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

Healthy Eating for Weight Loss – What, when, how…..

Healthy Lean FoodThe title makes it sound so easy and to some extent it is BUT you must come to terms with the fact that this is not some quick fix. You can’t lose some weight then go back to eating what you were eating before, it just doesn’t work that way. This is a lifestyle change……forever!   “Whoooah!!” I can hear you thinking, “I’m not sure I’m up for that, who wants to go on a diet forever?”

You’re absolutely right, no-one does and that is exactly the point, this is NOT a diet. A diet implies something you are doing. You are going “ON” a diet. That implies a beginning and an end. So what happens when it ends? You just go back to eating loads of crap again and the weight and health issues all return. This is not like that. This is about making fundamental changes to the way you think and live for ever more, BUT it will still allow you to eat many of the things you love and enjoy, still have a few drinks and even enjoy a major blow out now and then. Read my previous post about consistency which outlines how being consistent in your eating and fitness allows you to still have fun.

So let’s cut to the chase. What do i need to eat, how do i need to eat and when etc? I will post a series of articles going into a lot more detail as this is and can be a very complex subject and much of it will depend to some extent on what your goals are ie losing a lot of weight or toning up and building muscle. For now let’s just cover some basics.

My personal philosophy and what works for me is to try to be good around 80% of the time. The way i do that is i eat as clean as possible from Monday through to Friday evening. Then depending on what’s happening socially i relax everything and eat/drink more of what i enjoy from Friday evening to Sunday evening. That doesn’t mean i go out of my way to binge, eat crap, shovel chocolate and crisps down my neck or drink gallons of beer. I’m still careful, but it just means if I’m going for a curry i eat what i want and have a few beers, or I’ll have a big Sunday roast with all the trimmings, possibly even an egg and bacon breakfast sometimes. If you cut everything out 7 days a week you simply WILL NOT stick to it. Don’t set yourself up to fail. By treating yourself a bit each week it makes the “being good” days much easier.

So what to eat and what not? Generally speaking it’s very simple and you all know the answer without me telling you. Eat fresh food as much as possible and avoid anything processed wherever it is possible. If it’s in a packet and you have to read the ingredients, calories, fat levels etc, it’s probably best to avoid it all together. Even if it says “low fat” or “low sugar” on the packet, trust me, it won’t be good for you.

When trying to lose weight you obviously need to cut your calorie intake and also limit the amount of Calorie dense and nutritionally poor foods. Packaged food always contains chemicals, preservatives, hidden sugar and bad “trans fats”. Simply by cutting out processed or packaged food as much as possible i guarantee you will become healthier and lighter. As much as you possibly can avoid sugar at all costs. Not only does it contain huge amounts of calories per weight but recent research suggests that refined sugar is possibly a direct cause of cancer as well as other illnesses such as diabetes. Just cutting your sugar intake by 75% will have a dramatic impact.

The good news is that the old belief that fat is bad for you has been proven to be wrong completely. In fact fats are essential and help you to shed calories faster and also converts to muscle quicker than other types of food. Generally speaking you need to increase your protein intake, increase your good fat intake and cut back a bit on Carbohydrates. In simple terms that means:

Good foods: Fresh meat- Chicken, Turkey, Pork, Lamb, some cuts of Beef. Fish – pretty much all fish is fine but also include some oily fish such as Salmon, Mackerel, Sardines etc as they contain Omega 3 oils which are very good for you. Egg’s – a few eggs a week are definitely something you should include in your diet. ALL vegetables and salad stuff but especially Brocolli, Cauliflower, Kale, dark leaved salads, Beetroot, Peppers, Tomato’s. Advocado is another MUST. Not only is it versatile and taste great but it contains loads of very healthy fats. On top of these pulses and beans such as lentils, kidney beans, black beans, Cannelloni beans etc are all good. Nuts of all types (almonds, brazil, cashew, walnut, hazelnut, peanut). You can now buy great organic Nut butters (variations on peanut butter) which contain a lot of calories but in small amounts are also really healthy and they are good calories. Use virgin Olive Oil for salad dressings and Coconut oil or (believe it or not, proper old fashioned full fat butter) to cook with. Cheese in small amounts is fine and real live yoghurt is also good. (Warning- read the labels in supermarkets. You will often see Greek “style” yoghurt. That is not the real thing). I use Skyr the Icelandic high protein yoghurt. In terms of fruits Berries (especially blueberries) are all good, apples and banana’s etc.

In terms of Carbs, you definitely still need them, it’s just how you get them that is important. Try to cut back on Bread as much as possible (weekends only and opt for a brown or wholegrain type). Similarly with pasta, you can still have it but cut back. Rice, again if possible opt for brown or wild rice, if you don’t like it you can still eat white but cut back the portions. Potatoes just now and again although sweet potato contains a lot of protein and is fine. Vegetable contain lots of carbs and are a great, low calories way of getting both fibre and carbs into your diet so load up on Brocolli, Cauliflower, Kale, Cabbage etc.

Finally to add some flavour and zing to all that fresh produce you definitely need to stock up your spice and herb cupboard. Garlic and Ginger are both great for you. Spices like Turmeric, Chilli, Cinnamon, Black Pepper are all great for you and add not only flavour but have all sorts of fantastic health benefits. I add many of the above to almost everything.

If you’ve just read the list I’m sure you’ll agree, it isn’t rocket science. We all know that fresh, non processed food is good and processed and packaged food is bad. You just need to change your mind set and approach to them.

A final warning note. Just as important as what you eat is what you drink. It is very very hard indeed to find drinks that don’t contain a huge amount of sugar and loads of chemicals that you just don’t want in your body. If you have 4 or 5 cups of tea/coffee a day with a couple of sugars in each one and a can of coke then that is hundreds of worthless calories in one day. Wherever possible avoid ALL fizzy drinks, either cut the sugar you have in tea and coffee to a minimum or just cut back on the number of cups per day. The same goes for alcohol. I love a drink, especially a glass of wine with a meal. Not long ago my wife and I were drinking a bottle of wine a night most nights and added beers and extra wine at the weekend. I’m not saying don’t drink but Monday to Friday try to avoid it as much as you can. It will save you thousands of calories a week AND is better for your health all round. Drink lots of water, 4-6 large glasses a day and if you find it boring squeeze some lemon in it or add some mint or ginger to change it up a bit.

I’m aware that this post is dragging on now so rather than prolong it my next post will go into some detail about how to actually apply this knowledge practically. What you can do on a day by day basis and will give some examples of the types of meals you can eat.

I’d welcome your comments and am happy to answer any questions you have.

Take Care,

John