4918 Start With Maintenance
Eating less or more than you need in order to have some sort body composition change assumes something. There is an assumption that you already know how much food you need to eat to maintain the same body composition! You're successful at loosing a little weight quickly. Monday to Friday- 5lb swing. No problem! You're unsuccessful at keeping that weight off over the weekend. Well in other words, you are successful at making back up that energy deficit over the weekend and gaining back that weight you quickly lost... every week... without fail. If you don't know your maintenance calories then your logic looks like this. My maintenance intake is unknown, so I'll just eat very little in order to stay under no matter what. And that is logical, if you don't know about how much you need, then your best bet is to just guess low. Logical, but not sustainable because sustaining a large energy deficit is just harder than your will power.
I really wish there was a cure-all equation for this, but the truth is, our lives and bodies and histories are all different. Calorie counts are famously inaccurate and there are just too many variables to be exact. Don't just be skeptical of anyone who claims to have it nailed, be down right resistant to anyone who claims they can tell you exactly how many calories or macros to eat. That being said, it could be a good idea to try and figure out a ballpark for how much food you should be eating to just maintain your current state.
1. Download a food tracking app- I like My Fitness Pal, and just start tracking everything. Not all calories are created equal so it is especially good to know where the heck your calories are coming from. My Fitness Pal has a crazy big database of foods. I have yet to scan a barcode that it couldn’t find and summarize the nutrition contents of my day.
2. Set your macros to 40% carb, 30% protein, 30% fat. This is just a starting point, but it is also CrossFit’s prescribed macro split.m
3. Set your total calorie goal. Your current weight x 12, 13, or 14. If you are obese use the low end, leaner or more active athletes use the higher end. This is just a starting point for CrossFitters training 4 or 5 times a week. Don’t stress- if you’re uncomfortable number seems off, ask me at the gym.
If all of this sounds intriguing and you think you would benefit from some counseling, (I think you would) check out Harvest Habits and we can talk about personal nutrition coaching.
oh and here is another link to a CrossFit journal article about just this topic.