All right, public service announcement time. I am begging you to please stop starving yourselves. I hit my screen weight — which, if you’re in the maintenance world, you know that is the highest end of where you want to be — on April 22; it was 160.6. I don’t want to go over 160, so I decided I was going to reel in my eating, and I didn’t do anything crazy.
I looked at my average burn on my Fitbit, and it was between 2,200 and 2,400 calories — sometimes a little bit higher, but usually within those two numbers. I took a 500-calorie deficit, which puts me near 1,800 or 1,900 calories a day. I stayed in that vicinity, and I went from 160.6 down to 158.8, to 157.76, to 156.4.
The reason I want to share this with you is because I ate almost 3,000 calories on Mother’s Day. I really didn’t think I was going to lose weight that week. This is what’s important: You don’t have to do extremes. I have several of my clients right now adding calories back in because they had gone so extreme for so long, now they can’t lose weight. We actually have to start to increase their calories, because there’s nowhere else for them to go.
The other thing I really want to talk to you about is protein. I push almost every one of my female clients to eat more protein, and there’s a reason for that. Protein is not used by your body the same way carbohydrates and fat are. When you’re eating carbohydrates, there’s a certain amount of calories lost in the process of breaking it down, so you don’t actually get calorie for calorie what you would with a carbohydrate or fat.
I personally eat at least one gram of protein per pound of body weight. This makes a huge difference. For me, being about 158, I try to eat about 158 grams of protein. Now, if you are 200 or 300 pounds, and you’ve got a lot of weight to lose, that’s an extreme amount of protein to be eating. In that case, even just shooting for what you want your goal weight to be — say you know you want to get to 150 —would even be a better marker. I guarantee you, if you pay attention to your tracking, most of you are probably way under on your protein, especially if you’re female.
I’m coming to you because I care. I really, really, really care, and I have so many people coming to me, saying their moms are starving themselves. They’ve been on repeat yo-yo diets. They don’t understand why they’re eating so little and not losing weight. It’s because they have slowed down their metabolism, and it has adapted.
To actually fix the problem, they need to start eating more, so that way they can go ahead and later take a cut and actually get where they want to be. It’s much better to lose more than a pound per week, like I’ve been doing, on a diet of 1,800 calories than it would be if I had to eat 1,200 calories. But I couldn’t do that if my metabolism had been slowed down because I’d starved myself prior to this. I had to be eating close to my maintenance calories and taking good care of my metabolism.
Make sure you have an idea of what your daily burn is. If you don’t have a Fitbit or some kind of a device, there are tons of good calculators out there. One, Fat 2 Fit Ratio, has a really good TDEE calculator. The Scooby Workshop has another good one. It will give you an idea of where you should be. Then, look at what you’ve been doing and see what the difference is.
If you’re burning 2,500 calories a day doing your activities, depending on your body weight and height, in theory you should be able to eat around 2,000 calories and lose a pound a week. If you can’t, then this might be a good opportunity for you to start to increase your calorie consumption, so that later you can take that cut. It’s so much more rewarding to eat more and lose weight.
Look at your protein. Make sure you’re getting enough. Your body needs it.