 200g cooked chicken breast
- 2 cups shredded lettuce
- 3 tablespoons Bolthouse Farm’s Creamy Caesar Dressing
- 175g air fried potatoes w/seasoning salt and Western Family Chipotle hot sauce
Meal 4: Cheesy Rice w/Ground Bison and Rice Cake Dessert
- 160g white rice cooked with chicken broth
- 200g extra lean ground bison
- 2 slices Kraft Cracker Barrel Habanero Monterey Jack Cheese melted
- Hot Sauce and mustard to taste
Dessert or Late Night Snack: Caramel Buttery Cinnamon Roll Rice Cakes
- 2 Quaker Rice Cakes
- Walden Farm’s Caramel Syrup drizzled over
- Flavour God Buttery Cinnamon Roll or Chocolate Donut Topper Sprinkled on top
Day Total: 245g protein, 47g fat, 265g carb, 2471 calories
Example 2 – 250g protein and 2500 calories: Low Carb
Breakfast: Bacon Omelette + Maple Brown Sugar Oats
- 2 large eggs
- 300g egg whites
- 40g red onion
- 24g (3 tablespoons) bacon bits
- 50g red peppers
- 1 pouch Maple and Brown Sugar Oatmeal
Meal 2: Salsa Ranch Ham Sandwich
- 2 slices toast
- 150g applewood smoked ham
- 2 tablespoons Bolthouse Salsa Ranch Dressing
- 1 slice Habanero Monterey Jack Cheese
- Any vinegar based hot sauce and mustard to taste
- Top with spring mix or romaine lettuce
- 1 scoop protein shake (optional mixed with coffee and Walden Farm’s Mocha Coffee Sweetener)
Meal 3: Striploin Steak and Sweet Thai Chilli Stirfry
- 8 oz striploin steak
- 200g broccoli
- 150g carrots
- 25g red onion
- 2 tablespoons sweet Thai chilli sauce
Meal 4: Cheese Drizzled Shrimp and Rice
- 230g cooked shrimp, tail off
- 40g Kraft Cracker Barrel Reduced Fat Mozzarella
- 75g cooked white rice
- Chipotle powder and mustard to taste
Daily Total: 242g protein, 101g fat, 136g carb, 2503 calories
135g Protein and 1500 calories
Breakfast: Vanilla Strawberry Pudding w/Side hashbrowns
- 185g greek yogurt
- 1 scoop vanilla (or your choice of flavour) whey isolate
- 100g diced strawberries
- 1-2 packs Splenda to taste
- Optional Flavour God Chocolate Donut Topper to Taste
- 150g cooked potatoes, refried stove top for extra crisp if desired
Meal 2: Sweet Thai Chili Chicken Stirfry
- 135g cooked chicken breast
- 1/2 red pepper diced
- 25g red onion
- 50g diced carrots
- 2 tablespoons sweet Thai chilli sauce
- 160g white rice cooked with chicken broth
Meal 3: Mexican Shrimp Salad
- 100g cooked shrimp
- 2 cups shredded lettuce
- 1 pack Quest Chili Lime Protein chips
- 2 tablespoons salsa
- Hot sauce to taste
Meal 4: Snack
- 2 chopped apples with Walden Farms Caramel Syrup
- 2 Rice Cakes with Walden Farms Maple Walnut Syrup, Cinnamon, or Flavour God Buttery Cinnamon Roll topper
- (optional) to get 4 spikes of protein 20g or more, swap one apple for a scoop of whey or Eighty/20 blend
Total without optional scoop of protein: 147g protein, 17g fat, 196g carb, 1530 calories
Total with protein swap: 174g protein, 16g fat, 171g carb, 1550 calories
Make Your Brain Work For You not Against You
Again, since this is a lazy guide, I’m going to give you some of the strongest scientifically supported habits to implement to help you adhere to your nutrition plan, in point form:
- Anything that is blatantly comfort food, DO NOT keep it in the house, you can still have it, but you have to go get it when you want it
- Do not eat in the kitchen
- Have a meal before going grocery shopping
- If you feel ravenously hungry, drink something, wait 10 minutes, then make your meal
- Hunger is often boredom, if you find yourself hungry less than an hour after a meal, go do something you find engaging or exciting
- If you find yourself constantly overeating, use less distinct flavours per meal. IE instead of having oats, rice cakes and peanut butter, caramel apple slices, strawberry slices with walnut syrup, cereal and a protein greek yogurt blend for breakfast and making it fit, have a protein greek yogurt blend and one of the carb options and eat more of those two items equalling the same amount of calories
- Forgive yourself quickly, mistakes are just data, always frame it in a positive and move on
The first three bullet points work on managing temptation, managing temptation is actually more likely to be successful than just having bulletproof will power. If you put barriers in the way of making mistakes, and tempt yourself less with easily available food that you know you’re prone to overeating, you will be more successful in sticking to your nutrition plan. Remember everything is allowed, you can have pizza, but you have to plan for it and you have to go get it. This saves the “I accidentally ate a whole family sized bag of potato chips” moments.
The next three points have to do with the fact that our hunger systems are predominantly psychological – if you’re sticking to your plan and not ignoring the blatant signs of under-eating (loss of memory, low libido, foggy thinking, extreme lethargy, sharp sustained drops in physical performance etc) the chances of you experiencing true starvation-style hunger is pretty much zero. Most hunger is often boredom or associative (linked with other activities like popcorn and movies), so these habits help with the misattribution of boredom or association as hunger. Think about when you often feel hungry or crave comfort food – it’s usually when you’re working on something boring or unstimulating, sitting down, or otherwise not mentally engaged. Busy people often forget to eat, take advantage of the same phenomena and use it to your advantage!
The reduction of variety works on the “dessert stomach” phenomenon – you couldn’t bear to eat another bite of your meal, but somehow always magically have room for dessert. This phenomenon is actually related to boredom as well – the meal has triggered your satiety mechanisms, but the novelty of a different flavour is enough to psychologically interest you and allow you to override these mechanisms and eat more. When distinctly different flavour profiles are limited within meals, you’re statistically less likely to be tempted to eat more of one of the flavour profiles
Last point is to do with framing, beating yourself up over mistakes actually has the opposite effect of what you want it to do. You’re mad because you expect better of yourself, but really you’re destroying your mental image of yourself as someone who is in control and can accomplish their goals to someone who is a failure, worthless, and prone to always screwing up. Mistakes are part of the process, no one is perfect, mistakes are data points that allow you to figure out how to refine your process in the future and continue the success that you’ve already made. Guard your self image closely if not for any other reason than you want to succeed.
Tips For Using MyFitnessPal (and tracking in general)
- Scanning or self-entering are the best options for any prepackaged foods
- If searching for a food, try to stick to green check mark foods (picture example below) ones without checkmarks are often inputted by other users and prone to error, and sometimes atrociously off
- Make sure you make the distinction between cooked and uncooked foods. When using the search function, if you’re looking for a cooked food literally just add “cooked” before whatever you’re searching
- When in doubt, cross check with google, once you enter a food, it’s in your history, and it will always pop up first, so once you have the right one entered you can use it forever, it’s worth it to get it right
- Most restaurants have their nutrition information available, and you can add it as a custom food, if you’re eating at a smaller restaurant you can either try and build the meal using single ingredients (remembering to add some butter/oil for cooking) or just try to pick the closest thing you can find in MyFitnessPal and move on with your life. So long as you’re not eating out multiple times per week it’s not going to make a big difference
- Track even when you’re going over, it’s ok, it happens to everyone, but you can’t troubleshoot a problem if you don’t have the data. The absolute worst case scenario you can get into is convincing yourself you’re nailing everything and “it’s not working”. Don’t allow yourself to lie yourself into hopelessness, because there’s no reason to be there in the first place – it’s just food, it’s not your identity, you’ll figure it out. Every overage or underage is a chance to figure out the root cause, over or undereating is just the symptom/end result
- If you’re a busy person, pick a quiet time and plan your most hectic meals in advance – personally the lower calories I’m on, the more likely I am to plan my next day the night before. I’ll play with some meal options with foods I already have prepped in the fridge until I get to the point where I’m like “yup that looks good, I can eat that and be satisfied” then when you’re in the middle of the busy day you can look at your tracker to guide you instead of having to make any active decisions
If you did nothing but what was outlined here up to this point, you can completely change your physique and health forever. If you just want to look better, feel better, have more confidence, even get and keep abs, stop right here, this is everything you need to know and probably more, don’t make things more complex just make mistakes and refine your process until you make less of them and are happy with where you’re at!
Invariably there are people who are going to want more, so if that’s you, I’ve added a brief outline of the next step from MyFitnessPal
Going Beyond – MacroFactor
We chose MyFitnessPal for this article because it’s free, we gave you simple equations to determine a starting point, and a simple way to adjust your calories based on how things are going – the law of averages means that eventually things like eating more carbohydrate on one day vs the other, eat more in the morning vs the evening, heavy training sessions, high stress periods, drinking more or less water etc etc – all the things that affect your weight on a daily basis – get averaged out over time, so we essentially ignore them in those calculations for simplicities sake.
Make no mistake, if you never did anything other than hit your protein and total calories, and stuck to the cut and reverse and or maintain method we outlined, you can take your physique to levels that you almost wouldn’t believe, but if you want to go even further into performance nutrition, and have a program that can actually adapt to you specifically, the best nutrition app by far is MacroFactor by the guy’s from Stronger by Science. We’ve used Avatar, RP Diet App, and Carbon, MacroFactor is by far the best in it’s power, flexibility, and the strength of its algortithm
Here are some of the things that MacroFactor does better than MyFitnessPal
- As many meals per day as you want
- Algorithm takes into account what you ate and at what time of the day, making daily weigh ins more accurate. It also measures and tracks hydration status if you have one of those fancy smart scales that gives you body fat percentage
- Allows you to edit your activity level at any given time, taking into account all previous information – going to miss the gym for a week? No worries, it will tell you how much to drop your calories by that week
- Custom weekly plans, either fully automated or collaborative – allowing you to use higher calories on higher activity days or social settings, and lower days to stay within your weekly calorie allowance
- Larger database of verified foods than MyFitnessPal and no user inputted metadata, meaning that whatever you’re entering has actual tested and verified nutrition data, reducing errors. I’ve yet to run into a food I couldn’t find
- Micronutrient tracking and many more ways to assess your nutrition within the app
- This is just the tip of the iceberg, the more advanced you are personally with nutrition the more you can get out of the app
I have found that if you have a pretty good understanding of nutrition, I actually find the MacroFactor app easier to use, sometimes I don’t want to think about my nutrition, and I’m in a position where I still want to squeeze all the performance benefits that managing my nutrition provides. MacroFactor is the first app that I feel confident outsourcing my energy use calculations to, and is now our go to for anyone with advanced goals.
When I really need to go beyond what an app could reasonably be allowed to do (extreme weight cutting/dehydration etc for a competition, or get to low single digit body fat) I can take full control of the app but still tell it what happened so I can go back to the algorithm when I want to hit cruise control and get out of the extreme manipulation. I’ve added this as partial addendum because at some point you may want more, but realistically, most people will be fine just sticking with everything in the guide up until now!