Today, I’m checking in with you to share my nutrition challenge progress as well as a few days worth of vegan flexible dieting meal plans.
On Monday, I’ll be 6 weeks into my challenge using flexible dieting to help reach my fitness goals. Guys, it’s been crazy. My weight has fluctuated up and down, up dan down but overall has slowly progressed downward reaching my lowest bodyweight this very morning!
In 6 weeks, I’ve lost about 4 lbs but I’m not really concerned the number on the scale. I look different and my clothes feel looser. I’ve leaned out significantly, especially in my arms, chest and upper legs. I feel fantastic and I’m more motivated than ever to continue this process.
Above you’ll see my before photo on the left, and a check-in photo at 4 weeks on the right. There are only 2 lbs difference between these two photos.
When you see yourself in the mirror everyday it can be hard to notice any progress but when you compare photos 6 weeks apart, it’s like, WOW! Consistency is everything and if you stick to it day after day, over time, it really adds up!
The Flexible Dieting Struggle is Real
I think in my last posts I made it seem like flexible dieting is a walk in the park, and indeed, there are aspects to it that are totally awesome. Like the ability to eat pancakes every weekend, or every day if I wanted to! That being said, it’s not always easy. You absolutely have to make it a lifestyle and you have to be dedicated to the process.
Some days are really hard. Some days I want to eat everything in sight. Some days test my willpower and discipline. Some days all I think about is food. Some days I just want to eat already and not be bothered with this weighing my food crap.
Eating out is next to impossible. Social situations are difficult. Some days I’m ravenous after training and eat most of my food too early in the day, making for the saddest little dinner you ever did see. Some days I feel like weighing out healthy food is completely insane. But then I wake up in the morning and the feeling of accomplishment I have from sticking to my goals is so worth it.
My carbs and fat have been reduced quite a bit from when I started, so I guess that’s what’s made the last few weeks a lot harder. There isn’t a lot of room for error and I really have to plan if I want to have a hope of hitting my numbers without losing my mind.
I feel like I’m still eating a lot though, training has been awesome and I’m not hungry all the time or anything. I just have to plan and plan well to make it happen, and eat a freaking lot of vegetables….and much less fruit. Sad face.
Latest Favourite Macro-Friendly Vegan Foods
I’ve already shared two posts on macro-friends vegan foods that have helpful in this process. You can find them here:
- Best Foods for Vegan Flexible Dieting – Part 1
- Best Foods for Vegan Flexible Dieters – Part 2
- Meal and Snack Ideas for Vegan Flexible Dieting
Here are a few more recent discoveries that I’ve been loving!
- Miracle Noodles – Must have! These have been lifesaver.
- Simply Protein Chips – Great macros and a perfect movie night treat!
- PB Protein Cookie Dough – Chickpeas, P2B, vanilla protein, baking soda, salt, water to mix
- Zucchini Oats – Add grated zucchini to your overnight oats, awesome with cocoa powder
- Cauliflower Rice with Peanut Sauce – I make sauce from P2B, soy sauce, rice vinegar and garlic
- Eggplant – Love this oven-baked with tahini drizzle, lemon and sea salt
- Chickpea “Egg” Salad – Chickpea mashed with lemon, vegan mayo, diced onion and celery
- Spaghetti Squash – Love it plain and with healthy toppings of choice – How to Make It
- Roasted Seaweed Snacks – If you’re craving a salty snack but are very low on macros
- Brussel Sprouts – I make a huge batch of roasted brussel sprouts every week!
- Coconut Flour – Lower carb, gluten-free baking and no-bake treat must-have
- Chickpea Flour – Gluten-free, lower carb, higher protein baking must-have
- Baked Apple with Cinnamon – And if I have the macros, peanut butter or tahini drizzled on top!
- Protein Coffee – 10 g of vanilla protein powder blended into coffee, like a vanilla latte but better!
Vegan Flexible Dieting Meal Plans
These are based on my actual diet during a work day and training first thing in the morning.
Pre-Workout: Apple with peanut butter, protein coffee
Breakfast: Overnight oats with unsweetened coconut, raisins, hemp seeds, vanilla protein, almond milk
Morning Snack: Protein mug cake, raw cashews
Lunch: Vegan Shepherds Pie with Cauliflower Crust and Lentil Mushroom Filling
Afternoon Snack: Cauliflower Rice with Peanut Sauce
Dinner: Roasted brussel sprouts, steamed asparagus, Field Roast Vegan Sausage
Dessert: Peanut Butter Protein Cookie Dough (vanilla protein, chickpeas, P2B, baking soda and salt)
Pre-Workout: Sliced banana with almond butter
Breakfast: Chocolate Zoats – oats, zucchini, cocoa powder, protein powder, cinnamon, almond milk
Snack: Sliced red pepper, raw carrots, tempeh “bacon”, vanilla protein pudding
Lunch: Spaghetti Squash Marinara with Lentils – spaghetti squash with a tomato marinara sauce topping made with tomato sauce, garlic, onion, nutritional yeast and carrot, top with cooked red lentils
Snack: Simply Protein Bar, Primal Vegan Jerky, roasted brussel sprouts
Dinner: Flat bread pizza with lots of veggies (no cheese, just baked with sauce and veggies), baked green beans
Pre-Workout: Homemade protein ball (made with soft tofu, protein and coconut), protein coffee
Breakfast: Tofu Scramble with lots of veggies
Snack: Apple, protein pudding
Lunch: Chickpea Edamame Sweet Potato Pesto Salad
Snack: Raw veggies with homemade low-fat hummus, protein pudding
Dinner: Cauliflower fried rice with baked tofu
Dessert: Protein Cookie Dough
Pre-Workout: Organic corn thins with peanut butter, homemade protein ball
Breakfast: Overnight oats with chocolate protein, coconut and zucchini
Snack: Protein pudding, raw carrots, roasted brussel sprouts
Lunch: Cauliflower and Lentil Stew with Field Roast Sausage, salad with spinach, red pepper and cucumber
Snack: Baked apple with cinnamon, protein pudding
Dinner: Chimmichurri Tofu Taco Bowls with Spinach
Dessert: Flourless Protein Brownie
The Hunger Games: Go High Volume
I’m becoming a master of high-volume eating ie. how much food can I eat for the least amount of macros.
Favourite high-volume foods:
These 3 veggie superstars are versatile, nutritious and help add a lot of volume to meals without taking up a lot of macros.
I’ve also been eating a lot of enormous raw salads loaded up with veggies and topped with homemade fat-free dressings. I love spinach, mixed greens or lettuce for a base and I load them with grated carrot, diced peppers, cucumber and whatever other veggies I have on hand. They’re healthy, filling, easy to prepare and I can always add a protein source of choice.
Miracle Noodles to the Rescue
I’m obsessed with Miracle Noodles, or shirtaki pasta noodles as of late, which actually have zero calories. I love marinating them in peanut sauce then making pad thai out of them with loads of veggies. You better stock up on Amazon before I buy them all. However you use them, they’re perfect for adding a lot of volume to your meals without the added macros.
I’ve been hooked on spaghetti squash too and have been including it in my meal plans at least once a week. Check out my post on how to cook spaghetti squash for perfect results every time.
But First, Coffee
I may have developed a little coffee problem as of late. I think I’m drinking it so often because it always feels like a treat. I used to have one black coffee to start my day. Now I’m drinking one black coffee in the before early morning workouts, one while I drive to work, one after breakfast and sometimes another 1 or 2 after that! After lunch, I drink earl grey, chai or green tea, ie. more caffeine.
I’m still sleeping well and I’m not jittery or anything so I don’t know if it’s a problem, I don’t know if it’s good or bad but I do believe in moderation, so I’d like to get this in check and go back to my normal one coffee per day.
A Word on Stevia
I’ve never used this much stevia in my life. In fact, aside from the small amount in the protein powder I use, I didn’t use it at all before starting flexible dieting. Alternatively I would use maple syrup, dates, molasses, agave, raisins or coconut sugar to sweeten recipes. Now it’s harder to include those foods without using up all my carbs for the day.
I’ve been using stevia in my coffee, which is weird because I normally drink my coffee unsweetened, I’ve been drinking stevia-sweetened carbonated water and I’ve been using stevia drops in everything from peanut sauce to pancakes and baking.
I don’t really have an issue with using it sparingly but I know I’ve been going overboard. I’ve had such a sweet tooth lately it’s had me relying on this calorie-free sweetener. I’ve read good and bad about processed stevia but either way, moderation is key so I’d like to cut back.
What’s the Point
I like the challenge, I feel better than ever, I have a better understanding of how to properly fuel my body for training and I’m constantly improving my relationship with food. I want to see what I’m capable of and I have athletic performance goals that I plan to acheive in the near future. That’s it! Plain and simple.
Do I think it’s the healthiest and best way to eat? Not really, but it’s been invaluable in helping me reach my goals. I’m not going to do it forever but for the time being, why not? I’m loving the process, proud of my dedication so far and plan to see another 6 weeks through to see what I can acheive.
Please leave your thoughts on all this in the comment section below. I really appreciate hearing from you guys! Also, be sure to connect on Facebook, Instagram and on Snapchat : derynmac as I share a lot of real-time cooking, recipes and tips.