We often get clients that ask about combining intermittent fasting with counting macros. Here’s our take.
Many people that see results with intermittent fasting do so because it limits their food intake. With macro counting you already manage your calories by adhering to a macro budget, so it becomes unnecessary with no added benefit. In fact, it can add a hurdle to your nutrition. We know from the thousands of women that we have worked with that hitting your macros will get you to your goal WITHOUT ANY ADDED ELEMENT.
Furthermore, Intermittent Fasting can also have a negative impact on female hormones. (This isn’t the case for everyone, but it is worth considering that it is a risk.) At the end of the day, it is up to you to decide if it is something that you want to pursue or not. Rest assured, the best diet for you is the one you can stick to CONSISTENTLY.
If you’re really looking to move the needle on your progress, focus on the following 8 key elements when it comes to your overall health.
- Audit Your Accuracy. I’ll just take another day off. I’ve earned it. This looks close enough. I can eyeball this instead of weighing it. I’ll just take one untracked bite of my kid’s left over pancake… and ice cream. Sound familiar? First, I want our clients to know there is NOTHING wrong with taking off-tracking days or eyeballing your food, however if you’re trying hard to move the needle on your progress, “close enough” and “almost” add up real quick. Going the extra mile in accuracy is a game changer when it comes to results. Reigning in the margin of error to the very best of your ability is the difference between striving for excellence and settling for good enough.
- Micronutrients and Food Quality. I knew there was a problem with my own food quality when I went to type the word “egg” in MyFitnessPal and the first multiple entries that came up were Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup related items. Thank you, Easter Target Cartwheel sale. I had to actually scroll to find the egg entry. Don’t get me wrong. I have no shame in enjoying a guilt-free treat here and there, but eating whole, nutrient dense foods in the RIGHT quantity is where the magic happens. If you’re hitting your numbers regularly, with accuracy, it’s time to look at how you’re spending that macro budget! Think about small changes you can make within your macros to incorporate more vegetables and whole food options.
- Sleep. I know mamas, this is FAR easier said than done, but getting the proper amount of sleep (7 plus hours per night) can REALLY move the needle for fat loss. Not only does sleep help to improve energy level, but it is vital for regulating hormones, mood and impacts your metabolism! Want to see better progress? Make sleep a priority. Try heading to bed 30 minutes earlier. Trade screen time and over stimulation for stretching, reading, or even a bath before bed. You’ll reap the benefits both inside and out when you include sleep in your fat loss game plan.
- Water. Are you keeping track of your water intake? Our bodies are made up of 60% water. When you’re dehydrated your metabolism can slow, your training suffers, and your body doesn’t flush out toxins and can’t regulate itself as easily. A good goal to shoot for is half your body weight in ounces plus 20 additional ounces for every hour of exercise. Sometimes we assume we are good about our water intake and we stop being vigilant about it. Recording the amount of water you take in everyday and being certain to hit your goal is another way to move that needle on progress.
- Fiber. Along with tracking macros, we encourage all of our clients to track dietary fiber. The 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends a minimum of 25 grams of fiber per day for women and 38 grams per day for men. Chances are if you’re not paying attention to your fiber intake, you’re probably far below the recommended amount. Increasing your dietary fiber is beneficial for many reasons, most importantly for heart health, lowering cholesterol, keeping bowel movements regular, and to keep you fuller longer.
- Feedback. The beauty of our coaching program is that it has allowed us to connect with women on a very personal level. We are NOT magicians. We make educated adjustments based on our client’s DAILY biofeedback. If you’re not making a daily self assessment about your hunger level, sleep quality, mental and emotional state, and performance in the gym, you are not taking full advantage of program. You’re leaving your coach with a lot of guesswork and your weekly macro adjustments might not be as effective as they could be with detailed daily biofeedback.
- Exercise. Now that you’ve got your nutrition in a solid place, it may be time to start thinking about starting an exercise program. Finding a form of training that you enjoy can not only help you physically, but it can help to rejuvenate your motivation and set new goals!
- Patience and perseverance. There is no “finish line” when it comes to your nutrition. Your journey is a marathon, NOT a sprint. 12 days of following our program isn’t going to change a lifetime of food baggage. Many times the answer is that you’re not doing ANYTHING wrong. You might be doing every possible thing in your power to move the needle on macros, but your body likely needs more time. You need to be resilient. Have patience with the process and when the weeks turn into months, you’ll be so glad that you did.
Interested in our nutrition coaching program? We open up new macro coaching groups at the start of every month. You can read more about that on our Macro Coaching Page.