Making Better Choices While Eating Out

"I am a police officer in a small town and I am starting your strength training for the law enforcement warrior program. My goal I would like to achieve out of this program is to better my appearance in uniform. I would like to gain muscle and lose fat. I am 28 yrs old approximately 5' 8" and 145lbs with a relatively high metabolism. Only until recently have I began to gain fat weight around my mid section.

"As a cop you realize that I don't have the opportunity to eat where and when I please and usually I just bite and swallow my food. My question I would like to ask is, what would you suggest as a nutritional program for this type of workout?

"I do work day shift which gives me the opportunity to eat breakfast around 9:00am and then I eat lunch anywhere between 11:30 and 1:30. I then come home and eat again around 5:00 to 7:00pm.

"We have a Dairy Queen, Pizza buffet, Subway, Chinese restaurant, and a soul food dinner in the town I work in. I normally eat one of the above and rarely if ever bring my food from home. On a cops salary I do not have the money to buy all those fancy meals and usually I don't know how to make or cook them if I did have the money.

"Do you know of a relatively cheap easy meal plan for dummies that would allow me to eat nutritiously for this workout that I am starting to do?"

Thank you for your time and patience,

Detective, Wrightsville Police Department

My Answer: Oh it's tough being a lawman going from case to case, lead to lead and eating when you can. When aspects of your life are not under your control, such as diet and time, then you really don't have control over the outcome with regards to your physique. So I strongly suggest you learn how to cook or at least pack cold meals. That way you control what you eat.

With you at 5'8" 145 lbs. with some midsection fat, I'd say you're heading toward the skinny/fat look. Essentially you're an ectomorph with some belly fat, which is a result of physical and mental stress (duh! you're a cop) and poor diet. You can't control the stress you get, only how you react to it.

What you can control is your diet, so I suggest you eliminate as many white carbs from your diet as possible. That means no sugar, bread, pastas, fries, potatoes, rice, alcohol, etc. Your body is producing a lot of cortisol due to the stress, so you're not able metabolize carbs very well, which is why it's being dumped as fat around your midsection.

Of course, given your list of restaurants, easier said than done. For breakfast, have eggs in any form. Bacon and sausage are fine, but no cereal, hash browns or toast. Coffee (no sugar) is fine.

For lunch, eat a protein portion with a vegetable portion, but no starchy carbs, no soft drinks. So if you eat at the Chinese restaurant or soul food place, meat and veggies would be fine, but rice, noodles and corn bread would not. Dinner: same thing.

Be sure to drink lots of water throughout the day to alleviate the detrimental effects of cortisol on your health. Strength and Physique V1 has a chapter on diet, so be sure to look into that.
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