Craig Ballantyne: Okay. So let’s go back to some of the beginner changes. What type of nutrition plan or changes do you recommend to someone starting from scratch?
Erik Ledin: Let me preface this by saying I think that the most important thing when it comes to fat loss is not necessarily what you eat but how much you eat. One of the mistakes I just wrote about was the mistake of quality over quantity. In the sense that you can still overeat the right foods and fat loss is really about eating the right amount of food for your own body.
Like you can be eating “clean” but still not eating the right amount for your body to support fat loss. That’s the first mistake. So I always say quantity trumps quality.
But I think for a long-term success that people have to move from the dieting mentality to the lifestyle mentality which then means you have to start eating the clean foods and eating healthy and whatnot so I think learning to make good choices.
Lean proteins and a lot of fruit and vegetables and good fats like raw nuts and whatnot. I still think there’s room for good stuff because you can kind of just factor it into how much you’re eating and have planned off-plan meals.
I think one of the biggest mistakes that beginners make is that they think they gotta be perfect 100 percent and when they deviate by having one cookie they say, “That’s it, I suck. I might as well eat the whole bag.” And that one cookie’s not a problem. The whole bag is. It’s kind of an all or none mentality.
So I think it’s important even for a beginner to know how much they’re eating because otherwise at least if they want to kind of maximize the rate of progress if you don’t know how much you’re eating you can’t troubleshoot your program. You don’t know if you need to adjust something from a nutritional standpoint.
At the same time though understandably that beginners don’t really necessarily have the ability to do that. So if they’re going from say this really shoddy type of eating plan, I think just actually cleaning things up and cutting out the processed foods. Eat a lot more one-ingredient type foods. One-ingredient foods. Like chicken’s a one-ingredient food. Cheez Whiz isn’t.
Craig Ballantyne: So do you recommend them using some type of software or actually measuring foods or what’s a nice way for a beginner to start getting a handle on it because I can imagine that most people just don’t understand portion sizes even if they’re eating the good foods.
Erik Ledin: That’s true. I detail it out in terms of quantities and there have been many occasions where people have said they really had their portions off. They were eating the right food but the portions were way off. They didn’t realize that four ounces was so small or something like that.
So I think www.fitday.com is a good resource. I mean it gets you in the ballpark. You can actually just plug in foods and the amount you’re going to eat and tally it up. First and foremost, whether you’re a beginner or not, you need to be eating the right amount of food.
Set your calories and then you can pretty much go from there. I think the most idiot-proof way to set up nutrition is set your calories, set your protein, get your six grams of fish oils and the rest is kind of up to you provided you stay within your caloric limits.
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To your success,
Craig Ballantyne, CSCS, MS
Certified Turbulence Trainer