The matrix here shows the meals and snacks that met my own taste and texture cravings. Of course, most meals have a mixture of tastes and textures but I’ve just listed them under the taste/texture they had that was most dominant for me. You’ll likely come up with your own matrix but I hope these get you going. All of these foods
- are fairly quick and easy to cook (I was a virtual novice to cooking a few months ago, having existed mainly on convenience food, so they had to be!)
- have a lower proportion/total amount of carb (bulky green vegetables fill you up but have a low carb density so visually they will take up much more room on your plate than your protein source) than traditional meals – except for a handful (like those with pitta bread) which you can occasionally eat as part of a ‘normal’ diet when you’ve reached your weight goal.
In most cases I haven’t detailed the ingredients/quantities and instructions however the internet is overflowing with recipes and you’ll in any case have to develop a rough understanding of the nutritional value (amount of carb, protein, calories, etc.) of the ingredients and foods you commonly eat and a feel for how large given quantities look (like 100g – for which a food scale is very useful when starting out) to make a permanent change to your lifestyle. Generally, I made my protein source (typically cooked in a way that kept bad and saturated fats low – e.g. supermarket-rotisseried in the case of roast chicken) half the size of the plate and low carb density vegetables (typically steamed in a microwave steamer) the other half. Make up your own recipes that adhere to the general biochemical principles you’ve learnt (that apply to everybody) and are tailored to your own experiences/findings from monitoring your weight loss against the foods you eat – just keep the grams of carb below the threshold that you can tolerate without spiking your blood sugar (signified by feeling hungry again a short time later) at one sitting (typically 20 to 30g and ideally less than the grams of protein/fat) and make sure you get your daily allowance of nutrients (vitamins/minerals are OK to come from a tablet during your period of fat loss). Personally, I found my hunger following a meal was kept lowest when I kept carbs very low (under 20g/meal) but the level of carb you can tolerate without spiking your blood sugar will depend on
- how quickly it’s absorbed into the blood – which itself depends on (a) how the carb is exposed to the stomach e.g. diluting the carb with protein/fat/fibre/water will reduce absorption and (b) how much work the body needs to do to turn the carb into glucose i.e. the GI and
- how quickly it’s being taken out of the blood by your muscles – which depends on how exhausted i.e. depleted of glycogen they are.
Of course, you’ll probably break the principles from time-to-time e.g. when socializing (even then your body probably won’t want to gorge anyway if you’ve kept it well nourished) or when pressure of work means you don’t have time to cook but if you follow the principles you’ve discovered the large majority of the time and continue to monitor your weight don’t worry about it!