Back to basics

“You can’t out train a bad diet”.

You’ve probably heard that phrase before. I certainly have and know it to be true. There’s another saying that fat loss is 30% exercise 70% diet. I have no way of knowing whether those figures are accurate but it sounds in the right ball park to me.

Recently my fat loss feels like it’s stalled a bit. Especially around my middle which is my ‘problem’ area. I’m seeing some nice definition appearing in my shoulders, arms and legs, so changes are happening. But the fat that’s sitting around my tummy just doesn’t seem to want to move.

I know that it can’t be exercise. I am following Julia Buckley’s Extreme Inferno programme and working out 6 days out of 7 most weeks. The type of exercise I’m doing is designed for fat loss – so I think I can safely rule that out as an issue.

imagesI don’t think that my diet is all that bad. I eat clean most of the time – lots of protein, plenty of vegetables and fruit and I keep processed carbohydrate, dairy and alcohol to a minimum.

Or at least that’s what I tell myself.

The reality is more like this:

During the week I cook breakfast at home – eggs and veg, sometimes with a bit of meat. I grab a flat white on the way to work and buy lunch, which is usually a salad. Most days I have a spicy chicken salad – it’s got tortilla chips and a bit of cheese in it, but it’s only a small amount. Snacks are fruit or yoghurt topped with a bit of granola that I buy at the same place I get my lunch. Sometimes some dried fruit and nuts. Sometimes crisps if I’m desperate because they’re in the vending machine or even chocolate or cake because there’s always some in the office.

I am lucky to come home and have my dinner cooked for me at home. That’s almost always clean. Sometimes after dinner I’ll snack on some dark chocolate or have an apple and peanut butter. I might go to the pub after work once during the week and have a couple of glasses of wine. That might lead me to have a sneaky packet of crisps to tide me over until I get home for dinner. The weekends are usually a bit different, I cook breakfast usually bacon and eggs and we often eat out on a Saturday. I generally choose well but there’s usually alcohol involved, and it’s usually more than a couple of glasses of wine.

Hm. When I write it out like that it’s not quite as clean as I’d have myself believe.  I’ve been eating this way for around 18 months now and following the ‘mostly mostly’ approach that Julia advocates. I aim for something like 80/20 and if I’m honest I’ve probably been achieving perhaps 70/30 or at times 65/35.

The thing is when you’ve been doing something for a while it’s easy to become complacent. The chicken salad which has tortilla chips and cheese in it used to be a one a week ‘treat’. It’s now become a daily thing. Same with the flat white. Where once I was a master of avoiding cake and chocolate at work I’ve been having bits here and there more regularly than I used to. Alcohol has always been my biggest ‘risk area’ when it comes to fat loss. I do like a glass of wine, and there’s no reason why I can’t have a few drinks and still lose fat – I know this to be true! But a few glasses a week means just that and I’ve definitely got back into the habit of having a bit more than that.

Time for some changes!

This week Julia challenged us to a no alcohol week. I’ve done this on her programmes a couple of times before and always found it helpful. I decided to also use this week to kick my daily flat white habit and to take my food ‘back to basics’. I invested in some new storage containers and have been making my own lunches and taking in my own snacks all week. Big hearty salads for lunch with a good chunk of protein and then fresh fruit and a handful of nuts as snacks.

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I’ve actually quite enjoyed the variety in the lunches and the discipline of getting everything prepared the night before – all it takes is a bit of planning and I’ve probably saved some money too.

And in just a week of doing this my body has started to react. My stomach is noticeably flatter and I’ve lost a centimetre off my tummy. The fat is on the move again and I am happy 🙂

Do you eat clean and make your own lunches for work? I’d love to hear about your favourite lunch box meals.

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