HOW TO ACHIEVE A BETTER PHYSIQUE: DIET, CALORIE COUNTING, FOOD DENSITY AND MORE PART II
After about four months of a diet change plus measuring my food, counting calories, and tracking macronutrients, I thought I would share my experience. The main reason I started to track what I was eating was to have a better understanding of my rather large patient population that does the same. The second reason was to try a physique-oriented diet where counting macronutrients and calories is a prime concern. In hindsight, I should have just started tracking my food without changing my diet at the same time because most of my negative observations are about the diet I chose, not food tracking. I ended part I with several observations. I am just going to dive right into my previous observations and compare them to my current ones. To get the most out of this post make sure to read part 1 first. Here we go.
Weighing and measuring food and using an app to make sense of it all was well worth it for the simple reason that it let me know the precise makeup of my diet. As they say, if you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it. The equipment was cheap. I purchased a battery-operated scale for around $20. I liked the feature that subtracted the weight of the container for you (tare) as it made accurate measuring simple. I already had measuring cups, but those are just a few dollars. There are a few tracking apps (I used MyFitness Pal) that are free but I decided to upgrade my membership for $10/month to allow better tracking. The whole thing became very easy after a few weeks, as any routine usually does. The app remembers your previous meals which saves time. Even though I had a good variety of meals I ate, I routinely duplicated meals. After a month, I had a good idea of what a cup of something looked like or what four ounces of fish looked like. Overall, I highly recommend that we all try this experiment to see what we actually do with our diets, not just guess. It may be worthwhile to try it again periodically as your diet changes to be sure you are eating all of the nutrients you deserve.
My observation four months ago was that I was eating “a tremendous amount of food by volume” which I stated I liked. I now feel that this is not so good for three reasons. Reason number one is that I needed much more time to make and eat breakfast. With my morning routine, the extra ten minutes hurt. The second reason is that I did not like the feeling of that much volume in my stomach. Lastly, more food equates to lower quality food in my book. To get the carbs I needed, I was eating steamed rice most days. When you look at the nutritional content of white rice, it is somewhat poor when compared to something like eggs. Calorie dense/nutrient poor foods are something I never routinely went for.
I observed four months ago that by tracking my intake, I was on a ketogenic diet prior to switching up to a physique-oriented diet. It was not a total surprise, as my nutritional goals had been to eat a nutrient dense diet. Since the foods that contain the most nutrients are fish, shellfish and organ meats which are mostly protein and fat, it makes sense that I was “keto”. In part one I stated that I did not care whether I was “keto” or not, but now I do. I found myself to be eating way more food mostly because the physique diet I chose was lower fat and higher carb which took me out of ketosis. I found that even though I was bursting at the seams after most meals, I was very hungry by mealtime. As I stated in part one, I don’t like feeling that “almost out of control” hungry feeling. As a result of calorie counting, I would sometimes choose to eat a dessert like ice cream knowing that I would curtail a later meal to compensate. This led to a lower food quality diet than I like. And a less well-defined physique than I could have achieved..
The observation that I was eating more protein when tracking my diet only averaged about seven grams per day more than previously. In the end, not a huge difference.
The observation that I had way more energy and stamina on the new diet is true. My takeaway is that I will be cyclic low carb now. When I have a hard day at the gym or office, I will carb it up to compensate.
The idea that weighing and measuring food is fun has worn off. Like most things, after four months, they become routine and easy. Will I continue to do it? Probably not.
As for results I was pleased. I lost weight, got leaner and more looked bigger. I did not get as ripped as Nate Miyake, but few do. I am not a physique model.
A word about nutrition tracking apps. Overall, I feel these apps are amazing and recommend them. Some of the entries in the apps are way off in the estimations. I am not sure everyone using them will catch this. Some of them also have warnings about certain nutrients which I feel is misleading. It may give users a false impression that certain nutrients should be avoided when science has determined them to be safe. On the opposite end, one tracker equated beta carotene with vitamin A. They are not the same, so this is inaccurate and misleading. For more on that subject, follow this link.
There you have it. My experiment is over. It was a success as far as it went. I am going back to my previous diet because I know it is better for someone like me. I am not suggesting that Nate Miyaki’s diet approach is not valid. Would I recommend it to someone? You bet. For me, the hunger part of it was enough of a reason to go back to my old ways. I may continue to track my food, and dial in the carbs when I really need them. Maybe I will add a third post and let you know how that works out. Until then, remember that we are all unique. Ultimately, you need to do what is best for you, not someone else.