Rod, 49, has been recording everything he eats for the past 12 weeks in a bid to lose some belly fat. He walks to work and three times a week does weight training at home. He leaves work at 3.45pm to make afternoon tea and dinner for his sons.
¾ cup rolled oats with 1½ cups light blue top milk, 40g frozen blueberries and 40g low fat Greek style yoghurt. I used to eat muesli (like for the last 30 years) but eat this for better nutrition and enjoy it more than muesli now.
Salted caramel protein bar, 1 cup green-top milk, 10 almonds.
Homemade chicken sandwich with 2 slices Vogel’s bread, 30g shredded chicken, 10g cheese, 40g cottage cheese, 10g spinach.
Apple. About 3 times a week I share a smoothie with the boys, containing 50g spinach, 2 bananas, 40g frozen blueberries and 30g protein powder.
Chicken breast burrito, containing 165g chicken, 1 tortilla, 20g cheese, ½ tomato, 10g salsa, 10g spinach, 20g cottage cheese. Dinner varies every night but most things have similar nutritional values. This is the most popular meal I make.
30g protein powder in 1 cup light blue-top milk, with 1 biscuit. Usually I have this earlier if I have had a workout in the evening.
Mikki Williden’s nutrition quick fix
I’ve not seen such a detailed food diary. I love your focus on reducing belly fat — for men, a waist circumference greater than 94cm increases health risks, at 102cm there’s a substantial risk. Fat around the middle can lead to insulin resistance and hardening of the arteries and atherosclerosis. You, however, are well on your way to a leaner torso.
That said, a calorie isn’t a calorie. While a calorie deficit is necessary for fat loss — our ability to create a “deficit” can be determined by how the body stores and uses calories. Calories from carbohydrate-based foods do not allow us to easily access our body fat as they spike insulin when broken down to glucose — leading to a greater number that may be stored for later use. Calories from protein (except whey protein) or fat do not have the same effect and therefore meals and foods based on these options (alongside an abundance of fresh vegetables) allow us to access our fat stores more readily. Shifting the balance to meals that contain more protein AND more fat is far more satisfying and we end up eating fewer calories overall.
This seems counter intuitive given that fat contains more than double the number of calories as carbohydrate but trust me, countless nutrition clients along with extensive research in the scientific literature has shown this.
So, back to your diet:
I love that you have switched to rolled oats in the morning but opt for full fat yoghurt and add your almonds there. This will be more satisfying, so if you do need a morning snack, a drink of full-cream milk will help tide you over to lunch without relying on the muesli bar.
If you switched to a salad or vegetables for lunch as the vehicle for your protein, you wouldn’t be limited to what you could fit into your sandwich. I’d aim for at least doubling that protein (if not tripling the chicken) and you could also bring along a potato or kumara baked the night before — a much more nutritious source of carbohydrate. Keeping a bottle of olive oil at work will allow you to add your own dressing and maximise your absorption of nutrients from the salad.
The afternoon smoothie shared with your boys is such a good idea.
Mikki Williden is a registered nutritionist and lecturer at AUT University, where she lectures in public health nutrition and sports nutrition at the School of Sport and Recreation. Read Bite articles from Mikki or visit mikkiwilliden.com for more.