If you’re in the “Fat Shredding” phase of P90X (or any other workout program) you should be eating foods that:
1. Keep you feeling full.
2. Don’t make you feel hungry all the time.
3. Provide all the nutrients your body needs.
4. Keep your metabolism going strong.
That’s ONE tall order dont’cha think?!
Remember that the FAT SHREDDER plan from the P90X nutrition guide calls for 50% protein, 30% carbs, and 20% fat. You should stay on the fat shredder plan as long as you want to keep shredding fat. That’s why they call it the FAT SHREDDER. :-) Some people who have a lot of weight to lose will stay on the fat shredder plan for the entire 90 days or more.
You might not have a lot of excess energy but you should have enough energy to maintain your muscle mass while losing body fat and make it through your workouts without bonking. Once your body gets CLOSE to where you want it to be, you can then transition to ENERGY BOOSTER percentages (40% protein, 40% carbs, 20% fat) to give the muscles a little extra fuel. At this point even though you’re changing the percentage of macronutrients you consume, you should keep the daily calorie total the same for the entire 90 days. (NOTE: the P90X nutrition guide overestimates calories a bit because it was not created to be a weight loss program so feel free to adjust accordingly).
If you’re not tracking your calories and portion sizes YOU NEED TO START. People who DON’T track their calories will consume 50 PERCENT more than those who do!! It will seem bothersome and time-consuming at first, but after a while you’ll get the feel for what certain measurements look and feel like and it will become second-nature. Use whatever tool is most convenient for you, whether it be a small notebook, a phone app (I heard the iPhone app ‘Tap and Track’ works well), or websites like MyDailyPlate and MyFitnessPal.
Be aware that you may find yourself making some drastic changes in your eating habits. But just do what you can and if you make a mistake, forget about it and just MOVE ON. Even so, there’s a lot of great Fat Shredding foods out there that should be a part of everyone’s long-term nutrition plan. Here’s some of my favorites (PLUS we’ll talk about some foods you should avoid…at least for now) :
1. Egg Whites–Egg whites pack a lot of protein into very few calories. Use them just like regular eggs and scramble some up with veggies. Or boil up a dozen one day and eat them as snacks throughout the week (I just toss the yolk). Easy!
2. Apples–Apples have a lot of fiber which is important when you’re trying to feel full. They also have a nice crunchy texture which can make a good substitute if your body is craving chips. Just be sure to eat the skin too!!
3. Greek Yogurt–I’ve recently fallen head over heels in love with Greek yogurt. My favorite brand is Chobani and I love the peach and strawberry flavors. It’s a little more expensive than regular yogurt but is totally worth it in my opinion. Compared to regular and other varieties of “light” yogurt, Greek yogurt is higher in protein, has good carbs and no fat. Perfect-o!
4. Berries–I always stock up on berries when they’re on sale! They are superfoods packed with nutrients and antioxidants. My favorites are raspberries, blueberries, and strawberries but blackberries are good for you too!
5. Turkey Jerky–I know it probably sounds weird, but Jack Links makes a pretty mean turkey jerky. Sure, jerky is a little high in sodium and has MSG but as long as you’re drinking plenty of water you should be fine. Obviously, you don’t want to eat the whole bag, but one serving has 80 calories, 15g of protein, and only 1g of carb and less than 1g of fat.
6. Lean meats–You should stick with lean meats like chicken, turkey, and fish. Red meat is OK as long as you pick lean cuts. You will need these protein sources to fuel your muscles for recovery and growth while giving your body very little to store as fat.
7. Veggies–I know, veggies are sort of a no-brainer but they will fill you up (from the fiber) and give you lots of nutrients at a very low calorie level. Baby carrots make a great snack (as long as you don’t dip them in ranch dressing!!). And you should get in the habit of having steamed veggies with most of your dinners (like broccoli, green beans, etc.) sans the butter! Celery (like apples) also has a nice crunchy texture and is VERY filling!
8. Low-fat cottage cheese–Another great source of protein if you don’t mind the texture. Great for late-night snacking before bed.
9. Sugar Free Jello–I’m not a huge fan of jello (artificial sweeteners) but it satisfies the sweet tooth after dinner with no guilt and is only 10 calories.
10. Pure Protein Bars–Protein bars in general make good snack choices when you’re at work or on the run. BUT, during the fat shredding phase you should only be eating protein bars that are REALLY low in sugar (less than 5g or so). Unfortunately, the best-tasting protein bars (like the Clif Builder Bar and P90X bars are higher in sugar). You can find ‘Pure Protein’ bars at Walmart or Meijer. They are super-low in sugar (2g), low in calories (180), and high in protein (20g). Definitely not the best-tasting bars on the planet but you’re on a mission…RIGHT?! I definitely DON’T recommend the Chocolate Deluxe but the Chocolate Peanut Butter and S’Mores flavors aren’t too bad. NOTE: Pure Protein bars contain maltitol (a sugar alcohol) which can cause some digestive upset…mainly in the form of gas. Schwing!
11. Whey Protein–Protein fills you up and gives you a sustained energy level without spiking your insulin. You need to eat protein at several points all throughout the day but sometimes eating lean meats just isn’t an option. Whey protein is a great way to make sure your body gets all the protein it needs.
12. PB2–This product comes in powder-form and is simply peanuts that have been dried and crushed with the fat removed. Two tablespoons only contains 45 calories and even puts NATURAL peanut butter to shame which contains 200 calories in two tablespoons. You can mix it with water to create a peanut butter consistency, but it’s best when added to shakes. You can search the company’s website http://www.bellplantation.com to see if there’s a store near you that sells it, otherwise http://www.netrition.com seems to have the most economical price online.
12. Shakeology–Yes, last but definitely not least is our great friend Shakeology. This nutrient-dense superfood packs pretty much all the nutrients your body needs into 150 calories. If you’re a petite woman like me, you might even find that half-serving (75 calories) is enough to satisfy your needs. Since it has a complete nutritional profile, it stops the cravings, keeps you feeling full, and keeps your body running at 100% even while you’re running on fewer calories. Perfect-o! I love Shakeology, both as a way to aid in weight loss, or as a supplement to my current diet because of the complete nutritional balance it gives me. Shakeology has a low-glycemic index, with a certfied GI rating of 24. That’s lower than some fruits and vegetables! If you don’t know what that means and how it can help you reach your goals, be sure to watch the video below:
That being said, there’s a few foods that you should probably avoid during the FAT SHREDDER phase, not because they’re unhealthy, but simply because they will hinder the fat shredding process. You have to try and keep ALL carbs (even the good ones) under 30% of your daily total calorie intake. Some foods to avoid/limit include nuts, light string cheese (or cheese of any kind), P90X protein bars or any protein bar with more than 5-10g sugar, brown rice, whole wheat pasta, wheat bread, oatmeal and wheat cereals. Again, these are all GREAT foods, but they aren’t FAT SHREDDER foods so if you use them in your diet, use them in moderation! It’s fine to eat them, but only if you aren’t going over your daily intake of percentages and calories.