The 10 Commandments of Good Nutrition
After getting many requests from people around the gym for meal plans, I have decided to provide you with the “10 Commandments of Good Nutrition.” These “commandments” will provide you with all the direction you need in order to get leaner, stronger, and feel better. The guidelines are simple, effective, and sustainable, which removes all excuses not to do them, and allows you to ultimately reach your goals! I am not claiming to have invented ANY of these ideas or concepts, and have taken them from various articles, books, and strategies that I have discovered over the years.
1.) Eat 5-6 times per day. This is nothing that most of you haven’t heard before, but it bears repeating. When you stay on top of your meals, eating every 2-4 hours, you will keep your metabolism firing, but most importantly, the odds of cheating and eating things you shouldn’t go way down. I often tell people to have breakfast, lunch, dinner, and add a couple of protein shakes or small meals in between.
THOUGH SHALL NOT VIOLATE THESE COMMANDMENTS!
THOUGH SHALL NOT VIOLATE THESE COMMANDMENTS!
2.) Base every meal around a source of lean protein. Protein is the most metabolically expensive macronutrient there is (turns out, it is the most financially expensive as well J). This means that your body needs to burn more calories to even break the protein down for digestion. Protein aids in building new lean muscle tissue, which will also keep your metabolism high, and help you burn calories while you are sitting on the couch watching HBO, so start basing EACH of the 5-6 meals around these proteins: chicken, lean ground beef, turkey, lean cuts of steak, fish, shrimp, egg whites, and protein powder. Nuts are not a protein source. Yogurt is not a protein source. Milk is not a protein source. If a food has more carbs in it than protein (like milk and yogurt) it is a carb source. If a food has more fat in it than protein (like nuts) it is a fat source.
3.) Surround the protein based meal with either carbs OR fat. Avoiding meals that contain significant amounts of both carbs AND fat may be the single most important decision you make. By doing so, you immediately moderate the calories of that meal, and also avoid shuttling any significant amount of dietary fat into your bloodstream when your insulin levels are elevated after a protein and carb meal.
Carb choices include: oats, sweet potatoes, potatoes, rice, black beans, hummus (measure it closely), bananas, or rye/whole wheat bread or wraps. I included a very limited number of carb choices, because you don’t need many. I don’t include pasta, because unless you are going to eat it plain (who does that?), it has WAY to many sauce laden calories.
Acceptable fats include eggs, meats that have slightly higher amounts of animal fat, olive oil, light balsamic dressing, nuts, and peanut/almond butter.
4.) Count Carb and Fat Calories. Generally, be aware of exactly how many carb and fat calories you are having at each meal. I suggest having 1 calorie/lb of bodyweight for carbs OR fats, surrounded by unlimited lean protein, fruits (only protein and carb meals), and vegetables for weight loss. For weight gain, eat 1.5-2 calories/lb.
For example, a 140 lb woman trying to lose weight, should consume 140 calories worth of oatmeal with egg whites for a healthy breakfast, or measure out 140 calories of olive oil to spread on a grilled chicken salad. A 180 lb male trying to gain weight may want to consume 270-360 calories of oats, or 270-360 calories of olive oil with that grilled chicken salad. Again, these guidelines are GENERAL, and will require tweaking to fit individual needs. Once you are tuned into what your intake is, and what results you are getting, it will be very easy to make changes.
Why not count protein calories, or fruits and veggies? I do not know anyone that has gained bodyfat from eating too much grilled chicken, broccoli, or apples, do you? Eat your fill of these items, your body will “autoregulate” and tell you when enough is enough!
5.) 100% compliance, & the 24 hour rule. You must adhere to these rules 100% of the time! NO EXCEPTIONS! If you follow these rules 100% of the time, you may grant yourself a 24 hour “free period” where you can consume what you like, eat like most Americans, and take a mental break from all those egg whites and almonds. There is actually a science to cheating as well, as brief periods of over eating can help keep your body out of homeostasis, and help you continue to get leaner. Unless you are stepping on a bodybuilding stage, you have no reason to feel guilty for cheating. HOWEVER, you need to be 100% compliant during the week. No more “a dollop of this” or “a little bit of that.” Either you have 2 feet in the circle, or none at all.
6.) MINIMAL ALCOHOL. If you MUST have a drink, 1 light beer of an 8 oz glass of wine (yes, measure it) is acceptable. And no, pouring as much wine as possible into a medieval sized goblet is not “just one glass” and is not “good for your heart.” I abstain from alcohol unless I am in my 24 hour cheat window; I would suggest you do the same.
7.) Don’t drink your calories! No coconut water, no G2 or Gatorade, no juice, no cream in coffee! Stick to water, diet drink products, black coffee, or other beverages with minimal calories. You can do everything right during the day, but ruin it all with 3 gatorades consumed during the day. I would allow a Gatorade and protein powder mixture as a post workout shake, but that is it!
8.) Use condiments that are low calorie! You may use ketchup, honey mustard, yellow mustard, spicy mustard, sugar free jelly ONLY DURING protein and carb meals, and just don’t overdo it. During protein and fat meals, if you need condiments, only rely on olive oil or balsamic dressing.
9.) Ahh, the great dairy debate. Dairy should have very much of a place in anybody’s fat loss diet. If weight gain is desired, moderate amounts are acceptable.
The debate to included dairy or not include dairy is not a new one, and without delving into it too much, I just feel as though we tend to eat “bad” things with dairy: cheese with pizza, milk with processed cereal, ice cream, etc.
Yogurt and milk actually have a good amount of high glycemic carbs in them as well, which is good post workout, but not at many other times. A lot of dairy products will temp you to violate the “rule” of separating fats and carbs. Worried about calcium? Almonds, shrimp, and leafy green vegetables all have a lot of calcium, and none of the sugar. Take home: if you must have dairy, consume a milk based protein powder shake or a yogurt and protein powder mixture for a healthy post workout meal.
10.) Be honest with yourself. I can’t tell you how many people I have had tell me “Matt, I just can’t get leaner, I eat so clean, grilled chicken salads, egg white omelets, I just don’t understand.” Short of accusing anyone of lying, I have always found it amusing that when I follow the guidelines, the weight falls right off. This is not because I have some crazy metabolism (quite the opposite in fact), but because I am HONEST with myself and I do not cheat, even a little bit, during my non cheat days. This may sound harsh, but stop lying to others, and most importantly, yourself about your nutrition. Your way doesn’t work. Do it my way and enjoy the body that comes with it! Each and every time you eat, run through these commandments in your mind, and make sure you aren't violating them!
Included below are a couple of meal plans to help you on your way:
140 lb Female, Weight Loss
Breakfast: 6 Egg Whites scrambled with 1 Egg, ½ Cup Oats (Dry Measure). After cooking the oats, add berries, splenda, and/or sugar free jam for taste.
AM Snack: 1 Protein Shake consisting of 1 Scoop Protein, 1 Tablespoon Hersheys Unsweeteed Cocoa Powder, 4oz of water, Lots of Ice, 1 Teaspoon Peanut Butter, 1 Packet Splenda or Truvia. Yum!
Lunch: 6” Oven Roasted Chicken from Subway on Flatbread, Unlimited Veggies, Honey Mustard, Apple
Dinner: Grilled Chicken, Grilled Veggies, 1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
PM Snack/Dessert: 1 Protein Shake consisting of 1 Scoop Protein, 1 Tablespoon Hersheys Unsweeteed Cocoa Powder, 4oz of water, Lots of Ice, 1 Teaspoon Peanut Butter, 1 Packet Splenda or Truvia. Yum!
240 lb Male, Weight Loss
Breakfast: 10 Egg Whites scrambled with 1 Egg, 3/4 Cup Oats (Dry Measure). After cooking the oats, add berries, splenda, and/or sugar free jam for taste.
AM Snack: 1 Protein Shake consisting of 2 Scoops Protein, 1 Tablespoon Hersheys Unsweeteed Cocoa Powder, 6-8oz of water, Lots of Ice, 1 Tablespoon Peanut Butter, 2 Packets Splenda or Truvia. Yum!
Lunch: 6” Oven Roasted Chicken from Subway on Flatbread, Double Meat Unlimited Veggies, Honey Mustard, Apple
Dinner: Grilled Chicken, Grilled Veggies, 2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
PM Snack/Dessert: 1 Protein Shake consisting of 2 Scoops Protein, 1 Tablespoon Hersheys Unsweeteed Cocoa Powder, 6-8oz of water, Lots of Ice, 1 Tablespoon Peanut Butter, 2 Packets Splenda or Truvia. Yum!