A New, Healthier Eating Plan is Born!

The Plan:

It’s a general outline for now; I’ll be adjusting the numbers as I go depending on the results!

  • Lifting days: 1300 net calories, aiming for ~100g protein and having most of my carbs for the day just before/after lifting. This means I’ll be eating around 1500-1800, which is a little bit terrifying–but I tend to burn a lot by walking my 2-8 miles a day! (I don’t count the lifting as calories burned; I just use my fitbit for steps)
  • Non-lifting days: 1000 or less net calories, with 15-30 minutes of HIIT if possible.  Aiming for 50g protein at the very least. I’ll most likely be eating 1200-1400 these days.
  • This means I’ll be losing 1/4 – 1/2 pound per week, and gaining ~1/4 lb muscle per week if things go optimally. So the scale shouldn’t be changing! (Which is a little bit hard to accept, but hopefully the change in the mirror will make that okay.)

I’m hoping this helps with my nutrient deficiency symptoms and reactive eating (aka binging)!

The Revelation:

I am someone who does copious amounts of research before making any decisions on anything, especially weight loss related. I knew that 1-2 pounds per week loss is considered the standard, which means eating 500-1000 less than your TDEE.  I keep seeing all these wonderful, positive, motivated overweight individuals losing their 1-2 pounds a week and I always feel so inspired by their progress, wanting to push myself to do the same.

In my slightly convoluted mind, however, I keep forgetting that this standard only really applies to people in the overweight or high-end-of-normal categories; why would there be a weight loss standard for those already in the low end of normal? I am a mere 5 pounds above the underweight category (though I certainly don’t look it), but keep lumping myself in with the overweight–to tell the truth, I’m a bit envious of them in a way.  I share their pain of high body fat percentage (I am quite certain that 99% of them have more muscle than I do), but am at the point where it’s near impossible to shed those last few pounds. I’m stuck in a rut.

Unfortunately, because I am 35+ pounds lighter than most people trying to lose weight, I burn a lot fewer calories; my body doesn’t need much to keep it going. The truth of it is, if I wanted to lose 1-2 pounds a week like those inspiring individuals mentioned above, I would have to consume 400-900 calories; on studying days, I burn a whopping total of 1400 calories. Even with lots of exercise, I’d have to eat 700-1200 to get that kind of loss. (Just imagine the horror if I followed the government’s oh-so-well-founded recommendation of 2000 calories a day!)

Even though I need fewer calories than my overweight friends, I need all the same nutrients. And I can’t get them on 400-1000 calories a day.

So, I need to remind myself that I should be grateful that I’m starting my journey at such a low weight, not upset by how little progress I’m able to make. My new plan is more focused on a balance between muscle growth and fat loss rather than just focusing on the latter.

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