1 week ago, I posted my tell all blog "My Reality Check." If you haven't had an opportunity to read it, please do so.
It highlights the struggles that I have endured for most of my life with regards to weight management and also touches on my most recent decision to try to fix some unwanted weight gain.
Additionally, it provides exclusive insight into exactly what I am doing to change it. How I'm eating and how I'm training are all included. This post is to give an update so that if you do decide to apply some of the same principles, you'll know what to do as time goes on.
The nutrition side of things
Instead of dropping calories immediately via restricting food types or carbohydrates, I decided to make a moderate adjustment, about 20% less total calories than my maintenance. In doing so, this caused me to drop approximately 600 calories per day.
In doing so, I also began tracking almost everything I eat, apart from vegetables (if you are very serious and need to hit a certain weight, for say a bodybuilding competition, you should track vegetables).
I began weighing almost everything from meat, to feta cheese to even some popcorn that I decided to have as a snack. To be honest, I'm very thankful I did.
While fresh air popped popcorn can be fairly low calorie, some of the pre packaged kind can actually be calorie bombs in disguise. Unfortunately, most of these popcorn snacks that have labels like "Organic" are actually pretty high calorie in comparison to if you were to pop it yourself.
By weighing out servings, I was able to view how much popcorn 1 serving actually was. It surprised me. It surprised me so much that I would wager that I could probably eat 4 times as much, "self-popped" popcorn as compared to the pre packaged kind and have the same calorie count. It just goes to show how easily we can rationalize and unintentionally deceive ourselves with what we think are the right choices.
For more information on the essentials of dieting, read this.
I follow a flexible approach. So I typically eat what I want, as long as it fits my macronutrients and total calorie intake.
In doing so, it's made this process very easy. While I am placing an emphasis on lean proteins and vegetables often (something I've never really done), I'm still allowing myself the occasional beer or less than optimal snack.
Quite honestly, It's been really easy and is making me happier actually. Since I am tracking my intake, I've taken the guess work out of things, but also allowed myself to eat what I want. It's kind of strange, but dieting has actually made the things much easier than when I just ate whatever I wanted and hoped for the best.
The training side of things
Since beginning this adjustment, I have had a healthy combination of heavy resistance training and more metabolically demanding, full body workouts. But again, I am ensuring that I am continuing to train heavy often to provide a stimulus to maintain my strength and muscle.
I will say however that even just being in a 20% calorie deficit, I feel like certain weight is a bit more difficult. My joints feel a little "achy-er" when I first lift the weight. Additionally, it feels like it is taking longer to recover from training.
However, overall I still feel good.
The weight side of things
When I started a week ago, I was about 230-231. For the past 3 days, I have consistently been 229. Contrary to what most people do, I prescribe to daily weigh ins. For me personally, this keeps me accountable on a daily basis. Further it allows me to make adjustments on an acute time-frame, rather than messing up for a whole week and not knowing about it. While that might not be best for everyone, it's right for me. It motivates me and keeps me accountable.
It doesn't seem like much, but it's about exactly what I expected. I found myself almost frustrated that I hadn't lost more, despite diligently tracking, but the truth is I'm right on track. At this point, I don't want to adjust my total calorie intake anymore, at least for another week. It's too soon to adjust further.
Additionally, I think I'm going to adjust my macros a bit and increase protein intake while reducing carb intake slightly. Further, I'm going to be a bit more strict on actually cycling my carbs, consuming more on days that my training needs it.
What I'm going to adjust
As for adjustments, not much. I think the number one thing I'm going to do is pay closer attention to my training and recovery. I've noticed it's gotten more difficult to recover so greater assessment is warranted.
Additionally, I am going to start weighing my vegetables. Rather than reducing my total intake further, I'm going to include my vegetables into my calorie intake, so as to reduce other intake slightly. This will simply give me a better understanding of how much calories I am actually consuming.
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