Something Needs to Change…

How is it that women seem to accept that the lower your calories the better it’ll be for weight loss?  How is it SO ingrained to us that foods are “bad” or “naughty” and that brownies aren’t “diet friendly”? (I’ll elaborate on the whole brownie debacle later)

Is it marketing? Is it from years of having images thrown at us showing that the only way you’re acceptable in society if you’re thin/”toned”/without wobble? Are we THAT unaware how our bodies respond to nutrition that we will believe an app that suggests dangerously low levels of calories, in order to lose weight? (I don’t like the phrase, lose weight….weight is so much more than what the scale tells you & I don’t even want to go into how flawed BMI is)

All you have to do is Google the word “diet” and you’re immediately shown things like “lose weight in a week” or “This person lost all this weight by doing just one thing” and other titles that are clearly designed to draw you in.  Not everyone wants to tell you the truth…

The issue with diet & weight loss is that not one thing works for everyone, however one thing IS a constant: Calories in<Calories out, but it’s not that simple.  If it was, we could drop our calories by half, drop however many dress sizes we wanted to & that would be that.  No more need for slimming world, paleo, keto, dukan, 5:2 diets etc. HUZZAH!

Now, starvation mode isn’t necessarily a thing but it does have some level of truth to it (more on that in a minute)  There’s this thing, called BMR (basal metabolic rate) which is how many calories you burn at rest – so if you couldn’t move, this is the minimum recommended intake based on your age, height & weight in order for your body to survive.  If you take an average 25 year old woman of around 5 foot 3 (160cm) & 11 stone (69kg) her BMR is 1429.  Remember BMR IS AT REST, so as soon as she moves she’s above that – if she has an office job, drives & does very little activity – so not a regular gym user for example, her range is more likely to be around 1990.  If our average woman wants to lose some weight, going below BMR is not gonna increase her ability to lose that weight, or the speed in which it is lost.  Excessive calorie restriction is dangerous.

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What even is she measuring??

Starvation mode, in a nutshell is a myth – you won’t stop losing weight, or gaining weight through excessive restriction. This recent article explains in more detail than I will on here, but if you don’t want to read it – any calorie deficit will allow you to lose weight, that weight loss will stop once you hit a body mass that losing any more would result in death.  (see: The Minnesota Starvation Experiment)

However, there IS a starvation response – so if you’re doing things that your body doesn’t like, it’s going to respond in any way possible in order to survive.  Things like prolonged, excessive calorie restriction and/or extreme amount of exercise will trigger the survival response and in turn will slow down your metabolism – you’ll still lose weight but it will be much, much slower.  Your body/brain cannot differentiate between you wanting to look good & you starving to death.

So, this brings me to Brownies. Cake. Cookies. anything that is sugary & delicious.  Wanna know something??  Eating one, on occasion is NOT going to reverse whatever calorie restriction you’re following. A “cheeky” packet of crisps is not going to see you balloon to the size of a house overnight.  You know what will see you put weight on though?  Eating the crisps, the cake, the cookies & the brownies – to excess, regularly & repeatedly underestimating your calorie intake.

The next time someone offers you a cake or something similar – eat the damn thing!  It’s not naughty, it’s not cheeky, it’s FOOD and a little bit of indulgence now & then never saw a person suddenly put on a stone.  Seriously. STOP demonising food. But also, y’know….don’t eat a whole packet of biscuits in one sitting.

 

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Here goes!

Once upon a time, I didn’t care what I ate.  I ate through convenience & ease, work lunches consisted of coffee & cigarettes; followed by a nutritious accompaniment of Doritos & Wine Gums.  (I’m not joking) I rarely ate breakfast & dinner involved pre-made, processed food.  There are no full body photos of me from this time, partly as this time was in the age before digital photography & because any that I might have had, are now in a rubbish tip somewhere.

I never really gave much thought to the food I was eating, I ate what I liked (The reason as to *why* I began to give a shit is on my other blog)

Fast forward a few years & I hear about a friend losing a lot of weight quite fast – by this time, I’d had another child & was in a fair amount of pain due to a trapped nerve in my spine & carrying around an extra stone wasn’t all that enjoyable.  Her “miracle” was the Dukan Diet

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My Dukan Diet Body

Yeah, I lost a stone in about 2 months, but I still didn’t like the way I looked & Dukan was haaaaaard graft – plus removing an entire macro (that’d be glorious carbs) was not my wisest of ideas. I might have ate my bodyweight in them once I’d decided that Dukan was not what I wanted to do.  Food should be enjoyable, not a chore.  Dukan went in the bin.

I’ve also tried intermittent fasting. Again, not my bag.  I enjoyed it, but it messed with my head something fierce – I’m still trying to recover from that. However, I documented *some* of that journey, if you want to read it.  Week 1-6 is here & week 7-12 is here.

That is my entire journey with “actual” diets – I may have dabbled with slimfast once upon a time too, hooboy! that did not last long. 😂

Soooooooooooo, brass tax:

  • TDEE: 2281 (less 200 as we want a deficit: 2081)
  • Daily Protein: 90-130g
  • Carb/fat: whatever – the goal is to hit my protein & keep the rest within my calorie range

DAY 1:

Goal: 2081  Actual: 2031

Protein: 140g

Not baaaaaaad. Not bad at all.

Yes, I am lazy. An Experiment….

OK, so let me give you some background:

Once upon a time, I lived for food prep – it was my favourite thing & I’d spend the majority of one of my days off from work in the kitchen, making lunches, breakfasts & snacks for 4 days & then I’d repeat the cycle on my following day off.  I looked at different food groups, dabbled with intermittent fasting & tweaked my macros, forever on a recomp.

Then my mental health took a nose dive & I didn’t even want to continue breathing, never mind prep food. It’s taken me a long time to pull myself back out from that darkness – something I still struggle with now. Which is partly why I’m doing this, another part is that my income has decreased significantly since those days of mega food preps, thus having to be more savvy with food purchases than I was before.

Gone are the days of feeding my family one thing & myself another – our food budget simply doesn’t stretch that far, so I’ve dropped buying many things & replaced some with others; shopping for coconut oil is now done in Aldi, or B&M, nut butters are strictly only peanut butter now (never with palm oil, salt & sugar though, I’m not a heathen!) all my veg is frozen & around 80% of the fruit I buy is too.

I still want to train, I still want more lean mass & lose fat but I have to make that fit to within my means – this is where the experiment kicks in.  For a long time, I’ve known at some point I need to mix things up…recomp isn’t the only way to see results.  It’s time to cut – I’m going to do this, perhaps a little haphazardly though.

OK, so….all diets are based off the same notion – calorie deficit, as shown here by a diagram that was from Sohee Fit on Instagram:

“Will ____ diet work for me?” “Should I try ____ diet?” Many believe that certain diets have special magical powers that are far superior to all other diets out there through x y z mechanism. 💫

The truth is, ALL diets work by creating a caloric deficit. 💥That’s the primary mechanism. Those that restrict foods can be especially effective (in the beginning, anyway) because cutting out entire food groups are an easy way to slash calories.

I’m following “what I can afford” diet, with some basic nutrition guidelines:

  • TDEE, less 100-200 calories
  • Hit protein – I have SO much protein powder, this is not an issue
  • Restrict processed/high sugar foods
  • Eat the same as my family on an evening

I’m gonna take photos, note my training programme & measurements –  & then will report back. At some point….hopefully before this year is over 😂