Frequently asked questions
What Can I Expect?
Once a week, we will "check in" where you send me your weekly weigh ins. I will assess the weekly average and compare it to the previous weeks average. I will also assess your weekly food entries and provide feedback. I will make any necessary adjustmetns to your calories and macronutrients depending on which dieting phase you are in.
In addition to your weekly check in, I will be available to answer any questions that you may have along the way.
I monitor your food entries throughout the week and will provide constructive criticism when needed.
Do You Provide Meal Plans?
I do not provide meal plans as I like my clients to make their own decisions about their food choices/preferences. I find meal plans very rigid, restrictive, and impractical. However, I will provide a few example days upon request if you are having trouble figuring out what to eat and how much to eat to fill out your macros. I create example days from foods that you are currently consuming according to your food diary entries.
How Do I Get Started?
To get started, you'll need a bathroom scale to weigh yourself as well as a kitchen scale to weigh your food. You will also need to downlaod the app My Fitness Pal. After entering your information into the app, request to be my friend and change your diary sharing settings so that I can view your entries.
For the first two weeks, you will eat as you normally do and simply enter everything into the app. You will also weigh yourself first thing every morning and record your weigh ins. After two weeks, I will look at your total daily calories and calculate the daily average, as well as calculate your protein, carbs, and fats requirements.
I do not use equations to calculate calorie requirements because they are inaccurate. If I have normally been eating 2,000 calories in a day and the equation tells me to eat 2,300 then I'm going to be eating in a surplus and gain weight. Tracking for two weeks also gives you the practice of this skill.
Do not try to eat differently than you have been during the first two weeks as this will skew your numbers and you don't want to cheat yourself of calories.
Why Do You Require Such A Long Commitment Period?
Forming new and healthy lifestyle habits takes time. Tracking macros is a lifestyle change, not a "drop 10 pounds in 10 days" type of fad diet.
Most people that come to me looking to lose weight aren't in a position to achieve that; their calories are too low and their metabloic rate has slowed. They need to start with a reverse diet: slowly increasing calories while minimizing fat gain, allowing their metabolism time to "catch up".
A proper reverse diet phase can last anywhere from 10 to 20 weeks (or more) depending on how low your starting calories are. After a reverse diet phase, you need to enter a maintenance phase. This maintenance phase usually lasts half of the time you spent in a reverse phase and tells your body there is no famine coming and no need to defend against weight loss. The lenth of the actual dieting phase differs based on the individuals goals but can be 16+ weeks. This entire process can be 7-9 months total.
"All great achievements require time" - Maya Angelou
Why Should I Track My Macros?
Tracking macros is a flexible form of dieting. It allows you to live your life, eat foods that you enjoy, and still see progress. There are lots of other dieting strategies, but I feel that learning to track your macros is the best strategy on average. Tracking teaches you about what is in your food choices and as you learn to track better over time, you'll be able to eat more intuitively because you will have an understadning for portion sizes and calorie content.
The biggest factor in your success will be adherence and sustainability. I find flexible dieting to be the most sustainable nutritional strategy for the majoirty of people because there are no food restrictions. You are only restricted by your own daily allotment of carbs, fats, and protein.
Flexible dieting does not deem foods "clean", "dirty", "good", or "bad". You can eat anything you'd like so long as it fits into your macros.
Do I Have To Eat Certain Foods At Certain Times?
There are no set foods that you must include and there are no set times that you must eat. If eating as soon as you wake up works for you, then great. If eating breakfast at 11:45am works for you, great. There are days where I don't get my dinner until 9:30pm. You can enjoy 8 small meals throughout the day or 2 larger meals; again, its whatever works for you!
What Are The Different Dieting Phases All About?
There are three dieting phases: cutting phase, reverse diet phase, and maintenance phase.
Cutting phase: during a cutting phase, a caloric defecit is created in order to lose weight. Depending on your weight loss goals, approximately 300-500 calories will need to be removed from your daily caloric intake. Eventually you will see a plateau in your weight loss because your metabolism will adapt to this decreased caloric intake. When this happens, your calories are then further reduced in order to see more weight loss. Every time a plateau occurs, carbs and fats are reduced by 5% each which usually equates to 50-100 calories. A dieting phase ends when you have reached your goal, or you can no longer adhere to/sustain the decreased caloric intake.
Reverse diet phase: a reverse diet is the process of slowly adding calories back into the diet while minimizing fat gain. A reverse diet is used after a cutting phase in order to keep your newly attained body composition while increasing your metabolic rate and allowing you to consume more calories. A reverse diet phase is also used if you are currently consuming too few calories to start a cutting phase. A reverse diet ends when you are happy with your caloric intake or when your caloreis are high enough to start a cutting phase.
Maintenance phase: a maintenance phase is the period of the diet where your current caloric intake will maintain your current weight; you are not in a caloric surplus gaining weight and you are not in a caloric defecit losing weight. A maintenance phase is used after a reverse diet phase and before a cutting phase. Usually a maintenance phase lasts half the time of the reverse diet phase. Dieting, and especially yo-yo dieting, can wreak havoc on your body and your metabolism. A maintenance phase tells your body there is no famine coming and no need to defend against weight loss. The ultimate goal is to enter a maintenance phase indefinitely where a high amount of daily calories maintains your ideal weight.
Will I Have To Weigh Everything I Eat?
When you are starting the journey of tracking your macros, you will need to weigh your food. The top pictures shows what you might think a serving size of cereal looks like and the bottom picture shows what the actual serving size looks like.
As time goes on and you become more practiced, you will be able to eyeball foods and their serving sizes. This will make tracking when you are eating at a restaurant or buffet very easy.
130g = 547 caloires
30g = 120 calories
How Does Tracking Macros Compare To Other Diets?
There are many diets to choose from: Ketogenic, Intermittent Fasting, High-Carb/Low-Fat, Atkins, Low-Carb/High-Fat, Whole30, Juicing, Paleo, and the list goes on. All of these diets can produce weight loss results if they create a caloric deficit. One is not superior to the other. Numerous studies show that when protein and total calories are equated, weight loss from whichever diet you choose is the same.
It all comes down to energy balance: calories in vs calories out. If calories in exceeds calories out, you are in a positive energy balance and will gain weight. If calories out exceeds calories in, you are in a negative energy balance and will lose weight.
You often hear of people who started keto or intermittent fasting (or whatever diet) and were seeing great results but after a while, they stopped losing weight. Weight loss will stall/plateau at some point during your diet as your metabolism adapts. If you do not track your intake, you will not know if you are creating a caloric deficit or not.
Tracking macros focuses on creating healthy and sustainable food choices to create a balanced lifestyle.
Everyone's goals are different; being able to walk up a flight of stairs without getting winded, lift heavier weights in the gym, being able to play with your children, being able to see your abs, lose weight, etc. Regardless of your goals, tracking your macros will help you improve your markers of health such as blood pressure, blood lipids etc.
Tracking macros works because it is flexible, can be tailored to your food preferences, and helps keep you accountable. I find it to be the most sustainable, and therefore adherent, diet which results in success.
How Will I know If Tracking Macros Is Right For Me?
The number one key to a sucessful diet is adherence and sustainability. If you cannot stick to your diet, you will not be successful. If you choose to follow the Keto diet but you love pasta and bread, you likely won't stick to your diet long-term.
The best way to know if tracking your macros is right for you is to try it out! Download the free app My Fitness Pal and start tracking.
Will I Have To Avoid Restaurants And Family Functions?
Absolutely not! Because tracking your macros is a form of flexible dieting, going out to restaurants with friends and family can easily be done. A lot of restaurants now have their menus online along with the nutritional information of the different options. This can help you plan ahead so that you can make sure your evening meal fits into your daily macros. Want to have a glass of wine or a beer with your friends and family? That can also be done so long as you plan ahead and work it into your daily allotment of carbs and or fats.