You can’t outrun a bad diet – Final Results Day 10!

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Day 10! We’ve made it folks! We’re at the final day of the experiment. Let’s review for a minute.

The purpose of this series was to highlight the fact that when you are trying to lose weight, 80% of the weight loss is because of your diet. No matter how much you’re working out.

The goal was to stop people from being surprised when they don’t lose weight at the end of the week. There is no question, when in weight loss mode and you’re overweight, if you don’t lose weight… it’s because of your food intake.

Highlights:

Tracking your food matters!

As you’ve seen throughout the series I’ve promoted myfitnesspal.com like crazy (I hope they’re reading maybe they’ll advertise with me!). The reason? You cannot know how much you’re eating if you’re not at least writing it down. But why do that when there is a fantastic app like myfitnesspal.com available to help you?

Everything you eat must be accounted for or you are just fooling yourself. Speaking of fooling yourself…

Weighing your food matters!

Tracking your food tells you what you are eating. Weighing your food tells you how much you are eating. Again the beauty of myfitnesspal is that you can adjust everything you’re eating to the correct measurement. If you are just eyeballing it then you’re either over eating or under eating. Both are bad. The reality is most of us rarely ever under eat.

Go buy a weigh scale for $20.00 at Walmart. You’re going to shock yourself with how much you’ve been eating.

weighing food

Eating the RIGHT food matters

I’m not going to pretend to be an expert on this. There are enough articles on the internet, books in the library detailing or debating what you should be eating, you could cover the planet in paper.

In my humble opinion, here is what you should at least be thinking about when it comes to what food you choose to eat when trying to lose weight..

Pick food that you can eat large volumes of, that are low in calories. One of the biggest killers to folks learning to eat properly is the feeling of being hungry. If you’re doing it right – proper daily caloric intake and macros – then you should not feel crazy hungry. Sometimes you will, but being “hangry” should not be a feature of your meal plan.

Choose foods that are heavy in protein. Protein leaves you feeling full. Protein heavy foods are generally lower in calories and carbs. Which means you can eat more of them.

Accountability matters

Pick a pal, a friend, a partner to do this with. It makes life so much easier when you have support. Someone you can frantically text for help when your latest work function is serving copious amounts of fried chicken and donuts (sour keys).

For me the accountability lately has been this blog. Nothing like failing in front of millions of your readers. (Okay I exaggerate, I’ve only got a few hundred thousand)

Cheat day matters

I suspect there is tons of debate on the inter-webs about this subject so I will again defer to the experts. I can only speak from my experience. My cheat day was built into my week by my trainer Coach Tom, so I’m trusting his knowledge on the science, but the practical side of it is this… I do not think I could be as disciplined throughout the week if I didn’t know I was going to get a taste of a little extra at the end of the week. Thats the long and the short of it for me. It’s mental and it helps me.

That being said, cheat day isn’t a free-for-all. It’s a refuel day as Michelle and Tom would say. You can eat more, but more of the same healthy things you were already eating throughout the week.

This is NOT that hard!

Look I get it. If it were easy then all of us would be slim, fit and healthy. But at the same time if you have a plan, the execution of eating properly for weight loss is not all that hard. Tracking your food, weighing your food, having a cheerleader to lean, all makes the execution easier to be sure. There is absolutely nothing complicated about it and there are tons of resources available for you to turn to if you need help. Like my wife Michelle. (yes I know a shameless plug for her business, but she’s really good!) I’ve talked about this before, check out one of my earlier posts “If this is so hard, then why is it easy?“.


Let’s get to the numbers…

     Day 1      229.3 lbs
     Day 2      226.6
     Day 3      224
     Day 4      222.9
     Day 5      222.4
     Day 6      222.4
     Day 7      226.4
     Day 8      225.3
     Day 9      221.8
     Day 10      220.9
Untitled_spreadsheet_-_Google_Sheets

myfitnesspal.com

Let’s see… from Day 1 through to Day 10 there was a total weight loss of 8.4 lbs. I would say that’s pretty good! I lost a little less than a pound per day. On a meal plan designed to lose 2-3 lbs per week.

All from concentrating on what I was eating, nothing else. Now that’s not to say my results would not have better if I was working out at the same time – they probably would have been better. But that wasn’t the point of the blog series – people like to work out but they don’t like to manage their food.

So there you go. The 10 day experiment is done. Hopefully all 4 of you enjoyed reading the series and I was able to keep you a little bit entertained. I’ve really enjoyed doing the series and I hope you liked it.

Maybe there is something to this eating right thing after all!

Cheers,

Brent

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You can’t outrun a bad diet – Days 8 & 9 Results

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Day 8: Monday. Back to work – actually in the office now. Holidays are officially over now. New Year, same temptations.

Maintaining my food plan is actually a lot easier at work than it is when I work from home. I work from home a couple of times per week simply because of proximity. My commute is about 90mins north from Toronto and my office is right beside the Air Canada Centre. Attached to it actually, if you’re a sports fan, this the right part of Toronto to be in.

It’s a great area to work in, I take the GO Train down and have a 3 min walk from Union Station to the elevators up to my office. There are tons of restaurants to choose from all around me and a Starbucks in my building which is very convenient to say the least.

Still, with all the food options around you might think that it was fraught with danger for someone such as I, who is trying to lose weight. It might be for most, but for me… not so much. The long and the short of it is I simply don’t want to spend $15 – $20 everyday (or every second day in my case) on lunch. It just feels like a waste of money to me.

As a result I (mostly) take my lunch to work. This gives me a great deal of control over my food intake when I’m downtown. It makes it super easy, the only thing I need to be careful of is making sure that I’ve packed a lunch to take with me in the morning. It’s pretty common for me to forget and that’s when my day downtown becomes a challenge.

I still won’t buy food downtown but that’s not the problem. When your employer is fairly generous and supplies lots of free snacks in the lunchroom throughout the day, that’s a problem.

They do try to be healthy, this is certainly not a critique of the company I work for. Protein bars are supplied, fruit trays are common as well as veggies and dip. Bagels in the mornings as well a variety of cereals. There are rice krispie bars as well. I’m pretty good at withstanding all of that, but the real killer for me, especially when I’ve forgotten my lunch is… The Sour Keys! (cue the Psycho music now)

sour keys

If I haven’t eaten lunch these things will be the death of me. There are only two things that are kryptonite for my food plan. Pizza and sour keys. I have virtually no will power withstand those two being near me. I could literally sit down with a sour key container you can buy at Costco and eat the whole thing in an hour or two.

I know. It’s not rational, it’s not normal, but it is what it is.

Sour keys are my kryptonite!

I’m sure you all have some sort of food kryptonite that will take you down. Whether it’s at the office or at home. We’ve all got one. The key for me is to make sure I’m eating properly during my day when I’m in the office. A good breakfast and lunch abiding by my macros in myfitnesspal.com means I’m full and I’m way less susceptible to the dreaded sour keys. Skip lunch when I’m at work and the sour keys will make it to my desk. It’s that simple.

The good thing is on Mondays, I’m still not all the interested in cheating because of the residue from Saturdays cheat day. Here is how I did below…

Monday Diary

Overall not bad – my rating for Monday would be 7 or 8 out of 10. My protein was high which is great considering protein dense foods tend to make you feel full. Much needed when the sour keys are in the building.

So what was the weigh -in for Day 8?

221.8

I told you it would come off as fast as I put it on!.


Day 9

This is a home office day for me. Which creates a different set of challenges than I have at work.

While there is an abundance of restaurants that surround me downtown, the main thing that stops me from partaking is financial. I don’t want to spend the money. At home however… well it’s completely different. It’s all free and totally accessible! It won’t even slow down my day! Pantry, here I come!

My wife may be a trainer and we certainly buy healthy food to eat, but we’re human and we have 3 kids as well.  That means there are also not the smartest choices available to me. (kids lunch snacks anyone?)

The key for me when working from home is to remain busy and drink coffee or water. I find that often I’m not so much hungry as I am thirsty or in need of caffeine. That helps a lot.

Once you commit to losing weight, it’s really important to create strategies on dealing with your temptations or environment. If you don’t have a plan you’re just going to stumble. A lot of it is just planning ahead. One of the things I like to do in myfitnesspal.com is plan my day in advance. Log all the food I plan to eat for the whole day rather than as I eat it. That means mentally I’ve already decided what I’m going to eat and it just takes away one more decision that needs to be made around my food.

Despite being in the heart of free food at home I had a really good day food wise.

Tuesday Diary

I would rate my Day 9 as an 8 out of 10. My macros were evenly distributed and I should have been heavier on the protein side of things.

Tuesday macros

Weigh-in results for Day 9:

221.3

I’m not sure why I didn’t see a larger drop but that doesn’t really matter – its not the daily weight that counts. It’s what your weigh in looks like from week to week.

Total weight loss from Day 1 to Day 9:  8 lbs. Not bad! Almost 1 lb per day!

Maybe there is something to this eating right thing after all!

Cheers,

Brent

You can’t outrun a bad diet – Days 6 & 7 Results

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Day 6

As you all read earlier in the week, normally Saturdays are my cheat days.

My love for cheat day is strong.

Just to give you an idea of what types of food get put out while we’re all hanging out at the cottage on weekends…

It was going to be a tough day as you can see – not shown? Bagels, fresh bread, chips, beer and the list goes on. (all stuff I love)

I’m not blaming my hosts, my in-laws, for this at all. Frankly this is how I see most people eat on a weekend at the cottage. It’s all stuff I really like!

I started the day well. I had a cheese omelette (no bacon bits this time) for breakfast along with my coffee. Then the chocolate chip pancakes were being made. Then the toasted bagels and cream cheese. Then the toast. Argh!

Long story short folks… I caved. I totally and utterly caved in!

caved

I was feeling pretty guilty by the end of the day. But you know what? I didn’t cave as badly as I could have because I really just ended up having a normal cheat day. Remember I said on cheat days I get an extra 1350 calories to eat? Well that’s what I did. I ate the extra calories. I know I said I wasn’t going to do a cheat day but it is what it is at least I kept it under control.

I didn’t go buck wild per say – I measured everything and tracked it. I did end up going a little bit over but not as bad as you would think. Below is my food intake for cheat day in all it’s glory on myfitnesspal.com.

Biffmon's Food Diary I MyFitnessPal.c_ - http___www.myfitnesspal.com_food_diary

Doing a meal plan like this, I’m not sure I can actually do it without a cheat day in there for mental health reasons. Staying strong during the week is so much easier when you know you have a bit of a buffer on Saturday.


So what did the scale say? Let’s take a look…

Day 6 weigh-in was: 226.4

Whoa… bit of a gain there eh? over 4 lbs!

I’m not too worried though because I think we’ll see that come back off almost as quickly as it was put on.


Day 7

It’s no longer a cheat day and I feel like I’ve woken up with a food hang-over. Which is probably true considering how I ate the day before.

I’ve talked about the benefits of a cheat day from the perspective of giving you something to look to forward to at the end of the week. But the other benefit of a cheat day is the fact that all you want to do is eat clean the next day. I had no desire to eat poorly for a second straight day or I’d never leave the bathroom.

And that’s what I did. (Eat clean I mean)

Here are my macros for Day 7:

Day 7 food log

Didn’t do too badly, I’m pretty sure I actually came in right on par with the calories – I think I forgot to enter something into myfitnesspal.com when tracking my food on Sunday.

My stomach thanked me.

Now how would the scale react to getting back to business with the meal plan?

Day 7 weigh-in: 225.3

So down a pound already and I expect the next weigh-in will be even better. So what’s the score now?

Total weight loss from Day 1 to Day 7: 4 lbs. That’s 4 pounds in 1 week folks. On a plan designed to really only lose 2 – 3lbs/week. This is working

Maybe there is something to this eating right thing after all!

Cheers,

Brent

 

You can’t outrun a bad diet – Day 5 Results

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Hey folks – got a late start to the blog today as I’m hanging out at the cottage with the family this weekend in beautiful, sunny, snowy Parry Sound, Ontario.

Wow it’s cold – here’s a bit of a picture as to what it’s like up here, outside my window and the actual temperature…

That would be -4 degrees in Fahrenheit for my American friends. Either way its crazy cold up here! I guess that’s what happens when you have one of those ole’ bomb cyclone‘s hit town. The kids are making the best of it and have been sledding most of the day away followed by hot chocolate.

It’s actually been a pretty relaxing break after the busy holidays.

This won’t be an especially long post as it’s Saturday, but I did want to bring up something many of you will have to deal with when traveling or going away for the weekend with the family. Eating out.

There are myriad of posts on the internet on eating out while trying to maintain a food plan so I’m not going to reinvent the wheel on this one. But I can give you an example of how it works for me. In fact Day 5 of the experiment is actually a great example of how things can work (or not work).

Leaving Friday evening we’ve got a 3 hour drive ahead of us – with the snow, maybe longer. Its rare that we will ever eat dinner at home before we leave because frankly, we just want to get on the road. Now this is not really a monkey wrench for me but it’s also not something I really welcome because I know it’ll be fast food and I rarely make good choices with fast food. I’ve got 3 kids and a schedule to keep, so stopping at a restaurant that can provide me with dietary options just isn’t in the cards.

The fast food joint of choice for us is typically Wendy’s. The kids love it, I certainly love Wendy’s and Michelle… well Michelle accepts it I guess. My normal order at Wendy’s is a double Baconator. Oh man I love the Baconator! No seriously, I love it. Because bacon! (It’s also 940 calories!)

4

Bacon & Beef! The greatest combination evah!

That being said, having published a blog post recently about cheat day still on my mind I made sure I was intentional when I ordered. I went with the spicy chicken sandwich and instead of the fries I went with a small chili. You can see what the calories were directly from Wendy’s website below.

A funny thing happens when you’re ordering for a family of 6 (we had an extra kid with us) and the cashier is on her very first shift. Dad (me) gets an extra sandwich! That’s right I got an extra sandwich.

I’m like “Really!?! Out of the 6 of us standing here I’m the one that gets the extra sandwich!?! Have they not read my blog! Is there a camera here somewhere?”

(I didn’t say that out loud, I mean, not everyone reads my blog, I know that)

My first thought was take it back, it was a mistake. Then I realized when looking at the receipt that we had actually paid for it. So I’m not going to take it back.

Michelle’s looking at me asking “What are you going to do with that, you’re not going to eat it are you?” I’m staring at it with my mouth watering. “Yup” I replied. “I’m gonna eat it!”

Michelle: “It’s going to kill your macros…”

Brent: “Not if I don’t eat anything for the rest of the night it won’t.”

So there you have it. My wife attempting to keep me accountable and me completely ignoring it. Now in my defense I knew we would be eating out that night – we always do when we head up to the cottage – so I saved up my food for later in the day so I wouldn’t be over eating. Although I didn’t anticipate getting an extra spicy chicken sandwich out of the blue.

So where does that leave me? Let’s check out the results…


Day 5… I’m going to rank the food at 5 again. I was just barely hanging on.

Biffmon_s_Food_Diary___MyFitnessPal_com

Just under with the calories – remember I talked about the margin of error a couple of posts back? Yeah I’m probably over. Bad on the carbs the protein and all the rest. But theoretically I did not overeat.

This is where you take the small victories where you can. I was in a situation where I ended up eating fast food. I don’t go crazy, although the second sandwich wasn’t necessary, I was smart-ish and didn’t over eat.

And how did the scale respond? The weigh-in for Day 5 is…

222.4 lbs

No change. That’s a good thing, nothing lost nothing gained. Again, I’m living with my choices.

Total weight loss from Day 1 to Day 5: 6.9 lbs

Maybe there is something to this eating right thing after all!

Stay warm folks!

Cheers,

Brent

You can’t outrun a bad diet – Day 4 Results

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Tomorrow is Saturday.

Did you know that? You probably did. I mean most people are acutely aware of when Saturday, in particular, is arriving. After all everybody’s working for the weekend right?

For the past few years Saturday has been one of my favourite days of the week. Of course for obvious reasons, but in recent years it’s been because of one thing specifically…

Cheat Day!!!!

Yup. Good ole’ cheat day. That’s the one day of the week when you’ve been eating clean all week to let yourself go! It’s the day you use to justify turning down the free sour keys in the lunch room candy dispenser because you can have them on Saturday.

Cheat Day!!!

You’re cheating within your macros of course – but the great thing about cheat day, at least in my case is, Coach Tom has allowed me to up the amount of calories (within reason) on Saturdays. As you now know my daily calorie intake is 1650 calories. But Saturdays, oooh Saturdays, I’m eating 3000 calories! So good! An extra 1350 calories to do with what I see fit right?

Maybe…

The basic idea of cheat day or cheat meal, is that because you’ve been eating a lower caloric intake throughout the week, your metabolism can become more efficient – meaning burns less calories (the body adapts to the shortfall in calories by burning fewer of them). With a cheat day you can give your metabolism a kick in the pants by eating more.

While that may be true, for a more science-y explanation you should probably talk to my wife, but for me it’s honestly more of a mental thing. When things get tough during the week, when my defenses are starting to break down, knowing that I can eat the sour keys on Saturday really helps.

Here’s my problem though. I’m actually not supposed to be eating the sour keys even on my cheat day.

There are really two ways to look at cheat days. There is the Dwayne Johnson school of cheat days…

theamountoffooddwaynetherockjohnsoneatsinadaywillmakeyougowtf0_1428577621_1100x513

I’d be lying if I said this wasn’t appealling

And then there is the Michelle Rodgers, Coach Tom school of cheat days which is slightly different… (refuel days)

cheat day banner

Yeah, it’s the same food – just more of it! Now that being said I think I’m safe in saying that both of them don’t mind if you indulge a little bit on what they call “refuel day”. The goal here is to jump start your metabolism and give you some treats as well. That way you can avoid a full-on sugar meltdown binge-fest.

So why am I talking about this? Well because tomorrow’s Saturday and normally I would have the cheat/refuel day at my disposal. But when I was talking about this experiment with Michelle, her guidance was that I shouldn’t have a cheat day during the 10 days. Simply because the goal was to focus on how a sticking to a meal plan can positively affect your weight loss. I reluctantly agreed.

To be fully transparent, historically I’m not very good at cheat days. I almost always eat beyond the 3000 calories allotted, I almost always eat the sour keys among other carb loaded, salty, greasy, fried culinary delights. So in fact the whole cheat day thing can be risky for a lot of us. The idea of a refuel is day is smarter because the focus is still on eating right.

Here’s the other thing… we’re going up to the cottage this weekend where I have much less control over my food and where I routinely ditch the meal plan and end up overeating. I’m telling you this because this weekend is going to be a challenge for me, despite the fear of failing in front of my millions of readers, this is still going to be a challenge.

The good thing is I’ve got Michelle along for the ride so that’s a leg up – I know she’ll give me the “spockian eyebrow” when I’m stepping over the line.

spock-raised-eyebrow

We’ll see how things go. I’m confident I can do this. But this is life when getting healthy, trying to lose weight. Things change and move around and you need to adapt and persevere.

Now on to the results…


 

Day 3 food was good! Day 4 food was… bad.

Yeah it wasn’t a good day – if we’re ranking it (I wish we weren’t but I started it) I would have to rank it as a 5.

Biffmon_s_Food_Diary___MyFitnessPal_com

The most egregious number there is my protein number. Missed it by half. Also, what you don’t see is the fact that I really only ate one meal. I had a small bowl of oats for breakfast. No lunch and then for dinner I had ground beef, soft tacos (with cheese and sour cream I might add). But I made the choice, I did have other options, I didn’t choose the better ones.

Here is what it looks like when you do decide to take the better options…

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That’s the trainer who lives our house’s dinner. That’s 100 grams of ground beef (compared to my 258!) and you can’t quite see it, but it’s resting on top of acorn squash. (really acorn squash?) Of course salad is in there too.

A tale of two dinners in the same house – One choice made be the amateur (me) and the other made by the pro (Michelle).

Here is how my beef n’cheese, soft tacos looked like broken down by macros, I might as well have just gone to Taco Bell:

Biffmon_s_Food_Diary___MyFitnessPal_com

That’s pretty bad. I’m done beating myself up now.

Lets see how the scale reacted. The weigh-in for Day 4 is…

222.4 lbs

Down just under half a pound. I’ll take it. When you consider how salty my food was for yesterday I may have lost a bit more but I’m probably retaining water. Living with my choices.

Total weight loss from Day 1 to Day 4: 6.9 lbs

Maybe there is something to this eating right thing after all!

Have a great weekend folks!

Cheers,

Brent