What do you associate dieting with?
- No food?
- Reduced calories?
- No sugar, no fat, no carbs?
- How hard is this going to be?
- How effing hungry is this going to make me?!?!?!?! #HangerAlert
- No fun or happiness?
Those are just a few thoughts that held us back from dieting in the past. Some of them are certainly true; most of them are exaggerated fears. At one point or another we will address each of the feelings that we have waded through, but right now we want to focus on the calories.
No Food vs. Calorie Reduction:
I used to go through phases (and sometimes on Fridays before a night out this still *attempts to occur, more on that terrible strategy later) of not eating anything all day long. The most important thing that we have learned, and that has helped us be successful, is starving yourself does not work. Do you need to reduce your caloric intake? Yes, clearly. But there is a baseline intake that you should not drop below for an extended period of time. If you drop too far below your basic caloric needs you can face organ failures, gallstones, heart palpitations, and, in the worst case scenario, death.
Let’s talk about the more likely and realistic problems.
- Catabolism- Your body will turn to its muscle mass for energy. You will see a drop in weight, but that is because you are losing valuable muscle. You will begin to feel very lethargic and sluggish, which means you won’t even want to go to the gym!
- Lower metabolic rate- If you continuously rely on very low-calorie diets, you may end up gaining even more weight as you increase your calorie intake. Eating less than 1000 calories a day sucks and it is not a sustainable lifestyle. You will need to go back up eventually. If you continuously do this your body may adapt; we are incredibly good at surviving and being efficient. Your weight loss may decrease and then stabilize… but you are stuck eating 900 calories. Gross.
- Binging later- If you are anything like me after not eating enough during the day, you get a headache, a hanger tantrum (which puts Preston in the line of fire), and then an urge to consume all of the Lit&Fit Greek Yogurt cups in the fridge. Trying to restrict your calories by too much will inevitably lead you to binge and give in later.
What to do instead:
Calculate your baseline metabolic rate and then subtract about 500 calories to find your optimal weight loss caloric goal. There are several calculators out there, but a general rule of thumb is as such:
Your ideal weight * 12 -500. Here is mine.. 130*12=1560-500= 1060.
OR go here http://www.calculator.net/bmr-calculator.html This calculator takes your current weight into account, so use both a guide.
You should take your body composition and activity level into account. I have been eating 1000-1130 calories to get where I am today. This calorie goal, in addition to lifting and cardio 5 days a week, has translated to .5 to 1 pound every week. It should be noted, that every once in awhile I will drop down to 900-1000 calories for an extra boost. TBH. Try the general equation, monitor your weight for 3-4 weeks, and then adjust accordingly!
For those gaining from Preston:
If you are trying to gain weight, use the previous equation to find your base and then add 500. If you begin gaining weight too quickly, reduce that.
I eat a ton. I can see the jealous hate from Hayley as I have my second dinner of the day.. sorry babe (I don’t really hate him… mostly because I steal some of his hash browns when he isn’t looking!). I am currently cutting at 2500-2700, but was previously eating 3500 to bulk. I just have so much lean muscle mass to maintain that it takes a lot of energy to be alive. That is a bonus to lifting and maintaining a lean build. Your muscles expend a lot more energy, even when resting, than your other tissues do. More muscle=more food.
One thing that helps me transition from bulking to cutting without feeling hungry is simple substitutions. When I am bulking I will eat a plate of hash browns and lean ground turkey for second dinner. When I switch to cutting, I use frozen vegetables instead of hash browns. I am eating the same volume of food, but reducing my overall calories.
We both struggled to find our calorie goals when was starting out, so hopefully this can help you!
xoxo Hayley Stay consistent out there,