Less Weight Loss, More Eating - Part 1

*I wrote this in January and it's been languishing in my drafts folder ever since.*

Back in September 2015 I finally had had enough frustration at the fact that I gained a few pounds, spent the summer busting my ass on a bicycle along with teaching Jazzercise 2x/week without losing any of the few pounds. In reaching out on this blog, I was pointed to Eat to Perform and I ended up joining. A couple months later, I was hooked and joined for Life. Here's the rub though. It's just as hard as Wei.ght Wat.chers, the only diet program I've ever tried. And I have to clarify, I've never been into any of the extreme diets. I didn't go Paleo, never did a Whole 30, laughed at the South Beach/Atkins/flavor of the month diets. Naturally, an anti-diet approach like Eat to Perform called to me.

When I got set up with my macros I was shocked at the amount of food I was supposed to eat. I guess I didn't share it with you all, exactly how it works, so I'll do that now:

  • Non Workout Days: 1625 calories, 125 grams of carbohydrate, 65 grams of fat, 135 grams of protein
  • Workout Days: 2025 calories, 225 grams of carbohydrate, 65 grams of fat, 135 grams of protein.

What was surprising to me was how hard it is to play macro tetris, and I still don't have it quite dialed in. Many people using this method enter all their food in My Fitness Pal the day before so that they can figure out what to eat to hit all the targets. I'm not exactly that organized and several times I've gotten to the end of the day and been way short on protein, but way over on fat or carb. I've actually hit calories, protein, carb targets and then been way over on fat. Mostly, I focus on hitting the calorie target (I'm still prone to overeat, especially on rest days) and my protein target (the hardest). I'm sorry to say that since starting in September, I have't had one week that was spot on and it's showing in the form of an additional 4 pound weight gain. I have trouble believing in the process when I'm not seeing the type of progress I'm used to seeing once I embark on a diet.

It's no less frustrating than any of the above mentioned diets, and that's been surprising. The other surprising thing - it's typical to GAIN weight until macros dialed in, the metabolism is healed and the body starts to function better, especially since I'm relatively lean to start. I've gained an additional 4 pounds since starting, and I'm sadly up a size in my clothes.

What an endorsement, huh?

On the other hand, since I've started dedicating 1-2 workouts a week to lifting along with 3x/week teaching Jazzercise and using heavier weights (9-lb) when I teach, I've also seen a gain in lean muscle mass. Muscle gains show in my shoulders first, and my shoulders are currently my best asset. My belly however....not so awesome. I know that belly fat is the last to go, especially for people like me who tend to hold weight there. It's frustrating and it's slow. But that's the thing about Eat to Perform. It isn't a fast weight loss program that will leave me rebounding at the end of it. It's supposed to be slow and it never said it was easy, just that we can eat all the foods and be ok. And that's true, but when I have to think about eating 1625 calories, 125g of carb, 135g of protein, and 65g of fat on a rest day, it's a maddening game of tetris. Eventually, I'll be able to eat intuitively, and that's even starting to happen now. I know that I have to have a good amount of protein at every meal to be able to hit that target. Protein is the most difficult target for me to (that palm size serving of chicken doesn't cut it, I need 2 palm sizes)

 But I know that overall I feel better eating more food and I kicked a cold in a couple days. Last year, when I got a cold in the fall, it hung around for weeks.