... would like to drop a decent chunk of fat. I'm not too concered about weight (I'm about 5'6" and 135 - well within a normal range - hell, if this was muscle, not fat, I'd be thrilled!), but I can't seem to lose the belly. I'd love to scootch up my strength, endurance, and lose the belly pooch and keep it away. Can anyone suggest a non-gimmicky vegetarian eating plan for a candy-eater?
Eat oatmeal for breakfast--add skim or 1 percent milk, easy on any sweetner (honey is nice). Fruit cooked into or added on top of the oatmeal is marvelous. Try some V-8 juice to add veggies to breakfast.
For lunch and dinner, anchor the meal with a complex carb: brown rice, baked potato, whole wheat pasta. Add a mininimum of two veggies, either on top or on the side (this can include things like marinara sauce). Use plenty of spices, herbs, and aromatics in cooking to add interest: my standbys are garlic, fresh ginger, lemon grass paste, and jalapeņos. Use a little olive or peanut oil if necessary for cooking; minimize butter and margarine. Learn to love light mayo. (You could try the non-fat versions, but I just couldn't deal with them.)
Eat a salad with both lunch and dinner--lots of vitamins, and the fiber is good for you. Watch out for high fat dressings, but don't be too paranoid to use olive oil. Garbanzo beans are great on salads and add some protein. Chopped up broccoli slaw makes a crunchy addition to salads without adding a strong taste. Pecans and other nuts add taste interest and provide lots of good vitamins to offset their high fat content.
Use low or nonfat milk products to add complete protein, as necessary (they have some amino acids that most veggies don't).
For dessert, fruit is good. If the candy jones overtakes you, try for chocolate-covered raisins or fruit pie--just a nod to trying to stay with something related to fruit <G>.
Popcorn is a whole-grain snack. If you can't stand it air-popped, try to use as little oil as possible.
1 road bike (simple, light), 1 TT bike (could be more aero, could be lighter), 1 all-weather commuter and winter bike, 1 Monark 828E ergometer indoor bike
It's quite simple really...
Set up a spreadsheet in Excel or something similar, where you can enter your daily food intake, both in terms of energy consumed, and how much protein, carbs, fat and water you eat/drink.
One row per day in the sheet, and add daily weight (measured at the same time each day), and maybe a few key body measurements as well (waist, hips, thighs?) to each row. That way you can keep track of both how much you eat and how that affects your weight and measurements.
Get a good estimate of your daily energy need, and use that as a starting point - try to consume around 500 kcal less than that every day. Exercise should be factored in, so 500 kcal worth of cycling is as good as eating 500 kcal less (or even better, in fact...), so you could just as well add that too.
I did just that, and found initially that I consumed much more than I thought (and you have to be honest with yourself and really count every single thing you eat during the day!) and consumed far less water than is recommended. I should add that my water consumption calculation includes the "hidden" water in the food as well, not just the water I drink.
At the start, I only got around 1.2-1.5 litres per day in me, and that's far from the 2.5-3 l I've seen recommended. It took me three weeks to get up to that level. And when I did, as a bonus, my migraines became much less frequent.
All in all, I've managed to go from 79 kg (174 lbs) to 65 kg (143 lbs), and from a 97 cm (38 in) to a 79 cm (31 in) waist since May 1st, when I started this project. (I'm 1.78 m/5'10".)
I've also used several methods to estimate body fat, and kept track of that as well, and found that I've only lost around 1-1.5 kg of muscle in the process - or around 10% of the total weight loss.
It's really about how much you eat, and not really what you eat. Eating good and healthy food just makes it easier to eat less - it doesn't allow you to eat more in terms of energy, if fat loss is the goal.