There are too many 5 day juice cleanses, 2 day squash diets, 8 day kale challenges, and other strange and temporary methods of weight loss. Unfortunately, the upside of these challenges are a few pounds of weight loss from extreme caloric restriction. Then what? You go about your same food habits you had before and buy a more expensive juicer.
So what CAN you do in a week that will help equip you with the tools to manage your diet more efficiently? You can…TRACK YOUR MACROS. I know, I know, you’ve already heard me talk exhaustingly over this topic, but now I’m literally going to spoon feed you into doing this for a week. Before we get started, though, let me give you 3 reasons this challenge is better than the juice cleanse you went through about a week ago, week ago.
- You will finally have an appreciation of the caloric impact of some of the most frequent foods you eat. I was having a really hard time losing weight a few years ago even though I thought I was eating less. After tracking, I realized the daily caramel macchiato, bagel with cream cheese, and medium bubble tea were adding more calories than I thought.
- You will stop feeling guilty about eating certain foods that make you feel like you were committing a crime. Remember, we’re not restricting or stopping foods with this plan, we are learning how to manage them.
- This is MUCH easier than drinking bloody broccoli juice for 7 days. When I say bloody, I’m obviously using English slang. Why am I using English slang? Great question. If I ever say bloody with an English accent in person, just hit me.
OKAYY. Here it is, 7 steps to finally understand FOOD and help you with weight loss!
- Download MyFitnessPal on your smart phone. Put the app on your home page, the bottom app-tray bar, where ever it’s easiest to access. If you leave the app on your 4th page of apps, you probably won’t use it.
- Click here to calculate your macros. Answer truthfully and when in doubt, underestimate your answer when it comes to activity level. For the formula, leave the “total body weight formula option”.
- If you scroll down, on step 2, it will display your total daily calories based on your goal. So if you want fat loss, pick the “suggested option” and it will show you your total calories.
- Scroll down to step 4 and it will individually show you each macronutrient goal for the day. Go plug these numbers in your MyFitnessPal app by going to ‘More–>Goals
–>Calorie & macronutrient goals’. Put in your total calories and adjust the percentages of the macronutrients to have the grams equivalent to your results.
- Now that you have your goals set, you are ready to track. You can either search foods by name or scan the barcode of the product. Pay attention to the option for serving size and number of servings when tracking. Since you probably don’t have a scale at home to weigh foods, just google it. For example, if you’re eating a chicken breast, google “how many ounces is a chicken breast”. Not asking you to cross mountains over here.
- Remember, just as important as the total daily calories are the individual macronutrients (protein, fat, carbs). If you realize your carbs are too high and protein too low, maybe substitute the giant subway sandwich for a protein shake?
- If you go a little over or a lot over your mark, don’t give up! Remember, this challenge is for you to learn about your food intake and make your lifestyle changes later.
After the 7 days, have some perspective on the outcome of your tracking. No, you won’t look super skinny after the 7 days, it wouldn’t be healthy if you did. But now you can appreciate the quantity and quality of the nutrition you take in. Maybe now you can discover that the daily food item(s) you have every single day, has been pushing your calories too high and that’s why you can’t lose weight. Maybe you realized that your breakfast and dinner are too many calories? Now you have a systematic approach of adjusting it. New to the gym and trying to gain muscle? Now you can finally track your protein intake and maximize your gains. This challenge was for 7 days, but I challenge you to do it even longer…I’m very confident your health will not regret the decision. Using English slang, however, that’s regrettable.