After a lot of self evaluation, I've come to the conclusion that I'm still eating too much. In this blog, I'm going to go over my plan of attack to remedy this by systemizing my food intake with staple meals.
Let me preface all of this by saying that I'll be the first to tell you that losing weight is not about counting calories, but first and foremost about food choice. The only way any diet will be sustainable in the long run is if you don't have to battle hunger every step of the way. So choosing satiating foods is always the way to go, and a far superior approach to just eating less of the same foods you were eating before.
That's why it's the first pillar in my systems for success.
That being said, at the end of the day, it's still possible to eat too much food on any diet and not lose any fat (or even gain) as a result.
And I realize that that's what I've been doing.
I've simply been eating too much
Seeing that I'm close to fully carnivore, I eat very nutrient-dense foods. This is especially true since I switched from leaner meats to mostly beef and eggs last month, which added quite some extra fat energy to my diet.
I have not been tracking my food intake over the last six weeks, but in retrospect, I can calculate that my first meal of the day (around noon) would often easily be over one thousand calories by itself!
1000+ calories is a massive meal by most people standards.
So why not by mine?
Am I just twice as hungry as other people? Of course not. Apparently, I'm just still not listening to my satiety signals properly, and my idea of what a reasonably-sized meal looks like is still completely off (likely because of my diet history).
And in contrast to what I said in my last blog, I've come to realize that I am actually bothered by the fact that I haven't lost actual weight last month (and have not appeared to be losing over the last two weeks either).
See, I was technically right in my last blog, when I said that it's possible to be muscular and fit at the height/weight I am now. But I also know that the examples I used to prove that are professional athletes with well over a decade of training experience.
So it's not realistic to think I'll come anywhere close to that level of fitness in a year or so, just by recomping.
After all, realistically speaking, I still have dozens of pounds of fat on my body that need to go. And thinking that I could gain that same amount of weight in muscle in a matter of months to a year is just pure fantasy.
So I still need to work on portion size. I need to learn what a good amount of food is, so that I can stop in time to listen and hear that satiety signal that I apparently have trouble hearing.
Seeing that I'm still adhering to my systems for success, I'm only eating two meals a day (one around noon and one in the evening) so I only have those two meals to worry about, which makes things easier.
So, I've come up with these simple guidelines for myself:
- First meal ~500cal
- Second meal ~1000cal
- Total protein >175 grams (1gr/lb LBM)
- Unlimited green vegetables (100% optional)
These guidelines will ensure that my total food intake is starkly reduced, while at the same time making sure that each meal is still substantial enough to be very satiating and also mentally satisfying – essential for longtime adherence.
The high protein (~50%) serves to help with satiety, as well as help maintain/build lean body mass.
The vegetables are purely filler foods to me. Lettuce, spinach, cucumbers and other forms of "crunchy water" add some volume to the total meal, thereby helping with satiety.
Of course, this whole plan does mean that I have to go back to counting my food intake in the short term. But in the long term, this will hopefully mean that I have such a good idea of portion size that I won't have to count anymore (as long as I stick to satiating foods).
Also, I have a couple of tricks up my sleeve to make this process easy and foolproof.
Staple meals 🥩 🍳 🍗
First of all, I'm going to make tracking my food intake as simple as it can possibly be, by just coming up with a bunch of staple meals that I know the numbers of, and just eating those all the time.
Here's a few I've come up with so far:
Breakfast/lunch (first meal)
A) tin of sardines, 5 eggs with coffee – 510 calories, 43 gr. protein
B) tin of sardines, 8oz burger (90% lean) with coffee – 500 calories, 59 gr. protein
C) 8oz burger + 1 egg with coffee – 458 calories, 52 gr. protein
Dinner (second meal)
A) 8oz burger + 16oz chicken breast – 876 calories, 150 gr. protein
B) 10oz bottom round steak + 12oz chicken breast – 932 calories, 154 gr. protein
C) 28oz chicken thigh – 910 calories, 154 gr. protein
D) 8oz calf liver + 12oz burger + tin of tuna – 970 calories, 137 gr. protein
E) 8oz calf liver + 17oz chicken thigh – 853 calories, 140 gr. protein
As you can see, these meals are still pretty substantial, despite being under 1500 calories together. Best of all, the total food cost (both meals together) comes out to only about $5/day.
Delicious, nutritious, satiating, and affordable meals. What more can you wish for? Feel free to copy these meals if you want. 😉
Small plates 🍽
Another trick I'm using now is only eating from small plates. The idea here is that the same amount of food looks more substantial on a smaller plate than on a bigger plate, because of the Ebbinghaus Illusion.
There is some evidence to suggest that you'll therefore likely eat less from smaller plates.
There are also contradictory studies, but seeing that it's a zero cost measure, I figured I'd give it a shot.
I've been following this plan for a few days now and it's working really nicely so far. I can tell that I'm already leaning out, and I actually feel satiated after my first ~500 calorie meal, which is honestly surprising.
It does kind of suck to alter my plan mid-month, because now my measurements next month are going to reflect the effects of two different plans, which isn't great. But, as we say in Dutch, better to turn around halfway than to get lost all the way.
I'll report back September 1st!