In this post we will cover:
- Why diets fail
- How many calories you should be eating when tracking macros.
- Calorie Deficit
- Diet Periodization
- Reverse Dieting
- The Cut
Why Diets Fail:
Traditional diets fail for many reasons; too many food restrictions, arbitrary rules, but one of the biggest reasons that most dieters fail (even macro counters) is because their overall caloric intake is too low. We’ve seen it time and time again. Clients come to us eating too few calories, exercising 6-7 days a week with results majorly lacking. Why? Because the body’s metabolism slows. You see, your metabolism doesn’t care what you look like on the outside, it only cares about preserving your life. If you don’t feed your body enough, your metabolism will slow down causing your body to store fat instead of burn it. Side note: if you think there’s a magical metabolism pill on the market to fix this, you’re putting your hope in the wrong pipe dream. Your body cannot… I repeat… CANNOT live in a calorie deficit 365 days a year without experiencing major negative effects. Some of those negative effects include but are not limited to:
- Binge eating
- Hormone Imbalances
- Inability to sleep
- Low sex drive
- Weight gain
The good news is there is a way to fix your broken metabolism without throwing thousands of dollars down the drain on silly supplements. The simple answer is: EAT MORE FOOD, but the implementation is a little more complex and can feel like a mental mind trip.
How many calories you should be eating when tracking macros:
Believe me when I say the people pleaser in me wants to make everybody happy with a blanket, one size fits all statement, but the truth is it depends. Traditional macro calculators will spit you out macros based on height, weight, age and activity level, but fail to take into account the most important factors: genetics, diet history, relationship with food, and maybe the most vital piece of information: current caloric intake.
In addition to submitting a detailed questionnaire every SFM client that joins the program is required to submit 3 days of food journals. From here we calculate caloric averages. Some women come to us averaging 900 calories/day, some 3,000 calories/day and it’s our job to determine where their true calorie deficit falls and we do this based on DATA overtime.
When calculating and adjusting macros we use body weight multiplier (BWM) to get overall calories into a healthy range.
Body weight x BWM = overall calories
Example: 125 X 13= 1625
*If client is obese, BWM should be calculated by goal body weight.
Example: Actual body weight: 300 X 10= 3,000 (overall caloric intake too high)
Instead: Goal body weight: 180 X 10= 1,800
Healthy Body weight multipliers can range anywhere from 10-13 for the non-exerciser all the way through upwards of 20 for the super metabolism. The higher, the more food freedom, but keep in mind regardless of how high, macro ratios have to be balanced/ proportional to yield results. No macro count, no matter how high, will enable you to eat 5,000 calories in pizza.
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As I mentioned before, it is not healthy for anybody to live in a calorie deficit for a prolonged period of time. Diet periodization involves cycling calorie totals overtime to avoid the negative effects mentioned above. At various stages in the client journey they may experience phases of diet reverse, calorie surplus, maintenance and cuts to be determined based on client needs.
The Diet Reverse:
The vast majority of our clients start here because their body weight multipliers are already low. Roughly 90% of the clients we see come to us undereating. Remember low body weight multipliers are red flags for all of the negative effects mentioned above. As coaches we work their BWM up slowly overtime getting their metabolism to burn more and more. As their BWM increases, muscle mass increases. The more muscle mass you have, the harder your metabolism has to work. The higher overall caloric intake the bigger macro budget you have for food freedom!
The answer to our clients’ fat loss problem was NOT EAT LESS. In fact, the answers to the vast majority of our clients’ body composition goals are EAT MORE, macro balanced, consistently.
Once client calories are in a safe place, a client can live in maintenance comfortably for a prolonged period. Macro budgets are large enough to both enjoy food freedom while maintaining body composition. However, the more consistent eating balanced macro ratios, the more calories your body will need to maintain overtime. Macro ratios are designed to build muscle and more muscle mass requires more calories. If consistency begins to dip, it very well could be a sign that your body just needs more.
You’ve got an upcoming vacation and you’re ready to lean out! First, a few hard and fast rules. At SFM we say you must EARN your cut. Your body must hit true maintenance to be able to know how to lose. True maintenance isn’t a free-for-all. Read more about that HERE.
Signs your body is ready for a cut:
- High BWM (body weight multiplier)
- Positive biofeedback
- Healthy relationship with food
- Healthy body image
Taking drastic cuts may not yield the results you’re looking for. Remember the typical yo-yo dieter doesn’t see long term results because they are putting their body into a constant state of restriction/ binge. If consistency declines it will have been better to never have left maintenance at all.
Typically a 10-15% drop in overall calories is sufficient. But be warned. You’re going to feel that drop in calories. Once your metabolism is used to burning upwards of 2300 calories per day, while dropping it to 2,070 will most definitely yield results, it will also come with sacrifice.
You will be hungry and need to eat more nutrient dense foods. Your energy level will likely dip as will your performance in the gym. We rarely put a client through a period of cuts for longer than 6 weeks, so remember that it is short term, but be prepared to evaluate if it’s worth it while communicating openly and honestly with your coach throughout the cut process.
Ready to take the plunge and give macros a shot? The best way to safely implement, to make sure your body is fueled for fat loss, is to work with one of our experienced coaches. You can read more about our Macro Coaching Program HERE. We begin a coaching group at the first of every month and we’d love to help you.
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