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The Diet

The I Can Do It Diet Overview

Published August 4th, 2009 By ToddSmith for ICanDoIt.com

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Understanding the Basics of Calories


Pure Carbohydrates (Complex): derived from non-animal foods (rice pasta, beans, breads, potatoes, fruit, yams)

Manufactured Carbohydrates: anything usually made with flour or sugar (cakes, cookies, candy, and desserts)

Fiber: the body lacks enzymes to break down and does not cost you any calories – but may burn calories trying to break down the fiber in order to digest it.

Glucose: blood sugar that stimulates the pancreas to release insulin

Homeostasis: a balanced state

Insulin: storage hormone that regulates how much glucose shall remain in the blood

Glucagon: a storage tank for sugar

Protein: derived from animal foods (chicken, turkey, lamb, fish, dairy products)

Essential amino acids: tiny building blocks of protein required for health (immune support, hormone production, etc…)

Canabalism: when calories are low and protein intake is low the body begins to tear apart muscle tissue to make amino acids from glucose.

Dietary Fats:

Saturated Fat: solid at room temperature

Unsaturated Fat: liquids at room temperature

BM: bare minimum required to maintain life

Aerobic exercise: cardiovascular training

Anaerobic exercise: weight training

There are three types of calories that come from the food we eat:

1)      Carbohydrates

2)      Proteins

3)      Dietary Fats


Carbohydrates come from food that is “non-animal” and are digested and absorbed by your body as *glucose.  The body prefers a concentration of glucose to be 70-110 mgs/ml of blood in order for it to be stable.

If the body reaches levels of glucose above 110, the body will try to reach a level of *homeostasis and will begin to take the excess sugar out of the blood and store it into the fat tissue. If the level of glucose is below 70, the body releases *insulin to pull the *glucagon out of the fat tissue to put back into the blood.

All carbohydrates we eat will be digested and absorbed into the blood stream as glucose. The body’s blood sugar stimulates the pancreas to release insulin and it will regulate how much should remain in the blood stream.  The total amount of insulin release to the concentration of glucose in the blood is related to your total carbohydrate intake.

Thus, the kinds of carbohydrates you want to ingest are complex carbohydrates not manufactured carbohydrates.  Complex carbohydrates are found in nature and some examples include yams, potatoes, wild rice, beans, corn, peas, and old fashioned oatmeal.  These carbohydrates illicit a lesser insulin response because it takes the body more time to digest. Manufactured carbohydrates (cookies, cakes, potato chips, etc…) are easier to digest; thus, the glucose is immediately released into the blood stream and large amount of insulin is deposited into the blood stream making it harder to control body fat.

Fiber is a separate group of carbohydrates and is known as a non digestible. The body is not equipped with enzymes to break down this substance and it actually burns calories trying to digest it. For instance, vegetables are known as fiber, and give the body zero energy.  The body actually uses its energy in order to break it down and it does not affect insulin levels.  Thus, calories are burned by ingesting fiber and this makes it difficult to over eat. Vegetables high in fiber paired with a complex or simple carbohydrate stunts the insulin from hitting the blood steam.

Examples of Vegetables High in Fiber:

Asparagus, Cauliflower, Dark green leaf lettuce, Broccoli, Mushrooms, Wax beans, Eggplant, Spinach,  Zucchini, Celery, Okra, Cabbage, Squash, Green beans, and Radishs.


Proteins come from animal foods and contain all the *essential amino acids.  These proteins are broken down and absorbed as amino acids the same way carbohydrates are broken down into glucose.

Protein is the most important macro-nutrient in building or maintaining muscle mass. It is the only nutrient that directly rebuilds and helps develop lean muscle tissue. If your body does not receive enough protein from a low calorie diet, the body begins to scavenge for the essential amino acids while the body enters a state of *canabalism.  Thus, if losing weight is the goal, too few calories and insufficient protein intake create the worst recipe because it will lower your metabolic rate.

Dietary Fats

Nothing is more fattening than fats.  Fats do not take up as much space in the stomach nor are they as capacious. Gram for gram, they yield more calories than proteins or carbohydrates because the body absorbs 97%.  Consequently, a diet high in fat creates fat cells to expand bigger than they were previously and elevates insulin which will makes it difficult for the body to ever use these cells.  Thus, they stayed stored and do not retreat.

All animal sources of fat found in meats, eggs, and dairy contain *saturated fat. Saturated fat can be a great source for good health, but can also clog arteries and drive glucose into the muscle. If the proteins you are consuming are not labeled as “fat free” it is important to monitor your intake of these particular proteins.  A high saturated fat diet can promote cancer growth.

What This All Means

After understanding the basis of what a calorie really consists of it is important to understand how many calories an individual needs to maintain life.  The first thing that is important in understanding how much of you is actual muscle and how much of you is actual fat. In order to find out this information you must get your body fat measured.  The most convenient way to do this is through a simple skin fold test.

An example of this would be an individual weighing 180 pounds finding out his body fat is 15%; thus he would carry 85% muscle.

How you figure this out mathematically:

Weight: 180 pounds   15% body fat

150 pounds
x .15
=   19.4 pounds of fat

180 pounds
-19.4 pounds fat
= 168.4 pounds of muscle (lean mass)

Therefore, he would be 180 pounds walking around with 15% fat and have 19.4 pounds of body fat and 168.4 pounds of muscle mass.  His *BM, since he is carrying 168 pounds of lean body mass would be approximately 1680 calories a day.

If an individual drops his caloric intake below his BM the body will begin to burn protein from the individual’s lean body mass and the body goes into the “flight or fight” response. Thus, muscle is shed and the BM drops effecting insulin resistance and the receptors on fat cells for insulin are downgraded encouraging fat storage.

The healthiest way to shed body fat is add lean body mass because it increases how many calories you burn each day while choosing the calorie level best suited for your lifestyle.

How to Diet the Right Way

One thing that we already know is that starving yourself and calorie deprivation will fail when it comes to long term weight loss.  In order to be successful, you must stimulate the body to release fat without going into the “flight or fight” mode.  And this is how it is done…

Smaller meals (6 times a day) so it moderates insulin release with a protein and a complex carbohydrate for each meal and vegetables at least 2 times a day with meals. This is how it will look:

Meal #1:  Breakfast

5 scrambled egg whites, ½ cup Old fashioned Oatmeal, one medium size banana, and 16 oz. of water.

Breakfast will give you 340 calories, 23 grams of protein, 54 grams of carbohydrates, and 3 grams of fat.

Meal #2:  Snack

2 scoops of protein powder mixed with water.

This meal will give you 181 calories, 40 grams of protein, 3 grams of   carbohydrates, and 1 gram of fat.

Meal #3: Lunch (I am assuming this is your post-workout meal)

10 oz. grilled chicken breast, 8 oz. baked potato, 1 medium size pear, steamed broccoli, and 16 oz. water.

Lunch will give you 577 calories, 52.5 grams of protein, 72 grams of carbohydrates, and 7.5 grams of fat.

Meal #4:  Snack

2 scoops of protein powder mixed with water.

This meal will give you 181 calories, 40 grams of protein, 3 grams of carbohydrates, and 1 gram of fat.

Meal #5:  Dinner

6 oz. grilled or broiled salmon filet, 1/4 cup long grain wild rice, steamed dark green vegetable, and 16 oz. water.

Dinner will give you 337 calories, 37 grams of protein, 12 grams of carbohydrates, and 15.5 grams of fat.

Meal #6: Before Bed

½ cup one percent cottage cheese

This meal will give you 80 calories, 13 grams of protein, 5 grams of carbohydrates, and 1.5 grams of fat.

This program gives you 1696 calories, 205 grams of protein, 150 grams of carbohydrates, and 29.5 grams of fat. Your macro-nutrient breakdown is as follows: 48 % protein, 36 % carbohydrates, and 16 % fat.

You MUST Exercise

With the correct knowledge on weight loss, meal plan, and exercise regimen, I have never witness failure.  Combining exercise and the proper eating plan will lead to faster and more permanent fat loss.  The two types of exercise are *aerobic and *anaerobic. Both are crucial when it comes to sustaining a lean body, and must be used the correct way.  If you choose to do aerobic only the metabolism will downgrade; if you choose to do only anaerobic, the metabolism will upgrade.


The Base Diet

Published August 4th, 2009 By ToddSmith for ICanDoIt.com

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The first step in accomplishing fat loss and gaining lean muscle mass is to establish a base diet or reference point.  This diet tells you how many calories you need each day to maintain your current body weight and muscle mass. This is the superior approach to any other method, thus; how you eat will resolve what you will change in order to shed body fat.

The most important thing about the base diet is taking control.  In order to do this, it is important to weigh all the food you eat.  If you don’t know how much total calories you consume each day with proteins, carbohydrates, and fat, you will not be able to make essential adjustments in your diet to activate fat loss.

To start, add up all the calories you consume per day, and repeat this for the following two days.  Again, most foods will have to be weighed in order to determine how many calories you are consuming every day.

One thing to remember is that most people do not consume the same amount of calories per day.  In order for this to work, you must eat the same amount of calories each day because your body will begin to give up its fat as fuel.  The human body will not respond to inconsistency in nutrition.

Essentials in your base diet:


  • Egg whites or egg substitutes
  • 1% cottage cheese
  • Water packed tuna
  • Orange Roughy
  • Salmon
  • Swordfish
  • Crab
  • Lobster
  • Shrimp
  • Chicken breast
  • Turkey
  • Lean ground beef
  • Flank steak
  • Sirloin steak
Protein is only nutrient that builds muscle.  If you do not eat enough protein your body will not recover or build muscle tissue. The body will look elsewhere for the essential amino acids and begin destroying your muscle tissue in order to fuel itself.

  • Old-fashioned oatmeal
  • Grits
  • Brown rice
  • Wild rice
  • Baked potato
  • Yam
  • Whole wheat bread
  • Corn
  • Strawberries
  • Apple
  • Orange
  • Banana
  • Cantaloupe
  • Honeydew melon
Carbohydrates are the primary fuel source behind weight training because they provide you with the amount of energy you need to train hard.  If you don’t eat enough carbohydrates, your body will not be able to train as hard, thus you will not stimulate the body to build more muscle tissue.  Your body will lack insulin which is essential in driving amino acids into building muscles.  Your muscles will begin to deteriorate because your body is feeding on them in order to nourish itself.

  • Broccoli
  • Brussel sprouts
  • Carrots
  • Celery
  • Cauliflower
  • Cucumber
  • Green pepper
  • Green beans
  • Mushrooms
  • Asparagus
  • Spinach
  • Peas
  • Zucchini
  • Tomato
Vegetables are fibrous carbohydrates that control insulin output to favor muscle building and fat burning due to slowing
down the digestion of carbohydrates, which depresses the build up of body fat.

It is imperative to eat at least five to six times per day, usually every 2 ½ to 3 hours. Each serving should be no larger than the palm of your hand. This will allow you to eat a lesser amount of carbohydrates at any one meal. As stated before, too many carbohydrates eaten in one sitting will boost your insulin levels and result in more fat storage within the body. Five to six meals daily provides the body with ample supply of protein for growth, and the fact that the meals are smaller will modify insulin output. Pick one item from columns 1 and 2 for breakfast. Pick one item from all three columns for lunch and dinner. Drink a meal replacement shake between meals and before bed. Frequency of smaller meals united with carbohydrate timing and the right amount of protein will push the body to grow more muscle tissue without adding body fat.

The Tricks behind Carbohydrates: What and When to Eat

Breakfast: When you have not eaten for eight to ten hours there are few carbohydrates present in the blood stream. Thus, muscle glycogen is not saturated and carbohydrates will satisfy and replenish muscle glycogen before having the potential to affect the body fat storage. Therefore, breakfast can be your biggest meal in carbohydrates.

Post-training: Like breakfast, there are few carbohydrates present in the blood stream after a great work-out because your body has locked up all the insulin in order to begin building muscle tissue. At this time, carbohydrates are needed to replenish and draw the insulin to the muscle to promote growth. Ingesting a higher amount of carbohydrates at this time also stops protein breakdown and suppresses cortisol levels in order to save muscle mass. Thus, the post-training meal should be your second biggest carbohydrate meal of the day.

Summary of the Base Diet

1. Develop a Nutrition Strategy and Starting Point Find out “on average” what your daily caloric intake is which will help you determine how to build mass or lose fat.
2. Establish Accurate Protein Requirements Based on your lean body mass make sure you count complete sources of protein in meeting your daily protein needs.
3. Alter Your Carbohydrate Timing Greater consumption of carbohydrates at times where the body needs them (at breakfast & after training). AVOID carbohydrates at night before going to bed in order to control body fat while trying to gain muscle mass.