Patience and the Plan
There is a Facebook meme that reads, “I ate healthy and exercised today. I better wake up skinny tomorrow.” We spend years putting on that plus 10, or plus 40. If we reverse our mentality, we’d expect to put on the guilt weight overnight as well. Sometimes the bloating that comes from poor (but soooo delicious) choices make us feel like we did.
Your body doesn’t work that way. Thank goodness. Here’s what the macro plan should look like, with compliance:
12 weeks at 1.5 lbs per week allows for the average macro tracker to lose 18 lbs in 3 months. As I’ve told many (I write this lovingly) impatient beginners, I can get you to lose 10 lbs in a week, but it won’t be fat, it won’t stay off, and you’ll be hungry. We want your stomach to shrink—slowly. We want to train your body to feel less hungry over time—to understand that food isn’t love. And in excess, it will only make you happy temporarily.
A reminder is warranted here. Macros lends to a lifestyle. The first part is about education. Teaching you what the nutrients are in specific foods so you can start making better choices. Ideally, you won’t always have to track. The weighing and counting are important in the beginning because you become an expert in food. I know, for example, that 4 oz of grilled chicken (brand depending) carries 25g protein, 1g fat, and 0g carbs. I also know that portion is roughly the size of my palm. I also know that if I’m going out to eat at an unfamiliar restaurant, or if I’m planning to celebrate with cocktails at a party, I should probably “bank” my carbs and fat (fat tax) throughout the day so I can spend it later. During maintenance, I won’t need to know to the gram what I’m eating throughout every day. I just need to know that if I eat a bagel in the morning and lasagna for lunch, I’m going to go over my allowance with steak and martinis if I want to maintain my weight. And should I decide to do so anyway, as an exception, not a rule, this won’t affect me at all.
This is the ultimate goal. To be at your ideal weight and body composition and not have to track your every bite. But you need to get your numbers before you get your wings—before you become your own expert and don’t need me anymore. That’s my goal for you, too.
So it’s helpful to know the plan. Blind faith in your coach—which you may need to apply at the onset as I did—is suitable for those who have never tried anything like this. Because you need someone to talk you off the proverbial ledge when you are 10 days in and your weight hasn’t changed beyond a pound or two.
PLAN: Weeks 1-3
You will probably be full. Possibly even bloated. You may lose a couple pounds. Or not. If you have a lot to lose and haven’t been exercising or eating well for some time, you may lose 5 because your body really wants it off. If you have been eating well and exercising, but wasn’t aware of the right distribution of macros, then you’ll probably lose less at the onset. Bottom line: it doesn’t matter. All we are after is what numbers are right for you. The point where your weight remains unchanged and then we’ve got the goods—how to cut for loss.
This is where the scale should start to really register. We’re beating the system. We know at what distribution your body stagnates, so now we lower it. Cals out exceed cals in and we cut until we’re happy. We learn your numbers. This is why compliance and data collection are key. Let me read your fluctuations and just record. Make this as transparent as possible. The dirty and the clean. That’s how we yield results.
Maybe you’ve hit your initial goal and your priorities have shifted. Perhaps the scale is where you thought you wanted it to be, but extra belly jelly or thigh jiggle is still telling you something else. Then we vary distribution. Lower carbs, higher protein perhaps. Goals change. As they should. And now we’ve got you figured out.
Now you’re perfect. Maybe even under your initial goal weight. Here’s the fun part—because it’s where we get to climb. You may have been low carb, really low carb. Like 75g/day. That isn’t fun. But it’s not detrimental. People have survived on much less for centuries and it’s not permanent. It’s just “for now” until you’re where you want to be. Like I’ve said before, everyone is different, but ideally, once you’ve hit maintenance, your macros will climb slowly, over weeks or months, and you may find yourself eating more macros than you started with while maintaining the same goal weight. If you keep moving, running, walking, lifting, gardening, whatever that means for you, you can expend those cals and enjoy more carbs.
And then your body “gets” it. Feed me right, and I’ll reward you.
Eye on the Prize: Eat Smarter. Not Less.
Last thing: Do yourself a favor. Don’t go at it alone. Join our private members group on FB. We get it. We want it, too. We’re here for you.