If you have any questions that you’d like answered in person and/or need more guidance, stop by the gym Monday evening at 7:30 pm. We’ll have a half hour informal question/answer session.
We hope your first few days of the Nutrition Challenge have been a good learning experience. Don’t panic if you aren’t getting close to (or going way over) your kcal or macro goals. It will take time, new recipes, and some trial and error to learn how to eat a bit differently. Remember you are not doing this alone! There are over 100 participants many of whom are chatting at the gym or on Facebook sharing recipes and tips. You can also email us any questions you may have.
A couple of important notes based on some things we’ve heard:
Your calculations may not end up exactly 40% CHO, 30% PRO, 30% FAT but regardless of your goals, you should not set your carbohydrate percentage below 30% of your total intake.
A diet too low in carbohydrates:
If you are aiming to lose weight, it is imperative that you avoid enormous shifts in caloric intake. Subtle caloric manipulations are much easier on your body and won’t wreak havoc on your metabolism. Be gradual with your approach; different goals will require different phases of calorie balance, but avoid extremes. These extremes will consequently lead to a roller-coaster of weight (and emotional) fluctuation. Adding, or subtracting, large amounts of calories to your diet at once is unnecessary and detrimental to your overall well being. Regardless of the route you followed in the past (remembering that as your goals change over time, your nutrition will need to change with them), you should be within the margins of what is a sustainable approach for you.
The goal with eating at a deficit should always be to eat as much as possible while still losing weight. A sizable deficit is often not only unnecessary, but dangerous, too, and will have negative long-term effects on the systems of the body. Too many people want to take short cuts to get weight off, which brings us to a very cliché statement: “you didn’t put the weight on overnight, your not going to get it off overnight either.”
We recommend your Kcal deficit stay within a range of 100-1000. Stay on the lower end of this range initially. Many who stick to the maintenance or “performance” calorie calculation (without subtracting for weight loss) end up losing weight as their body composition changes. Because intake is at an optimal balance of macronutrients the body becomes a fat burning machine!
So how will you know if you’re in a good range? After a week, step on the scale. If you’ve lost 1-2 pounds, keep doing what you’re doing. If your weight is the same or more (and you haven’t strayed from your plan) then adjust the Kcal total down by 200-300.
Any weight loss above 1-2 pounds a week is likely at the expense of hard muscle tissue, as well, at a roughly 1:1 ratio to fat. Prevailing wisdom when it comes to weight loss is that an accumulated 3500 kcal deficit is required per pound of tissue loss. This means that a 3500- 7000 weekly caloric deficit would do the trick of facilitating a 1-2 pound weekly drop. Too many people think that this automatically means to cut that many calories a week, ignoring the fact that physical activity is a potent part of the equation.
When eating at a deficit, only worry about hitting calories and protein at first, with minimal effort attempting to hit calculated carbs and fat. If you create an initial natural approach to flexible dieting, you will be able to see what you can reasonably hit every day without forcing yourself to hit your specific calculated numbers. If you can intuitively and consistently hit a different set of numbers (than initially calculated) on a daily basis and you are making progress whilst doing so, I suggest continue on with those numbers. Minor day-to-day fluctuations in carbs and fat won’t hinder weight loss at all if calories are being met and a deficit is still in place.