Keeping it Clean While Living by the Numbers
Self Control is a MF’erSeriously. Weekends are always the hardest for me. Frankly, self control is the name of the game in health and fitness, and luckily–as we all know–the self is the one thing we can actually control! Not to say that it’s always easy to do so, case-and-point this weekend. But when is anything that’s worth it ever easy?? So I’ve just recovered from one of those “less controlled” weekends where lots of activities in this balance of life came up and thus many opportunities for self-control accidentally get left in the car on my way to activity #7 of my Saturday. But no excuses, Mandi. I’m a positive person and know that I’m back on track already. I just wanted to put it out there, so if you had a weekend like me, and you were beating yourself up about it on your weekly Sunday night “self-loathing-smack-down-because-I’m-not-perfect” nonsense, you can cut that crap out right now and we’ll all regroup together. BREATHE and move on!
I Can Do ThisAs previously mentioned, I am chronicling my goal of losing 3-4% in body fat in 8 weeks time. I can do this, and I will do this. But HOW I do this has been a bit more tricky. I am a person that is very thoughtful and purposeful in my health, especially as it relates to nutrition, and I want to be able to achieve this goal while maintaining the personal integrity of what healthy and CLEAN eating means to me. It’s not exactly an easy task!
Let’s dive into what I’m up against here–the NUMBERSWeight loss as we all know is about numbers, simple math. Eat fewer calories than you burn in any given day and you lose weight.
You figure out your Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR) that tells you how many calories you burn by just living and breathing, then you multiply that by a activity-level factor and you basically get about how much calories you burn in a day.
I’VE even taken it a step further and purchased a heart rate monitor that also tells me how many calories I burn while working out. So I’ve got the science down! I track everything that I eat every day on MyFitnessPal app (it’s not perfect, but I recommend to anyone looking) and I always know that every single day I really do eat fewer calories than I burn, with the occasional binge-fest taking me back some (see earlier paragraph about this weekend ).
The ChallengeProblem is, that in spite of making this number crunch a part of my every day routine, I still have been fluctuating at this same weight for the last year, not actually losing any weight. I’m not complaining about it, really. I know I’m at a healthy weight and even a healthy body fat (starting off at about 19% body fat). On top of it all, I’m basically the same size I was in high school. I am stronger and more muscular, but my stature is basically the same. Some people can get back to their teenage bodies because our bodies actually have a memory and if you push your body with diet and exercise, it can actually revert back to a shape it once was. A little slower with age, sure, but it’s possible! With me, I’m basically here. I’m at a healthy weight, a healthy body fat, I exercise a ton, and am about as small as I can recollect ever being since I’ve been this height of 5’10″. This means that my body will have to be PUSHED to something it’s not seen before. Which is kind of a cool challenge but I know it’s going to be a slow moving one! My weekly changes are not going to be drastic, so I can kiss instant gratification goodbye.
Counting the MacronutrientsEssentially, all I’m striving to do is be leaner. I’m not wanting to look all jacked or anything. I still want to look feminine AND even keep my curves. But leaner. Think Beyonce Knowles merged with Jessica Biel. That’s my ideal. And, to get all Sasha Fierce on y’all, I know that just worrying about calories is not going to cut it. I have to step it up to counting the MACRO-NUTRIENTS!
What are Macronutrients you ask? Well, silly, that’s just the scientific term for Proteins, Carbohydrates and Fats. Basically, I’ll be counting the number of grams of each of those categories. To lean out, I am looking to burn fat and gain some muscle. So my eating needs to reflect that goal. Courtney was able to calculate that for my body type and weight in lean muscle and my goal of fat loss, I need to eat about 190 grams of protein a day, 40 grams of fat and 60 grams of carbohydrates. Each gram of protein and carbohydrate has 4 calories and fat has 9 calories per gram, so when I do that math it’s about 1400 calories a day. The calorie number has been what I’ve been working with, but my grams of protein and carbohydrates have flip flopped from what I’ve normally been eating. This is a lot more protein and a lot less carbs than I’m used to! But change the diet and change the bod, right? Right.
Next StepsNow that I have my numbers, I need to decide how I’m going to meet those dietary needs with foods that are clean and within my ethical eating habits as well as meet my desire to treat my body with true care.
Next blog, I’ll start explaining some of the things I’ve learned about eating clean and what I will and will not put into my body. Stay tuned!