Nothing sucks more than being on a diet, right? It really doesn’t have to. You just need to follow a Sensible Diet for Men.
So, yes, 10 years ago I lost 70 pounds on a low carb diet (I followed the Atkins Diet to the letter) and doing simple exercises for men. I don’t recommend it. Sure, it’s a great diet for losing weight quickly, but the problems with Atkins and ALL fad or extreme diets, for that matter, is that they’re not sustainable for the long term.
FAD DIETS DON’T WORK FOR ME
It took me a few tries to figure this out. I’d do the low carb thing and get a few weeks into in and then I’d think to myself, “I’d bitch slap an old woman for a pint of Guinness and plate of chips.” Inevitably, I’d fall off the wagon and give in to temptation.
In my opinion, you simply cannot completely deprive yourself of the things you enjoy. On a low-carb diet, you can’t have beer and fried chicken (which I love). You can’t do that on a low fat diet, either. So, stop dieting.
Here’s the trick: Eat sensibly and pay attention to what you eat. Read the labels. Got an iPhone or Android (or any smartphone with a web connection)? Download an app that tells gives you nutrition information for restaurants. I use Restaurant Nutrition from Unified Lifestyle. It’s free and gives me nutrition information for about any chain restaurant I can think of. Before you eat that supersized burger meal, check out the nutrition info. Do you really want to eat 1500 calories in one meal!?
MY SIMPLE DIET
Right now, I’m trying to stick to around 1800 calories per day and select foods that are higher in protien (to support my weight training) and no more than 30% of calories from fat. I’m not logging foods or running around with my calculator. I simply scan the label and try to keep each meal at or under 500 calories. This leaves room for a few healthy snacks.
Here’s a frightening statistic: According to WebMd, 63% of Americans are overweight or obese. That’s huge! Do you really want to fall into that category?
KEEPING MY MEALS EASY
I’m not a cooking kinda guy. When I do cook, I try to keep it simple with chicken and whole veggies and avoid sauces. I buy a lot of frozen meals, which have come a long way since dad’s TV dinner in the aluminum tray with the little compartments.
Sure, these meals are higher in preservatives and sodium, but they make it VERY easy to tell exactly what you’re eating for the whole meal. I like things quick and easy, so they work for me. I think, slimming down and being healthy far outweighs the bit of extra preservatives and sodium. If you have the time and enjoy cooking fresh, you’ve got the advantage, so knock yourself out. If you do cook, I recommend throwing out all of your dinner plates and use a salad plate instead. This will give you the illusion of having more food on your plate and keep you from filling up a huge plate full of food you really don’t need. If it won’t fit on the salad plate, don’t eat it.
You should also drink a glass or water before eating to fill up a bit and help avoid eating too much during your meal. I also try to avoid eating after about 8pm — when you eat right before bed, your body isn’t buring off those calories.
SNACKING IS GOOD
Snacking the right way between meals is a good thing because it keeps your metabolism going. Just skip the chips and junk and find better options. I love fruit and Nature Valley Crunchy Peanut Butter Granola Bars (yum, complex carbs). Nuts are great, too.
Finally, and this is key… don’t deprive yourself. Enjoy a few good meals each week at your favorite restaurant. Don’t go overboard, but have something you like. I allow myself one cheat meal during the week (with a few pints of Guinness) — I skip dessert and try to trade fries for healthier options duirng this meal. Doing this is actually helping me to explore and enjoy new things. On Saturday evenings, I allow myself to eat and drink absolutely anything I want.
Sure, there are times I’m going to want to have another cheat meal (wings during a football game with friends, etc.) and I do, but here’s my rule: For every extra cheat I throw in, it’s another hour in the gym. Balance is key.
When you allow yourself to satisfy those cravings once in awhile, I think it keeps you from falling completely off the wagon. Whoever first coined the phrase, “anything in moderation” really got it right!
Now, I’m not the protien shake drinking kinda guy, but I think I’ve tried just about every pill or supplement around. Big surprise!! Most of them simply don’t work. Each day, I take a simple multi-vitamin. At the advice of my trainer, I have started taking Creatine Monohydrate (which helps increase energy to the muscles) and L-Glutamine (an amino acid which helps muscles recover quicker). You can get powders and spend time mixing this shit up, or you can take a pill. I take TwinLab Creatine Fuel Stack which contains both Creatine Monohydrate and Glutamine and Taurine — it’s a bit funny swallowing six massive pills every day, but it does seem to do me some good. I feel like I’m building muscle faster and recovering more quickly (and with less pain) since I’ve started taking it.
I also take Twinlab CLA (Conjugated Linoleic Acid) which is supposed to help promote fat loss and support lean body mass.
I also follow my workouts by drinking a Muscle Milk Chocolate Shake — gotta get some protien to get big.
Some guys want a fat-burner supplement (called a thermogenic). I’m not a huge fan of most of these as they can cause you to get jittery and crash, but they can give you a little burst of energy. My friend’s trainer recommended Oxy Elite Pro and I’ve used it and haven’t experienced any negative side effects. I drink so much caffein each day, I can’t tell exactly what a thermogenic is doing for me. Some trainers swear by it — mine hates the stuff. To each his own.
WARNING: CONSULT YOUR DOCTOR BEFORE STARTING ANY EXERCISE OR DIET PROGRAM