Food…the final frontier.
There I was, in line at the grocery store while sporting the usual sweaty tank top after a workout. As the cashier rings me up she says, “I’ve been trying to lose weight and I eat pretty clean and balanced, am I doing something wrong?” I replied, “Well how much are you eating in a day total?” After a long pause, she answered, “I don’t know.” Then I probably said something witty, smiled, put on my sunglasses like Horatio from CSI and walked away in slow motion.
I get a lot of questions… about food and diet more than anything. Lately it’s been people who want to get shredded, since I live in Las Vegas and everyone seems to want to walk around the pool sporting a six-pack.
Ladies and gentlemen, it is a nice feeling to walk around displaying all of your hard work, “Gainz” and striations. The road to getting there is not as hard as it seems if we merely pay attention to a few details. Now before I jump into this, let me say this is not a discussion of “Clean Eating” versus “If It Fits Your Macros”. I just want you to understand what’s going on and how you can correct some things to get you where you want to be.
People rarely self-incriminate. Their diet can be absolutely out of whack or they can have no clue what they are doing, but they’ll claim to have some type of control of the situation. You have to be real with yourself. Down deep, if you think you eat like crap then you probably do. People will ask me, “What do you eat?” I tell them and then they say something like, “Well, I eat that, too.”
Folks, a lot of people eat chicken, beef, fish, rice, quinoa, Ezekiel bread, eggs, egg whites, and oats. Then I drop the nukes of questions with them:
How many calories are you eating in a day?
How many grams of protein, carbs, fats in a day?
Most people just don’t know and that is okay for now. If we are getting you shredded for summer then we need to know. Because knowing is half the battle and you don’t have to be a G.I. Joe fan to appreciate it.
These days there is an app for everything and counting calories can be left up to your phone. Do this every time you put something in your mouth; write it down in your phone. This is easy since everyone with some sort of fitness inclination tends to take pictures of their food and post it on social media anyway. So you eat breakfast, boom, write down what and about how much. Roll through Starbucks? Bam, write down what you got. Had some chips and salsa with some friends, and a beer while watching soccer? Throw it in there. Repeat this until the day is over and then take maybe 30 minutes of your time and use an app like My Fitness Pal or Nutritionist, to just see what the damage was. Many of my clients in the beginning were amazed to see how much they were actually over-eating on a daily basis.
The great thing about writing it all down is that some people actually see that they are over-eating despite “Eating Clean”. Yes, chicken breast, brown rice, fish and sweet potatoes are great, but if you are eating in a caloric surplus then slimming down may be an issue.
Once you have identified the issue, don’t just dramatically cut your calories and – for the love of all that is holy and beautiful – don’t cut carbs out of your diet. I would like you to gradually cut down your calories as a whole. I experimented on myself with cutting out carbs altogether and after feeling out of it for a while I blacked out and woke up next to an empty pizza box…BOOM!
If you cut out fat, or protein or carbs you will notice that the cravings will come because your body needs it, period. Keep the fats, keep the proteins, keep the carbs… just take in less of them.
As you are cutting down be sure to have a re-feed once a week. This will cut down on those cravings and will keep you feeling good while you’re slimming up. Notice I did not say gorge yourself on two pizzas and a cheesecake. Part of this is creating a lifestyle change. And I know how you feel. I too am in love with pizza and cheesecake, but if I didn’t place limits on them I wouldn’t be sitting here today writing this to help you make it happen.
Realize that your diet isn’t bulletproof.
Write down everything and factor it in.
Don’t deprive yourself of protein, fats and lovely carbs.
Make the lifestyle change.
Enjoy your “Gainz”.
Visit Jay Hall on Instagram: @jayhallhimself