The Holiday Effect – Part 3

Oh Diet. Isn’t it everybody’s nemesis? How good it would be if we could eat whatever we want, whenever we feel like and not have severe consequences on our waistline.

I came back from my two-week vacation four kilos heavier. Now that I’m back home, I had to do something about it. Besides exercising 6 times per week (read the previous article for more info), I had to get my eating habits back on track.

You’ve probably heard several times that diet is responsible for about 80% of weight-loss (especially if you intend to preserve lean mass in the process). Unfortunately, exercise alone cannot make a significant dent on the energy balance equation in order to lead to considerable fat loss. Therefore, dietary adjustments are adamant.

However, we don’t want to simply skip meals or starve ourselves. That would generate a metabolic disaster since the body would perceive it as a threat and kick into conservation mode, slowing down your precious weight-loss.

Having that in mind, I designed my nutrition plan based on eliminating processed foods, limiting restaurant foods and take-outs, and focusing on eating plenty of fresh veggies and fruits, whole grains, seeds, nuts and healthy oils, and lean protein sources. Simple enough.

The idea was to fill up the plate with fibre-rich vegetables in order to make me feel satiated. But I wasn’t limiting myself to salads because I knew that wouldn’t work for long. Instead I found recipes that replaced refined carbs with veggies and whole grains.

Another change was to include lean protein in every meal. Keep in mind that protein intake is very important during a weight-loss process because it is used to build and repair muscle. Also, the digestion of protein takes longer and requires more energy which keeps you feeling full for longer and increases your basal metabolic rate (meaning that you burn more calories in the process). Breakfast was the biggest challenge I faced because it’s not as if I could have a full serving of chicken breast at 6 am. Nonetheless, I found ways of sneaking protein everywhere I could.

To improve adherence, and not rely solely on willpower, I looked for recipes that appealed to my taste buds. It is much easier to stick to a diet if you look forward to have your meals. I created a folder with my favourite recipes so I could easily plan a weekly menu.

Preparation is another big step to success. My daily schedule is hectic: I wake up too early (4:30am at times) and arrive home late night (8:30 or 9 pm). If I didn’t have a plan chances were, I would eat whatever I could get my hands at or rely on take-outs. You see, restaurant foods are designed to be yummy (so you become a frequent customer). For that, meals contain way more salt, sugar and fat that you would consume if you were to prepare something similar at home. Mind you, I don’t have anything against enjoying a nice family dinner out. I just believe that it should be left for special occasions.

So, I planned the weekly menu based on recipes I intended to prepare, made a grocery list and went shopping. And no, I didn’t spend my whole Sunday meal prepping. My preparation is usually minimal. It consists of washing and cutting fruits and veggies, maybe preparing a batch of breakfast options and organizing the fridge. That’s it. Every night, I prepare enough food for dinner and next day’s lunch. I take to work my breakfast, lunch and any snacks I may have. The only thing I buy is my daily cup of coffee.

Here is this week’s menu plan. Next time, I’ll be posting some of the recipes. If there is anyone in particular you would like me to post, just write on the comments. Until next time😊

 

Monday

Tuesday

Wednesday

Thursday

Friday

Breakfast

Ricotta and spinach egg muffin

Berry and chia pudding

Ricotta and spinach egg muffin

Berry and chia pudding

Ricotta and spinach egg muffin

Berry and chia pudding

Ricotta and tomato omelette

Mixed berries with yogurt and seeds

Ricotta and tomato omelette

Mixed berries with yogurt and seeds

Post workout

Protein powder

banana

Protein powder

banana

Protein powder

banana

Protein powder

banana

Protein powder

banana

Lunch

4 salmon sashimi

4 salmon nigiri

(store bought)

Zucchini spaghetti with grilled salmon Carrot and orange salad w/ smoked paprika chicken tenderloin Sweet potato mash with spinach salad and veal/pork patties Crab Nicoise salad
Dinner Zucchini spaghetti with grilled salmon Carrot and orange salad w/ smoked paprika chicken tenderloins Sweet potato mash with spinach salad and veal/pork patties Crab Nicoise salad Broccoli and snow peas with hummus and roast chicken