So many questions regarding diet around us all the time! What is more important, calories or macros ? How do we find time to meal prep? How do we not give in to temptation? How do we Set goals? I'm going to address all of these topics in this article. Buckle your seat belts this might be a long one. My goal at the end of this is to simplify some of the overwhelming questions of dieting. Lets dive in.
First question I get quite often is "What is more important, calories or macros?" The simplified answer will be calories. Caloric consumption and being in a caloric deficit is the key to losing weight. Calories are in fact made up of macros. They are one in the same. Fats, carbs and proteins all have calories in them which make up your caloric intake. CALORIES AND MACROS ARE NOT SEPARATE.
1 gram of protein = 4 calories
1 gram of carbs = 4 calories
1 gram of fat = 9 calories
"Brandon, I'm barely eating anything! Why in the hell am I not losing weight?!" Here is a common issue with that. Many people that come see me for training are eating under 1000 calories daily! This is insane to me. Why can't people lose weight eating so little? Our bodies will go into what I call "starvation mode". This is where you're putting so little into your body that it doesn't know when its going to be fed again so it holds onto whatever food you consume when you're that low on your intake of calories. This is our bodies natural defense mechanism. This is a clear sign your metabolism is not functioning optimally. If our metabolism isn't functioning optimally we can't lose much weight. Remember how we talked about being in a caloric deficit is the key to losing weight? How in the hell can we go to a deficit in calories from 1000? Are you going to live off of 500 calories a day? The answer is hell no you're not because then you'd be severely malnourished and wouldn't have adequate nutrients to rebuild new muscle or even function in every day life. Great, so now what? This is the beautiful thing about the human body, we have the ability to adapt. We need to teach our bodies to function off of higher calories so we can safely be in a caloric deficit. This is where the term "reverse dieting" comes into play. This is the art of slowly introducing more calories into your daily diet. The answer is no, you will not gain a massive amount of weight if done properly. What will happen is your body will be happy it is getting adequate calories and you'll actually see the scale will start to drop! Why would it drop with more calories? It's going to drop because while you're introducing more calories into your body and your metabolism will catch on and realize it needs to start burning more calories daily to keep up with the digestion of the new food its in taking. Congratulations, you've now started your journey on turning your body into a walking furnace and you've increased your BMR (basal metabolic rate). BMR is the amount of calories you burn doing absolutely nothing to maintain basic human functions. This number of calories burned daily increases when your metabolism becomes more optimal. How do we properly increase our daily calories?
Week 1 - Check your weight, eat how you normally would and record just your calories for 7 days
Find the average daily caloric intake for those 7 days
Here's where it gets tricky, if your're below 1000 calories daily, you need to build that up, so this is what I would recommend.
Week 2 - Add 100 total calories to your daily caloric intake. Do that for 2 weeks and check the scale. If the scale goes down, add another 100 calories to your daily caloric intake for 2 weeks and check the scale again. If it keeps going down on the scale, add more calories. Lets say the scale spikes up super high. That might be an indication that is too much food for your metabolism to process right now, so drop it back down. Keep trying to build your daily caloric intake as high as you can using this method until the scale plateaus. You'll learn how your body works better than anyone else. You should be able to add a good amount of 'GOOD' calories to your daily intake before the scale flat-lines. Once the scale flat-lines, you are clear to start dropping calories and be in a caloric deficit because you wont be malnourished from working your calories up and your metabolism should ideally functioning more optimally now.
If you find that when you record your calories in that first week and its an outlandish number, drop the calories by 200-500 daily. Do this week to week. If you plateau, don't get discouraged, keep to the system and increase your activity level. Working out and getting basic physical activity in such as a simple 10 minute walk can make a huge difference over time.
Here is a fairly simple way to gauge how many calories you should be in-taking for you personally. This isn't exact for everyone but its a fairly good starting point. Everyone is different and has different needs and lifestyles so this is not a be all end all type scenario, this is just a simple guide to help kick start things.
To lose weight - BW x 11
To maintain weight - BW x 15
To gain weight- BW x 17
If you wanted to be more precises and technical, you could use the Mifflin St Jeor equation. This has been proven in studies to be slightly more accurate than the Harris Benedict formula.
Anyway you put it consistency is key with dieting, if you're consuming 1200 calories one week, 1700 daily the next then 1000 the week after that, your body will have no regimen to adapt too. So be cautions of that and try to be consistent with your diet so your bod can adapt!
The next culprits are scheduling, discipline and getting discouraged. Lets look at it from this angle. Without discipline there's no consistency and without consistency there's not schedule. With no schedule there's no time for healthy food choices which ultimately lead us to being discouraged. Lets start with main target discipline. Now when I say those words, most of you think " No cheat foods ever again". I want you to clear that bullshit out of your head right now. Being disciplined isn't about eating cardboard and chicken breasts for the rest of your life. Disciplined is about doing the things that you know need to be done whether you want to or not. For example, when you have free time, instead of watching your favorite show, you go grocery shop or meal prep instead. It's not fun by any means but it'll set you up for success. YOU HAVE TO START SMALL! Don't go diving in to completely changing your lifestyle and set these insane goals right out of the gate. Start with things you know you can achieve indefinitely. For example, instead of saying " I'm going to eat clean the entire week" or " I'm going to cut out pop for the rest of the year". Start with things like "I'm going to meal prep this week' or I'm going to cut back to only 2 pops per week". You need to set realistic goals for yourself and build off of the accomplishments of that. Stop trying to build Rome in a day! This shit takes time and patience, If you set small goal after small goal you'll look back and see you've achieved a massive goal without even realizing it. One brick at a time! If you mess up, don't just give up. Try again until you get it. You went to a wedding and you got drunk and ate a whole cake? Big deal, the scale will spike up, you'll feel a little shitty, but its not the end of the world. As long as you get back on track and stay consistent you'll be OK! Stop punishing yourself for being a damn human. I don't want you guys living or thinking that way. You need to develop a healthy relationship with food and also be able to live your life, its called balance. Will you progress quicker if your're always eating clean? Absolutely. Are we all human and do we all want to live an enjoyable life? Absolutely. So if there's some cheat food you want, eat it. Just get back on track right away! Don't get down on yourself if the progress on the scale plateaus for a few days or even weeks! Its the ones that don't give up on the process that have the amazing fitness stories! There are several ways to track progress other than the scale as well (composition, mental health. strength, endurance,mood, relationship with food etc.)
As for the meal prep and not finding time. This is going to go back to discipline. I know many people say they don't have time. All I can wonder about when I hear this is how often are they going out? How much TV do they watch? How much are they napping? Is meal prepping a priority to them? You need to make meal prepping a priority even if that means you miss a nap, have to postpone going out or record your favorite show for later. Life doesn't care that you had a long week and you never get time for yourself to relax. Life does't care how busy you are. Life is kind of an asshole sometimes to be honest. We can't use that as an excuse to not benefit our health and well being. Find 1-2 hours in the week and that is all you need! I can help you with meal ideas if you need quick meals! You have to have a game plan for your food for the week if you want to be successful because if we are being honest, you wont and will not progress the way you want on your fitness journey if you aren't eating properly. I say this all with love because I want to help you guys out! Make the time to meal prep even if it means sacrificing a few things you enjoy!
Hope this helps you guys out! If you have any questions regarding this article you can message me on IG @Blinn_Fitness or Email me directly at Brandon@blinnfitstudio.com Stay positive and stay consistent !