This week we assess our situation and try to fix the err of our ways.
As for me, I discovered that I eat pretty well throughout the week, sometimes going as low as 1750-1850 calories.... Only to blow it all to hell on the weekends with fast food.
Over the summer, when I was working out 5-6 days a week and doing my MMA cardio class, I could easily afford these type of weekend treats without repercussion. What has changed is I'm only lifting 4 days a week, on a good week, and haven't done MMA in months. I have not adjusted my diet to match my activity level. Whoops.
My solution is to tighten up my meal prep during the week and make sure my weekend does not get derailed. I may still have some fast food, but I will not be having fries and ice cream on top of a pastrami-laden cheeseburger, smothered in fry sauce.
The next problem area I noticed this week, is I get derailed spectacularly when the kids chaos overwhelms me. I'm a well-oiled machine, until they start screaming and running in all directions and refuse to go with the program. Next thing you know, I'm shoving 500 calories worth of peanut butter and chocolate chips into my face because I don't have any heroin (nor have I ever had any heroin.) And I wash it all down with whiskey because I don't have a prescription for Xanax (nor have I ever had any Xanax.)
I'm not saying an occasional chocolate peanut butter whiskey is off limits forever, but I am saying it is off limits when I want to put my efforts into leaning out. I have to have something else on hand for when I get knocked over by the pressures of being a mom.
What am I going to do?
This is what I know: I can bulk on 2100 calories if I am training consistently. However, I don't want to bulk. I want to cut. Since I plan to pick up my training schedule, I will start conservatively at about 1900 calories a day and see how that goes. I will meal prep Monday through Friday with that caloric goal in mind. I will stock up on healthy random weekend foods and have a few emergency snacks on hand, should disaster strike.
I will stick to my pre-calculated and measured meal plan during the week and plug foods into myfitnesspal on the weekends, to make sure I'm no longer going overboard.
What should you do?
Start reducing your calories and step up your activity level.
If you are a beginner:
Cut 200-250 calories from your diet this week. Some easy ways to do this are replacing drinks with water and unsweetened tea, Remove cream and sugar from your coffee (or replace with skim and splenda), stop drinking alcohol, replace half of your starchy carbohydrates (bread, pasta) with complex carbohydrates (vegetables.) Keep running myfitnesspal to delve deeper into learning how to measure food and really understand your consumption.
Start to think about small bits of activity you can work into your day. Take a walk at lunch, get a standing desk, ride your bike to work, or do a small physical challenge like the 100 pushups challenge, 200 squats challenge or c25k running. (Google them.) Try to get moving for at least 10-30 minutes every day.
If you are intermediate:
Make a caloric goal by subtracting 200 from what you are doing now. Adjust macros to fit your training.
If you are simply staying in shape with some gym time or running during the week, just balance your macros so that you are getting some of everything. Protein can be .75-1g per pound of lean mass, fat can be 20-30% of your total calories, then fill in the rest with carbs. If you are lifting and want to retain as much muscle as possible, go with 1.5g protein per pound of lean mass, 20-30% fats, fill in the rest with carbs. For example:
Me: 1900 cals/day
Calculate your lean body mass: Your weight x bodyfat percentage = your fat.
Your weight - your fat = lean body mass.
Me: 124.5 x .23 = 29 pounds of fat
124.5 - 29 = 95.5 (I am going to round to 96 pounds of lean body mass.)
Because I am cutting while weight lifting, I want to retain as much muscle as I can, so I'm keeping my protein intake as close to 1.5g per pound of lean body mass as I can.
Me: 96 x 1.5 = 144g protein a day (That works out to 576 calories).
Fat should be between 20%-35% of your diet. Again, this is a cut, so I prefer to keep it 25% or so.
Calorie goal x fat percentage = calories from fat.
Calories from fat /9 = grams of fat per day.
Me: 1900 x .25 = 475
475/9 = 53 grams of fat a day (or 475 calories worth)
The difference, we make up in carbohydrates.
Me: 1900 (total budget) - 576 (calories of protein) - 475 (calories of fat) = 849 (calories of carbohydrate)
849/4 = 212g left for carbohydrates.
Who is freaking out about that many carbohydrates? Don't! First of all, I plan on working in the gym, and training jiu jitsu. I need all the energy source I can get! Secondly, carbs don't have to come only from simple starches - Vegetables and fruits will be a large percentage of this number.
I am going to meal prep a week's worth of meals that total as close to 144g protein / 53g fat / 212 g carbohydrate as possible. I like to calculate my big meals, then fill in the rest through snacks and pre-workout meals. On the weekend, I am going to plug my food into myfitnesspal and try to hit my goals with whatever is on hand.
So, we officially start today! Get on that meal prep and stay focused. Don't crash out calories, just reduce by 200 at a time. Keep your macros at an appropriate split that works for you. We'll talk exercise for cutting next week.
What are Macros?
More on figuring your caloric baseline: