Fat loss, dieting, getting shredded, leaning out, weight loss — whatever you want to call it, it’s all the same end-result. More muscle, less fat, better definition is what we all want.
One question I get all the time is “can you give me a meal plan for weight loss?” And to that, I always respond with a ‘no’ for two reasons:
- It’s technically illegal for me to give someone a fully-detailed weight loss meal plan because I’m not a registered dietician.
- It doesn’t actually teach you anything. (Like, why go through the trouble and frustration that can be this physique-building journey and not actually learn anything?)
Today we’re talking all about weight loss. Meal plans, just like any other time you need a plan, are pertinent to your success when it comes to losing fat, getting lean, and staying that way.
Having a plan ensures you maintain good habits, and constraints that will help you do the right things over and over that are responsible for losing body fat.
In the end, your weight loss meal plan (or any type of diet, for that matter) should revolve around foods you like to eat, and a plan that suits your schedule — and most importantly — a plan that is in line with your psychological needs.
If you’re the type of person who loves to snack during the day, then a frequent meal plan (5+ meals per day) is probably ideal for you. If you’re someone who doesn’t like a big breakfast, but loves to eat big in the evening, a lower meal frequency might be what suits you best.
When you’re at peace mentally with the plan, it makes it much easier to actually follow through. There’s nothing more daunting than someone shoving a meal plan in your face that calls for all the foods you hate, and micro-feedings every hour, on the hour.
If you abhor canned tuna (like me), and eating like a bird, this would mean your demise.
So let’s talk about what makes a good meal plan, shall we?
Remember, all these ideas are merely suggestions. None of it is personal advice, m’kay?
The Criteria Of A Good Meal Plan:
Everything below is a good idea, but not to be taken as gospel. Food is a very touchy thing for many people, so keep in mind that if there’s something you disagree with, or hurts your feelings, it might be a personal problem, not a universal one. 😉
- It must be well-rounded (no skimping on or demonizing any particular macronutrient. fat is not bad. sugar is not bad. got it?)
- It should be fairly uniform
- It should follow (in the least) the 90/10 principle
- It should contain enough food variance to get a good range of micronutrients
- Supplement ONLY when necessary, and always check with a medical professional if you’re in doubt
When I refer to a well-rounded diet, I simply mean that it contains a good balance of protein, carbohydrates and fat.
One should consume enough protein to maintain muscle mass (around 1 gram per pound of body weight is plenty). Without ample protein, you’ll have a hard time repairing the damage you inflict upon yourself in the gym.
One should not demonize fat or sugar. They’re both very beneficial for recovery, and they both support different bodily functions.
Sugar (in all forms, regardless of what the local Paleo zealot told you) allows you to perform at your best during intense weight and cardio sessions. Without that energy source, your body fights back by either producing ketones or converting protein (very costly process called gluconeogenesis) into sugar.
The bad news is if you’re low on sugar and dietary protein, your body can catabolize itself, and use the muscle (protein) tissue for energy. This is NOT good when we want to lose fat, and keep muscle.
To make your personal meal plan work for you, maintaining some uniformity in your diet can take you a long way. Uniform eating is simple: you eat mostly the same foods/meals consistently to ensure you get the preferred amount of nutrients and to save time and/or sanity.
There isn’t much more to say than that. The fewer the variables, the easier it is to control something — even if that means eating fewer foods than you might like to make it less stressful on yourself.
On The 90/10 Principle
In my Automatic Fat Loss group, I created a lesson all about the 90/10 diet (which I believe I owe my first learning about it from my friend and mentor Alan Aragon), but here’s the distilled version. Make sure that 90% of your diet is whole foods that come from the earth, or from an animal. This is not paleo, or south beach, clean eating, or mediterranean. This is simply eating real, whole foods a majority of the time.
A good test is this: if your great grandma ate it / would eat it, chances are it’s probably a whole food.
The other 10% can be whatever you want. So if you like to eat funnel cakes, or beer-battered onion rings, or some franken-food here and there, go ahead and fit it in. Just don’t try to make up the majority of your diet with low-quality food.
On Food Variance
Weight loss meal plans are notorious for being low in micronutrients, mostly because when you eat fewer calories, you’re getting fewer nutrients, in general. So it makes sense to load up every now and again on foods you might not eat so often.
Some quick examples are as follows:
- Beef liver for the Vitamin A (one 3-ounce serving contains almost 500% of the RDA)
- Brazil nuts for selenium (2-3 nuts per day will help you meet your mark easily)
- Raw oysters for zinc (just 6 oysters can provide roughly 500% of the RDA)
- Bone broth (for the abundance of amino acids found in collagen, but scarce in muscle meat)
Liver and Vitamin A:
Brazil nuts and selenium:
Oysters and zinc:
The idea on food variance is to rotate foods in and out of your diet that will provide the adequate minerals and vitamins you need to function optimally.
I don’t particularly like the taste of beef liver, or raw oysters, but I try to eat them once per week for the vitamin A, zinc and other nutrients found within them.
I’m not an advocate of supplementing needlessly or carelessly. I’m also very much against most of the bodybuilding pre-workout, or fat loss supplements marketed by the big companies for three reasons:
- they’re expensive
- they’re unnecessary
- we cannot be sure of what we’re getting, thus, the safety of those ingredients
So my recommendation for all those pre-workout mixes full of stimulants and ingredients you cannot pronounce promising skin-busting muscle pumps, and a 458% increase in muscle growth, is to save your money, and protect your health from the possibilities of consuming a substance you don’t want to put in your body.
The only companies I know of that are honest with their ingredient lists (no proprietary scheming going on) is Citadel Nutrition and Legion Athletics [note: these are NOT affiliate links. I merely trust these people after various conversations and interactions].
Citadel’s Tier 1 has a very short ingredient list.
Legion’s Pulse has a short and to-the-point ingredient list, too.
The best part about these companies is they list all the ingredients, and follow what’s recommended in the research for proper human dosing.
The only protein powder I use these days is True Nutrition [no affiliate link here either]. I’ve been using their U.S. Milk Protein and it’s awesome for the taste and the amount of calcium I get per serving.
Since I consume this most days, I’ve not had to supplement with any eggshell calcium like I have in the past.
What About Multivitamins?
Photo by Victor.
In general, I’m not a fan of multivitamins because it’s been up for debate for years as to whether or not we’re able to absorb those hard little tablets and because I don’t like to ‘guess’ in these situations.
Something I’ve been doing for a few years is getting labs through my doctor, and then supplementing based on what the blood results show.
I’ve been fairly low on Vitamin D for a long time, and over the last 4 months, my doctor and I have finally gotten them up to healthy levels using a liquid mix of vitamin D and K2.
I’ve also supplemented with other vitamins and minerals, but again, this is all in line with what my doctor thinks is best for me at the time based on symptoms, and what’s showing up on my lab results.
The truth is, depending on what you’re eating, or not eating, you might have a deficiency and not even know it.
This is another reason I believe in a 90/10 diet and making sure you consume foods high in certain vitamins and minerals 1-2 times per week to ensure you’re getting what you need.
This is even more important when you’re eating fewer calories than normal when setting up your weight loss meal plan for the week. When total calories go down, so do vitamins and minerals. This is why it’s important to include high-quality foods on a consistent basis over any of the extreme IIFYM (if it fits your macros) type of diet.
And when it’s necessary, you might consider supplementation.
Tracking Accurately and Making It Easy
I wrote an entire section on the importance of tracking with precision here very recently. If you don’t track accurately, and consistently, you’re wasting your time — assuming you have a goal and want to get results as quick as possible.
If you need a primer on how to track your macros and total calories, then read my no-bs guide to tracking macros.
The way I currently keep track of my macros is by using an app called Cronometer (this is what I generally recommend to all personal clients, as well). The phone app is easy to use, and the web app is incredible.
Here’s a random day of my total intake below:
Now this day was a bit odd with errands I had to run, and was definitely not typical of my regular food schedule.
For energy needs, I typically shoot for about 2800+ kcals per day. Of that, I typically aim for 180g protein, ~50g fat, and the rest carbohydrates.
Here’s how my typical day’s meal plan works out:
- Wake (7-8 A.M.): 2 latte’s, which is a good dose of milk and sugar
- Mid morning (10 A.M.): breakfast shake (milk, ice cream, protein powder, and honey or fruit)
- Lunch (12 P.M): 2 hard boiled, or scrambled eggs with fruit, or juice and sometimes cottage cheese or yogurt
- Training (2 p.m.)
- Post Workout Meal (typically a mixture of equal parts orange juice and milk, which tastes like a creamsicle)
- Dinner (6-7 p.m.): 200-300g of lean meat cooked in coconut oil, and a big helping of potatoes, or rice — this meal tends to be pretty large because I aim to hit the rest of my macros here.
So give or take, I have anywhere from 3-5 meals daily depending on how busy I am and if I’m training or not.
Dinner is almost always rotated in terms of meat and carbohydrate choices. Some nights it’s chicken and mashed potatoes, and others it’s beef and veggie stir-fried rice.
Once per week, I try to have Pho at a local Vietnamese restaurant for the health properties of bone broth. It’s also one of my favorite meals, ever.
I also buy bone broth from the local butcher and try to have one or two cups per day, typically with dinner. If you’re interested in bone broth but don’t like pho, or can’t buy it locally, you can make it yourself. I’ve used this recipe many times and it’s very easy with a crockpot.
How To Set Up Your Weight Loss Meal Plan
Step 1: Determine your total caloric intake for your weight maintenance and the amount needed to lose body fat. A general starting point for most people is to multiply your body weight by 10-13 calories. This should provide the basis for a calorie deficit responsible for fat loss to occur. For a full explanation on how to calculate your macronutrients for fat loss, read How To Lose Weight: The Best Way To Lose Fat, and Avoid Fad Diets.
If you want a shortcut, go to the section header: ‘How To Determine The Caloric Deficit‘ and it will give you the entire breakdown for determining your caloric intake and macronutrient recommendations.
Step 2: Determine your optimal meal frequency. This is HIGHLY individual, but it’s important. One of the main ideas I mention in Stay Leaner, Longer is how you should set realistic expectations for yourself. So, it’s important to understand what is reasonable for you, and what you’re willing to do. If you’re only willing to eat three square meals per day based on practicality, but say you want to commit to eight meals instead, this is being unrealistic.
Note: this is not to be confused with what someone else is doing, or what a professional athlete recommends in the latest magazine.
Just because someone has the time, patience, and mental fortitude to eat 6-8 meals per day perfectly spaced two hours apart does not mean you have to do that.
Above everything else, your personal temperament is more important in how you set up your diet, than following some type of strategic food combining, or precise meal-timing plans.
If you only have time for three square meals per day, this is perfectly fine. It’ll likely make no difference in the end, as long as your meals are well-balanced, and fall in line with the 90/10 principles I mentioned above.
As you see, I prefer a decent amount of meal frequency, but when I’m really busy, I stick with the basics of a breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Even if you’re not a big breakfast person, you can still manage to get 2-3 solid meals in, be able to hit your macros, and have enough energy for training and recovery. While I don’t practice intermittent fasting anymore, it’s a tool many use with great success for managing their time, and weight loss meal plans.
Step 3: Plan your meals ahead of time. I know this ain’t a sexy idea, but if you want to succeed, it’s a small price to pay.
The way I make this as easy as possible is by practicing uniform eating. My breakfast, lunch, and post workout meals are almost always the same.
Dinner is different so I get some food variance in for micronutrient insurance.
While I don’t need a fancy software to determine what I should be eating, there is such a thing. EatThisMuch.com has an incredible feature where you can select various types of diet ideologies, and then input your macro nutrient and calorie totals.
It even allows you to select your food preferences in the case you don’t like something, don’t have access to, or have an allergy/aversion.
Here’s a sample meal plan I just generated:
Now if you see above, the generated foods are not exactly within my specific macros. I emailed support about this, and got an email pointing to this link in their FAQ.
Louis (founder) wrote back with the following:
“we generally suggest that people use a slightly more forgiving macro range and less restrictive food filters, and then focus on blocking foods that they don’t like as they appear in the plan.”
So keep in mind, that 50g fat might be a bit low for the algorithm (for now), and you might need to tinker, but it’s still a great app for helping you generate meal ideas.
If you don’t want to use the software, and do it the old fashioned way, here’s what I do:
Throughout the day, I track my intake as I go.
When I make my breakfast shake, I input all the ingredients into Cronometer on my phone.
Then I do the same for lunch, and my post workout meal.
When it’s time for dinner, I do some quick math and determine how much I need for protein, carbohydrates and fat. This determines how much potato, rice, veggies, and meat I set aside to cook.
For example: If I’m aiming for 2800 kcals with macros of 180g protein, 50g fat, and 405g carbs, and I’ve already consumed 120g protein, 30g fat, and 330g carbs (~2070 kcal), then I know I have 60g protein, 20g fat, and 75g carbohydrate left over (~720 kcal).
This will allow for a nice-sized meal of lean beef, mashed potatoes, and plenty of room for a tablespoon of coconut oil to cook my meat in.
Step 4: Stick to your guns. Cultivate the discipline necessary to make all of this work together. Recently I wrote all about discipline and how you can apply it to your training, diet and sleep/recovery efforts. You can check out that piece here: Get Disciplined: Fixing Your Diet And Training Mistakes And Realizing Your Goals.
Without a plan of action, and plenty of focus to make this work, you won’t succeed.
But don’t get too overwhelmed. If you need to start slow, that is fine too. Start with small promises. Determine which action will have the biggest impact, and stick to that only, at least for 3-4 weeks to ensure you remain consistent (I recommend 30 days).
What My Sample Weight Loss Meal Plan Would Look Like
For the sake of illustration, I’m going to list out some meal ideas that I would routinely consume, and have routinely consumed at a caloric intake of about 2000 calories with this macro breakdown:
- 180g protein
- 220g carbs (rounded up fro 218)
- 45g fat (20% total intake)
Breakfast: 624 kcal
2 hard boiled eggs
80g dried oats
cup of 2% milk for cooking oats
10g brown sugar for oats
Lunch / Pre Workout Meal:
One 4-serving tub of 2% cottage cheese
20g honey (drizzled over the cottage cheese) / sometimes it’s berries
1 cup of orange juice
Post Workout Meal:
1 cup of orange juice
1 serving of vanilla flavor Milk Protein from True Protein
note: when blended together, this can taste similar to a creamsicle.
250g lean chicken breast or strips
300g potatoes (preferably mashed, or baked)
7g (half TBSP) of coconut oil for cooking
2 cups beef broth (as a soup, or used in the pan when cooking chicken)
As you’ll see when doing the math above… we end up with these totals:
These macros are not exactly spot-on, but they’re close enough. And that’s all that matters.
LEGAL DISCLAIMER: this is not a meal plan written for you [the reader] to follow. This is an example meal plan that I [JC] would create for myself when sticking to a 2000 calorie per day diet. DO NOT follow this meal plan for any reason whatsoever. It’s merely a guide to help you see how it’s done.
Now, let’s address some common questions I’ve seen from clients, as well as readers, coaching groups, and elsewhere.
What If I Don’t Want To Count Calories?
This section was written specifically for this piece by my good friend Ben Tormey.
Creating a balanced meal is simple: start with a generous serving of protein, add a generous serving of fibrous vegetables, a moderate amount of fat, and moderate amounts of fruit or starchy carbs.
Don’t try to follow a complicated nutrient timing protocol or skew your macronutrient ratios, like eating all your carbs in the evening, for example. But you can adjust the amount of fat and carbohydrate in each meal according to your personal preference. Just focus on getting enough protein and eating until you’re comfortably full.
Let’s say that a food is dominated by a particular macronutrient if it contributes at least 50% of the total calories in a serving. We’ll call other foods neutral. I’m aware that this may seem like a completely arbitrary definition – and it certainly is to an extent, – but it’s a useful heuristic for you to apply.
Example. Whey protein concentrate is typically around 80% protein, with a small amount of tag along carbs and fat.
(Note that whole eggs, which are usually considered a protein source, would be fat dominant using this definition.)
Macronutrient dominant foods are useful because they can be categorised as protein sources, carbohydrate sources, or fat sources. This makes it simple to construct a balanced meal. You just pick one food from each category, select an appropriate recipe, and add a serving of fibrous vegetables.
Example. You pick ground turkey as your protein source, wholemeal bread buns as your carbohydrate source, and mayonnaise as your fat source. The obvious choice is to make turkey burgers with a salad on the side.
I suggest that you just count neutral foods towards a single macro of your choice and use them in moderation. For example, you could choose to count a glass of semi-skimmed milk towards your protein.
You can use these approximate servings as a guide. I would suggest that you aim for 1-2 servings of protein with each meal, depending on meal frequency, your bodyweight, and your goals. Servings of fat and carbs will vary according to satiety and your goals too.
Strategically underestimate protein and overestimate fat and carbohydrate. That means being generous with your servings of protein and conservative with everything else.
A serving is approximately 25-30g protein:
- 100-120g chicken, or turkey (about the size of a deck of cards).
- 1 can of tuna.
- 100-120g lean beef, beef, lamb, venison (about the size of a deck of cards).
- 100-120g salmon, mackerel, sardines (about the size of a check book).
- 1 scoop of whey or casein protein.
- Approximately 250g of cottage cheese or quark.
- 4 whole eggs (note that this counts as 2 servings of fat in this scheme).
- 8-10 egg whites.
A serving is approximately 30-40g carbs:
- 1 ½ cups berries or watermelon.
- 1 cup of mango or grapes.
- 2 small or 1 large apple(s), pear(s), orange(s), or any other medium-sized fruit.
- 2 small or 1 medium banana(s).
- 1 small glass of fruit juice.
- Half a cup of oats, weighed before cooking. Or roughly one cup after cooking.
- Quarter of a cup of quinoa, or rice, weighed before cooking. Or roughly half a cup after cooking.
- 1 medium or large white potato or sweet potato.
(Note: a cup is approximately a portion the size of a tennis ball or your fist.)
A serving is approximately 10g of fat:
- A tablespoon of oil.
- Two tablespoons of dairy butter, nut butter, or heavy whipping cream.
- Four tablespoons of coconut milk.
- ½ a medium avocado.
- Any serving of meat with more than 10g of fat per 100g.
The most powerful tool at your disposal is food density. Denser foods pack more calories into the same volume of food. Your goal is to be consistent with food volume, still aiming for comfortable fullness at each meal, but adjusting density to match your hunger levels and calorie requirements.
Example. A cup of rice contains more calories than a cup of blueberries.
Want to eat more calories? Focus on eating more fat and carbohydrates with less emphasis on protein. Include more fatty protein sources, replace some of your fibrous vegetables with starches or grains that have significant fiber content, and increase the density of your fat and carbohydrate sources. Add more neutral foods to your meals.
Example. Replace grilled chicken breast with oven roasted, glazed chicken thighs. Substitute a serving of steamed broccoli with a serving of roasted butternut squash. Use white rice instead of potatoes.
Want to eat fewer calories? Focus on eating more protein with less fat and carbohydrates. Choose lean protein sources, eat more fibrous vegetables, and decrease the density of your fat and carbohydrate sources. Add fewer neutral foods to your meals.
Example. Use a mixture of egg whites and whole eggs instead of just whole eggs. Add spinach, peppers, and onions to your omelette.
Want to eat at maintenance? Choose lean protein sources, adjust the density of your fat and carbohydrate sources according to your activity levels and hunger.
Example. On training days, you might choose to eat oatmeal after your workout, and on rest days you might stick to eating fruit as your main carbohydrate source.
— end of Ben’s contribution
And now we’re onto some QnA …
Q1. HOW DO YOU STICK TO A MEAL PLAN WHEN STUCK IN THE AIRPORT?
— This is a great question, and one that cannot be overlooked. As someone who’s traveled a ton over the last few years, finding a good meal in an airport can be tricky.
Here’s what I typically do:
I’ll pack some beef jerky (low in fat, high in protein), and/or a protein bar (Quest seem to be the best tasting), and buy some juice (orange, apple, or something similar) when I get through the gate.
So if you needed to watch your calories and macros, the above can be really good for keeping calories low (by mainly choosing foods low in fat).
Find a restaurant and try to pick a lighter menu item.
Oftentimes, this means I’ll aim for a chicken, or turkey sandwich and request they hold the mayo or whatever sauce is served on it. I love mustard, so I ask for that instead, or ask they bring me some.
Other times, I’ll get a grilled chicken breast, or some non-fatty fish with a side of greens or rice.
If there’s a Japanese restaurant available, I will get nigiri or sashimi (with a bowl of rice on the side). If you’re not sure what either of these food items are, this is a good explanation.
Q2. HOW DO YOU STICK TO A MEAL PLAN WHEN TRAVELING?
— It really depends on how long I’m gone, what’s available, what I have access to, and my environment.
Personally, I follow the eating plan Ben mentioned in terms of aiming for a decent amount of nutrient dense food. I will typically try to eat protein- and carb-heavy meals, while keeping fat on the lower side. So when I can order lean fish, or chicken, I do instead of beef.
With starch, I always try to get rice, or potatoes that aren’t smothered in butter or oil.
If I can control the environment, I try to stay as close to the plan as possible. I might not be able to use a food scale, but I can definitely use foods that are normal for me to consume, and keep a pretty good eye on my macros and calories by estimating serving sizes (due to paying close attention to all my years of tracking).
My main advice here is to NOT let yourself off the hook and have a free-for-all in the name of traveling.
Q3. WHAT IF YOU EAT TOO MUCH OR TOO LITTLE IN ONE DAY? DO YOU COMPENSATE FOR IT THE NEXT DAY?
— This is a very common question, and especially for people who are dieting with the aims of losing body fat at any appreciable rate (2-4 pounds, or more, per month), my answer is always no. I never recommend you try to compensate by adding or removing calories.
Here are a few reasons why:
- one day of eating way too much is not going to have a huge negative impact on your results IF you’ve done well the rest of the week/month. It can actually be good for your sanity and metabolism.
- You can’t ever know how much you’re burning, or consuming 100% any given day, so attempting to play creating-the-perfect-caloric-deficit game of Tetris is futile.
Now for some elaboration…
One day of eating off plan is not likely to ruin your progress. It might stall it somewhat, but in the end, probably won’t do much, if any damage. The problem with this is determining just how lenient you can be.
If one day doesn’t hurt, then what about two, or three?
We all want to push the limits to see what we can get away with, but the problem is we can’t get away with as much as we think. In short, it’s important to stick with the diet as closely as possible, tracking accurately, and measuring progress.
If one day of off-diet eating turns into two or three, then it’s time to assess why. Is it because you’re depriving yourself, or keeping certain foods off limits? Are you turning to food during stress, or out of boredom?
People don’t gain excess amounts of fat by overeating every now and again. It happens when one day becomes two, and two becomes four, and so on.
So no, I do not advise you compensate for one day of missing your macro and calorie marks.
Q4. HOW MUCH PROTEIN IS TOO MUCH?
— For most people, 1 gram per pound of lean body mass is going to cover your bases. Anything more is likely unnecessary.
I tend to recommend 1 gram per pound of body weight (except for the obese) to make it very simple. For a much more in-depth view of this, check out my article: How much protein do I need?
Q5. SHOULD YOU TRACK LOW-CALORIE FOODS (GREEN VEGGIES, LETTUCE, ETC) CLOSELY, OR LOOSELY?
— For low-calorie foods, such as leafy, and fibrous veggies, I am not particularly too careful for the simple reason I do not consume them regularly (UMAD?). And even then… if you’re consuming them regularly, the caloric hit is pretty low when you consider the fiber, and sheer volume of broccoli, kale, and spinach you’d need to eat to make you fat.
Things like bell peppers, onions, carrots, and other similar vegetables should be tracked as they pack more calories per serving than, umm, kale, etc.
Q6. DO CONDIMENTS COUNT?
— Yes, unless they contain no calories, or very few calories (IE: mustard, hot sauce, vinegars, etc). Everything else, including fatty sauces like ranch, and most other salad dressings, and sugary sauces like BBQ, relishes, etc. should be accounted for.
Q7. HOW DO YOU ACCOUNT FOR WEEKEND EATING? PARTIES, ETC?
— I like to plan ahead, as best as possible, and this goes for clients, too. If I know I have an event coming up that will require drinking (see more below) and lots of grazing, or huge dinners, I will plan accordingly by doing two things:
- making sure my diet all week is on point – 100% adherence
- creating some space through shifting my meal schedule on the day of
The first one is easy, but let me tell you how I create space. If I know dinner is going to be full of fatty food + booze, I will eat very light, only 1-2 meals early in the day. They will be high in protein, low in fat, and carbohydrate.
Breakfast might be a high-protein smoothie (cottage cheese, protein powder, some berries, and a little milk).
Lunch would be lean dairy, some lean meat, and a small serving of rice, or potatoes.
Then dinner is eating pretty much anything, fairly liberally without a lot of worry. This is a great strategy you can use to mitigate any damage that might occur from eating normally during the day, and then washing down tons of food that evening with beer and cocktails.
Q8. HOW DO YOU DEAL WITH ALCOHOL ON YOUR DIET?
— I tend to abstain 99% of the time, but when it comes time to drink, and drink very heavily (such as weddings, special events, etc), then I simple make room, as I stated above.
One strategy I use with clients is to have them look at their total energy macronutrient (carbs and fats) intake for the day. Then I have them estimate about how many drinks they think they’ll be having, or want to have that night.
I highly prefer spirits over beer for two reasons. The first one is because I hate most beer. It’s a taste I never got used to, and there are only a few select beers I’ll consider drinking. To be fair, I’d rather drink a cider. The other reason is because beer contains many calories, and it takes more beer than spirit to get drunk, and let’s face it — most drink to get that feeling.
Since I prefer spirits, I like whiskey, vodka/soda, or absinthe on the rocks, etc. A standard glass of whiskey (a shot) will have about 100 calories, give or take. If you want to have room for 3-4 of those, then drop 300-400 kcals of your carbs and fat intake earlier in the day, and save them for the evening. Simple as that.
The only tricky part is getting most people to stop at just the 3-4 drinks and not go for the wings, and burgers afterward.