By Tom Furman
Rather than write an article on how to eat, I’ll write an article on how I eat. It’s cool to look at ideas, charts, research and recipes, but it is perhaps more useful to see how it all gets implemented in a lifestyle.
I don’t like naming diets since it’s just food. There are THREE primary macronutrients..FAT, CARBOHYDRATES AND PROTEIN. We can list more like alchohol, fiber and water, but they will get mentioned later. Every diet book is a variation of the three macros. That’s it. No magic.
Body fat loss is primarily driven by a reduction in calories. To a lesser degree, exercise or activity. Despite what you hear daily, you can’t hack physics. If you want to optimize your leanness, you have to track calories through proper habits and honest feedback or by recording and measuring it. Most everyone is highly skilled at self deception. Their clothing shrunk or the scale is wrong.
With the above in mind, let me list some factoids about my eating habits.
- I never measure, but I am organized in portion control and the types of food I choose.
- When I have measured myself, I’m consistently around 170 lbs and 6–1 and roughly 10–12% body fat, which is just a guess, since most methods of measurement are HIGHLY inaccurate. I have never, ever, trained to be in condition for any photoshoots. That’s the way I walk around 365 days per year.
- One organizational principal that I picked up from Barry Sears’ Zone is to include ALL three macronutrients with every meal or snack. I get similar amounts of calories from fat/protein/carbohydrate. Something the late Daniel Duchaine called, “Iso-Caloric”.
- I eat several times per day. It is about convenience and not magic. I NEVER FAST. Skipping breakfast or intermittent fasting would only happen if I chose to skip breakfast for convenience or scheduling. Sleeping 8 hours is enough of a fast for me.
- I have never been in ketosis as far as I know. No reason to be.
- Mediterranean food is my favorite. Actually the foods from this region and the so called, diet, are rated highly for health. While there is some decent research in this area, there is extreme diversity in the regional foods and lots of evidence is epidemiological. Lots of correlation/causation and not very specific.
Having coached many to leanness and being able to maintain it myself, I have found certain practices to be detrimental.
- Liquids are an elegant delivery system to cram more calories down your pie hole.
2. Similar to men and fighting skill, most humans GROSSLY overestimate their activity level.
3. Everyone underestimates how fat they are.
4. People moralize food. It is called, “The Great American Post Theory”. They ask the question, “I thought that was ‘post to be good for you?” “Aren’t avocados ‘post to be BAD for you?”
5. The average person doesn’t know that a pound of fat is 3500 calories.
6. In terms of activity, individuals do 100 calories worth of movement and reward themselves with 1000 calories of consumables.
7. Exercise, using both cardiovascular and resistance training to maintain and build your body, not to lose body fat. It helps, but the main driver of fat loss is eating less calories.
My day looks like this-
Breakfast — Whole oats, almonds, berries and egg whites.
Lunch — Some chicken breast, berries and more almonds.
Dinner — Seafood, poultry or lean red meat, salad with a whole avocado and flat bread.
Snacks — Quest Bars or Almonds ( 12 of them is a serving, not a 5 pound bag)
Beverages are water, coffee and green tea.
Supplements are 3.0 grams of fish oil, vitamin D/K, Magnesium, Creatine, Melatonin.
I eat out weekly and try a wide variety of ethnic foods at various South Florida restaurants. I focus on protein first, then ample vegetables and a touch of fat from olive oil. I may take a spoonful of rice or pasta, but I really don’t like the taste of them. Some folks will say, “Well that’s my problem, I love pasta and rice!!” NO. That is not your problem. Your problem is that you eat too many calories. I like food too, I just don’t medicate with it.
Eating correctly is not rocket surgery. It’s about how much you put in your mouth and trying to keep the quality as high as possible within the three macronutrient groups. This is what I teach clients. The ones that excel respect the numbers. The ones that fail have,”good weeks and bad weeks” (moralizing). They are not truthful about liquid calories (alcohol) nor portions as well.
If you need help getting a grip on your eating habits, please contact me at the email listed below.