fat loss nutrition

Troubleshooting Common Diet Problems – Part I

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Troubleshooting Common Diet Problems – Part I

Incense. Matches. Batteries. Monogrammed stickers with the initial ‘K’ on them. Recipes I want to try. Hmmm. Where is it?? Dried white sage for getting rid of bad chi. A padlock. Keys to who-knows-what. Ahhh-HA! There it is: the troubleshooting manual for our dishwasher in the junk drawer. The damn machine overflowed and as pretty as the kitchen floor looked covered in 3 feet of sparkly bubbles, it wasn’t exactly ideal. According to this manual, there are certain things that probably will go haywire with our dishwasher, even though it’s a good one.

Much like our Whirlpool, your fat loss program could be outstanding, however there are a handful of speedbumps on the road to a lean bod that will eventually trip most people up. Luckily for you, I’ve been in this game long enough (read: made most of the mistakes for you) that I gotcha covered. Once we work these kinks out, you’ll be bringing sexy back in no time!

Food ruts
“I SWEAR, if I see one more piece of chicken or broccoli…!!!” 
Sound familiar? I always get a huge kick out of the fact that so many people think that fat loss all boils down to subsisting off a diet of dry chicken and soggy broccoli. Good news: chicken and broccoli don’t have any more fat burning power than a myriad of other lean proteins and green veggies. My husband and I diet down our Figure, Bodybuilding, and Powerlifting competitors on a wide variety of meats including ::gasp::red meat – not just friggin’ chicken or tilapia!  
If you are sick of choking down chicken and broccoli (or tilapia and asparagus, or whatever it may be) this is what you do: 
Stop eating it. Seriously. STOP.  
Instead, eat turkey, lean cuts of bison & grass-fed beef, fish, scallops, shrimp, eggs, lamb, or pastured pork. Fill up on a wide variety of vegetables like purple cabbage, roasted asparagus, sautéed peppers, onions & mushrooms, spinach, kale, cauli-rice – my gosh, the list goes on! 
Look, if your diet is boring and disgusting then you are doing it wrong. After all, one can only suffer miserably through so many meals before finally bagging it altogether, so it’s imperative that you make your food delicious. Plus, life is just better when your food tastes awesome. Explore some websites for recipe ideas. One of my favorites for recipes that fit into my nutritional protocol is www.NomNomPaleo.com  (If you have an iPad, she has a killer app!)

Um, that’s it?

So you’re hungry, eh? Assuming you are on a responsible nutrition plan that isn’t starving you (because that would be silly and unnecessary) then a little bit of hunger here and there can be normal. Lets discuss some basic ways to squelch the hunger and then I’ll give you a top secret tip.

  • First – veggies. How many vegetables are you eating? I’m always shocked to see people post pictures of their food and all that is on the plate is their serving of protein and maybe a few nuts or ½ cup of brown rice. Um, I’d end up chewing my own arm off. Eat your vegetables friends! Not only does your body love and need those juicy little phytonutrients but vegetables help keep you full! A cup or two of some green veggies with every meal will do wonders – not only for your health but also for your growling stomach.
  • Second – protein. Most people that complain to me of hunger aren’t getting enough protein. I recommend aiming for 1 gram of protein per pound of lean body weight.

Gobbling vegetables and plenty of high quality protein, but you’re still hungry?

  • Meet your new BFF – fiber. Most people don’t get nearly enough fiber in their diet and could benefit from supplementation. Check out this video and fiber supplement from my friends over at Metabolic Effect. Jade does an excellent job at explaining exactly why fiber supplements can be very beneficial for people trying to lose bodyfat. It can raise the glycemic index of your food and helps promote a feeling of fullness.
Social situations
This can be tricky. You don’t want to be the person that sticks out like a sore thumb because you aren’t partaking in the nachos and beer, but you also don’t want to botch your hard work. You have three choices here:

  1. Stick to your guns, sip some sparkling water and have a good time without the food/drinks. 
  2. Take a few bites and a few sips. Enough to get a taste and enjoy, without going hogwild.
  3. Indulge. If you choose to throw caution to the wind once in awhile, it’s cool, but – don’t do it just because it’s there. You’ve worked too hard for too long to eat & drink a bunch of garbage simply based on it’s availability.   

The rule: Take a bite and if it’s not absolutely in-frickin’-credible then put it down; it’s not worth it. Hold out for something that is. Social events and relationships are very important. They are moments! You don’t always have to say no but do pick and choose when to give in so that you get maximum enjoyment out of it without wasting an off-plan meal on sub-par food.

    We travel a lot and back before I knew better, it used to throw me into a full-fledged panic, and this is one of the most common emails I get from my clients: “What will I eat? I can’t undo all of this progress I’ve made!” Relax, this will be easy! Let’s say we are eating out for every meal. We know we want to get some protein, veggies and fat at every meal. Carbs are optional and depend on your individual nutritional requirements.
    Breakfast is a snap. “I’ll take the Jumbo Veggie Omelet please – hold the cheese, add avocado.” Heck, maybe a side of berries if you’re feeling crazy!   
    Lunch at a mexican restaurant is a cinch. “Chicken/steak fajitas please with extra veggies and a side of guac.” At a sandwich shop? No problem. “ I’ll take a {whatever sandwich} with double meat and tons of extra veggies – oh! – and hold the bread.” Yes, they will look at you like you’re crazy and it’s not likely to be a 5-star meal but it’ll get the job done.
    Any restaurant you go to for dinner will be able to throw together some meat and a huge side of vegetables for you. Bada boom, bada bang. Eating out is no problemo.
    If that all proves to be too much hoopla for you, fast all day and just eat dinner.

    I’m a firm believer that most people suffer from wild cravings while trying to lose bodyfat because they don’t take the time to make sure that their food tastes amazing. If you eat bland crappy food it’s only natural that you’ll want something more. We’ve already discussed the importance of making your food delicious so beyond that, lets talk secret weapons:
    My friend Jill Coleman and her team swear by this chocolate drink to kill cravings and personally I love it and can attest for it’s effectiveness! Add 1-2 TBSP unsweetened organic shade-grown cocoa powder in a mug of hot water. Add Stevia if you’d like. Stir. Drink.
    If that doesn’t work, eat one small square (and no, a small square is not 6″ x 4″) of 85% cacao dark chocolate and then go do something. Take a bath, read a book, or go for a walk.

    There you have it friends. Ways to battle hunger, cravings, social situations, travel and the food ruts. In the next installment, I’ll chat about a few more of the most common problems I see people face while trying to lose bodyfat.

    In the interim, lets discuss! Do you have any secret tips for dealing with hunger or cravings? How do you stay on track whether you’re out of town or out on the town?  Is there anything you’d like me to discuss in the next installment? Hit me up below!

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  1. Reply
    Samantha Angela
    August 30, 2012 at 11:29 am

    My biggest problem is the cravings. Chocolate usually helps because it is so rich, but sometimes you just want a nice chewy cookie!

  2. Reply
    Jamie Paul
    August 30, 2012 at 11:42 am

    hunger: hot tea or hot water with lemon usually help. I sometimes feel cold when hungry or fasting, so its doubly useful!

  3. Reply
    August 30, 2012 at 12:45 pm

    I agree with Jamie. In the morning especially (after my workouts), hot tea is my friend. Throughout my day I think the protein is key – I aim for 1g/lb and I feel far less hungry than when I was doing chicken and salads.

  4. Reply
    August 30, 2012 at 12:45 pm

    This is fabulous. I'm putting this on my blog and sharing with my clients. They need to hear these words out of someone else's mouth.

    Oh, and lemon water has saved me several times!

    Great article! Thank you.

  5. Reply
    August 30, 2012 at 12:45 pm

    Healthy recipes is a great app for your smart phone that has tons of wonderful recipes on it. I cook alot of then and my hubby and teenage daughters LOVE it! This is coming from a family that used to have fried meats and homemade greasy gravy (makes me queasy to think about it) for dinner all the time. Sparkpeople.com is the website its based off of and you can use their calculator to enter in the ingredients in your recipes and the amt of servings and it will break down the nutrition info for you so you can make adjustments. I have yet to get bored with my diet and its been over 2 months. I have lost 26lbs and 2 sizes (with exercise too).

  6. Reply
    Jen Comas Keck
    August 30, 2012 at 8:06 pm

    Hey Samantha!
    I definitely can understand that. I'm a texture girl myself and a sucker for anything chewy. Have you tried this recipe? http://www.jencomaskeck.com/2012/03/grain-free-chewy-choco-chip-cookies.html
    As long as you are able to limit yourself to one or two, these would do the trick, too! 🙂

  7. Reply
    Jen Comas Keck
    August 30, 2012 at 8:07 pm

    Hi Jamie!
    Great point! Tea is a staple for me as well!

  8. Reply
    Jen Comas Keck
    August 30, 2012 at 8:08 pm

    Hi Tasha!
    Wow, congratulations on your progress! That is amazing! I'll have to check that app out. Thanks for the suggestion!

  9. Reply
    Jen Comas Keck
    August 30, 2012 at 8:09 pm

    Thanks Angel! I certainly appreciate you sharing.

  10. Reply
    Jen Comas Keck
    August 30, 2012 at 8:10 pm

    Absolutely! Tea is a great idea.

    Anytime my protein intake isn't where it normally is, my hunger is palpable. Protein and fat for the win on hunger!

  11. Reply
    August 31, 2012 at 8:06 pm

    such a great post Jen that I KNOW so many people can relate to. A sustainable, healthy diet should never feel like a real 'diet' for the long term. I have to admit that the week before show–sure the diet is boring and there are days that I dont want to eat tilapia or chicken BUT it is for 10 days..thats it and all for the goal. I don't look at it as my 'normal day to day life' of eating. Outside of show, I can never understand why people eat things they are miserable eating! there are SO many choices out there and the goal is to find things that you enjoy!

    VEGGIES…I eat at every meal, yes even brekfast! they really help to ward off hunger and like you said, I feel 'naked' without them!

    cravings? If I am having a serious craving I give into it…everything in moderation…cheats and giving in sometimes can help you actually stay on track! if I am just craving something sweet I love to heat up some unsweetened almond milk with unsweetened cocoa powder and stevia in the microwave…hot cocoa!! its so delicious! also mixing coconut oil with stevia and unsweetened cocoa powder…freeze it for a delicious chocolately treat!

  12. Reply
    September 2, 2012 at 1:07 pm

    I don't doubt that an awesome chocolate drink would kill chocolate cravings, but what do you do when you get cravings for chips?! I haven't craved chips like this for 6 months and ended up eating like a 1000 calories worth of a bag of kettle chips and nacho dip today.

  13. Reply
    Jen Comas Keck
    September 2, 2012 at 10:33 pm

    Hi Cheryl!
    Great question – Pickles or kale chips! The salt and crunch of both ought to help kick that craving for chips in no time! 😀

  14. Reply
    Jen Comas Keck
    September 2, 2012 at 10:35 pm

    Hey girl!
    Yes – veggies at every meal! I've gotten some of my veggie ideas off of YOUR site! 😉

    Your idea with coconut oil, stevia and unsweetened cocoa powder is a great one! I'll have to try that. Thanks friend!

  15. Reply
    January 8, 2013 at 3:47 pm

    Jen, what about carrots? Lots of talk about green veggies, are these veggies not created equal? Too many carbs? I'm at that point where I have about 10 pesky pounds and just some basic leaning out to do, trying to figure out where to cut while still maintaining energy and no boredom…Love your posts.

  16. Reply
    Jen Comas Keck
    January 8, 2013 at 3:48 pm

    Carrots are great! Shame on me for leaving out my beloved colored veggies. I try to eat green and colored at every meal. Yes, colored veg do contain more carbohydrate than most green veg, but that is probably the least of anybody's concerns, so long as you are getting your veggie on! 😉

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