How Eggs can help you lose Flab!!

Hi Everyone,

If you’ve read some of my blogs and posts before you will know that generally speaking I am very anti diet. As I explain here , in the long term I just don’t think they work. You can’t live “on a diet” forever  and inevitably at some point you will fall off the wagon. Much better, in my opinion, to change your eating habits for the long term and move to a more sustainable healthy eating plan where you eat well for the most part, but also allow yourself some treats and to misbehave on a regular basis. Read on to lose flab quickly and easily.

However I am now going to show myself up to be a complete hyprocrite and admit….I’m on a diet!! Let me explain. I am currently training really hard, hitting the gym 5 days a week, and trying to build muscle size AND stay lean at the same time (an impossible goal many would argue). However , despite my hard work both in the gym and trying to eat pretty well, I still have some stubborn flab around my lower belly, love handles and lower back. The classic slightly soft mid section of a guy in his late 40’s to be honest. Don’t get me wrong, I am being hyper critical of myself, but then again I am a vain bastard and summer is coming, what can I say.

So I wanted a diet/eating plan that would allow me to maintain my size, contained plenty of protein for ongoing muscle growth AND would hopefully help me shift some flab and fat.

So whilst looking around I stumbled across “The boiled egg diet”. It sounds horrific I know, but it’s not as bad as it sounds. For me it ticked all the boxes. Lots of protein, lots of good fats, very few (if any starchy carbs) but also lots of good carbs and fibre from Vegetables and fruit. Would this help me maintain muscle and lose some flab?

I’m well aware that in some circles eggs have a bad reputation. Too high in fat! Too much Cholesterol! The risk of illness etc!

However, from all the research I have done eggs are an extremely healthy food as they contain lots of protein and numerous nutrients. Eggs provide the necessary vitamins and nutrients for our bodies.

Eggs contain a lot of nutrients, high-quality protein, good fats, minerals and vitamins. One egg is rich in Selenium, vitamin A, vitamin B2, vitamin B5 and Vitamin B12. They also contain minerals and vitamins such as Folate, vitamin E, potassium, calcium, manganese, zinc and iron.

One large egg contains small amounts of carbohydrates, five grams of fat, six grams of quality protein and 77 calories. It is really important to mention that the white contains all the protein, while all the healthy nutrients are in the yolk.

The plan is to do it for just two weeks. Potentially just lose a few pounds, strip as much fat as possible and still ,as much as I can, maintain muscle size. I’ve been doing it for a week now. The diet is below. Take a look and I’ll give you my impressions of it after that.

The Diet:

Week 1:

Monday: Breakfast: two boiled eggs and fruit Lunch: two slices of meal bread and fruit Dinner: cooked chicken and salad

Tuesday: Breakfast: two boiled eggs and fruit Lunch: cooked chicken and green salad Dinner: orange, salad and two boiled eggs

Wednesday: Breakfast: two boiled eggs and fruit Lunch: one tomato, one slice of meal bread and low fat cheese Dinner: cooked chicken and salad

Thursday: Breakfast: two boiled eggs and fruit Lunch: fruit Dinner: streamed chicken

Friday: Breakfast: two boiled eggs Lunch: two boiled eggs and steamed vegetables Dinner: barbecued fish and salad

Saturday: Breakfast: two boiled eggs Lunch: fruit Dinner: steamed chicken and salad

Sunday: Breakfast: two boiled eggs and fruit Lunch: tomato salad and steamed vegetables with chicken Dinner: streamed vegetables

Week 2:

Monday: Breakfast: two boiled eggs Lunch: salad and chicken Dinner: orange, salad and two boiled eggs

Tuesday: Breakfast: two boiled eggs Lunch: salad and chicken Dinner: orange, salad and two boiled eggs

Wednesday: Breakfast: two boiled eggs and fruit Lunch: cooked chicken and salad Dinner: orange, salad and two boiled eggs

Thursday: Breakfast: two boiled eggs and fruit Lunch: steamed vegetables, two boiled eggs and low fat cheese Dinner: steamed chicken and salad

Friday: Breakfast:  two boiled eggs and fruit Lunch: tuna salad Dinner: two boiled eggs and salad

Saturday: Breakfast: two boiled eggs and fruit Lunch: cooked chicken and salad Dinner: fruits

Sunday: Breakfast: two boiled eggs Lunch and Dinner: steamed vegetables and steamed chicken

So here we are, at the end of week one, and what do I think?  Well firstly, not to state the obvious, I’m sick to bloody death of eggs!! However I can live with that part and there is only another week to go.

In terms of more constructive criticism…here goes. The effect has not been incredible but I’m fairly pleased. Mainly because I seem to be hitting the main goals. I haven’t noticeably lost any muscle size or definition but I HAVE lost about 2 pounds in weight and thankfully that seems to have mostly been in my target area around my midriff and belly. It isn’t dramatic but it is noticeable and strangely, even though I only look slightly slimmer, I really feel different. I just feel leaner, a bit more taught, tighter in the areas I wanted to tighten up. Now that may just be psychological and we will see where we are in another week, but for now it seems to be working.

Other side effects are also positive. The massive cutback on anything sugary and complete cut out of alcohol has me feeling more alert, staying awake later, but sleeping better. I’m also smashing my gym workouts for the last week.

So is there any downside?  Well Yes… I must admit to finding it pretty boring. Eggs, fruit, steamed veg and plain chicken is torture to a man who craves flavour and loves his food. However I’m adding garlic, chilli and ginger to just about everything and that has improved things.

The other definite drawback is that the eggs, whilst not creating the expected eggy fart environment 24/7, are causing some bad breath issues sometimes. The eggs seem to have the effect of drying your mouth out a bit and that creates a sort of sour feeling. I’ve found that if you just drink even more water AND clean your teeth an extra time mid day, it goes away.

So, if like me, you want to still build muscle, cut the flab AND eat healthy then after week 1 I would definitely recommend the boiled egg diet. For me it’s something I may do for 2 weeks every 3 months or so just to strip some unwanted fat.

Having said all that, I am dreaming of next Tuesday when I’ve promised myself a “bad” day and when I sure as hell won’t be boiling any eggs.

Take Care,

John

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Food Prep – The Road to Getting Lean!

Good Food  Food Prep

We all want washboard Abs, great chest and arm muscles and if you’re a lady a nice tight butt and slim hips. You may be prepared to put in the hard physical work necessary and hit the Gym, train or workout 5 times a week, but that’s only half the battle. What food you buy, what food you eat and how you eat,to my mind at least, is the hardest part of the battle. Most of us are prepared to shift the weights , hit the treadmill and wear the Lycra to get fit, it’s the healthy eating and laying off the booze that leads us astray.

I’ve written before about the need for consistency and firmly believe that if you eat and train well 80%+ of the time then you can allow yourself the odd bad night or weekend. However there is no getting around it, the food that you eat is critical if you want to shed those pounds, reduce body fat and finally show those long hidden abs.

One of the biggest issues and regular excuses that people make is the time and effort it takes to prepare healthy food compared to so called “convenience” food. Yes it may well take a bit of extra effort when shopping and preparing your food but it is worth it. The key is to BE PREPARED! When you go shopping you need to know what to buy and what you are going to do with it. I’d also suggest that you prepare at least some of your meals in advance. I often spend 45 minutes on a Sunday or Monday and knock up 4 or 5 meals that I can have for lunch every day the rest of the week. It may be slightly boring but it will be healthy, good for my waistline and contain lots of protein to help me build muscle and shed fat. With Summer coming fast and not much time to get into swimsuit shape why not try this for the next month and see what happens.

Below is a brief shopping list of some of the things to buy weekly or put in your store cupboard that will help you eat clean, healthy and become lean. Below that is a simple recipe that I use that will make your 4 meals that you can stick in the fridge and just microwave as needed.

Shopping List:

Steak, Chicken Breasts, Turkey breasts, Turkey Mince, Lean Pork, Lamb cutlets, Fish – Pretty much any and all types of fish are fine. Vegetables – Brocolli, Cauliflower, Avocado, Greens, Salad leaves, Green beans, Onions, Asparagus, Red Peppers, mushrooms, Spring Onion, Carrots, Beans & Lentils, Sweet Potato, Brown rice. Fresh Ginger, Chilli’s, Garlic. Fresh herbs like Coriander, Basil, Tarragon, Mint. Lemons, Blueberries, Strawberries, Banana’s, Apples, Pineapple, Melon. Dried spices such as Turmeric, Cinnamon, Paprika, Black pepper. Coconut oil ,Olive Oil and some light soy sauce for cooking and dressings. Bags of mixed nuts for snacking. Greek (Not greek “style”) Yoghurt or Skyr Yoghurt. Pure peanut butter or nut butter. The final thing would be a good Whey Protein powder. That’s pretty much it. If you cook and eat exclusively from that list of ingredients above you will a) be eating very healthily and b) in combination with regular exercise be almost guaranteed to become leaner and more muscular.

Foods to try to avoid would be: Bread, Pasta, Potatoes, Sweets, Crisps, Chocolate bars, cakes (all pretty obvious). Almost all packaged and processed foods (wherever possible, it’s very difficult to completely eradicate these). Sweetened drinks, fizzy drinks and booze (again a couple of beers or glasses of wine at the weekend won’t hurt much).

So now you’ve bought all the right things….what to cook. Here is a simple recipe that you can knock up on a Sunday, stick in the fridge or freezer and will give you a healthy, muscle building lunch or dinner for the next 4 days or so. Other than the ingredients above the only thing you’ll need is a good stack of smallish Tupperware boxes with lids.

Right, lets kick off. Firstly. Get a large bowl of water on the boil. Add in enough brown rice to make 4 small/medium sized portions. Add a dash of salt and leave to simmer away for approximately 25 minutes (Brown rice takes longer to cook than normal rice and retains a firmer texture even when cooked).

Then in a large frying pan or preferably a wok do the following. Add two tablespoons of Coconut oil and heat. Then add one large diced onion, a couple of carrots cut into small round slices, one red pepper diced, a handful of mushrooms diced, 2 cloves of Garlic finely chopped and a large thumb sized piece of ginger sliced or chopped. Depending on if you like your food spicy or not you could also add anything from half to a whole chilli chopped. Fry this off for a couple of minutes until everything starts to soften. Then add in one large Turkey breast cut into smallish cubes (one large turkey breast is normally equivalent in size to around 3 chicken breasts). Continue to fry this for around 4 to 5 minutes. Then as the Turkey starts to brown off add the following. 2 large teaspoons of Turmeric powder, 1 teaspoon of paprika and half a teaspoon of Cinnamon. Continue to cook and stir for around 3 more minutes. If it starts to dry out add a bit more oil as needed. Also grind in a good heap of fresh black pepper. Once you know the Turkey is cooked turn out the heat.

When the rice is cooked, drain any remaining water and also then pour a kettle of boiling water over the rice and drain again to remove excess starch. Then once the water is gone tip the rice into the Turkey and veg mix and stir until it is thoroughly mixed through. Then add in a couple of teaspoons of olive oil and a couple of teaspoons of soy sauce and stir thoroughly again. At this point you want all the rice to darken slightly to show the soy is mixed right through. If you want you can also finely chop a couple of spring onions and stir those in. Allow everything to cool down, split equally into about 4 Tupperware boxes, put the lid on and either freeze or refrigerate. When you want to eat it just microwave for a couple of minutes and away you go. The whole dish including chopping the veg and turkey takes a max of 30/35 minutes and that’s 4 meals done.

There are a whole load of variations of this type of thing that you can do and I’ll do more recipe’s as time goes on. In fact if anyone would like to see videos of recipes such as this please let me know.

I hope you found this helpful, your comments are welcome.

Take Care,

John

Why Diets Don’t Work……..Ever!

muscle-building-foods

You’ve all been there. You look in the mirror and sigh, try to pull on a pair of jeans or skirt you haven’t worn for a while and mysteriously can’t get the zip done up no matter how hard you tug. “That’s it, I’m going on a diet” you say. On a Diet, those three words sum up the problem with diets and the reason they just don’t, won’t, can’t work….not in the long term anyway. It doesn’t matter if it’s the Atkins, the Cabbage Soup or the Caveman diet, ultimately they will fail and you will gain back any weight you lost. Why? Well because the whole phrase going on a diet implies that at some point you will come OFF of that diet, and what happens then? Inevitably the bad habits come back and the weight starts to creep back on.

Also the whole psychology behind dieting creates a negative mindset. It’s all about denial. Denying yourself the foods you’d like to eat, being hungry all the time, forcing yourself to do something you aren’t mad keen about in a desperate drive to lose some weight. If you have that mind set how does it make you feel. Anxious? Depressed? Stressed? At some point you are going to crack. No matter how much will power you have you can’t keep that up for the rest of your life.

Wouldn’t it be soooooo much better to feel positive about your food, what you eat and how you eat? Wouldn’t it be better to east tasty, fun foods, eat decent sized portions and also NOT to feel guilty or beat yourself up when you occasionally tuck into something bad like a sticky toffee pudding with cream. “What, how can i eat that on a diet?”.  Well on a diet you can’t, but if you follow what I’m about to say you CAN!

What you need to do is change your whole outlook and attitude to food. You need to change how you eat and what you eat FOREVER. You aren’t going on a difficult diet, you are going to change your lifestyle and become a HEALTHY EATER. This really isn’t rocket science, in fact it’s absolute common sense and to be honest our grandparents generations and the ones before that did it as a matter of course.

It’s really really simple to do. Basically you just need to eat fresh food. That’s it. “It can’t be that simple?”  Well actually it pretty much is with a couple of rules. The key is to avoid processed and packaged produce as much as you possibly can. Avoid sweet or packaged snacks as much as you can and avoid fizzy or sweetened drinks as much as you can, and cut back slightly on Carbs such as potatoes, bread and pasta. That is pretty much it. Other than that you can still eat 2 to 3 meals a day and for your main dinner you can eat pretty healthy/large portions.

So what do i mean by processed foods? Again it’s simple. Anything that comes in a packet or packaging that has a list of ingredients needs either to be avoided or the label carefully studied. ALL ready meals, most childrens meals, ALL fizzy drinks, anything that has lists of chemicals, sweeteners or E numbers on the label. “Hmmmm, so what can i eat?” As i said, basically it is fresh stuff. Meat, Fish, Poultry, Eggs, Beans, Nuts and Vegetables / Salad / Fruit. Within reason you can eat as much of these as you like. Throw in some exercise and you will either lose weight (if you are currently overweight), or maintain a healthy weight (if you are not really that overweight).

Is it a bit more difficult, less convenient in this busy modern world. Yes it is slightly but would you prefer the slight inconvenience of having to buy and prepare fresh food and healthy meals that you can eat a lot of and enjoy, or suffer the misery of continually being on a deny yourself everything type diet?

So what does this mean in practical terms? The best way to illustrate that is probably to tell you what I’m eating at the moment. I am on a drive to lose some weight and strip some blub from around my middle area. I’m not overweight at all really. I was about 12 stone 5 pounds  and want to get down to about 11 stone 10 if possible. Why? Well because as I’ve already told you I’m vain and would love once in my life to have some proper 6 pack abs. So I’m training quite hard and want to lose some weight but at the same time don’t want to lose any muscle and therefore need to eat well and decent portions. So here is what i ate yesterday and will eat today.

Yesterday: Went to the Gym first thing. When i got back i had a medium bowl of Greek Yoghurt (the real stuff, not Greek style) with a large handful of blueberries thrown in and a drizzle of honey over the top. This was washed down with a double scoop protein shake. Late morning i had a Banana. At lunch i had 2 eggs, simply cracked into a bowl, salt and pepper and microwaved for 1 minute. Mid afternoon a large handful of mixed nuts. Then for dinner we sat down as a family and smashed into 3 beautiful lamb cutlets (with the lovely crispy fat as well) and a large salad. The salad was mixed leaves, loads of tomato’s, red pepper, spring onion and a large avocado. It took ten minutes to make the salad and about 7 minutes to cook the chops, what’s hard about that? I was full and very happy.

Today is a no Gym day. So far I’ve had the same bowl of Yoghurt, Blueberries and Honey plus one banana. For lunch i plan a couple of Ryvita’s smeared in delicious Nut butter, probably another Banana and some Melon I’ve got in the fridge. Mid afternoon I’ll probably break cover, be bad and have a cup of coffee with a biscuit. Then for dinner it will be similar to last night. We have some marinated spicy turkey breast steaks with a different type of salad and maybe some couscous.

Is it working? Absolutely! I’m down to 12 stone 1 pound. Feel great and am seeing some Abs appear (although long way to go yet). Also the trick here is that I don’t deny myself. We have got a few social nights out coming up in the next few weeks and on those nights I’m going to eat and drink what the hell i like, no denial whatsoever. Can you do that on a diet? No. However on a lifelong healthy eating plan you can cut yourself some slack and break loose now and then.

To just go back over this and make things very clear. The critical thing you need to change is not just your diet, it’s your attitude to food and eating. Be proud of the fact that you are changing your life for the better. In the book I’m writing I talk about pride as being a big motivating factor and maybe my next post will be about pride and other tools you can use for motivation. Your attitude needs to be “I am going to eat well, eat healthily, prepare my food myself instead of letting the supermarket do it, and I can eat big portions and be bad now and again”. It’s just common sense, it’s just going back to what our Grandparent did and adopting their “meat and two veg” lifestyle but making it more fun.

Future posts will start to give recipe advice, tips on how to prepare food in advance to cut down on time and if you want I’m happy to give more examples of what I’m eating.

Take Care,

John