“Here, have some of these homemade sugar cookies with candy cane frosting I made last night!”
“Oh, thanks so much, but I’ll have to pass.” As I nibble on my cauliflower and celery.
“Oh, come on, they’re so delicious!”
“Ya, they look very delicious, but I can’t. I’m on a diet.” Cringing to myself, because I happen to dislike having to use the word diet.
“But, you’re so skinny, you don’t need to lose weight. Besides, just one won’t hurt.”
First, sometimes having one will hurt, but only because most of the time I lack the control to have just one. Having “just one” takes some serious self-control. If I have one, it could lead to ten and then the damage is done. Two, I’m not skinny, and I’m not dieting to lose fat right now (that will come in a few weeks or months). Right now I am actually dieting to build muscle. Fancy that.
I hate the word diet.
I found myself telling people that I was on a “diet” and it got to the point where I just had to stop. Because, the way I meant diet and the way it is interpreted are two completely different things. So, one of my 2014 resolutions is to tell people I’m following a meal plan, instead of telling them I’m on a diet.
When I hear the word diet I think of restricting yourself, or starving yourself, or following some crazy who came up with some revolutionary method of fat loss that ends up in the garbage bin a few years later because it didn’t work. Diet has such a negative connotation because most people bounce back after their “diet” and regain the same if not more weight than they lost. Society has molded this simple little word to mean something so negative, yet so necessary to our self-perception.
Right now I am on a meal plan. I eat a set amount of calories each day which is broken down into macro-nutrients (carbs, protein, and fat) which are spread between 6 meals and various types of foods. I pretty much eat the same foods every day for each meal, but have options to substitute foods if I want. I eat as much veggies as I want, lots of lean meat, and mostly whole-grain carbs. I get a treat after I workout (talk about extrinsic rewards) and a free meal once a week. And while it is true I am restricting myself from foods like pizza, and pasta, and cereal, and lots of ice-cream and popcorn, I wouldn’t be able to meet the goals I have if I ate those foods ALL the time.
I guess what I’m trying to say is not all “diets” are bad, but I’d rather call it a meal plan. A meal plan is something you sit down and configure based on where you want to be in 3-12 weeks figure-itively speaking. (Talking about your figure/physique/body. Got it?) Yes, I count my calories because if I didn’t I’d go over my limit all the time. I work closely with my trainer Lindsey (ok, she does all the work for me, except for the actual working out part, and putting food in my mouth part) to make sure I am getting the proper nutrition I need to build the body I want. And so far, she is pretty darn good at it.
The truth is I have made so much progress by following my meal plan and workout plan. I am happy, eat foods I like, and am learning self-control when I have those moments of wanting to gorge myself on oreos and honey nut cheerios because they look yummy RIGHT NOW! It is all about getting the results you want and fueling your body with the right foods in the right quantities at the right time. If you want to know a little more of what I’m talking about read below. But, you don’t have to. 🙂
So, let’s get down to business. Your body requires a certain amount of nutrition to sustain your daily activities. If you go over that amount, depending on your metabolism and your levels of activity, those extra calories will either go towards building muscle or building up your fat reserves, generally speaking. If you eat less than your body needs, then you start to burn fat (or sometimes muscle if it is too much of a deficit). Our bodies are pretty amazing in that they adapt quickly and do their best to use what you give them.
If you have a certain goal, like building muscle, or building endurance then you’re body is going to require a certain amount of calories to reach those goals. But, for the best performance you can’t fuel your body with whatever crap you want until you reach your caloric limit. You have to fuel your body with the right ratio of macro-nutrients, which entirely depends on your goals. Macro-nutrients = a combination of protein, carbohydrates, and fat. You’re body needs ALL three. Then we throw in your level of activity. Lets say you run 5 days a week for at least 30 min. You’re probably going to need a little more carbs in your diet. Lets say you start lifting at the gym and are trying to put on some muscle, you’re going to need more protein to help you make those gains. Either way, if you start to work out regularly, you’re going to need to raise your caloric limit. Unless, you want to lose fat, then you’ll want to make sure there is a deficit of calories.
If you’re curious about your own status and are wanting to make some changes or make a goal and aren’t sure where to start, send me an email. I’m happy to help!