Diet Hard with a Vengeance – The basics of today’s top 10 most popular diet meal plans..
As part of a tribute to those who have inspired me to change my own body shape over the years, I am bringing you a series of posts based on my own knowledge and experience on the subject
They cover the tips and techniques that I have adopted in making that change in my own life and may help you make that change in yours too.
The first series will concentrate on food since this is 85% of the issue. I will come back to resistance training at another point in time, perhaps when I’m more knowledgeable in the subject.
So I’ve broken down this food series into five separate articles,
- The Simple Science to weight loss
- The reasons why you’re not losing weight and understanding the key issues in tackling weight loss
- The basics of today’s most popular meal plans
- How to create your own diet mission statement and develop a tailored meal plan that’s right for you
- My own personal experience, tips and views on weight loss..
Each themed by a different Die Hard movie. As you may have guessed, I’ve appropriately named the entire series
Some of it is informative
Some of it is entertaining
Some of it is motivating
I hope the majority of it is reassuring and may just help a few of you (or people you know) with your personal struggles with becoming healthier version of yourselves.
Most of all, I hope you enjoy,
Here is part 3 below.
What the hell is a meal plan?
So this is where I left off from the last post, and will probably one of the more informative pieces of this series.
On with the show…
In the eyes of a nutritionist, your body is viewed, in the same vein an engineer views a formula one car. Every thing you put in your mouth is considered as fuel, stimulating the body to meet various performance orientated goals.
The best performing Formula 1 cars are usually the ones, with the best combination of fuels available, alongside a winning pit stop strategy, to optimise their usage.
The meal plan embodies these two things together, allowing the nutritionist to provide the best performance of you, the individual.
Alongside some additional stimuli, here are some typical body responses a meal plan can help provide
- Weight maintenance
- Life support
- Weight loss
- Strength gains
- Muscle endurance
- Faster muscle recovery
- Power output
- Injury recovery
- Muscle atrophy
- Enhanced structural integrity
- Muscle development
- Reducing delayed onset muscle soreness
- Central nervous system stimulation
- Fat gain
- Food intolerance support
- Medicate (most prescribed medicines are digested/metabolised in the body first before traveling through the bloodstream to their target location), no different than food.
- Water retention
- Losing water weight
- Increased focus/concentration
Meal plans are usually implemented where an individual’s performance is crucial and can mean the difference between life and death. So you tend to find the armed forces are pretty big on this.
You also find these are a staple of competitive athletes, where the margin between winning and losing is often a fraction of nothing and has big financial consequences. With so much at stake, they’ll use everything in their power to reach that legendary status in their respective sports.
The use of meal plans has also drifted into the hands of the cinematic world. With the ever growing trend in average sized thespians, being cast as bigger than life superheroes, actors are consistently trying to undergo full body transformations, in order to nail their performances.
On the flipside, they’re also used for actors to get super skinny as well. Memorable mentions go to Tom Hanks, Christian Bale and fucking 50 cent who is almost unrecognisable in getting prepared for a film role. Infact most severe body transformations are usually seen as a good part of method acting, as the performers put the roles above themselves. It’s usually not long before the academy comes knocking with an Oscar or two.
So yeah a knowledgeable nutritionist ,with the correct meal plan for the job ,can perform wonders with the human body.
In short, if a nutritionist was Zeus, the carefully crafted meal plan, would be his lightening bolt
Fortunately though, just like Prometheus who stole the fire from the Gods and gave it to the people, the secret meal plans behind weight loss, has been passed down to us all, through the medium of the internet.
As individuals, we really should take advantage of this knowledge for our own benefit.
With the proper meal plan, you now don’t have to be an elite soldier, a professional athlete or a movie star to have a body like one.
What are the main differences between meal plans?
The main variations in the different types of meal plans you are likely to come across are the following
- When you can/can’t eat
- How frequently you eat
- What macros you consume at each meal
- How many calories you consume at each meal
- The variation in your meals (the different food source types)
- How much time are you willing to invest in this
- How much prior food preparation is required
- How regimented/flexible it is
- How much you care
One thing I won’t be focusing on too much is what specifically you eat and whether you have any dietary specific restraints.
- Organic meat and produce
- Jewish, Islamic and Hindu meat restricting diets (or any other religion)
- Lactose free diet,
- Gluten free diet
- Spice free diet
Personally, when it comes to losing weight, I don’t think it matters too much what source of food you obtain your macronutrient breakdown from, as long as you are getting it (I’ll cover this in greater detail later on).
It’s still possible to develop a meal plan and hit your recommended numbers, regardless of what diet you have. People with dietary limitations may just have to be a little bit more ‘out of the box’ when it comes to food shopping ,as some marcos will be harder to hit than others. Saying that, people with diet restrictions usually are supermarket savvy, so I’m not going to preach to the converted.
I’m also not here to debate which food choices are better or more ethical. In the grand scheme of things, this level of detail only matters to top athletes and won’t give you a significant change to your shape against the effort put in to regulate it. There are more important things you can focus on, consistency for example, which will far more important and gives a bigger bang for your buck. Just hit your numbers and meet your calorie requirements, as prescribed in your meal plan and you are good to go.
I’m not here to really piss anyone off so going forward, I won’t mention any specific food products, just specific macronutrients, this way, everything below is still universal advice.
What are the specific differences between diet meal plans currently available?
So in order to help you make your choices, I will just describe a few types of meal plans philosophies available today, how they work, their pros and cons and also what type of individual is likely to pick them.
This should make it easier for you to make your decisions going forward.
I would always recommend finding out as much about these as possible and not to take my word as gospel.
If your goal is a long term body transformation, there is nothing wrong with delaying your start for a month, to get all your information together rather than spending six months doing one method wrong, and 8 months doing another one wrong, getting fed up, crashing your weight with one method and having it all come back months later.
Before you know it, two years have passed and you are actually heavier than when you started. So do your research.
As they always say,..
Firstly some Meal type Definitions as I define them.
The reason I say this is because alot of people will put dirty and cheat together (you’ll understand what I mean later), evidence has shown this isn’t the case so I will separate them out.
Meal Type Definitions
Satiety – This is how satisfied you are with your meal. it is a combination of how good it tastes alongside full it keeps you during the day.
Meal replacement shake – Something like a slimfast or a protein shake, a means of getting in your calories predominantly in a liquid form where the volume of liquid water makes you feel more full.. In some instances, you could put a soup in this category as well, especially a gazpacho.
Clean Meal – Meals usually associated with Diets, lean chicken breast, brown rice, sweet protato, asparagus etc, lentis, quinoa. Remember you can still eat clean and gain weight if you consume too many calories.
Dirty Meal – Meals usually associated with badness. Processed fast food, pizza, chips, burgers, fizzy drinks, donuts, cake, Chinese, indian, takeaway etc. You can eat dirty and lose weight or meet your calorie requirements for a given meal (it just might be a small meal which doesn’t meet your satiety requirements), it’s a good option if you are eating regularly and don’t have long to wait till the next meal.
Normal meals – Meals you might normally eat, somewhere between completely clean and dirty. your standard meat and two veg kinda stuff. Stuff your ma would make. These could be cheat meals or meet your portion requirments for a given meal.
Cheat meal – Meals that exceed your usual calorific requirements for that period of time and generally put you at a caloric surplus during the day. These could be clean, dirty or normal meals. for example, if you usually have 300 calorie sized meals, your cheat meal could be a 900 calorie meal.
Calorie dense – It means for its weight, that fucker packs a shit load of calories. usually associated with dirty meals. Something like chocolate, cheese, peanut butter, oil, pastry that has flower, egg, sugar, milk, super super calorie dense stuff considering its size.
Calorie light – It means you could eat bags and bags of this stuff which would fill you to the absolute brim but they aren’t actually providing the body with that many calories. much energy. Can be high in water content, associated with Non starchy vegetables.
Glycemic Index – A measure of how quickly the energy stored in food is digested and released into the bloodstream. Foods with high numbers release energy quickly, this may cause the infamous sugar rush or energy burst after some foods, followed by the inevitable crash and the potential return of hunger. Foods with low numbers take longer to digest and release the energy much slower and keep you filled up for longer.
So traditionally in order to keep hunger at bay, typically you are looking for calorie dense foods, with a low glycemic index with high satiety to keep you satisfied.
Strachy Carbs – calorie dense carbohydrates that are not particularly high in natural or refined sugar. Here you have your rices, your pasta, your sweet potato, your breads, your grains in general
Non Strachy Carbs -Cruciferous carbs (low fibre carbs, not particularly calorie dense with low glycemic indexes, broccoli, brussel sprouts, cabbage, lettuce, onions, green beans, spinach
Fibre – No actual idea but it’s the stuff that keeps food moving through your bowels and means you don’t end up blocked up and constipated. High fibre food is typically things you want to throw into the mix regardless of your diet choices going forward.
When I originally made this post, I wanted it to be a one stop shop with all the information in one place. It ended up being over 12,000 words long in the end.
I now realise making sure people get this information is more important, so I have created a new diet series named
Which Diet is Best for you?
This series takes the 12 most effective methods for weight loss and goes through each of them in their own individual posts.
So rather than take you through each one, I’ll simply place a link For each one here so you can go through them in your own time. This should make for a better learning experience overall.
Today’s Most Effective Diets
So, simply click on the pictures to take you to their specific posts. There I will discuss each method in greater detail.
Excessive Exercise – The ‘No Diet’ Diet
Intuitive Eating and Portion Control
Weight Loss Clubs, Coaches and Paying others for Meal Plans
Meal Replacement Shakes
Low Carbs or No Carbs (Atkins Diet / Paleo Diet / Ketosis)
Short Term Fasting and Detox
Eating Clean and Regularly
Incorporating Cheat Meals into your Diet
Incorporating Carb ups and Refeeds into your Diet
Flexible Dieting and If it fits your macros (IIFYM)
So there you have it
That should be enough to get you kick started in doing some research into best meal plans available and should help you narrow down the field, to the ones you like, rather than researching them all.
Sorry for the total length of all the combined pieces. I thought it was necessary to go into the tiny details about these plans as no one ever seems to. I tend to find the more information you provide upfront, the more people are likely to do the research, so go out and have a look for yourselves and see what you think..
The reality is that when anyone takes this quite seriously, they will adopt which ever doctrine appeals to them best.
Now on to the million dollar question
Which meal plan is the best for weight loss?
This is a great place to stop and I will cover it, as well as talk about how to develop your own meal plan in my next post.
Thanks for reading, let me know what you think and remember…