SEAN HYSON, CSCS
Try breaking your calories down into macronutrients—protein, carbs, and fat—and counting them every day. This isn’t as brutal as it sounds, but it does require you to read food labels and invest in a food scale (you can get one for a few bucks at virtually any grocery store).
1. Multiply your bodyweight (in pounds) by 13. This determines the number of calories you’ll eat on your diet. 2. Eat one gram of protein per pound of your bodyweight. So, a 190-pound guy will eat 190 grams protein. “ Multiply the number by four find out how many calories your protein allowance counts for. 3. Subtract the protein calories you just calculated from your calorie total. That leaves 1,710 calories for the 190-pounder (2,470 – 760 = 1,710). 4. Now you need to figure out how many grams of carbs and fat you’ll eat. Divide the calories that are left in half. In our example, 1,710 divided by two equals 855. A gram of carbs has four calories, just like protein, so dividing 855 by four leaves the 190-pound fella with 213 grams carbs to eat. A gram of fat has nine calories, meaning that he’s allowed 95 grams fat.
Believe it or not, this rule makes all the counting you set yourself up for with your macros much easier. It’s far simpler to calculate the protein in some plain skinless chicken breasts you cook yourself than it is to figure out how many grams are in a Chipotle burrito (never mind what they say in the nutrition info on their website; you can’t trust it). You can track the fat in two tablespoons of olive oil you toss on your salad better than you can estimate the butter they put in your hashbrowns at a restaurant.
When it comes to meal plans, boring is better. Pick a few foods for each meal that you will eat almost every day, and prepare them in advance. Spending a couple hours on the weekend preparing your weekly menu will save you a lot of time and potential headaches during the week.
You don’t have to live like a monk to get lean. There will surely be times over the course of 90 days when you’ll want or need to eat at restaurants, or get take out, and this doesn’t have to derail your diet. Just make the best choices you can. Instead of ordering foods advertised as battered, breaded, crisp, fried, or smothered, choose baked, braised, grilled, poached, or steamed. 1. Start meals with a salad 2. Ask for the oil and vinegar on the side 3. Replace side orders of potatoes or rice with extra vegetables. 4. Don’t drink alcohol, or any other calorie-containing beverages 5. Ignore the bread or tortilla chips on the table. 6. Finally, leave leftovers.
Let’s clear this up right now—you absolutely will fall off the wagon from time to time over the next 90 days, and the solution is simply to get back on again. When you cheat, try to cheat as little as you can, and eat smart again at your next meal. Don’t say, “screw it,” pig out further, and set yourself back even more.