Lately I’ve been on a push to lose a final few pounds and hopefully finally get rid of my gut. I’m 6’1″ and I was at 205lbs in late February (or Febtober as I like to call it in honor of SNL’s Celebrity Jeopardy) cut about 10lbs by my Yakima River Canyon Marathon and I’m shooting for a goal of 180 by sometime this summer. The hard part is, I’m running 60+ miles a week, and lifting weights at least twice each week so I don’t want to short myself on fuel.
In the past when trying to lose weight I’ve shot for a 1000 Calorie deficit a day, whether through exercise or just eating less, so that I wound up losing ~2 pounds a week. It always resulted in at least a little rebound weight in the end, because we just aren’t meant to run (pun kinda intended) on that kind of deficit, but I kept banging my head against that wall because I was not happy with my body. Now I’m basically happy with my body as is, I just want to drop the weight so I can be a bit faster and to conquer the gut I’ve had for 18 years or more (I was a chubby kid even at 10). I’m the fittest I’ve ever been and even though I’m not elite, nor am I ever likely to be, I’m an athlete now! (If you’d asked me 5 years ago if I’d ever consider myself an athlete, I’d have laughed in your face.) I no longer see food as my nemesis (which it really never was to begin with), or as something I need to control, but as my ally in crafting a healthy lifestyle.
Now I’m working with my food, trying to cook and eat delicious healthy meals to get me to my 2500-3000 calories i need each day. An average week day goes something like this:
Breakfast: Usually a protein shake/smoothie containing 3oz of berries, 8oz 1% milk and 2 scoops of Protein Powder (total 440 calories, 63g of protein), Sometimes it’s an Omelet or a bagel sandwich.
Morning Snacks at the office: 1 serving Dried or fresh apples, Yoplait Light yogurt, 6oz Chicken Breast (total 400 – 410 calories, 40g protein)
Lunch: 1 cup Beans (pinto or black usually), .5 cup brown rice (~350 cals, 16g fiber)
Afternoon Snacks: 2 fruits, (usually an orange and a banana) a can of tuna and a serving of potato chips (~420 cals, 26g protein)
Dinner: Here is where I have my fun! At least when I’m not doing a show, if I’m in rehearsals than this is usually more chicken breast, more rice, and more beans, just dressed differently. A few recent dinners:
Accidental Peanut Thai Soup: 2oz Rice Noodles (dry weight), 6oz Chicken Breast, 1 cup Stir Fry Veggies, garlic, onions, green peppers. Homemade Peanut sauce (2/3 cup Light Coconut Milk, 2 Tablespoons peanut butter, soy sauce, garlic, onion, sirracha, curry powder and lime juice to taste all blended together) (~700 cals, 50g protein)
Beef Fajitas: 1/3lb skirt steak, onions, garlic green peppers, fajita seasoning. 2 or 3 Corn Tortillas, 1 cup pinto beans
Various Whole wheat pasta, sauce, and meat or fish (favorite fishes: Seared Tuna Steak, Salmon Filet) combinations.
Evening Snack: Depends on what macro nutrients I’m short on, there have been occasions it’s just a tablespoon of peanut butter or extra virgin olive oil
I know my exact meal plan doesn’t work for everyone, I’m burning 10000 calories a week running and only trying to drop ~1lb a week. But the principles I’ve learned can work for anyone to change their lifestyle so they can achieve their fitness goals. The basic principles I follow can best be summed up as:
- Eat mostly whole foods (Fruit, Vegetables, legumes) and whole grains, avoid the processed stuff.
- Keep your protein, fiber and healthy fat intakes relatively high, and unhealthy (Saturated or Trans) fat intake low.
- If you’re doing lots of cardio eat plenty of carbs (which you will eating whole grains and whole fruit/veggies)
- Don’t deprive yourself, moderation is your friend. You can have a treat, just keep in your calorie goal range for the day and you’ll be fine.
- If you make a mistake, accept it and move on, one mistake does not a failure make.
Soon I will hit my goal weight, and the calorie deficit will go out the window, but I will continue to follow those principles because they’re part of a healthy lifestyle, the athlete/runners lifestyle I want to be living far on into the future!