I'm very excited to present another expert guest writer – say hi to Anastasia Zinchenko; a scientist, nutrition coach, bodybuilder, and international level powerlifter, with a PhD in biochemistry from the University of Cambridge. Quite the heavy-hitter!
She created ScienceStrength to fight misbeliefs spread in media and to provide science-based information to help people to become stronger, leaner, and happier versions of themselves.
Anastasia's also a researcher for Bayesian Bodybuilding and science writer for magazines like Men’s Fitness and Alan Aragon Research Reviews, as well as a creative recipe developer.
If you want to be lean, muscular and strong and make this sustainable, then it’s not enough just to know what your calorie and macronutrient intake should be. A successful diet is not just about these magic numbers. A successful and well-designed diet eliminates the chances of failure.
It is easy to be motivated when you are in a good mood and everything works well. Sadly, this is not always the case. Most diets fail when one is stressed, frustrated or overwhelmed by situations one hasn’t faced before.
For this reason, when you plan a diet, you have to plan for the worst situation possible. You should make your diet easy to follow even if everything goes wrong in your life. In other words, plan your diet for the case of an apocalypse. Only then will it be sustainable and lead to long-term results.
In this post I'll share some tips on how to make an apocalypse-safe diet.
These are proven strategies I have applied to myself and my clients. Once you start implementing them, they will make your life much easier and your success sustainable.
Step 1 – Falling off the wagon
Analyse what made it challenging for you in the past to reach your goals. What situations made you fall off of the wagon? What are your triggers for overeating or eating junk or not eating enough?
Did it happen when you were
- sleep deprived,
- offered food,
- or hungry because you skipped meals?
The list of possible hurdles goes on and on.
Once you understand what your specific trigger is you need strategies to avoid it in the future.
From personal experience I know that when I'm tired I lose the willpower to stick to my diet. Especially with tempting food around. For this reason I commit to going to bed early. Since implementing this I've had a much easier time sticking to my diet.
Step 2 – The path of least resistance
Eliminate all the foods that make you overeat in situations in which you don’t have the willpower to fight temptations. Imagine the worst situation ever; you are stressed, tired and too busy to think of healthy food options. Now go through all the food you have at home and ask yourself this question: How easy is it to resist this food in the worst situation possible?
Score the food based on the willpower you need to resist it. All the food for which you answer ‘difficult’ or ‘I won’t resist’ has to go. Don’t keep it at home. It doesn’t mean that you can’t have this food on some rare occasions.; it’s just about not having this food at home. This ‘ban scale’ principle is a very powerful strategy.
Step 3 – Change your current diet
If weight loss is your goal, you need to create a calorie deficit in order to be successful. Here are a few easy tricks on what you can do even without counting calories and tracking your macronutrient intake.
The easiest way is just by cutting the serving sizes of your starchy carbs in half. Make up for the missing volume with fiber rich veggies.
Cut: corn, beets, carrots, sweet potato, pumpkin, squash, etc.
Add: artichoke, brussel sprouts, turnips, collard greens, kale, broccoli, etc.
Practical tip: You could ‘dilute’ rice with ‘cauliflower rice’ (recipe). This has a double positive effect. First of all, you reduce your calorie intake, and secondly you get more healthy veggies in.
In addition, you could reduce your fat intake. Do you use 2 tbsp of oil for your salad dressing? If so, then use only one. The same applies for other foods high in fat, like peanut butter or nuts.
Something you should pay attention to is your protein intake. For athletes who follow a plant-based diet, I usually recommend getting at least 30 g protein per meal. In the table below, you can find foods or food combinations that contain 30 g of plant protein.
|Seitan||100 g||21 g|
|Green vegetables||300 g||3-6 g|
|Beans||½ can||9 g|
|= 33-36 g|
|Tempeh||125 g||21 g|
|Grains, like rice||60 g (dry)||4-8 g|
|Broccoli||300 g||7 g|
|= 32-36 g|
|Tofu||150 g||20 g|
|Green vegetables||300 g||3-6 g|
|Chickpeas||½ can||9 g|
|Nuts||20 g||5 g|
|= 37-40 g|
If you would like to know how to plan your meals in a more precise manner and calculate your macronutrient targets, download a copy of my ultimate meal plan guide for free. Also, the guide contains additional tables with vegan high protein sources you can use for your meals.
Now that you have the tools you need to make your diet a success, it’s time to apply them.
Start right now. Best of luck!
If you need help with meal planning and prepping, advice on handling a busy lifestyle that sabotages your progress, or support to be consistent with dieting, to finally feel attractive, gain muscle, and lose fat following an exciting diet you enjoy, then you'll want a coaching program with Anastasia.