Diet Bushido: The Secret Art of Estimation
When you’re in social situations where food is provided or when you're eating at a restaurant that does not list its calories you will need to delve deep into the secret art of Diet Bushido and do a lot of well-educated estimating. There is no way of being 100% correct with your estimations, so get that out of your mind. We’re not looking for scientific perfection, we’re looking for “good enough for jazz.” The FDA allows a margin of error of 20% on the calorie counts and other values of packaged foods, so just because something is labeled doesn’t make it gospel.
As a general rule of thumb: overestimating is better than underestimating. Restaurants add more fat calories than you would think, especially "ma and pa" shops that tend to get a little crazy with the oil brush and the ketchup bottles filled with grillin' fats. It’s not bad to add an additional 100 - 300 calories to any meal that’s cooked at a restaurant to accommodate for these potential add-ons.
Sauces and oils removed from the equation, many foods such as chicken breast are generally the same caloric value no matter where you get them, the only thing you have to estimate is the quantity. You can purchase a little portable, pocket food scale, but that kind of behavior should be reserved for individuals looking to get into the absolute lowest percentages of body fat for a show or photo shoot. Otherwise, just memorize these quantities in relation to your own anatomy.
1 cup = your fist
1 ounce = the meaty part of your thumb
1 tablespoon = your thumb, minus the meaty part
1 teaspoon = the tip of your index finger
1-2 ounces of a food like nuts or pretzels = your cupped hand
3 ounces of meat, fish, or poultry = the palm of your hand
Eventually you’ll be able to move past these tricks and simply eyeball quantities. However, this only comes from experience. Experience acquired from many meals where you’ve weighed and measured your food, seen how your body works with flexible dieting, understand the measures you need to take in order to get lean and are able to replicate those measures with confidence. Introducing frequent estimation at the beginning is not conducive to a successful long term relationship with flexible dieting. Learn and memorize the composition and weight of as many foods as possible and you’ll find estimation to be the way of infinite sustainability and flexibility.
Binge Drinking and Flexible Dieting
As I discussed earlier, we all have an interest or feel the need to get nuts on some alcohol and forget our names and addresses for an evening. However, as I previously mentioned, this kind of impulsive behavior can be in direct conflict with our physique goals. So what can you do to negotiate this part of life and keep to our flexible dieting goals? As previously mentioned, we always have the option of tracking alcoholic drinks as either our carbs or fats. You could very easily think about what it would take to get you drunk that evening, plan for it/write it down and order just that when you’re at the bar, party or social event.
I know. It sounds like a pocket protector wearing nerd’s idea of a great time, but for those of us that want to go out for an evening and drink whatever we want, I reccomend the following tactic I learned from the website Leangains.com by Martin Berkhan. As Martin describes it, this “metabolic mischief” is a way of cheating the system without having to do the calorie counting game.
On the day of the binge drinking occasion, your diet should look like the following:
Fat: Your Body Weight (in kg) x 0.3 g
Carb: Your Body Weight (in kg) x 1.5g
Protein: As much as you’d like, although the sources should be very lean considering your limited dietary fat for the day.
I understand that I’ve already given you a lot of math, so I’ve done you the favor of writing out these variables based upon body weight in lbs.
Body Weight in lbs Fat and Carbs in grams
150-160 20 - 21 f / 102 - 109 c
170-180 23 - 24 f / 115 - 122 c
190-200 25 - 27 f / 130 - 136 c
210-220 28 - 30 f / 143 - 150 c
230-240 31 - 32 f / 156 - 163 c
250-260 34 - 35 f / 170 - 177 c
If you don’t see your weight listed, don’t be offended that I didn’t include you and don’t be lazy and do the math yourself. Here is the equation to convert lbs into kg:
Weight in lbs divided by 2.2
200/2.2 = 90.9
Your drink choices should ideally be restricted to wine and spirits. Things like beer and sugar laden alcoholic beverages should be drunk in moderation as they have a much higher caloric value. And remember: Beer before liquor and you’re getting sicker. Liquor before beer and you’re in the clear. Liquor alone, and you’re ready to OWN.
List of prefered Drinks:
Mixers should be zero calorie beverages (Soda water, diet soda, etc.), or be the boss in your group take your drink neat and look the best. Your choice.
As if this needs to be stated, This only works if you’re on point the rest of the week. If you’re not following the basic rules of dieting the other 6 days of the week, you’re doing yourself a disservice by fooling yourself that this is getting you progress...