I often receive inspiration for my posts from my clients.
As I’ve said before,
Set your macronutrients wisely.
Reap the benefits.
But there’s gonna be some bumps along the way.
And guess what? That’s perfectly fine. And okay. And acceptable.
When there’s a bump, it’s time to troubleshoot. Look at things objectively.
Don’t do anything stupid like vow to train more or to start doing cardio.
Look at your diet first. What needs fixing? What can we fix? And how do we fix it?
When a client sends me an email asking me to tinker with their macros due to stalled weight loss – there’s always a few questions I ask them……….
1. How close are you, daily, to hitting your macros?
2. Are you weighing/measuring food, or guessing?
3. How often are you eating out? Are you making your own meals as often as possible?
4. If you’re tracking your food, what do you consider “freebies”? Condiments? Sauces? Salads? Fruit? What are you tracking and what are you not.
5. How often do you cheat or snack?
6. How often are you drinking? How many drinks per week and what kinds?
Most of the time, before any number adjustments need to be made, the best advice I can give is to “tighten up”.
I give out meal plans to my clients that are meant to help out – at first. But you can’t expect to simply use a meal plan for the rest of your life and achieve your goals.
You will need to learn how to effectively track your macros and what goes into your body to have any real, sustainable progress.
A client was having some issues with this. I sent him the following personal experience from my own weight loss journey. I figured many could relate to this scenario, so I would like to share my response:
“It was September 2012 and I had been using the lunch/dinner macro-counting program for around 6 months.
I had a good idea of what I was supposed to do. I was sitting at around 235 pounds.
I knew I wanted to get leaner, and I was pretty sure I knew how to do it. I set up my macros and created my deficit.
And I began the school year. During the week, I was pretty much on target. Lunches and dinners. I would be really proud of myself.
Then I would get to Friday or Saturday and allow myself a “cheat meal”. After all, I was good all week.
And the cheat meal would be pretty damn good.
It would include a huge bowl of ice cream with the works. Or pizza and breadsticks from a local spot. Or maybe it would be half a cheesecake. But no matter what it was, I figured, “Hey, I did really good this week. This is my reward.”
I went about this plan all the way through Christmas that year.
When New Year’s was over, I stepped on the scale. It read about 230 pounds.
I was pretty bummed. All of that “dieting” and I was still only down five pounds. What was I doing wrong?
And I began to look really closely at the numbers to see if I could find the answer. I mean, I had made progress, but only five pounds in four months? I wanted better progress than that.
So, I looked closely at my numbers.
And I looked closely at my weekly dieting plan.
And I looked closely at all the “extras” aka – cheat meals, extra bites here and there, handfuls of chips, a few cookies, eating my kids’ (or wife’s) extra on the plate, etc.
And I realized something.
My diet was set up to create a fat loss of around 1.5 pounds per week. Which isn’t crazy considering my height.
That equates to somewhere in the neighborhood of 5,000 calories.
My cheat meal? An extra 2,500 calories, for sure.
And all the “extras”? A few handfuls of chips and salsa while waiting for dinner. A night where my daughter left half of her grilled cheese on her plate, so I ate it. A night out at a restaurant where I ate my wife’s extra food instead of having her take a doggy bag home. A few beers and a handful of pretzels or peanuts.
Pretty soon you’re talking an extra 1,500-2,000 calories over the course of a week.
And if this happens?
That 5,000 calorie deficit gets whittled and whittled and whittled. Pretty soon it’s a 500 calorie deficit.
Will you still lose? Yep. But very, very, very slowly.
So, you need to ask what you’re looking for.
Do you want that “crazy-ass weight loss”?
Do you want to shred down as fast as you can?
Then you need to eat your macros – as close as you can to exactly – every single day. Every single bit over your macro number is going to be less weight loss. Once you eat your portion, end your meal. And that’s that.
After I realized my error, I re-upped the mojo, told myself,
“I can do this. It’s not hunger that’s causing this. It’s boredom.
I’m eating, literally, for no reason.
Why do I eat my daughter’s leftover hot dog she didn’t want?
It doesn’t taste good.
I’m not hungry.
It’s simply because there’s a weird part of me that can’t stand to see food get wasted.
From now on, I’m going to eat my numbers – EXACTLY – day in and day out.”
Now, was I perfect? Not at all.
My entire “cut” took 16 weeks.
I’d say about 8 of those I was “spot on”. On those weeks, it was crazy. 1.5+ pounds of fat loss, weekly.
Some weeks I was pretty good. Other weeks I cracked and did poorly.
But overall, I’d say my compliance could be described as “pretty good”.
At the end of it, I weighed 210. Lost 20 pounds of pure fat in 16 weeks.
And during that time frame, I learned more about the art of discipline and self control than I’ve ever learned in my life.
I wasn’t very hungry often. This sort of a meal plan allows for a good amount of food and you’re rarely hungry.
But there were many, many times where I had to say “No” – and mean it.”
Hopefully you can appreciate the message involved. Want those crazy-ass results? You’ve heard me say it before. It’s not magic – hit your macros – spot on – every single day.
And you WILL be amazed by the results.