One day I will learn to either quit promising deadlines and accept the fact that I don’t work that way, or get over my issues and just stick to what I say I’m going to do!
Did you have an opportunity to play around with your TDEE since last we spoke? What did you find out? Did anything surprise you? Comment below whatever you’re comfortable with sharing!
I wanted to start this follow-up post by responding to questions from the last post, but my following is so small right now that my wonderful mom, sister, and niece are the most involved and we just chat! LOL At any rate, I’d really love to get some interaction going through the site as well!
Shall we just pick up right where we left off? I vote yes. . .
Say it with me, “Consistency is key!”.
Let’s first address the elephant in the room, so to speak – all of the information that I gathered up for you in the last post is fairly simple, yes? BUT simple should not be confused with easy; it isn’t. It’s extremely difficult, especially if you have a history of some pretty (or even just slightly) disordered eating habits like I do. (That, again, is not the focus of today’s discussion, but I will likely cover this at a later date.)
The best way to combat that difficulty and those cravings that are, frankly, little jerks, is consistency. Don’t you roll your eyes at me! It’s true. It doesn’t have to be boring either. My fridge and pantry generally (maybe not so much now since it’s somewhat difficult to find certain things at the store. Covid-19. . .) have the same ingredients stocked each week, so the food profile is very similar, but you can make all kinds of different meals from just a handful of ingredients by simply changing ratios or maybe adding just one or two frills.
A while back when I was convinced I was going to start a bikini competition prep (yes, laughable, I know, seeing as how I’m sincerely out of shape and not in the best place to just jump into something like that) my brother and I were talking about meal prepping and he had expressed that he hates eating the same meals over and over. I’m the opposite. I like and can thrive off of that kind of consistency. Yet I’m such a foodie, I rarely eat that way and I really don’t think my dude would tolerate eating the same thing every night for too long.
You don’t have to be that consistent though. You can simply set your goals and make your habits reflect them. Do you want to be the kind of person that eats oatmeal every morning? Then just do it. Then you’re that person. Remember, it’s simple, not easy.
Another thing for me is sugar. I’m crazy addicted to it. When I dropped a bunch of weight before in my life, I simply trained myself to want broccoli by eating broccoli whenever I craved sugar. It takes some effort, but if I can do it, so can you. In fact, I have to start that over because I completely let it go and fell right back into a sugar addiction. ಥ_ಥ
Along with consistency needs to be forgiveness. You’re going to mess up and that’s okay. You’re human and you’re allowed to do that. Just promise yourself that you’re not going to let one small mistake derail everything you’re working so hard for! Honor the fact that you have worked hard for a while and that cookie is okay. Remember in the previous post when I was talking about birthday cake at the office? Just account for it later. Don’t punish yourself, just make adjustments. Even if you don’t make the adjustment, accept that you had a treat and now it’s time to get back on track. EVEN if the “cookie” was actually an entire of Samoas. (Those tricky Girl Scouts are probably secretly a cult of diet crashers anyway.) Take solace in knowing that you won’t even be able to get your hands on a box of Girl Scout Cookies again for another year. In all seriousness, though, it’s okay if you broke down and at a whole box of cookies. Up your fiber and move on. In five years will you really remember that? Don’t dwell, it does literally zero good. 🙂 You got this.
So you know what? RIGHT NOW let’s take that power away from those trickster foods! Comment below and tell me what your trigger food – or type of food – is. Call it out, admit that it’s going to happen and you’re not going to let that stop you, and move on!!! Mine is definitely pastry and cheese. I will wake up at 3 in the morning to go eat a piece of cheese out of the fridge. . .
It’s easy for me to say “be consistent,” and then make a bunch of jokes, but really, follow those guidelines you’ve created with the Total Daily Energy Expenditure tracking and plan some meals around it. Once you’ve got the hang of that. Explore a little further with nutrition and habits.
And remember – there are SO many reasons to drink a lot of water every day, but if you have a hunger gremlin living in your tummy, drink a big glass of water and wait ten minutes. If you’re still hungry, then you’re hungry. If not, you were probably just thirsty. I learned in college that the majority of Americans are chronically mildly dehydrated; I wish I could find the actual scientific paper I read to reference this, but go ahead and read that article and do some of your own research.
Make a Plan
Okay – I think the best way to get you started is to just show you what I would do:
First, using the cutting macro split from the previous post, let’s figure out what we need daily, and then break it down by meal.
I’m going to choose the first category, which is Moderate Carb, and plan from there. So you see that I need 163g protein, 85g fat, 190g carbs. Theoretically this will equal the listed 2,175 calories per day because, explained by the little cheat at the bottom of the image, 4 calories per gram protein x 163g = 652 calories + 4 calories per gram carb x 190g = 760 calories + 9 calories per gram fat x 85g = 765 for a grand total of (652+760+765) 2,177. I promise you that those two extra calories will do you more good than harm, especially if you’re going to choose to stress over them. So don’t.
Now we can break this down a couple of different ways – I want to eat 6 small meals a day because I know myself well enough that if I go without eating for too long I will just eat everything in site and snack too much while I’m preparing a meal, so to take preventative measures, I will be eating 6 smalls meals a day instead of 3 larger meals.
This is fine for getting started, but I find that it can be too much food at times and not enough at others, or my body needs different things at different times of the day.
This tends to be a bit more complicated due to the “free” nature, so let me try to explain how I would approach, and basically do approach, meals by the day:
Start with breakfast. After I’ve been up for a bit and had my water, and yes my coffee (even though I’m working on phasing that out) I’ve been really trying to listen to my body and eat a mindful breakfast – usually eggs and something or oatmeal. Then I log that.
Next I plan my biggest meal of the day, and what I really mean is I plan dinner because that’s the one meal that my dude and I eat together and is typically our biggest meal. If yours is lunch, or afternoon snack, plan that meal. (I don’t like that our biggest meal is dinner, but that’s going to take some major changes to implement, so for now, I accept my fate.)
THEN plan the other four smaller meals. Basically what I do is plan my lunch to have significant girth (based on the macros that are left) and then my morning and afternoon snacks are a bit smaller, but satiating; cheese and tuna, celery and peanut butter, et cetera. Then I let the last meal generally be something sweeter, or maybe a little more fatty if I’m feeling crummy, or even protein packed if I’ve been struggling to get enough protein in during the day. You may think that sounds funny or ridiculous about not getting enough protein, but trust me, once you start tracking, planning, and even working out, getting enough protein in can be tricky.
Once you get the hang of it you will begin to understand how you feel after eating certain things at certain times and through trial and error you will eventually become quite in tune with knowing what your body needs at different times or based on different activities and events.
Are you lost yet? Really, don’t feel intimidated, just follow the formula in option 1! Eventually you’ll learn how to mix and match. Do you already meal plan? If so what do you do differently? Comment and tell us!
Yes, yes I know that I said in part 1 that I think the better option is to base these numbers off of a weekly total, and I agree with that. The concept would be the same, just on a larger scale, but don’t overwhelm yourself! Truly – going day by day, meal by meal to start out with is just fine.
Get some protein in at every meal!
Protein is almost a buzz word in the “diet industry” anymore, but for good reason. You need protein to help maintain lean muscle mass.
Think about it this way: you’re made out of protein. Most organic matter is made out of some kind of protein at the base of it, and while we covered in the previous post that dietary fat does not turn into fat on the body, dietary protein does nurture the protein already found in your body.
Proteins make up your muscles, tendons, organs. . . Hormones are proteins. . . Your body is one big conglomeration of protein. And what makes up protein? Amino acids and peptides. So when you eat a protein source, your body is effectively breaking down those chains from the steak you just ate or the lentils in your soup and fitting them into the missing puzzle piece space wherever your body has been depleted of that particular amino acid or peptide. This, of course, is a very simplified explanation. If you go here, you will find a much more scientific explanation.
I have heard that you should eat a gram of protein per pound of mass (body weight) per day, but I can’t find anything to truly back that up. I did find a few things relating that statement to body building, but I don’t want to promote that practice without further researching it. I would say stick to your TDEE recommendations and go from there.
Choosing What and When to Eat:
So we’ve covered how to figure out how much to eat and how to split that up, but remember the Oreos? The same principles apply to any foods you put in your body. You can eat 70 calories of white bread with your lunch, or you can eat 70 calories of a whole grain bread (comparing bread to bread here for the sake of simplicity rather than bread to sweet potato. Baby steps my friends). They may have a similar carbohydrate profile, but what about the micro nutrients, fiber, et cetera? I encourage you to read labels and make decisions based on that. And you know what? If you want to eat a Kraft Single instead of a slice of cheddar, then do it, and don’t feel bad about it!
You don’t have to be perfect, or fancy, or expensive. You don’t need that lovely instagram post. The goal here is to be more conscientious of your nutrition! One day you may find that the idea of eating a Kraft Single gives you the willies, but if today is not that day, who cares? If that day never comes – who cares?
There is a lot of information out there on when to eat and how many meals a day to eat. I don’t honestly know what the right answer is. I’m not a huge fan of intermittent fasting but there are people out there who have experienced tremendous results! This link I’m providing you is full of diet buzz words and it’s only because it’s the best article I could find to explain why I chose to eat 6 meals a day instead of 3. Some people do well with “3 Square” meals a day and a lot of fat loss focused dietitians I listen to on podcasts, et cetera do promote only eating 3 meals.
So! What works best for you? I suggest sticking to the amount of times you’re used to, assessing how you function and making changes from there. Do you traditionally just eat breakfast lunch and dinner? Plan that way. If you feel like when you follow a plan in a caloric deficit that you’re really hungry all of the time while eating 3 meals a day, try 3 and a snack or 6 small meals. Remember that just because the amount of meals increases or decreases does not mean that your daily limits increase or decrease.
I am really very happy with my 6 meals a day and I have been that way for many years.
Are you noticing a pattern here? I can’t tell you what’s best because I’m not you. You need to make those decisions for yourself, I’m just giving you some tools to work with!
Again, please remember that I am not a doctor or certified health professional of any kind and I am simply sharing with you the research I have done and what has typically worked for me in the past! Be sure to do your own research and fact checking!
I know that the focus of these posts have been “March Nutrition Month” but, that doesn’t mean we are going to stop at the end of March! I think we will just keep on trucking and build on what we learn!
Stay tuned for part 3, as again I have barely cracked the surface on the multitude of information I have for you!
Thanks for sticking around and joining me!
See you soon!