I’ve been following a lean eating guide, which Janelle Pica put together for us at the studio. The short story is that I really wasn’t eating nearly enough. I naturally keep a pretty tight eating window, about 11am-8pm, or a 8:16 eating to fasting ratio for all of your intermittent fasters. Before, I was really only eating one large meal and one smaller one, likely only to get about 1300-1700 Calories in during the day. This plan changed all of that. I’m now set to target about 3000-3300 Calories a day, on the days I’m lifting, and doing about 30% less on non-active days.
So, I thought, why not? Let’s try this as an experiment. I gave it a go for 3 weeks, and then I went on a trip for the final week and didn’t worry about tracking macros or counting calories at all. What happened was I took about a week to get used to shoving all of that food down my gullet. But then after that, I got into the swing of things. I say “all of that food,” because anyone trying to eat 3000 Calories of real food, cooked from real ingredients, will tell you how much food that really is. Sure, I could have knocked out 3000 Calories at McDonald’s without a problem, but what’s the point in working so hard if I’m just going to sabotage myself?
This plan is designed to simultaneously cut fat and build muscle, which is a delicate balance. By the time I was in my second week, I was humming along; third week, even better. So at the middle of the fourth week, I went on a trip to Lexington, KY. While I was there, I didn’t worry about getting in all the Calories, or keeping track of my macros. I just ate when Meg ate.
I didn’t lift at all, but did some biking and a reasonable amount of walking. One day, I did work on a farm and helped weed and do small stuff there. The fat was just melting off my body. My shorts would not stay up. I felt like my body was eating itself. It was like my metabolism kicked into its primal instinct mode, and flipped the switch from feast to famine.
Because I wasn’t tracking anything, I can’t be certain, but I estimate that I was hitting my basal metabolic caloric needs each day. I was eating about 2 meals a day, which was my norm before this experiment, and I was having a cocktail or two per day.
Once I got home, I stepped on the scale. I knew that I had lost some weight, just by how my clothes felt, and how I felt springy and lean. But honestly, I thought maybe it was just 3-4lbs, as I don’t lose weight very quickly at all. I was only gone for 5 days, but I ended up losing 10lbs.
This lean eating thing is no joke. I plan to keep doing this all the way through training for my SFG level 1.
But I did have one concern about eating this much. I’m not worried about too much fat, as I eat all grassfed meat and dairy. And I wasn’t worried about too much sugar, as I rarely eat anything that isn’t meat or veg (‘cept ice cream, gotta eat the ice cream). But I was worried about small things like hitting the mark for micronutrients, and if worrying if I’m getting too much sodium on a daily basis.
Typically, I use the LoseIt! app to track macros and caloric levels, but they have a pretty expensive premium upgrade. After looking around and researching other apps, I settled on a $3 app called My Macros+. Since tracking on this app, I’m able to input different goals (e.g. maintenance and inactive days), and I can see some micronutrient data. I am consistently falling below the daily recommended max of 1500mg of sodium, even eating about 3300 Calories.
Which leads me to this: if everyone had the time and luxury of cooking every meal at home, and not eating out of packages, we’d never have to worry (or worry a whole lot less) about killing ourselves via diet. Ideally: work less/cook more = live long and prosper.
And here is a photo of my kitten, Ellsworth, wanting to lift the things: