First thing's first - let's weigh in and see what 3 weeks of cleaning up the diet has done.
I am now 121.5 pounds and 22% bodyfat, according to my fitbit scale. I've lost 3 pounds and 1% bodyfat. I was 95.5 pounds lean body mass, now I'm 94.5, which means I've lost approximately one pound of muscle and two of fat, for a total of three pounds.
The muscle loss isn't too shocking, as my weight training has lagged and I am on a caloric deficit. My assessment: So far, so good. I'm going in the right direction. My focus on dialing in my diet is paying off. I've not been perfect every day, but a little bit of housecleaning is all it took to make a change. I still look more or less the same, but the bloat is receding.
So, I am going to stick to my calorie budget and relative macro split for another week.
**Note on weighing yourself: Weight can fluctuate by a few pounds depending on how much water you are retaining or whether or not you've taken a shit. Do not take stock in these small fluctuations. Only once you notice the scale staying on a particular number, do you weigh that much. I got 121.5 after weighing myself a few times during last week at different times. It was the same # three times in a row. I don't advocate weighing yourself too often, but when you want to find your true weight, take a few samplings over the course of the week. Not just one, so you can be sure the fluctuation up or down isn't a bit of water retention. **
The Pitfalls of Dieting
Diet is hard, y'all.
Like, so hard.
The first week or two it might be fun. You feel energized - PUMPED! - and ready to get your shit together. But then, something always happens, doesn't it? You don't hit the grocery store in time to meal prep, or your schedule gets bumped out of whack. Maybe you catch a cold and crave comfort foods... the point is, something always happens to derail you.
What separates the people who succeed with the people who don't? The ability to get back on track and try again. Don't think of your diet as this perfect, pristine thing you have to delicately maintain. Think of it as simply maintaining proper fuel for your body. If you indulge, simply eat right the following day. Don't beat yourself up, then call it a failure and quit. Do you know how often I get stressed out and eat my feelings? A lot! I just pull it together the following day and carry on. Over time, this is much healthier than saying oh well, I lost and giving up entirely.
Something else that you may be feeling is the initial panic of deprivation. It's like as soon as you say "no more cookies in the house!" You suddenly panic and eat the whole bag of cookies because they can't be there the following morning and oh my god this is the last time I can ever eat cookies! Or you'll blow through your macros by 6PM and think, "I'm not allowed any more food...." the psychological impact will make you hungry, even if you're not.
The best tips I can give when it comes to food are these:
1. Have a bit of protein with each meal. Protein takes longer to digest, helps satiate you and keeps you from being hungry or shaky an hour or two after you eat.
2. Try to eat satisfying foods. Too many people go for a "light" salad with a spritz of lo-cal dressing and a rice cake because they think that is what healthy is supposed to be. And guess what? They attack the pantry like a lunatic at 10PM. You cannot starve yourself for long. Your body will revolt. Instead, make sure you are filling up on food that actually fills you. Chicken, sweet potatoes and a bit of barbecue sauce will hot the spot over a few berries and a handful of seeds.
3. Don't go to bed hungry. Have a Greek yogurt before you go to bed. It's okay to feel a little "un-full" here and there for the first week or two, because your body is adjusting. But you shouldn't be struggling and starving. If you are, go back to the drawing board.
That's about it for this week - no miracles, no magic - just keep going in the right direction.