A framework for busy people
WHETHER YOU COUNT THEM OR NOT, CALORIES ARE ONE OF THE MOST IMPORTANT FACTORS IN WEIGHT-LOSS
I’ve tried cutting calories, I just get tired.
I’ve tried reducing carbs, I can’t keep it up.
I’ve tried eating healthy, I always give in.
ANY OF THESE SOUND FAMILIAR?
I have many conversations with clients about how to lose weight. It’s the most frequently asked question. Let’s say you exercise as much as you can in the week. At this point in time you cannot commit to any other gym sessions, or runs. But you’re doing more than you were. You’ve got regular weight training sessions and you’ve worked on your core strength. You are definitely fitter than you were last year. What do you have to do to lose weight?
Whether I picture long term clients or brand new ones; their perception of weight loss is always different to mine. There are many occasions where a client has told me what they’ve tried. It usually starts like this:
“I reduced my calories down, but it caused me to get tired, or gave me headaches”.
“I took carbohydrates out of my diet for 2 months and lost weight in the beginning, but I couldn’t keep going and put the weight back on again.”
There is one main problem. These weight loss systems never address one of the key weight loss factors. Being aware of how much you’re eating.
When making any food diary analysis, the first thing I look for is quantity. Not to tell a client off for how many digestive biscuits they’ve eaten. Instead I look to see how little they might be eating compared to what they need to be. This is always contested by the client and it is their perception that they eat a lot.
A client is usually worried when I look through a food diary, that I will make a judgemental face and criticise their snacking habits. A better example is this:
“I’ve been really good this week; I haven’t snacked on food X/Y/Z”.
My response is always the same, I’m never disappointed when a client gives in. Because they will, Frequently!
Instead, I focus on celebrating a week gone by where a client says to me:
“I’ve prepared food 3 days this week, and I’ve done an online shop ready for next week”.
Let’s break this down. If you are eating inconsistently and have irregular eating habits, it won’t matter if you’ve eaten the salt and vinegar crisps or not. You might not be losing any weight. The most frustrating occasions come when a client has felt that they’ve had an excellent week and put a lot of effort into not eating the obvious temptations; but they haven’t seen any reward for this behaviour.
It often comes down to your metabolic rate. Have you ever heard of the Thermic Effect? In verses out. People used to say, ‘Eat less, exercise more’. Well it isn’t quite so simple.
In the studio I seek to increase someone’s metabolic rate through exercise, and in turn build a supportive nutritional structure. I’ve stated in previous posts that if you’re working hard in the gym, or the studio, but you’re not fixing the foundations in your nutrition – you might not be getting the results you want.
Enter the info-graph.
The image above shows us a focus on caloric intake over other areas of nutrition. It’s common in the studio for a client to work with me to find out what their caloric target should be. That doesn’t mean I do it with everyone. If you can find that balance through the addition of exercise to your routine alone, then often I won’t suggest recording your daily intake. Ofcourse it is more work, but when you’ve done it once, the routine is easy.
There is something important to note. If you are in the large percentage of my client base who are under eating, simply upping the exercise might not work for you. My previous blog about routine may be far more applicable here. It will be the addition of routine, and a focus on consistent nutrition that helps us here. The desired results; a higher metabolic rate.
A simple framework can be adopted as a starting point. If you have a hectic schedule you may be asking, how can i implement this? Check out some key ideas below.
The main focus is calorie intake whether you deliberately count them or not. You may have achieved balance already without every recording this.
Use calorie tracker apps if they help, if not you can try and ensure you hit your targets another way. It’s not about slipping up.
Consider cook book recipes. These are starting to contain higher protein meals and often they list the calorie content for you.
Check out meal packaging when eating out. You don’t need a calorie counting app to get this right. Eating on the go can be possible.
Preparing food yourself as often as you can can help you keep track of what your daily intake is.
Try to reach your target intake daily. The aim is to support the hard work you’re doing!
Inconsistent eating can be a factor causing weight gain and a slower metabolism.
HABIT BUILDING: IDEAS TO SUPPORT NUTRITION
1. Focus on protein and fat. Where are these coming from in your day?
2. Eating breakfast. You may not feel hungry, or have time. This is habit building.
3. Drink more water, and less coffee. Don’t mask your energy levels with caffeine or sugar.
4. Shop with your partner if possible, and eat similar foods. Doing this together will make it a lot easier.
5. Do an online shop on a Friday or the end of the week.
6. Prepare food on a Sunday (or any other day… you get the idea!)
7. Remove junk. That’s the easy bit. You don’t need to eat these foods if you’ve shopped pre-emptively
8. If you slip up – it doesn’t matter. Just start again with the next meal… not the next day.
9. A proper meal from a lunch box at work might not be feasible; but it’s going to provide a lot of energy.
10. If you’ve prepared lunch on a Sunday, or if you’ve made dinner on a Monday and you’ve got extra servings: use these for lunch!
11. Dinner. Use cook-book, they often contain caloric information. The point is to encourage you to enjoy eating more structured meals.
12. Planning is the key. On a Sunday do you know where you’ll be able to eat well, and where you might not?
13. Consider using protein supplements. They’ll help you reach your calorie intake, meet your protein requirements, keep you fuller for longer. They’ll also help increase muscle tone. Good for both men and women if you’re weight training.
14. One final point: eating on the move can be done. Experiment!
This is not one size fits all. This list of ideas has been compiled from different conversations i’ve had with real clients. Every time you’ve heard about someone’s results – they are all unique to them.
Build your own routine.
Over and out.