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Nutrition Diet, supplements, weightloss, health & longevity

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Old 06-29-2006, 05:24 AM   #1
Travis Loest
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I'm 6'2", 242#, 22% bf, and 30 years old, I am currently stationed in Iraq and have been doing Crossfit for the last month and a half. I quit smoking about 4 months ago and instantly gained 25 pounds. I expected to gain the weight, but I did not think that it would be as difficult as what I am experiencing to get rid of it. I've noticed a complete change in my psychological and out look on life and on my psyiological goals as well both from Crossfit and from quitting smoking. I don't need the 6-pack and ripped arms, I just need to get rid of the extra fat. I've gotten fairly sedentary for an infantryman and I am trying to turn myself into a more "combat-ready" individual. Unfortunatly sitting behind a radio in Baghdad for 12 hous a day doesn't bring about a natural workout. I'm having problems changing the way I eat, I've read about everything I can find on the Zone diet and the paleo diet but with the foods available here i'm not quite sure what to eat, I actually think a combination of the two might be my best choice but trying to weight food on a little scale in the dining facility is really not an option. They usually have quite a variety of food available, obviously stay away from the short order(read:fast food)line and avoid heavy gravy and grease, I've watched people on the "baked potatoe/tuna" diet and thought they might shoot themselves before they find any sucess so that's out. It seems impossible to get full on vegetable alone and they are not all that appetizing, anyone have any ideas as to what might be a solution? thanks in advance for any help
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Old 06-29-2006, 05:42 AM   #2
Elliot Royce
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Not everyone will like this view, but given that you are in the Army in a war, I think you should avoid imposing too many restrictions in your diet. Before doing the Zone, I stayed lean for many years by just following some basic principles:

- avoid bad fats: stay away from butter, saturated oils, ice creams, cookies, etc. If you simply cut out this stuff, you'll eliminate probably 300-1000 calories from your daily intake and you will lose weight. When you reach for that cookie out of boredom, visualize a leaner, lighter you and ask yourself whether it's worth it. Or tell yourself that each cookie you eat, you'll run off. When you realize that it takes about 20 minutes of jogging to burn off a cookie, it changes your priorities.

- stay away from high glycemic carbs: forget fruit juices (like drinking sugar), non-diet sodas, pasta, potatoes, etc. This stuff piles on the pounds.

- eat bulk: fill your stomach up with bulky foods like vegetables, bran, etc. If you can't do a Zone type breakfast, then go for Allbran with no fat milk. Feel free to chow down on this stuff -- it's hard to gain weight on it.

- go for quality over quantity: try to get really good protein (caution on sausages and hamburgers -- filled with fat).

- Use good fats: get some olive oil and use it instead of any other kind of fats.

- Avoid what I call "blended" foods, e.g.., meatloaf and mashed potatos. If cooked poorly, these can contain hundreds of extra calories and grams of fat. The Army cooks are taught to cook for thousands and fats and sugars taste better.

- Last but not least avoid alcohol. It has a different mechanism for converting to fat so even if you restrict your calories, you will still tend to add fat. Of course, some in moderation won't hurt you.

Keep in mind that it's a long-term process. Don't try to lose too much too soon -- your metabolism fights back. If you can lose 1lb per week, in two months you'll be down 8-9lbs.
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Old 06-30-2006, 03:48 AM   #3
Travis Loest
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I really appreciate your help, I think my diet is the last thing i need to get right to be on the right track. just a couple of clarifying questions.

-What falls into the really good protein category, i can get hard boiled eggs at breakfast and canned tuna at lunch and dinner plus crumbled hard boiled egg at lunch and dinner as well
- the salad bar is pretty well stocked too. what's up with apple sauce and cranberry sauce, too much crap mixed in?
-i usually try to eat whatever they've roasted for the day unless it's ham, they usually have roast turkey, rib roast, things like that.
-also what kind of veggies are better to eat
-bran for breakfast, as in raisin? they've got basic cereals out; obviously avoid the high sugar cereals, right?
-alcohol is not a problem here, don't drink much anyway but it's verbotten.
It's funny, I wish I had started this years ago, but I guess most Crossfitters wish they had started earlier in life, now if I can stop pouring junk down my gullet I'll be on the right path. Thanks again for everything.
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Old 06-30-2006, 05:39 AM   #4
Scott Kustes
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Good protein = any meat (preferably grassfed, in which case eat the fat too), seafood (some have issues with shellfish), eggs

As for apple and cranberry sauces, unless you are sure they are unsweetened, I'd avoid them. If it's a choice of any veggie or a grain, take the veggies. If you have choices of veggies, leafy greens, cruciferous (broccoli, califlower), standard salad fare (radishes, celery, cucumber).

Naturally you want to avoid the sugared cereals. Are there choices other than cereal? If not, I suppose go for the All-Bran or something...I'm not a grain eater, so I have no idea there. Fruit would probably be better than cereal though.

Maybe get some nuts when you get a chance and keep a stock of them to fillup on good fats and balance out Zone proportions. I assume Paleo is difficult when stationed, so do the best you can to cut down on grains and dairy with what's available and eat them as needed...you can go Paleo when you get back home.
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Old 06-30-2006, 03:42 PM   #5
Elliot Royce
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Before I get reamed, let me just reiterate that the following is a compromise, not the perfect Crossfit Zone or Paleo diet. You're in the Army , in the desert, and I doubt you can afford to have grass-fed beef shipped in from Omaha.

On protein, there are better proteins but in your war zone, unless you can kill a camel and have sand-grazed meat (just kidding), you're just going to have to go for protein that isn't mixed in with other stuff. Remembering mess hall food, I think you're going to need whey protein to get your protein up. Hamburgers are likely to be very fatty but you may not have a choice. Fried chicken is death. Broiled chicken, remove the skin, is probably your best bet as well as any kind of fish.

Apple and cranberry sauce are loaded with sugar. If you can get natural apple sauce, it's fine but again I doubt you get it there. Eat apples instead. No one would want to eat a cranberry unless they stacked it with sugar.

Nuts are great but don't overdo it. When used as part of a strict Zone or paleo, they are perfect. When you're making compromises and eating some less than perfect food, they can add a lot of calories (they are one of the more calorifically dense foods out there).

Okra, spinach, broccoli, carrots, turnips, cabbage, are all good. Even if they come with a bit of butter, you can eat a lot of these without getting many carbs.

Sweet potatos/yams are much better than regular potatos or white rice. Brown, full grain rice is ok, but filled with carbs.

Beans are good without sauce. Baked beans tend to have a lot of added sugar but it's better than eating white rice.

On cereal, All-Bran is a compromise. It's got sugar in it and is very processed. But it does have fiber to fill you up. Any cereal has way too much sugar including the granola which sometimes has the most sugar. Much better would be the slow-cooked oatmeal which they put out in the mess. You can fill yourself up with that. Just put in fresh fruit if it's too bland.

Basically, you're going to need to start reading labels if you can find them. It's an education in itself how much carbs there are in most foods.

If you get the Entering the Zone book, it's all spelled out with some simple guidelines on how much to eat. Basically, you just need to think about everything you eat for the first couple of weeks then you get into the habit of good food.

By the way, I'm 6'3", 230lbs, about 7-8% BF (actually the calipers say 5% but that's too low in my opinion). I was a lot fatter (20lbs) before I started to eat right and exercise a lot more (and was smoking). Again, don't obsess about this. The trend is what's important. Overeating you can put on 10lbs per year. 5 years of that and you've got a very large problem. Eating right you can lose 10lbs per year and in two years you'll be lean and mean. Just don't do strange, rapid-loss diets or stimulants or that sort of stuff. Those are excuses for not eating right.

(Message edited by eroyce on June 30, 2006)

(Message edited by eroyce on June 30, 2006)
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Old 07-01-2006, 03:20 AM   #6
Travis Loest
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Ok, I think I've got the gist of this. My main problem will be trying to get meat that isn't covered in some type of gravy or is naturally fatty. the Army being what it is, it doesn't buy for quality, but quanitity. It really looks like I am going to have to eat a load of vegetables, what do I do when I'm done eating, and two hours later I'm looking for food. Usually it's between lunch(1130) and dinner(1730) around 1430-1500 I start getting hungry. And I've really got to work on my quantites, that may be difficult with the choices of food I have to eat. We'll see. And Elliot, camel isn't that tasty, sand grazed or not.
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Old 07-01-2006, 09:18 AM   #7
Elliot Royce
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make sure you monitor your protein intake in particular to make sure it stays up...otherwise additional exercise will lead to muscle catabolism -- body converting muscle back into protein. I go with 1g per pound per day.
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Old 07-01-2006, 11:46 AM   #8
Travis Loest
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Other than whey protien that's measureable how do I know how much protien I am getting in? like today, a rough estimate of food was 4 hard boiled eggs, two slices of roast turkey and about 3/4 to one full can of tuna, two hamburger patties with as much fat squished out of them, misc. veggies as salad with a little bit of dressing over it and that's pretty much what I ate, but I have no idea how much protien I took in, I've got some whey protien but depending on what I'm doing, or what I'm going to do I won't take it or I forget, should I just take it after workout's and prior to meals? or is there a better time than others to take it, I know I don't want to take it all at once, it won't process but 240g of protien has got to be a huge amount. Is there a prefered place to get whey protien? I was looking at what they have on IRONMIND but I'm not sure if I'm just paying for a name, right now I've got some generic stuff that has a claim to fame of being better than nothing. what are your thoughts on that? thanks
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Old 07-02-2006, 09:01 AM   #9
Elliot Royce
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If you have access to the internet, you can use www.nutritiondata.com or www.fitday.com to calculate all of your nutrient intakes. Otherwise, you'll need to get a little Zone book and use the guidelines in there. They give you quick ways to measure the food portion and also a lot of the protein/fat/carb metrics for common foods.

The 1g per pound is for people who are actively building muscle. It's probably excessive if you're just dieting. Are you doing the WODs and supplementing with weight training? Or is your job active enough that you're using your muscles a lot. You can scale back on the protein if not.

As for whey, there have been some recent threads on it. I'd do a search as I am not an expert. In terms of when to take it, there is a lot of bodybuilder advice on exactly how to time it during the day, etc. I doubt that you need to worry about that right now. I'd say either an hour before a weights workout or within an hour after a weights workout would make sense but there are many different theories.

There's a limit on how much I can advise you on an ad hoc basis. I'd get the Zone book so you can understand the principles, then you can consciously depart from them to fit what you can reasonably do in Iraq.

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Old 07-03-2006, 04:11 AM   #10
Travis Loest
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Elliot, thanks for the input, i will defintly be using the nutritiondata, and fitday sites to help me out, i'm not really doing any extra weight training, i think i'm getting enough with the WOD, i am however running every other day 2-3 miles to "gtg", i hate running but it's one of the things measured for our P.T. Test. and my wife is sending me a copy of entering the zone, so i should hopefully be on the way to leaness. thanks
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