Eating to 80% Full

Let’s talk about calories.


All we need to know with calories is the amount. If you want to lose weight, or if you want to gain weight, it's all about the caloric balance in the end. There's no magic formula for this. For example, we’ve all heard of these experiments where people would eat a Mcdonald’s or 7-Eleven diet and still lose weight. Mind blowing, am-I-right? Not really. 

If you’re only goal is to lose weight, all you need to really worry about is a negative calorie balance. There's a million different ways that you can do this. That’s one of the reasons that things like intermittent fasting, ketogenic diets, and whatever else are so popular, is because it gets you into a negative balance with what are - on the surface - easy to follow rules.

But In the end, they don't work for most people because they're so restrictive. They overly restrict the things that people like to eat that aren’t necessarily considered healthy, but are just fine in moderation. This is why learning how to truly EAT is a better long term plan. 

Removing carbohydrates from your diet for the rest of your life is not realistic, it's really just a short term strategy. Different diets whether it’s high fat and low carb or low fat and high carb will make you perform and feel differently, but both can help you lose weight. 

The thing that confuses people is that the popular diets they see models or physique competitors use are short term solutions, not long term plans. Most people’s goal is not to step on stage, but to be 10 pounds lighter and feel better about themselves. For this to happen, it’s more about understanding very basic dietary concepts. One is to consume more quality non-processed foods. 

Another important one I use with my nutrition coaching is the concept of eating to 80% full. Essentially you can eat whatever you want, as long as you don’t eat until you’re stuffed. That's a strategy that works extremely well.

In the end if you are looking to perform at a high level or to build lean body mass, what you eat is going to matter. But if you're just trying to lose a little bit of weight or feel a little bit better, ignore all of the fads. Just start with eating until you're 80% full and see how that works for you. Once you get comfortable with that, there’s plenty more strategies to start trying, just start simple. 

Please remember, ignore the fads and strive to learn how to eat in a sustainable way for a lifetime. You need those sound habits before you use any other advanced methods. Diet is something to be thought of in the long term, not what can make a quick fix. Using sound and simple habits such as the 80% rule will definitely get the best results and allow you to keep them.

Since you’re here: We have a small favor to ask! At SAPT, we are committed to sharing quality information that is both entertaining and compelling to help build better athletes. Please take a moment to share the articles on social media, engage us authors with questions and comments below, and link to articles when appropriate if you have a blog or participate on forums of related topics.

Thank you! SAPT

Whimsical Wednesday: SAPT's Version of Lembas Bread

Admit it, when you either read or saw lembas bread in Lord of the Rings, you really wanted some.


There's several recipes out there for it, but I made up a protein and fiber-rich version for the nerdy-lifter that I am. *Disclaimer* I'm still tweaking the amounts, so this may not be perfect but it'll at least be a platform in which to launch your own version of lembas.

I used coconut flour as my base. Say wha? Yep, coconut flour is merely dried coconut meat ground up into a flour-like consistency. What's so good about coconut flour? I'm so glad you asked!

Tell me about coconut flour.

Benefits of coconut flour:

1. Very high in fiber, about 9 grams for 2 tablespoons, which is fantastic for, well, the whole poop thing. Compare that to the fiber content of wheat flour, which is a dismal 1-2 grams... ick. Perfect for keeping you regular while traipsing through Middle Earth.

2. It's gluten free which is helpful for those who have a gluten intolerance or allergy and still want to eat lembas. Or, even if you don't it's nice to give your system a break from the gluten of bread and other gluten filled treats. (it's everywhere...).

3. Contains the healthy fats of the glorious coconut. However, I'm not sure how much of it is actually retained in the flour version since it goes through a defatting process. Some of that fat is better than none though. This helps fuel those long treks across Mordor. How else do you think Sam and Frodo made it? Not on fat-free Snackwell's cookies!

4. Does not have the power to raise glucose levels like other flours (wheat, oat, etc) so those watching their blood sugar... rejoice! Steady blood sugar bodes well for sustained battles with orcs.

Now, onto the recipe. Sorry I don't have pictures. I didn't think to take any during the process.

- 1-1 1/2 cups coconut flour (depending on how big of a batch you want to make)

- 1-2 scoops protein powder-o-choice

- 1 somewhat-heaped tablespoon of coconut oil, melted

- Roughly 1 cup of almond milk (or regular milk). The amount will vary depending on the consistency of the batter you desire.

- 1 egg or 1 heaping tablespoon of nut butter. Coconut flour can be very dry, so the addition of either one will help cut that down a bit. Just know that the peanut butter will take away from the lembas-y taste. I don't think lembas had peanut butter in it.

- 1-2 tablespoons of agave or honey

- 1 teaspoon of vanilla

1. Preheat oven to 275 and grease a cookie sheet.

2. Combine the dry ingredients, flour and protein powder, and break up any lumps with a spoon.

3. Add the coconut oil, egg (or PB), vanilla, and agave/honey and combine well.

4. Slowly add the milk until the consistency no longer resembles wet sand. It should be more clay-like or maybe slightly watery clay.

5. Spread evenly in pan and bake from 15-25 minutes or until lightly brown on top.

6. Allow it to cool before either gobbling it up or wrapping it in nice big leaves.

There we have it. A LOTR-inspired protein bar for the athlete or hobbit on the go!

Eating During the Holidays: Strategize!


First off, I saw the Hobbit... Most excellent! The reviewers out there who are saying it's not so great (Rotten Tomatoes) Poop on you. I loved it! Any Tolkein fan will love it, go see it!

Onto the topic for today: eating during the holidays. About this time, there are all kinds of "diet" advice, how to manage the holiday weight gain. Magazine covers are inundated with promises of "melting away" pounds and "avoiding the holiday bulge," with articles listing revamped recipes and (in some cases) "quick" workouts to justify the holiday treats.

I'm all for finding alternative, healthier versions of favorite food and I think it's great if a meal can be concocted that is healthy AND tasty! But, majority of holiday meals will NOT be the "healthy" version (or the "Kelsey" version as my family calls it.) So what is one to do to avoid the pounds that tend to accumulate during the holiday season (thus inspiring many New Year's resolution and influx of gym use.)?

How about this: just don't eat as much; obvious statement, I know. I understand that there is a plethora of delicious food, but hey, if you don't want to gain the extra weight, don't eat too much. Or, strategically eat. Meaning, if you know you're going to have cookies/pie/cake or whatever after dinner, don't eat the extra rolls at dinner. Or, if you want to sample all the food, great! Just have a little bit of each instead of a lotta bit.

I know this sounds harsh, or at best, callus, but a little extra will-power now will save a lot of extra work come January. And, saying "no" to the extra helping is not hard. I used to struggle with both anorexia and binge-eating disorder; I know too well the extreme ends of "will-power" (iron-will and no inhibitions). There's no secret recipe or workout that will magically keep you from gaining extra weight throughout the festivities. Trust me, managing caloric intake around the holidays is NOT complicated and with a little work, can be worth the effort.

I should note, that regular exercise, not just frantic after-the-fact workouts in January, is also an excellent tool in the toolbox of good health. Keeping up with your training through the holidays (or at least some semblance of it) will certainly be beneficial.

Anyway, I know this was short and not particularly informative, but more like food for thought (pun intended). Just be smart with your food choices and you won't have to worry about having to "work" it off later.

Reducing Dietary Salt

I've never been one to worry much about my salt intake, but for this pregnancy I made the decision to really crack down on the added sodium in my diet. Why? Well, two reasons:

1. When pregnant with my daughter, I found that often my blood pressure was very low (this is usual for me). But, about 35% of the time it would inexplicably sky-rocket to a borderline high area. I don't know whether it was stress, anxiety, diet, or weight gain that caused this problem.

2. I also had a tough time with swollen feet/ankles by the last trimester of pregnancy 1, so I'll pretty much do anything to avoid that again.

Something to check out and consider: This morning Fooducate posted a blog called 9 Ways to Reduce Your Salt Intake.

I'm only just now reaching my third trimester of this pregnancy, so I don't know if my approach will be effective for the swelling. But, I do know that my blood pressure readings have been quite a bit more consistent and reasonable up to this point.