By: Desiree (@beautifulruin)
My journey started in November 2019. I had realized I had gained much more weight than when I had given birth in March 2019. I faced a reality check when my best friends and I were trying to take cute pictures together. I wasn’t comfortable with the way I was coming out in any of them. I seemed so unhealthy in these photos. I had started going to the gym after getting clearance from my doctor from giving birth but I wasn’t really seeing any fat loss. I was trying to outwork a bad diet which is extremely hard if not impossible. After watching a lot of videos on YouTube, I decided it was time to take action. I researched counting macros, learned the nutrition facts of a lot of different foods, and learned simple ways to cook what I needed to eat in a day. I started looking at food as nothing than the energy needed.
Counting macros was the most important thing I could’ve done to begin this journey. It will make a huge impact on your fat loss. You can calculate your macros to only have to be active minimally. Then, eat more on days that you know you will be working out or more active than usual. I highly recommend my fitness pal app with a paid subscription. It gives you the most out of tracking macros. I am currently flexible dieting which allows me to eat some sugary or fatty foods but in moderation. I couldn’t help to stay away from donuts or candy so on occasion I will have them when I want to reward myself. There are some days that I take a break from tracking but I try to track my macros as much as possible. I also have a scale for weighing food to track exactly what I am consuming.
In my experience, I didn’t have the time to meal prep since I have a family of three and work a full-time job. I would sometimes prep meals the morning of or for the next day. I learned that it is easier to cook a big variety of each item and store them in their own individual storage containers. Then whenever you are going to eat what you have pre-cooked, you grab a little of each thing to throw on your plate. This is called “Buffet Prepping” which isn’t as overwhelming as meal prepping a large number of meals. This style also saves space in your fridge.
I would recommend to workout at least twice a week. If you start slacking off(sometimes you need a break. Don’t make yourself miserable.) be sure to push yourself to go to the gym more frequently the next week to make up for it. Figure out what time of day works best to add your workout routine in. I started going in the evening and switched to going early in the mornings before work. Find ways to higher your step count. For example, walking to grab lunch or saving your lunch to go on a quick walk or run. I started walking about a mile total to grab and eat lunch. Previously I would always drive this route. I had to do this because I am an administrative assistant so at work I am usually sitting and rarely moving around. After hitting my 15 pounds lost mark, I hit a plateau for two weeks. I admit that I had stopped tracking a bit so I got back on track. Recalculated my macros. Then I started snacking during work so that I could walk or run more during my 30-minute lunch. I started seeing progress again.
The first 15 pounds felt easy to lose. I did a lot of research into what foods are higher in carbs which foods have a great amount of protein and which foods were fatty. After learning how to count macros and using my fitness pal app I started becoming more familiar with counting macros. I got through Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year’s, and an Ensenada cruise while counting macros so you can do it no matter what events or trips you have coming up. Dedicate some time to watching YouTube videos on macros and low-carb or keto recipes and googling foods that you eat on a day-to-day basis and figure out what the nutrition facts are for each of those foods. Make notes if you have to. Be sure to get rest. Rest is very important for the body to make changes.
Now to get more into the science of fat loss. Here is the formula for calculating macros:
Men: calories/day = 10 x weight (kg) + 6.25 x height (cm) – 5 x age (y) + 5
Women: calories/day = 10 x weight (kg) + 6.25 x height (cm) – 5 x age (y) – 161
Next, you will need to multiply your result by an activity factor — a number that represents different levels of activity:
Inactive: x 1.2 (limited exercise. Spending most of the day sitting)
Lightly active: x 1.375 (light exercise less than three days per week)
Moderately active: x 1.55 (moderate exercise most days of the week)
Very active: x 1.725 (hard exercise every day)
Extra active: x 1.9 (strenuous exercise two or more times per day)
You will get your TDEE. Once you have your TDEE subtract between 200 to 500 calories. This will be your caloric deficit. I would not recommend deducting more than 500 calories maximum.
Typical macronutrient recommendations are as follows:
Carbs: 45–65% of total calories
Fats: 20–35% of total calories
Proteins: 10–35% of total calories
Keep in mind that these recommendations may not fit your specific needs. Someone pursuing a ketogenic diet would need much more fat and fewer carbs, while an endurance athlete may need higher carb intake.
I hope all of this information helps you out on your health journey.