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Q&A with Fighter Diet’s Pauline Nordin: Diet tips for a Marine Corps poolee to shed belly fat

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Q. I’m having a tough time shedding excess belly fat that I’ve had since I was a little kid. I’m 18 years old and a poolee in the delayed entry program of the Marine Corps. I ship out to Parris island on August 5th. In my last PT test I did 16 pullups, 65 crunches in two minutes and a 3-mile run in 23:34. I was wondering if you’ve got a good diet and exercise plan to help me shed the extra fat. 

This reader — who asked not to be named — sent us a week-long food journal for Pauline Nordin of Fighter Diet to critique and offer advice.

Read her suggestions after the jump.

A. Thanks for the insight to your food consumption! Let me say you’re in for getting a lean body in no time when you swap your current items for healthier, leaner, muscle-promoting foods. Overall, just glancing at your diet log, it’s very easy to see why you’re carrying excess body fat. Your diet is lacking in healthy foods overall, so I will just comment on each meal and why it’s a concern.

A few pointers:

1. Your protein intake appears to be very low. Protein builds and repairs muscle tissue, balances your blood sugar and satisfies your hunger more than simple carbs or fats.
2. There is a complete lack of vegetables and fiber intake is extreme low. If you’re not constipated by now you’ll be it soon!
3. It seems like your calorie intake is very low, but the foods are high in calories. This could be the reason your body is holding on to fat. You’re basically under eating.
4. There is no intake of good fats from monounsaturated sources which promote health.
5. To increase your metabolism, lean out and gain strength you should make a complete diet makeover!

See my comment under each meal:

Breakfast:
- Total zero red bull 8.4 oz
- Colby jack cheese stick

COMMENT: This cheese has lots of fat and no fiber. Carb intake almost zero. You need to eat something that gives you energy, fuels your muscles and provides fiber. I recommend oat bran with egg whites, one or two whole eggs. Throw in some berries for antioxidants.

Lunch:
- Turkey sandwich ( 3 slices of deli turkey, two slices of pepperjack cheese, two slices of whole wheat bread)
- One bag of original Baked lays
- 8 oz water

COMMENT: Cheese again? Great source of protein and calcium, but contains a lot of calories. Whole wheat bread is not that healthy, but to ease into a healthier eating pattern, check out EZEKIEL Bread. I don’t recommend bread — period — but this is the best you can use if you can’t go without. In a perfect world I’d see you eat plenty of carrots here! Add more of the turkey meat and vegetables like bell peppers and onions. The chips have to go. You can go for a handful of almonds, cashews or other nuts instead for good fats.

Snack:

- Nature valley oats n’ honey granola bar

COMMENT: This is just as bad as eating regular candy. You need protein! If you prepare your meals in advance, you can eat a chicken breast or leftovers from dinner the night before etc, otherwise, a good protein shake will help you build muscle and get lean.

Dinner:
- Half can of Campbell’s bean with bacon soup
- 8oz water
- 2 slices while wheat bread

COMMENT: You’re a carb addict I see. Lots of grains and refined items. Ditch the bread. Eat a sweet potato and add green peas and as many vegetables as you like. I would prefer to see the soup eliminated and instead find a piece of salmon!
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Breakfast:
- Egg sandwich (2 jumbo eggs, cheese, two slices of whole wheat bread)
- 8 oz water

COMMENT: Replace the bread with ezekiel bread or even better, have oatmeal! Oatmeal with cinnamon and ground flax seed is a super nutritious breakfast.

Lunch:
- Ham sandwich ( 2 slices of ham, 2 slices of cheese, 2 slices of whole wheat bread)
- 8 oz chocolate milk
- slice of pepperoni pizza

COMMENT: More bread? I see a pattern! No wonder your body is soft; you spike your fat storing hormone (insulin) with all these speedy carbs! You’re basically feeding it nonstop with sugar. I would like to see a big plate of broccoli, mushrooms, lettuce, spinach, tomatoes, some beans and a piece of steak. If you’re into dark chocolate, invest in a antioxidant filled dark chocolate (more than 70% cacao content) and have one or two squares. Pizza? An easy way to get fat!

Dinner:
- Chicken fajita ( flour tortilla, chicken, cheese)
- 10 oz water

COMMENT: More flour products. And cheese. If I ate like you do I’d be 300 lbs! You need grilled asparagus, squash, beets, or other tasty vegetables and add a little olive oil and sea food. You like shrimp? If not, canned pink salmon is delicious mixed with mustard! Cheap too.
________________________________________________

Breakfast:
- 3 oatmeal raisin cookies
- 8 oz 1% milk

COMMENT: If it had only stopped before ‘raisin cookie’, because you’re onto something with OATMEAL. Try oatmeal mixed with low fat milk and stir in vanilla protein powder, some chopped almonds and cinnamon. MMM!

Lunch:
- 6 inch wawa sub (turkey, pepperjack cheese, mayo, bacon)
- 8 oz water
- Nature valley oats and honey bar

COMMENT: Already covered these items. For tasty easy snacks, check out www.lifetimecheese.com, or go for organic beef jerky, nonfat plain greek yogurt, have an omelet etc. Always remember: protein and vegetables.

Dinner:
- one slice pepperoni pizza

COMMENT: If you could make a pizza without flour, without fatty pepperoni and no cheese, it would be ok. That being said, you need to stock up on vegetables and lean sources of protein like turkey breast, chicken breast, fish, egg whites, seafood.

Snack:
- small scoop cookie dough Ice cream

COMMENT: Doesn’t help your body recover and get lean. It tells your body to get fat. Doesn’t matter it’s just a scoop. You’re not fueling your body with the right foods. Have a chocolate protein shake instead.
________________________________________________

Breakfast:
- 2 bob evens sausage patties
- 2 extra large eggs
- 8 oz water

COMMENT: No fiber at all. Do you go to the restroom for No. 2 even once per week?  Sorry for the personal question but it’s an important one. Regular bowel movement is important to prevent cancer, especially in the colon.

Lunch:
- 5 pieces of sushi

COMMENT: Sashimi is better than sushi. But in your case, sushi is decent choice. Just be aware the teriyaki sauce and rice contains lots of carbs that won’t help your body burn fat.

Dinner:
-nothing

COMMENT: Then you’ll be very hungry later and might choose even worse foods at the next meal!

Snack:
- two slices of cheddar cheese
________________________________________________

Breakfast:
- 3 slices of oscar meyer turkey bacon
- 2 slices of while wheat bread
- 1 tablespoon of honey

Lunch:
- 2 slices of whole wheat bread
- 3 slices of deli turkey
- 2 slices of pepperjack cheese
- 1/2 cup brookside dark chocolate covered blueberries

Snack:
- naked juice smoothie mighty mango

COMMENT: This might sound healthy to you but it’s not. It’s a sugar bomb. You need protein and not all those sugars. If you do want to drink a smoothie, make it with non fat yogurt, greens like kale and spinach, add one apple and protein powder. Or you can add my Greens supplement (FD Greens) which is a great health promoting supplement.

Dinner:
- one LARGE crab cake. light breading, lots of crab
- 10 oz water

COMMENT: Is the meat imitation crab? If yes, that’s a no no. You don’t want that. Go for real crab meat and watch what you mix it with. I have no idea what is in the crab cake but it doesn’t sound fat loss material to me.

Snack:
- one cup of mayorga dark roast coffee
- coffee mate
- Splenda

COMMENT: Coffee mate has fructose corn syrup which is linked to obesity. You want that? Ditch it. Try unsweetened almond milk or low fat milk. The coffee per se is one of the best things you can drink/eat because it has tons of antioxidants.
________________________________________________

Breakfast:
- 3 slices of oscar meyer turkey bacon
- 2 slices of whole wheat bread
- one extra large egg
- one slice of pepperjack cheese

Lunch:
- 2 slices of whole wheat bread
- 3 slices of deli turkey
- 2 slices of pepperjack cheese
- 1/2 cup brookside dark chocolate covered blueberries
- one slice of cheese pizza

Dinner:
- 1/2 steelhead fish filet
- Brussel sprouts
- 16 oz water

COMMENT: WOW what happened? Fish filet and brussel sprouts??? That’s terrific! Can you do this daily?
___________________________________

Breakfast:
- Brussel sprouts
- 4 slices of Oscar Meyer turkey bacon
- one cup of coffee, cream and sugar

COMMENT: Now, I love seeing those vegetables. Who put those on your plate? Either way, keep it up. Ditch the sugar and cream. Use sweetener if you like it sweet.

Lunch:
- 2 slices of whole wheat bread
- 3 slices of deli turkey
- 2 slices of pepperjack cheese
- 1/2 cup brookside dark chocolate covered blueberries

COMMENT: Blueberries would be good, covered in chocolate, no.

Dinner:
- water
- one salmon filet (soy sauce, brown sugar, sesame seed oil)
- one tablespoon sliced almonds

COMMENT: This meal would be good if you added a huge bowl of those Brussel sprouts!

OVERALL: I believe you can get a lot of info out from this, but if you want a complete meal plan, check out my MEN’s GUIDE.

Pauline’s credentials:

Pauline is 30 years old and stands 5 feet 2 inches tall. She weighs 121 pounds — those biceps measure “12 and a half inches cold,” she told Marine Corps Times last year — and her top dead-lift weight is 265.

When it comes to nutrition, she’s BIG into veggies. In fact, Pauline eats 7 pounds worth every day between lunch and dinner. It’s the easiest way to stay full on relatively few calories, she says.

Last year, she was the subject of a controversial cover story in Marine Corps Times.

Videos: Check out Episode 1 and Episode 2 from our partnerships with Pauline Nordin and Fighter Diet, here.

Tell us: Do you have a fitness question for Pauline? Send your questions to pt365@militarytimes.com.

We’ll check in periodically to see if he’s stuck with Pauline’s diet suggestions, and see if these help him get to his goal.

Sara Davidson

Sara Davidson is an ultrarunner and contributor to PT365. She's run 7 marathons and 31 ultramarathons. This fall she is training for the Marine Corps Marathon using our PT365 Run Plan. Reach her at sdavidson@gannett.com .