Diet that's reasonable

I know there are several postings on nutrition here, but this is maybe a bit more specific.

I float between 221.5 - 230 lbs right now…30 % BF I’m not going to lie…Too much Ice Cream :hot_face:. My goal is to be at least 200 lbs by September, but I want to do it smart. I want a diet I can live with for the rest of my life. I’m realistic when I say I’m not going to be perfect (nor am I going to go back to being a virgin either). I could tell you all I am going to eat tofu and bird seed only for the rest of my life, but I’d be lying. I just need more structure in the diet, not perfection.

I’m 48 year old and workout between 4-5 days per week for a minimum for an hour. So I think I am okay on the exercise front. Of course I can always be better, but I think the weight will help my performance now more than anything as its W/kg right…

I seem to work better with rules instead of just “eat clean” or “eat less sugar” or what ever.

Here are my thoughts on my “rules”…stress I seem to need rules.

  • Cut Sugar back sugary junk food to just the weekends and hopefully not over doing it. That way I just say no to the office donuts, chocolates and whatever sugar covered crack they are pushing that day :wink:
  • On rest days, I focus heavily on calories counting with a 500-1000 calorie deficit.
  • Eat some carbs on workout days a couple hours before workouts.
  • Protein with breakfast, lunch and supper
  • Hit the bike 3 times a week (hey this is a bike forum after all). I am pretty consistent with the cycling averaging 3500 - 5000 km a year. So check mark there.
  • Do strength, core and flexibility at least twice per week. I need to maintain muscle mass so I don’t yo yo diet and lose muscle mass with the weight loss.
  • Increase intensity from my current levels as I think I’m leveling out. FTP is 220 right now.
  • Eat on the bike when going over an hour
  • Eat more whole foods on the bike verse GUs. My stomach has no issue with this and I figure a banana is better than GU for a non-race day.


Ps. Thanks for the awesome support on the forum!


As long as you understand weight loss comes from being in a caloric deficit then the best long term diet is the one that has minimal changes from your current diet. Like sugary foods? Don’t cut them out completely but make little substitutes. Get a good amount of fat (0.45g/lb of BW) and protein (0.8-1.5g/lb of LBM). Ultimately the caloric deficit will lead to weight loss but the quality of foods will dictate how well you’re feeling/perform. I can’t cut out foods I love, some people can but I cant, I’ll slip straight into a binge.

Go plant based, you can’t overeat and you’ll see the weight melt away. Try it for 3 months, it’ll change your life.


Never…wait a minute …still nope.

Eating meat is murder…tasty tasty murder! :smiling_imp:

I have changed my eating habits this winter and it has paid off. I have lost about 10 lbs and 3-4% body fat based of my iron-man scale. Which is likely not accurate but its trending down which is the important part. I have closely tracked my power and how I feel on and off the bike. I think this is important because if you lose weight but power falls you are doing to much to quick. I made subtle changes, eat more for breakfast and reduce my dinner intake, plus eating more protein. My largest meal use to be dinner than I would sit and watch TV and then go to bed. I also cut back on the sweets, one soda a day and no more cookies after dinner. I snacked a lot after dinner.

Your list looks pretty good, but I don’t eat on the trainer even if its over an hour. Now with that said if you can’t finish the workout with out the food then eat, everyone is different. In regards to rest days I do try to reduce the amount of food but again subtle changes.

Good luck and stay committed to your goals and you will get there.

I like most of your process goals and if you can stick to it you will get results.

A lot of people here recommend using MyFitnessPal to estimate their calories in/out. Find a TDEE calculator to get an idea of your target calories for the day, weigh your food (at least for a couple of weeks) to see where you might be going wrong. I suspect you know donuts/cookies don’t help but seeing the numbers helps to quantify it.

Spread your meals, drink a good amount of water each time you eat and have lots of vegetables.

One note of caution. You want a 500-1000 defecit on rest days but this could leave you too depleted. If you are disciplined you may struggle to meet your calorie goals on hard workout days. If you compound that with an overly ambitious defecit the day after too you are setting yourself up to fail - either by not completing future workouts or in failing your nutrition plans and bingeing.

Another good piece of advice if you have a sweet tooth is to find snacks which are low calorie but still feel like a treat. I have hot chocolate powder in the house which comes out at 100cal when made with water and jelly (jello for muricans) pots which are 6cal each.

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One thing that works for me is going to the store when I’m full and in control of any cravings. Then I buy all the things that I know I should eat, even if I don’t know what I’ll do with them, and I find ways to eat them throughout the week. I always make sure I have plenty of carb-laden filler foods like PB&J sandwiches, rice, and sweet potatoes that I can use on days when I need a little extra. Rules never tend to work for me if unhealthy foods are in the house, so I just don’t buy them. I know there will be plenty of times where I’m offered treats for free at work or with friends anyway!

I went from 95KG 28% in January 2018 to 81KG and about 12% BF in December 2018.

I would definitely start tracking what you eat in MyFitnessPal, the bar code scanning and being able to copy meals just makes it easier to note everything down.

Since you have 8 to 9 months to get to your preferred weight I wouldn’t over do the calorie deficit per day. I think mine was at 250 KCal per day.
I just makes it easier to achieve small victories and that gives you a mental boost to stick to it.

The first couple of kilo’s will drop quite quickly when you start watching your food intake and keep your regular exercise routine, the last couple of kilo’s are usually the hardest.
But I wouldn’t focus too much on the weight number but rather on your BF percentage and your waist dimension as those figures say more about your health than pure weight.

I changed my eating pattern, I do eat less meat nowadays than I did before as that made it easier to stick to my Kcal deficit and I know I feel more fulfilled from pasta/rice/potatoes than from a piece of chicken. Give it a try on days that you aren’t training, try different recipes.
When I do eat meat nowadays (I am not a vegetarian or vegan), I enjoy it more as it more like a treat than standard.

Change the way you do groceries, hit the good food lanes first so that you make sure you have all the healthy stuff in your cart first, ensuring there is something healthy to eat in the house.

Three additional things:

  • Do not try to change your whole lifestyle all at once, changes costs energy and too much at one point might be too much to handle.

  • Try to cut out sugary drinks, that also means less cappuccino’s/latte’s and adding sugar to your coffee/tea.

  • Get enough sleep, sleep is a major contributor to weight/body fat loss

Hope this helps, good luck!

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Weight is lost though diet mainly - the old cliche that you can’t out train a bad diet.

My n=1, that got be down from 135ish kg down to my current 70kg was tracking calories.

  • I worked out my estimated tdee in a calculator.
  • Reduced that by 500 for my intake deficit
  • Overwrote the myfitnesspal calculated target
  • Tracked calories, including weighing food, properly portioning meals etc
  • I aimed to earn 500 calories from exercise. I ate anything earned above 500.
  • 500 from food, 500 from exercise generally did give me the 2lb/ 1kg a week loss
  • Weekly weigh in, after which I recalculated tdee and adjusted targets.

This worked for me as it lead to a gradual and sustainable change of diet, rather than being a diet. At the start, it was really just portion control.

I didn’t, and still haven’t, excluded any foods. I still have sweets, cake, carbs, beer etc. I just track and move on. I haven’t been convinced a calorie isn’t just a calorie yet.

If I was doing it again, I’d focus more on fueling the workouts. I kinda ignored that to a degree, it was only with Ambers recent appearences on the podcast I really began to take that seriously. I’ve no idea why it took so long for the penny to drop. My FTP did grow (as well as w/kg), but on reflection I probably left some growth behind during the deficit period.


“Too much ice cream”

Just make this your sole focus as something to change, I’m not saying cut it out totally but reduce the intake.

May 1st last year I stopped eating chocolate and treats at work with a view to dropping some pounds prior to the hill climb season. Yes I made a few tweaks here and there and cut out the big meals but cutting out those work treats made a big difference.

I was 155lb on 1st May 2018 vs 146lb on the 28th October. That’s a lot, I put that down to eliminating about 500-600 calories per day in those treats.

200 lbs by September is easy. 200 lbs for the rest of your life might be hard, but easily doable if you find the right technique for yourself.

One major thing is the psychological aspect of it. In the science of habit, bad habits never fully go away. You can engineer methods to mitigate the bad habit but one major thing to understand and accept is that it will never cease to exist. Part of the reason why weight loss doesn’t last. So while you might eat junk food, the best thing you can do is to keep it as a treat. It’s no longer a treat if it’s frequent. Then it actually is a part of your diet. Best thing you can do is to just track it. Go on ahead and eat to your hearts desire, but track it. Then see what happens with your body. Correlate it with the amount of sugary junk food, then realize where you are, where you want to be and what you must do. The answer is easy. Cut down on the treats. The best thing is then you get to realize how many treats you can have and still achieve your objectives.

Another rule or little game that makes things interesting is to use a blood glucose monitor. Using it to assess your commonly consumed meals. Understanding how good, or bad, or when you’re more capable of handling a carb load is very useful in keeping weight down. Not doing a workout today? Try to avoid wolfing down that small baby sized burrito that blows your blood sugar levels over 200 for 2+ hours. Go for something healthy fatty, a bit of protein and satiating instead. Something of the sort can really keep that post meal blood glucose below 180ish mg/dl.

If you’ve been at your body fat % for a significant portion of your life and/or have a history of type 2 diabetes, that would be a concern. To an extent it’s a part of aging but adipose tissue is one of the biggest risk factors. You can minimize fat for your health and it can pay dividends for decades later on.

This is just an intro.


I have a really sweet tooth and my resolution to this problem (that has stuck!) is banning sweets except when I am on the bike.

Obviously there is a time and a place for ride specific food but a long sweet spot session is ohh so much better with a bag of strawberry laces by your side. :wink:

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Delete all the rules that are about exercise. The significant issue here is what you’re eating.

Have positive rules about eating more healthy food.

Just trying to eat the right amount of protein has me stuffed every day.

Enough high quality food will have you’re body shape change without worrying about the calorie deficit fallacy.

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I watched that documentary. Very good!

I concur with this.

I’ve just started the protocol of matching food pre and during exercise to the calories burned in the session.

I’ve felt much stronger doing even hard interval sessions AND I’m not nearly so hungry the rest of the day or the day after. It’s been so much easier to stick to an overall calorie deficit, eat light meals, avoid sugary snacks or bedtime feasts, etc.

Oh, and one last tip: Greek / strained yoghurt. Fage or Arla Skyr are the brands here in the UK. Low fat, some good protein, low calorie, and incredibly filling. Great for breakfast, to add to smoothies, or just to have a couple of spoonfuls to stave off bedtime hunger.

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So should I plan to eat my expected calories during my ride or before or after ? I am never sure

I have struggled with my weight for a long time. I used a diet plan about 8 years ago to go from 275 lbs to 185. In that time I lost a lot of weight but didn’t really learn what worked and last thanksgiving I found myself creeping back up around 210-220 lbs. So what worked (I’m back to 186 lbs) was making my diet as simple as possible.

  1. Try only to eat non fruit and vegetable carbs around workouts (breads, honey, rice)
  2. Eat lots of fruits and vegetables (more veggies)
  3. Snack on healthy foods (nuts, fruit, veggies)
  4. Slow down when I eat
  5. Allow myself a chance to cheat occasionally but try hard to make those as few and far between as possible.
  6. Plan as much ahead as possible and bring extra food to work so I dont end up eating junk.

I’ve also struggled for years to drop weight. I usually did well counting calories for a few weeks and saw a couple of pounds drop off, but invariably I’d stop because counting calories is incredibly tedious. So year after year, my weight would usually hover around the same spot.

About a year ago, someone told me about the Renaissance Periodization diet. It’s a diet structured around macros and nutritional timing. You can read more about it on their website, but in short, you aim to get so many grams of protein, healthy fat, and carbs a day. They break everything down for you based on nutritional timing of your workout and whether you have a high-intensity, medium intensity, or low-intensity workout planned for the day.

It does take a little work up front to figure out their system, but it’s really worth it. I lost 12% body fat (from 24% down to 12%, according to two Dexa scans that I took 8 months apart) and I have maintained my weight for the last year following their templates.

The downside is that my FTP took a bit of hit when I first dropped the weight last year, but after a few months, I raised it back up, and now it’s higher than it’s ever been. I’m a woman, so my power to weight ratio is lower relative to some of the men on here, but I’m happy with my 4.0 watts per kilo and now trying to increase my watts while keeping my weight the same (much harder, I’ve found, than dropping the weight!).

The templates do suggest more protein consumption and fewer carbs than you’ll see in a lot of plans for endurance athletes. The system was devised by body builders, so they’re more focused on increasing protein consumption. As a cyclist & racer, I was concerned that their suggested amount of carbs wouldn’t be enough to sustain me during long and hard workouts, but with a few tweaks on nutritional timing (ie I rearrange the total carbs for a given day so that I’m consuming more carbs on the bike relative to other times during the day), I’ve found that I do just fine on their daily totals and am able to maintain or lose weight.

This system - though a lot of work up front to figure out - is a lot easier for me to follow and stick to than counting calories. It’s not going to work for everyone, but I’ve had a lot of success with it in the past year. I’m now really happy with my weight, and I’m getting stronger on the bike.

Good luck!


Here is a lengthy post from another thread that shares my thoughts on this topic that provides a “system” to follow:

You don’t need to eat tofu and birdseed. You do need to be in a calorie deficit. The best meal plan is the one you can sustain. 30 lbs is going to take 3-4 months of discipline to come off.

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A couple of hours before (slower release carbs and maybe some protein and fat too - oats, nut butter, toast, bagels, banana) and during (fast release carbs - energy drink mix, energy gels, maybe an energy bar if there are long enough recovery intervals to wolf it down).

Then - because you’ll still be burning calories at an elevated rate post-workout - some more quick absorbing carbs and some protein, at about 3:1 or 4:1 ratio ideally.

Then the rest of your food in the day should match the calories you’d expend through everyday activity. Or run a deficit if you want to lose weight. And if you’re not losing weight, look to reduce the amount you’re eating in your general meals, not your workout nutrition.