Monday, January 9, 2017

Fasting and Food - Part I, What should I be eating?

"Hi, thanks for adding me to the group. I started 16:8 fasting. Does this look like a good eating plan? This is what I'm eating:
  • 1200 pm - protein shake
  • 12:30 pm - gigantic salad with chicken or fish
  • 3:00 pm - light snack of Greek yogurt
  • 6:00 pm - dinner, another gigantic salad with chicken or fish
I see some form of this post in the Facebook group (Fierce Fit Fearless 2.0) just about once a week. There is no cut-and-dry answer to this. Without knowing some key pieces of information, there is no way to answer this question.
  1. How old are you?
  2. How tall are you?
  3. How much do you currently weigh?
  4. What do you think is a realistic goal weight for you?
  5. What are your goals - Fat loss? Muscle gain? body re-composition? Other?
  6. What is your BMR?
  7. TDEE?
  8. Tell me about your fitness program - do you lift?
  9. What do you do, how much of it do you do and how often do you do it?
Answer these questions and then, and only then, can we can get started with your meal plan.

The first problem with the above meal plan description is that it lists no real information. How much chicken or fish are you eating? What else will be in your salad? What kind of salad dressing are you using and how much of it?
 
THE MEAL PLAN IN QUESTION: 
 
12:00 pm - protein shake - I'm going to assume this is a traditional, low-carb whey shake - 125 calories, 20g protein (if made with water)
 
12:30 pm - gigantic salad with chicken or fish (~300 calories unless fat free dressing used, then 120 cal plus any fats added)
  • 4 ounces of chicken or white fish = 104 calories / 26g protein
  • salad ingredients - negligible calories unless including beans, beets, avocado, or cheese
  • Oil and Vinegar dressing - ~100 calories per tablespoon. Let's be honest, probably at least two tablespoons were used on this gigantic salad = 200 calories pretty much all of it fat (22g)
3:00 pm - light snack of low fat Greek yogurt - 130 calories, 12g protein, 6g carbs, 2g fat
 
6:00 pm - dinner, another gigantic salad with chicken or fish 26g protein, 22g fat (300 calories)
 
Total for the day:
72g Protein (288 calories)
46g fat (414 calories)
6g carbs (plus carbs from veggies) let's round up to 50g, 200 calories
Grand Total of this day: 902 calories (maybe round up 100 calories for veggies, so 1002 calories).
 
Do you think this is a healthy meal plan? I'll save you the trouble of thinking about it. No. It's in no way a healthy meal plan for any sized adult woman.
 
So, the next question is, what can be done to make this meal plan more acceptable?

 
RECOMMENDED MEAL PLAN
 
12:00 pm - lunch - 424.5 calories / 37.5g protein, 13g Carbs, 23.5g fat
Break your fast with actual FOOD. It does wonder for hunger and satiation. Here you have your gigantic salad with:
  • 5 ounces of chicken or fish =  32.5g protein, 150 calories
  • 2 cups romaine lettuce
  • 5 cherry tomatoes
  • a half of a cucumber
  • a half an avocado 10.5g fat, 6g carbs, 1.5g Protein = 117 calories
  • a handful of black beans (1/4 cup) = 4g Protein, 10g Carbs, 57 calories
  • O/V dressing with 1 Tablespoon Extra Virgin Olive Oil plus 2 Tablespoons apple cider vinegar, a splash of water and some spices thrown in. (13.5g fat, 119 calories)
1:00 pm - snack - 256.5 calories / 30g Protein, 10.5g Carbs, 10.5g fat  
Protein shake w / Fairlife 2% milk and 1 tablespoon almond butter
 
6:00 pm - dinner -  424.5 calories / 37.5g protein, 13g Carbs, 23.5g fat
  • 5 ounces of chicken or fish =  32.5g protein, 150 calories
  • 2 cups romaine lettuce
  • 5 cherry tomatoes
  • a half of a cucumber
  • a half an avocado 10.5g fat, 6g carbs, 1.5g Protein = 117 calories
  • a handful of black beans (1/4 cup) = 4g Protein, 10g Carbs, 57 calories
  • O/V dressing with 1 Tablespoon Extra Virgin Olive Oil plus 2 Tablespoons apple cider vinegar, a splash of water and some spices thrown in. (13.5g fat, 119 calories)
8:00 pm - snack - 256.5 calories / 30g Protein, 10.5g Carbs, 10.5g fat  
Protein shake w / Fairlife 2% milk and 1 tablespoon almond butter
 
This day includes a grand total of: 1,362 calories, 135g Protein, 47g Carbs, 68g Fat. Obviously the carbs are slightly higher, but I usually don't count high-fiber green type of veggies in my counts.
 
What's even more astonishing is that this meal plan is actually way too low on calories for the majority of women out there. If you're under 5'4" tall and need to lose more than 15 pounds, this is probably a great low-carb meal plan for you - esp. if you're over 35. If you're taller, younger, and/or need to lose more than 15 or so extra pounds of bodyweight to reach a healthy BMI (not including Figure-type goals in here), you will need to significantly increase your calories.
 
To bump up calories, I recommend going with a 10-hour feeding window and a 14-hour fast, which allows for one more meal. Include some potatoes/yams and more protein and you're looking at a great day of eating!


To learn more, go check out Fasting and Food, Part II, Calories and Macros

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