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Are you making losing fat harder than it needs to be?

Wednesday, November 16, 2011 by  
Filed under Daily Blog

Unbelievable Chicken

Unbelievable Chicken

Last night for dinner I made one of of my all-time favorite chicken recipes, Unbelievable Chicken. Some people, especially those who are new to healthy eating and fat loss, may see some of the marinade ingredients (brown sugar, for example) and think, “Oh, I can’t eat that!” Hey, I understand where you’re coming from (I’ve been there), but trust me: you don’t have to torture yourself by eating the same, boring chicken breasts meal after meal after meal…

When I computed the calories and macros for this particular dish (368 calories 15.6g fat/13.3g carbs/39.5g protein) I did so using all of the recipe ingredients simply because that’s the only truly consistent way to do it: attempting to guess how much marinade is actually consumed would be practically impossible. The reality is, of course, most of the ingredients in the marinade are not consumed, so the actual total calories are less than what’s shown, and so are the carbs and fat (which are inflated by the brown sugar and olive oil in the marinade). The protein is spot-on.

When I am cutting (for example, on my last cut down to 7% body fat) I ate this dish (and many others found in the Recipe section of this site) all the time. The truth is if you’re gagging down food that you are absolutely sick of, eventually you’re going to give up entirely and fall back to bad habits. So a few extra calories used to make something like a chicken breast new, exciting and delicious are well worth it.

Even plain chicken breasts can be made into something better simply by grilling instead of baking, or baking instead of grilling. There are lots of good no calorie shake-on grill seasonings, too. Lately I’ve been using the McCormick Grill Mates Montreal Seasoning almost every time I grill plain chicken breasts. It’s awesome!

Condiments like Sriracha hot chili sauce can also turn a boring grilled chicken breast into something you’ll look forward to eating. I just place a large dollop of Sriracha on my plate and dip my bites of chicken breast into it while I eat. I’ve been eating a chicken breast and brown rice every day for lunch almost all year long, and I still enjoy that meal a great deal thanks to the miracle that is Sriracha. 🙂

Something I hear a lot from people is, “Well, I can’t cook!” Listen, there’s a big difference between actually cooking and simply following a recipe. Following a recipe is just like any other skill, and this is one that is easily mastered: just get in the kitchen, start doing it and have fun! A child can follow a recipe, and so can you. So please don’t let yourself use the “I can’t cook” excuse. Let’s face it, most restaurant and pre-packaged foods are not very healthy, so being able to cook your own meals is one of the best things you’ll ever do for your health.

When you’re losing fat cutting calories is hard enough on its own. There’s nothing you can do about that aspect of fat loss, but there’s absolutely no reason you have to suffer though boring meals at the same time. When I start my 2012 cut in January I certainly won’t enjoy eating less food (who does!), but I can guarantee you that I’ll at least enjoy the foods I’m eating.

I’ve opened the December “100 Challenge” for entry. Get the details and get registered here.

John Stone Fitness Comments

4 Responses to “Are you making losing fat harder than it needs to be?”
  1. I was wondering – is counting calories and macros of all ingredients really a reliable way to count calories for the meal? Don’t they change when you cook/bake/grill/whatever it?

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    • Yes, sometimes the cooking process can alter the listed macros (which are often inaccurate to begin with). Just use the best information you have available, and don’t sweat it. So many people torture themselves obsessing over every last calorie; unless your body fat is in the mid single digits and you’re preparing for a bodybuilding show or something, that level of detail is totally unnecessary.

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  2. Very, very, very important point… at least it has been for me. People need to remember that long-term compliance is way more important than having sporadic “perfect” days buffered with lots of time spent off the diet because it’s too difficult to stick to.

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