How To Confidently Create A Healthy Salad From Any Restaurant Part I

Imagine that you just completed a big project with your co-workers. It’s lunch time and the team wants to celebrate. You guys decide to go to a nice Americana type restaurant.

“Oh-oh, I forgot to look at the menu ahead of time”, you tell yourself.

You’ve been secretly trying to drop a few pounds but didn’t want your co-workers to know. You now have two options.

#1)  You can give in and embrace the lunch.  Hey you’re not paying for it; it’s on the company’s dime!

You might as well go big!  Bring on the dessert menu because you earned it by getting that project done!

OR

#2)   You can tell yourself that:

“You know what, despite me eating out I still can’t forget my goal. I’ll just eat something that I won’t regret. “

If you go with option 2, you’re wise my friend. When out at a restaurant those who go with option #2 tend to go with a simple salad.

Excellent choice…if you know how to properly order one.

Well, after today that will no longer be the case! Here’s MicVinny’s advice on how to properly order a salad.

Mo’ Greener Da Salad Da Mo Better!

The first reason most people go towards salads is because they know vegetables are good for them, so salad is a natural selection. Most restaurants have caught on and the sad truth is that almost ANYTHING can be passed as a salad nowadays.

Several restaurants just take some of their best items, toss them in a bowl with a few lettuce leaves and throw some salad dressing on top and <BOOM> call it a salad.

salad made of fried calamari, shrimp, fish, mussels, crab and raw onions
Fried Seafood Salad w/ a touch of Green

You’re going to be smarter than that. When looking for salad options, the first thing you want to do is check for what other vegetables are in that salad besides iceberg lettuce.

If you look up nutrition data you will see that there’s really not a lot of nutritional value to iceberg lettuce. Just because it’s green and a vegetable doesn’t automatically mean it’s supplying all the healthy vitamins your body needs. Here are the stats of iceberg lettuce.

iceberg lettuce statsNow compare that to Romain lettuce & Spinach.

Spinach nutritional information

Romaine lettuce nutritional infoYou see the difference in vitamins and minerals!  When eating green vegetables we want lots of vitamins. That’s why we eat vegetables. So look for salad options that contain romaine, spinach, kale, Swiss chard, cabbage, etc.

Seek other Vegetables

Salad bowl with green saladOnce the search for green is over, now try to see what other veggies are in your salad. When it comes to eating vegetables and fruit, it’s good to think in terms of eating a rainbow. Eating a diverse set of colors insures that you can get all the different vitamins each color group provides.

eggplant feta saladLook in that salad menu for more vegetable options like:

  • cucumbers
  • tomatoes
  • corn
  • celery
  • peppers
  • carrots
  • beets
  • onions
  • mushrooms
  • red cabbage
  • etc.

 

Get Comfortable With Making Special Request

 

Healthy fruit salad with cheeseIf you really want to get the best meal possible, you have to be comfortable with substituting or adding to what you see on menus by defaults. Just because a salad is listed a certain way, does not mean you have to get it EXACTLY as ordered. This was something I use to be terrified to do as well.

It’s the equivalent of going to a fast food restaurant and ordering only by numbers.

NO!!!

You have the ability to get exactly what you want if you just ask for it.

So learn how to get comfy because the salad that’s going to help you change your body is something you will have to customize. Use what’s written as a good base but feel confident that you can change it for your needs.

Get Healthy Clean Protein

Steak thai SaladNext to vegetables, the next important make up of a salad is protein. You want to try and get as much as possible. Nine times out of Ten, that means that you will have to add additional servings to your salad. That’s perfectly ok!

The more protein you can get the better. Protein is what will help with your satiety and make you feel full.

The key is to avoid proteins that are breaded or fried. Your best options typically are eggs, grilled chicken, salmon, shrimp, tuna, turkey or steak.

If you’re at a Subway/deli style place and the grilled options are not available, go with the lean lunchmeat options. That means turkey or chicken options for club salads. It’s not perfect, but it’s better than getting fried options.

Remember, to ask for extra servings of protein.

Salad Dressing on The Side

Salad drenched in salad dressingThe biggest destroyer of a healthy salad is salad dressing. If you let the restaurant put their serving size of dressing on your salad, say good bye to all your hard work constructing that healthy salad!

There can be anywhere from 200-2,000 unnecessary calories in restaurants’ salad dressing! That’s why it’s imperative that you ALWAYS ask for your salad dressing onSalad dressing being poured the side.

 

It’s rare for you to need more than 1-2 tablespoons of salad dressing. You can go with either the default salad dressing or pick whatever you choose.

I’m a fan of oil and vinegar on the side. I use to think this was disgusting until I realize how healthy and tasty these two can be.

The downfall of salad dressings is all the omega-6 fats contained in those dressings. You don’t need all that. When you get oil and vinegar what you want is a side of olive oil.

When you control your portion size, you will barely need ½ tablespoon in you salad. Most of the flavor you want will come from the vinegar. I highly recommend you try it.

Avoid Unnecessary Traps

As Captain Akbar from Star Wars said, ”It’s a trap!!

Restaurants know what they are doing and will try to sneak in some healthy looking foods in to your salads that are just killers.

Please avoid the following:

  • Candied fruits
  • Candied nuts
  • Processed cheese
  • Croutons (lots of oil/butter on top of processed bread)
  • Extra sauces

 

Treat Salads as High Protein, High Fat meal

When eating at a restaurant it’s difficult to know exactly what’s in the food. It’s good to always assume that the proteins are cooked in some type of oil. Also you know that the salad dressing will contain more fats/oils in it than anything else.

healthy salad with grilled salmonThat’s why I like to approach the majority of salads as protein plus fats meals. So if I’m on a moderate to high carb meal plan, I know that I should lower my carb intake while eating this salad.

It’s all about energy balance. My favorite plans emphasize proteins. Fats and Carbs are energy sources. Typically when one rises, the other should be lowered like a see saw. You can’t let both continue to rise if your goal is to not gain weight.


That takes care of Part I. In Part II, I will walk you through creating a salad from several restaurant options.

8 Simple Ways to Cut Calories From A Chinese Restaurant’s Menu

No matter where you live in American, chances are that you will have a Chinese restaurant close by your neighborhood. In less than 10 minutes, you can have some deliciousness ready for pick up. Next to pizza, it is the next most commonly ordered fast food.

If you’re an American, what’s not to like about Chinese food! All the dishes have been drastically altered/created to fit American test buds. Why do you think there are so many fried and sweet options on the menu?

Do you actually know what’s in Sweet & Sour Chicken?
What’s exactly in the Moo Goo Gai Pan’s clear sauce?
Who’s General Tso (or is it Tao)?

Despite all the bad stuff, there’s still some quality food hidden in that eastern but westernized menu! Let me tell you how to turn your next Chinese restaurant visit into a meal your waist will thank you for.

Authentic Chinese Food

Every heard of the superstition that eating Chinese food only makes you hungry an hour later? Well that’s because you probably didn’t know how to order correctly.

Here at MicVinny we are all about being fit. Let me show you how to hack that Chinese menu to embrace some healthy selections.

Westernized Food

As a man who has traveled the world, let me be the first to tell you that the typical American Chinese restaurants ARE NOT authentic Chinese food!

Chinese restaurant dishes are so calorie condensed because they have been Westernized to cater to the overweight American crowd. Extra sugar, extra oil is used to make Americans fat and happy. The majority of the dishes on the menu actually were invented in America not China.

If you look at the Chinese population BEFORE Western foods were introduced, you see they were a pretty healthy culture. It was not typical to see overweight people in that country like you see today.

Thank You McDonalds, Pizza Hut, KFC & Coco Cola!!

KFC in Chinia

 

Let’s start hacking away by looking at a Default Chinese Restaurant Menu.  Follow along as you look at the menu.

Get Your Veggies

So the first thing I look for on a Chinese menu is any dish with vegetables. You’re living a healthy lifestyle so you always want to eat as many vegetables as possible in your day. This is where you should be getting your vitamins.

Get Your Protein

This is pretty easy to spot out because most sections of a menu are categorized by meat. Typical choices are Chicken, Pork, Beef, Seafood and bean curd/tofu.

Don’t be afraid to double the protein either if you’re trying to meet your daily protein requirement

Get Steamed Rice As Your Carbohydrate Source

steamed rice

Simple steamed white rice is the best carbohydrate option on a Chinese menu. All the Lo Mein and Fried Rice options are just filled with unnecessary fats and oils. Keep it simple and clean.

Avoid Breaded items

Spring rolls and egg rollsSo the first items we want to check off are any breaded items. I’m talking about the General Tso’s, Sweet & Sour, Fried Dumplings, and egg rolls dishes. These are normally nothing but wasted carbs and oily fats.

Remember you’re trying to get as much protein in your mean. You are not trying to eat fried bread with a tiny sliver of protein.

 

Avoid Fried Items

Any food on the menu that says fried or crispy is a no-no. Most of the breaded items on the menu are deep fried. That’s just a ton of extra calories from oil that we don’t need in our body.crispy-pork-wontons

 

Avoid Sauces

The biggest killer to Chinese foods is the sauce they place in their dishes. The sauces are nothing but sugar and fat.sesamechicken

Seriously! Next time you look at their sauces just image two cups of sugar and about a cup of oil drenched over that food. That’s basically what you’re eating!

Sauces do make the foods delicious. But it’s time you stop thinking that you HAVE to have exactly the amount of sauce they put into your foods. The best sauces to use are:

  1. Soy sauce
  2. Teriyaki
  3. Mustard
  4. Fish sauce
  5. Sriracha/hot sauce

After that, it starts to get somewhat murkier because the sugar content goes up drastically.

If you feel you must have a taste of the default sauce, all you have to do is ask for them to put the sauce on the side. This will allow you to control just how much sauce you add to your food.

160115083651-chinese-cuisine-general-tsos-chicken-exlarge-169

Get Your Food Steamed

Most Chinese restaurants are aware of how health conscious people have become nowadays. To please this crowd they typically will have a healthy/steamed section on their menu. Take advantage of it!

Those are the items you should be ordering.

If they do not have such a section on their menu, Nine times out of 10 all you got to do is ask.

Think Protein/Carb Combo OR Protein/Fat Combo

If you’re eating a healthy diet, then you should be eating lots of vegetables and protein. Now depending on which diet cult you follow you will either think that carbohydrates are either good or evil.

Those who think carbs are evil follow a more paleo, high protein/fat diet low carb diet.

Those who think carbs are good eat a more high protein/high carb/low fat diet.

Most fail to look at is the big picture. It’s your total Calories that matter. I say this because when you are at a Chinese restaurant, you can go either way.

If all the foods on the menu only have oils in them, you might want to go light on the rice OR just avoid it all together and consider this a high protein/high fat meal.

If you’re lucky enough to get a steamed protein/veggie source than go ahead and add some clean white rice to your dish.

There’s no right or wrong answer. The key is that if the dish contains fat, just go ahead and make it follow a high protein high fat protocol for the day. We just don’t want to eat high carbs and high fat in the same meal because we are not trying to go overboard with our calories.

If you tried your best to create a high protein/high carb dish but found it drenched in oil. No big deal, just pivot and avoid the rice to make it a high protein/high fat meal.

MicVinny’s Recommendations:

beef and broccoli

Best High Protein, High Carb Choices:

Steamed Beef/Chicken/Seafood/Pork with Side of Steamed White Rice
Steamed Mixed Vegetables

OK High Protein, High Carb Choices:

Note: Assume that there is still fat/oil cooked with the foods, so reduce carb slightly to make up calorie difference.

Chicken/Pork/Seafood with Broccoli, Keep the sauce on the side
Chicken/Pork/Seafood with Mixed Vegetables, Keep the sauce on the side
Moo Shi Chicken/Seafood; Keep the sauce on the side. 1-3 Pancakes is ok for carb source.

moo shu chicken and vegetables

High Protein, High Fat Choices:

Moo Shi Pork/Beef…Keep the sauce on the side. No Pancakes
Beef with Broccoli, Keep the sauce on the side
Pork/Beef with Mixed Vegetables; Keep the sauce on the side


This list was only created for Americanized Chinese restaurants. If you see a menu with Thai, Japanese or other Asian cuisines…that’s a topic for another day!

Mike’s Countdown to 195: Week 24

Welcome to Week 24 of me publicly broadcasting my goal of getting down to 195 pounds every Friday until that goal is accomplished.

Quick History Of How I Got Here

2010 – Early 2015
  • Used weight training to lose 80 pounds of fat and maintained a healthy weight around 205-210 pounds based on home/work lifestyle.
  • 2015 goal to lose 15 pounds of fat that would equate to about 195 pounds (if no muscle loss)
  • Challenged myself to get to 195 during 2015 Holiday Seasons (hardest time for me to lose weight)

 

First Six Weeks November – December 2015

 

Post Holiday/Winter Time Blues

 

Most Recent

**DISCLAIMER**:
Michael could easily lose 10+ pounds of weight in a week just by going on a unhealthy super low carb diet or dehydrating himself of water. That’s not what this countdown is about! This is about fat loss not weight loss! There is a BIG difference between those two!

Truth be told, Michael doesn’t care how much he weighs. The real stat that matters to him is his waist. That’s the measurement that tells the real story about his health/fat loss. One of Michael’s other goals was to have a consistent 34.5” or smaller waist size. Since waist measurements aren’t as sexy as weight loss, he decided to focus on the scale for these countdown weeks, while looking at the waist as a secondary (but way more accurate) measurement.


WEEK 24: April 22 – 28 2016

April 22nd Stats
Scale Weight: 199.0 pounds
Waist: 33.3 inches

Week 24 Main Goals

  • Drop scale weight from 199 to 198.5 pounds
  • Maintain a waist size less than 34 inches
  • 30-60 minute walks 2-4x a week
  • Increase daily activity (especially during fasting period)
  • Eat about 1776 calories a day on my off days
    • For my fat loss/muscle maintenance goals that ideally breaks down to:
      • 195 grams Protein
      • 160 grams Carbohydrates
      • 39 grams Fat
    • Eat about 2556 calories a day on my off days
      • For my fat loss/muscle maintenance goals that ideally breaks down to:
        • 224 grams Protein
        • 288 grams Carbohydrates
        • 57 grams Fat

 

Observations & Challenges

Joint Pain

I noticed that my left shoulder had been acting up. I took dips out of my workout plan this past week to see if that was causing the pain. On my chest day, I experienced that same shoulder pain while doing incline bench presses.

I conclude that I will need to do more stretches and take out upper body pressing exercises that cause pain. dips, incline presses and overhead shoulder presses seem to be the main culprits. I haven’t noticed as much pain in doing bench presses, but I will evaluate again next week.

The majority of the pain comes from my left clavicle/deltoid area. Once the left area heals and I gain mobility back, I will add strength training back to that area.

Sleeping

I slowly started a bad pattern of going to bed later each night. To make up for this later bedtime I would get up later in the morning. I’ve had too much going on in my head and been letting that keep me up.

If I’m going to meet my goal, I know I need more than 7 hours of sleep. I just got to step up and be consistent.

Eating

I overate this past week. I just was not as disciplined as I normally am. I accept it. You hate to have weeks like this, but it is what it was. I let too many cookies sneak into too many days in a row.

I know better. If I’m to make it to my final goal, I have to overcome my late night and weekend demons. You’ll see what I’m talking about in my food journal.

One of my proudest moments was making homemade protein ice cream.  I thought it was going to be a major failure but was pleasantly surprised with the taste and quality of the final product.  I’ll be sure to share the recipe next time I make it.

Food Journal

Here are my honest food stats for the week:

Mike's Diet Journal Entry for April 22 2016

Mike's Diet Journal Entry for April 23 2016

Mike's Diet Journal Entry for April 24 2016

Mike's Diet Journal Entry for April 25 2016

Mike's Diet Journal Entry for April 26 2016

Mike's Diet Journal Entry for April 27 2016

Mike's Diet Journal Entry for April 28 2016

End of Week 24 Stats: April 29th 2016

  • Scale Weight: 200.0 lbs (1 lb gained from previous week)
  • Waist: 33.8 inches (0.5 inches gained from previous week)

 

This is what happens when you go over your calories for the majority of the week. The final number of 200 makes the week look better than it was.  Due to my carb cycling I was hovering around 204 for most of the week until Thursday’s lower carb day.

I’ve spent over 24 weeks figuring out how many calories it takes for me to lose fat. All I got to do is stay below the numbers I came up.

Nothing complicated on paper. It just takes incredible discipline to pull it off. That’s what separates being average from being great!

Upcoming Week 25 goals:

  • Drop scale weight from 200 to 198.5 pounds
  • Maintain a waist size less than 34 inches
  • 30-60 minute walks 2-4x a week
  • Increase daily activity (especially during fasting period)
  • Eat about 1676 calories a day on my off days
    • For my fat loss/muscle maintenance goals that ideally breaks down to:
      • 195 grams Protein
      • 138 grams Carbohydrates
      • 37 grams Fat
    • Eat about 2556 calories a day on my off days
      • For my fat loss/muscle maintenance goals that ideally breaks down to:
        • 224 grams Protein
        • 288 grams Carbohydrates
        • 57 grams Fat

24 Weeks Down……5 Pounds to Go ….Waist goal achieved and now must be maintained!

April 2016 has come and gone.

I’ve been doing this countdown long enough, its time to make May 2016 the month I get to 195!

Think I can do it?

Tune in throughout May 2016 for (hopefully) the final weeks of the countdown!

Mike’s Countdown to 195: Week 23

Welcome to Week 23 of me publicly broadcasting my goal of getting down to 195 pounds every Friday until that goal is accomplished.

Quick History Of How I Got Here

2010 – Early 2015
  • Used weight training to lose 80 pounds of fat and maintained a healthy weight around 205-210 pounds based on home/work lifestyle.
  • 2015 goal to lose 15 pounds of fat that would equate to about 195 pounds (if no muscle loss)
  • Challenged myself to get to 195 during 2015 Holiday Seasons (hardest time for me to lose weight)

 

First Six Weeks November – December 2015

 

Post Holiday/Winter Time Blues

 

Most Recent

**SPECIAL NOTE**:
Michael could easily lose 10+ pounds of weight in a week just by going on a unhealthy super low carb diet or dehydrating himself of water.  That’s not what this countdown is about!  This is about fat loss not weight loss!  There is a BIG difference between those two!

Truth be told, Michael doesn’t care how much he weighs. The real stat that matters to him is his waist. That’s the measurement that tells the real story about his health/fat loss. One of Michael’s other goals was to have a consistent 34.5” or smaller waist size. Since waist measurements aren’t as sexy as weight loss, he decided to focus on the scale for these countdown weeks, while looking at the waist as a secondary (but way more accurate) measurement.


WEEK 23: April 15 – 21 2016

April 15th Stats
Scale Weight: 199.8 pounds
Waist: 33.4 inches

Week 23 Main Goals

  • Drop scale weight from 199.8 to 199 pounds
  • Maintain a waist size less than 34 inches
  • Start taking 30-60 minute walks 2-4x a week
  • Start a new weightlifting routine emphasizing strength while losing fat
  • Eat about 1776 calories a day on my off days
    • For my fat loss/muscle maintenance goals that ideally breaks down to:
      • 195 grams Protein
      • 160 grams Carbohydrates
      • 39 grams Fat
    • Eat about 2756 calories a day on my off days
      • For my fat loss/muscle maintenance goals that ideally breaks down to:
        • 240 grams Protein
        • 310 grams Carbohydrates
        • 61 grams Fat

 

Observations & Challenges

Workout

This was the third week of doing a dedicated strength style workout. As each week passes, my body has been adapting. Last week my body got use to the “new workout” soreness and I felt I had a pretty productive lifting week.

This week, I could feel the carb cycling taking its toll during my workout days. The days before I workout, I have a lower amount of carbs & calories. What happens is that on the morning of my workout my energy is slightly on empty due to being depleted of the higher amount of carbs.

When I was doing a bodybuilding based workout, I mainly relied on fruit for my pre and post workout nutrition or I just trained fasted in the early morning.  Given the heavy weight I’m lifting, I need to ensure that I have proper nutrition prior to my workout session.

In case you haven’t been following me, I do intermittent fasting. I basically skip breakfast and don’t’ have my first meal until noon. I typically fast for 16 hours straight before breaking my fast for lunch.

That’s why I’ve been supplementing with Branch Chain Amino Acids (BCAAs). This allows me to stay in the fast but still have nutrition to fuel my workout. I’m not a fan of supplements but for this style of workout, bcaas are needed.

With my body shifting between high and low calories, I’m still adapting. I’m progressing in my lifts but definitely felt “weaker” this week. I’ll be sure to keep a eye on this next week.

Sleeping

I was able to average 7 hours of sleep every day this week. I would prefer to get closer to 8. This was a week in which spring finally arrived so we had the windows opened for most days. That led to high and low temp changes, which affected my sleep. The more sleep I get the better my fat loss will become.

Eating

My wife and I came up with a good meal plan that allowed us to cook all our cravings at home this past week. I had a craving for some indian food, so we just made our own homemade chicken palak. I think we will be making more of that in our future!

I satisfied my sweet tooth by eating frozen mango chunks. If you’ve never tried them, get some! It’s a great way to get that creamy texture of ice cream/sorbet but in a healthy way.

Looking back at my food journal, I forgot about Friday night. I did have a case of “falling asleep on the coach but waking up” at 1 AM. That led me to eating another small serving of jambalaya and some Oreos. The Oreos did cause me to go over my calories for that day.

I made a note to myself that the only reason I ate them was because I was tired. No big deal, I accepted my fault and didn’t desire them for the remainder of the week.

Food Journal

Here are my delicious food stats for the week:

Mike's Diet Journal Entry for April 15 2016 Mike's Diet Journal Entry for April 16 2016 Mike's Diet Journal Entry for April 17 2016 Mike's Diet Journal Entry for April 18 2016 Mike's Diet Journal Entry for April 19 2016 Mike's Diet Journal Entry for April 20 2016 Mike's Diet Journal Entry for April 21 2016

End of Week 23 Stats: April 22nd, 2016

  • Scale Weight: 199.0 lbs (0.8 lbs lost from previous week)
  • Waist: 33.3 inches (0.1 inches lost from previous week)

I’m suprised that the scale read 199 pounds.  The previous night it read 202.3 pounds.  That’s why I will say this time and time again….I don’t trust the scale!  I dislike that I called this series of blog posts “Countdown to 195” because it makes it appear that the scale is the best indicator.  The mirror and my waist measurements are telling me the truth.  The scale only let’s me know when I have excess water in my body from eating carbohydrates are drinking 80+ ounces of water.

My waist has gone down for the past couple of weeks, which let me know I’m making progress.  I know I wasn’t as active as I had been in the previous week.  This was the first week I completely stopped walking up/down my household stairs.  For the previous five weeks, I had been doing a stair walking routine for my cardio.

I planned on replacing those walks with walking outside.  During Week 23, I took 3 walks.  This upcoming week, I will make more of an effort to be active during the day as well.  Cleaning, hourly shadow boxing, break dancing…who knows!  But it’ll be something simple, creative and fun.

Additionally I will slightly reduce my calories.  My non-workout days are already pretty low so I will just reduce my workout calories from 2756 to 2556.

Upcoming Week 24 goals:

  • Drop scale weight from 199 to 198.5 pounds
  • Maintain a waist size less than 34 inches
  • 30-60 minute walks 2-4x a week
  • Increase daily activity (especially during fasting period)
  • Eat about 1776 calories a day on my off days
    • For my fat loss/muscle maintenance goals that ideally breaks down to:
      • 195 grams Protein
      • 160 grams Carbohydrates
      • 39 grams Fat
    • Eat about 2556 calories a day on my off days
      • For my fat loss/muscle maintenance goals that ideally breaks down to:
        • 224 grams Protein
        • 288 grams Carbohydrates
        • 57 grams Fat

23 Weeks Down……4 Pounds to Go ….Waist goal achieved and now must be maintained!

It took two weeks, but I finally got the scale to display a solid 199.  What’s in store for me this upcoming week?  Homemade ice cream?  Protein Shakes?  Birthday cake?  Like life, the temptations and distractions are unpredictable.  But I’ll be here, will you?

Tune in next Friday for Week 24!

Mike’s Countdown to 195: Week 22

Welcome to Week 22 of me publicly broadcasting my goal of getting down to 195 pounds every Friday until that goal is accomplished.

History Of How I Got Here

2010 – Early 2015
  • Used weight training to lose 80 pounds of fat and maintained a healthy weight around 205-210 pounds based on home/work lifestyle.
  • 2015 goal to lose 15 pounds of fat that would equate to about 195 pounds (if no muscle loss)
  • Challenged myself to get to 195 during 2015 Holiday Seasons (hardest time for me to lose weight)

 

November – December 2015
January 2016 – March 2016
April 2016

**SPECIAL NOTE**:
Truth be told, Michael doesn’t care how much he weighs. The real stat that matters to him is his waist. That’s the measurement that tells the real story about his health/fat loss. One of Michael’s other goals was to have a consistent 34.5” or smaller waist size. Since waist measurements aren’t as sexy as weight loss, he decided to focus on the scale for these countdown weeks, while looking at the waist as a secondary (but way more accurate) measurement.

WEEK 22: April 8 – 14 2016

April 8th Stats
Scale Weight: 199.8 pounds
Waist: 33.5 inches

Week 22 Main Goals

  • Drop scale weight from 199.8 to 199 pounds
  • Maintain a waist size less than 34.5 inches
  • Increase daily activity (ie: neighborhood walks, spring cleaning, etc.)
  • Maintain a new weightlifting routine emphasizing strength while losing fat
  • Eat about 1776 calories a day on my off days
    • For my fat loss/muscle maintenance goals that ideally breaks down to:
      • 195 grams Protein
      • 160 grams Carbohydrates
      • 39 grams Fat
    • Eat about 2756 calories a day on my off days
      • For my fat loss/muscle maintenance goals that ideally breaks down to:
        • 240 grams Protein
        • 310 grams Carbohydrates
        • 61 grams Fat

 

Observations & Challenges

Workout

This was the second week of my new strength workout routine. I could feel the difference between this week and last. My lower body was screaming at me last week whereas this week their was no intial soreness. That soreness was just due to being inactive for a week and doing something completed different.

For those that have been following me, I was primarly doing a bodybuilding style routine with high reps and low rest periods. This current strength routine is less reps but more rest in between exercise sets. My current routine is more about seeing how strong I am while losing weight.

Sleeping

I was able to get 7.5 hours of sleep every day this week. The key was forcing myself to be in my quiet bedroom before 9:30 PM. The only entertainment I allowed myself was reading.  I did get caught up on my iPhone one night but put it away when I saw the time on the clock get close to 10PM!

Depending on the time I turned the lights out in my bedroom, I set my alarm to wake me up between 5:15 and 6:15 AM. That insured me 7.5 hours of peaceful sleep. I’ll try to keep it up this next week.

Eating

For the majority of this countdown I was keeping track of my eating compliance. Basically I was allowing myself 1-2 cheat meals a week. When following this new strength protocol I decided to switch things around and not have classic cheat meals anymore.

My strength training routine involves me eating enough calories to support working out so on my weight-lifting days I eat more. I save my calorie deficit days for my non weight-lifting. This insures that I have enough nutrition to support my stressful workout days.

Looking over the history of this journey, I saw that my biggest faults were on the weekends. I decided to put a fix on that by not working out on the weekends. That would force me to eat cleaner.

To keep myself sane, I decided to allow myself to eat any food it takes to meet my macros. I’m disciplined enough to know how to get in all my protein, veggies and clean carbohydrate sources before moving on to the sweets.

Food Journal

Here is the Real World food stats for the week:

Mike's Diet Journal Entry for April 8 2016 Mike's Diet Journal Entry for April 9 2016 Mike's Diet Journal Entry for April 10 2016 Mike's Diet Journal Entry for April 11 2016 Mike's Diet Journal Entry for April 12 2016 Mike's Diet Journal Entry for April 13 2016 Mike's Diet Journal Entry for April 14 2016

End of Week 22 Stats: April 15th, 2016

  • Scale Weight: 199.8 lbs (0 lbs lost from previous week)
  • Waist: 33.4 inches (0.1 inches lost from previous week)

The number on the scale didn’t go down but my waist sure did. During the previous two weeks, I had massive weight losses on the scale. It was only a matter of time before I slowed down. This was one of those weeks.

Additionally, I don’t believe the scale. Due to the way I’m eating, my daily weight fluctuates. That’s why I don’t rely only on the scale to justify my progress. The visual and waist measurement tests are proof that I’m making progress.

I will not change my diet. I will stick with what I’m doing. If my weight doesn’t change but my waist shrinks, I’m making progress. If my weight doesn’t change and my waist gets bigger, then I would bump my workout calories down.

 

Upcoming Week 23 goals:

  • Drop scale weight from 199.8 to 199 pounds
  • Maintain a waist size less than 34 inches
  • Start taking 30-60 minute walks 2-4x a week
  • Eat about 1776 calories a day on my off days
    • For my fat loss/muscle maintenance goals that ideally breaks down to:
      • 195 grams Protein
      • 160 grams Carbohydrates
      • 39 grams Fat
    • Eat about 2756 calories a day on my off days
      • For my fat loss/muscle maintenance goals that ideally breaks down to:
        • 240 grams Protein
        • 310 grams Carbohydrates
        • 61 grams Fat

22 Weeks Down……5 Pounds to Go ….Waist goal achieved and now must be maintained!

After two hot weeks, I reached a temporary stopping point. Will I still be at 199 pounds next week? Could I possibly be gaining muscle due to my weightlifting routine? Is a ice cream sundae on the agenda for next week?

Tune in next Friday for Week 23!