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 cooking for two - different goals

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ktrainyo



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PostSubject: cooking for two - different goals   Sat Sep 12, 2009 2:17 am

Hi,

I am wondering if anyone has dealt with this before. My wife and I are both vegans I am 5'11 155 (put on 5 lbs in the last two weeks with my new workout routine) and she is 5'5 128lbs. Neither of us are looking to get huge. Her goals are to get thin and defined. She wants to get rid of the fat without getting too bulky. She naturally tends to build muscle when she adds weight training into her routine and a few years ago when we were really adamant in the gym she got teased by a friend about how her muscles were large. She wants to trim up and get tight and thin.

My goals are to get a little bigger, maybe another 5-15lbs in the specific areas that I target and lose as much bf as humanly possible. I think I am on track to achieve this with the workout but am clueless when it comes to nutrition. Our daily caloric intake is between 1200-2500 depending on what I cook.

Here is the question: I do all the cooking. I prepare all the meals and I can't help but feel like it is partly my fault that I am on the path to getting where I want while she isn't as I basically make food and split it. At the moment I use a lot of food from gobble green in our diet. So what we eat is mainly a combination of several of those dishes along with whole wheat pastas, potatoes, vegan sloppy joe, lots of fresh fruit, and I drink coffee with too much vegan sugar in addition to some other very inexpensive foods.

Any advise on cooking for two would be appreciated. Should I eat significantly more than her out of the portions or add certain ingredients? Any advice would be greatly appreciated and if any more info is needed from me than don't hesitate in the asking!
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Pete
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PostSubject: Re: cooking for two - different goals   Sun Sep 13, 2009 7:28 am

You've basically got several inter-related issues going on here (in no particular order):

1/ Women getting bulky...unfortunately for some women (who don't want it) they can get bulky if they aren't careful, this can be affected by food intake & the style of training, but some women are just genetically gifted to get big easily. Her best bet is to look at books like New rules of lifting for women or similar & try out some these styles to see if they help.

2/ Portion size. Yes you will need different portion size, you should be having a lot more than her, you are bigger, you are male & you are aiming at growth, each of those things means your portion size should be quite a bit larger. Generally she'd need less calories but a higher % of those calories should be protein

3/ Now about the general diet plan. My first advice is to have a few days eating as you are right now & writing down everything consumed that contains calories (that includes drinks etc). Assuming her weight is stable then that is her maintenance level at the moment you can use Nutrition data. Now cut off a few hundred calories, this is her new calorie intake. Stick at for a few weeks, if changes occur stick at that intake until changes stop, if nothing happens after a month, drop a few hundred more calories & again monitor (see the s'stages' below for a more detailed view)

I usually have a basic several stage plan depending on where you are already you start at the stage that involves one change to the diet only. I start with the assumption that someone has zero healthy meals & work up from there:

(Between each stage give a few weeks to allow you to adjust to any change & stay on it as long as you're getting results, remember this is a weight loss diet, maintaining is a lot easier than losing fat)

Stage 1/ Assuming all your are junk. First simply add in one meal a day. The easiest to change is breakfast, so drop the sugary cereal, pancakes etc & go for a sugar-free muesli, porridge, whole grain toast (not sweet jams - have natural nut butter, houmous or similar) or other natural whole food. There is no reason you can't have a meal like whole grain rice salad, steamed veggies etc if you have the inclination & time to prepare.

Stage 2/ If you eat out regularly, then now's the time to sort out decent places to eat or healthier choices at the places you eat now. This may take a few goes & some experimentation (the internet is great for searching out new places to eat), but if you regularly consume fast food now is the time to drop that & move onto to other types of eating. I'd also invest in a cookbook that deals with easy to cook healthy eating options, you can find loads online or at your local bookshop (you'll be needing that later).

Stage 3/ Now put aside one day a week to open the cookbook & begin experimenting. Once a week you will try out a new meal & everytime you find one you like mark it off until you have a selection of easy to cook, quick options.

Stage 4/ Begin to add the new meals you discovered into your everyday eating, you can keep up the experimentation on a weekly basis if you like & add to your growing collection of eating options. Don't just drop your old eating, slowly add in the odd meal. Also remember to keep in one or (at most) 2 re-feed meals a week. These can be junk you are craving, or just bigger meals that contain healthy food, but they MUST be high calorie. the reason for these are as you drop your calories, your thyroid will sense a drop in food & begin to slow, making you tired & the fat to cling. Re-feeds up the metabolism & help keep the thyroid happy & chugging along, these become more important later.

Stage 5: If the weight still isn't dropping off slowly (slowly is best, you go down fast, you'll likely rebound & get just as fat as you were or fatter), now slightly shrink your portion size from a meal or 2 (mainly focussing on carbs, but it need not be exclusively carbs), if it still isn't coming off then drop the portion sizes again from the remaining meals.

Stage 6: If the weight still isn't coming off you will then have to start experimenting with carb control just to see if carbs might be an issue (people tend to be either carb or fat sensitive, so some have to control carbs a little, while other have to consider their fat intake). The first change would be to drop starchy carbs from all evening feeds. If you get a big response you might be towards the carb sensitive side. The other option is to drop fatty foods from your evening meals, again a big drop indicates that you might be a fat sensitive type. You should get a drop in body-fat with either as your calories go down, so it is not certain you are, so don't go carb or fat - phobic as that will be counter productive in the longer term.

If you need to go further than 'Stage 6', then you're going to need special help with a much more detailed plan.

That is the basic plan I use to design a cutting program for someone. Bear is mind you & your wife are working at odds to some extent, you are trying to cook a bulking/cutting meal! So portion control is going to be an important issue. If she is serious about cutting she will have to feel hungry on occasion, just like you'll have to feel stuffed on occasion. To get all your calories in you might need to think about extra snacks & shakes, while her main concern will be getting enough nutrition without too many calories.

4/ Monitoring change is important. One of the easiest ways is to take a photo once a week. Photos should be taken first thing in the morning, if possible in the same place, at the same time, wearing the same underwear (or bikini-not bathing suit as they can flatten areas artificially), you should also try to do the same pose, the same way every time to make comparison easier. You can also use tape measures round the waist & hips, how clothes fit & scales (scales are least accurate as lost water, added muscle can affect results), as can callipers if you know how to use them (but they're tricky to keep precise).

5/ Final point you should follow a similar pattern, but be adding a few hundred calories to your meals & building up the eating slowly. Oh yea while a dieter should stick to one or (at most) two re-feed meals a week (& these are important, don't skip them-remember these can be used to satisfy cravings or just high calorie healthy meals), you can have the odd dessert & extra stuff as you need it as long as the fat isn't rising in a crazy manner, just be sure you are training hard enough.

Hopefully that some of the points here are useful. I'm sure some others may have some useful tips you might want to include as well?


Last edited by Pete on Wed Sep 23, 2009 2:38 am; edited 1 time in total
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ktrainyo



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PostSubject: Re: cooking for two - different goals   Sun Sep 13, 2009 10:47 am

WOW! This is way more than I expected in a reply! Thank you so much, I really appreciate it. We will begin tracking and using these methods right away. Again, thanks for the plethora of information.
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Pete
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PostSubject: Re: cooking for two - different goals   Mon Sep 14, 2009 3:04 am

Any more help let just pop back & ask away. Keep us up to date about how you're doing (both your gaining & her cutting).
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PostSubject: Re: cooking for two - different goals   Sat Nov 21, 2009 6:11 pm

Thanks, Pete.
I too am cooking for two, and our requirements are not identical.
I'd like to hold my present weight but continue to keep it solid (well...yes, further cuts would be nice).
My Lady has a medical condition that impels her toward weight-gain. This is very frustrating for her. Her exercise training is limited, but she is way ahead of me on supporting a vegetarian/vegan training table, and she is brave as tigers in terms of a healthy life-style.
Thus far we are trying to catch up to one another in portions and content.
We'll let you know how we are each, and collectively, doing.
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