I apologize in advance if this post is a little unorganized. I’ve got a lot on my mind and I just want to cover all the bases. I also want to preface this post with stating that I am not a nutritionist, dietitian, or anything along those lines. The thoughts expressed here are just my opinions; I have experienced and learned a lot about food, weightloss, weightgain, and more. I feel the need to share my personal experiences so similar mistakes aren’t made, and the successes can hopefully be spread onto others.
I’ve noticed a lot of posts around Instagram and online recently that caught my eye and concerned me. I’m not referring to anyone in particular, but it’s something very common that I’ve noticed. Some examples include chicken with a low carb tortilla, calling it “high carb”. A “cheat meal” is a quest bar or a low carb waffle recipe. My 220 calorie, 22g carb healthy poptart recipe is made as a “treat” for “high carb day.” A 120 mugcake is “too filling”. 1400 calories a day is “a lot.” People claiming to be recovering from an eating disorder and getting better, yet an entire meal is a smoothie made from 1/2 scoop protein powder, almond milk, and 2-3 cups of ice to bulk it up. People eating 200 calories of chicken for dinner and that’s it. Ladies at my gym eliminating carbs entirely because that’s what someone told them to do. People eating 800 calories a day because that’s all they think they need. People eating 2 cups of raw zucchini as an entire meal.
I understand that everyone is different, has different goals, etc, but there is realistically no reason anyone should be eating 1200 calories a day or less than 100g carbs to lose weight or especially to maintain. Less is not always more. You cannot sustain your body this way. Unless you are temporarily prepping for a competition, but that’s another subject… People need more food than this, even if you’re trying to lose some weight!
Story time. When I was losing weight but transitioning to maintenance, I had a hard time grasping this concept. I thought 1500 calories a day was such a huge leap to eat every day, from the 1300-1350 I was eating. I thought “surely I don’t deserve this much food. I don’t workout that hard… I don’t even have abs yet. I’m fine.” But I wasn’t. I wasn’t physically hungry, but my body was missing food. My hair was dry and falling out. I’ve spoken about this before, but I need to reiterate this. My body began to literally break down. I remember vividly walking to class one day, nearly puking and passing out simultaneously. It hurt to walk. I felt forever thirsty with a headache. So cold. My ankles were always sore (they go weak first when I’m not well fed or rested). It was bad. It took THIS much for me to accept that I needed more food. Another thing that helped was this site. http://scoobysworkshop.com/calorie-calculator/ You can’t argue with science. This told me I needed ~1350 calories TO LAY IN BED ALL DAY. THEN you factor in your activity levels! That makes it even higher. This was extremely eye opening to me. Once I increased my calories, I actually began to LOSE weight and look more physically defined. It was amazing and comforting that increasing calories shouldn’t be feared.
A lot of people are familiar with the phrase “calories in vs calories out” to lose weight. Yes, this is true. But to an extent… Yes you do want to limit the amount of calories you take in so that you can lose weight, but that doesn’t mean eliminate them ENTIRELY. There’s a give and take system. You need to be able to perform well and not hinder your daily functions.
I was listening to some ladies in the sauna at my gym. A lady was saying that she was put on a meal plan that totally eliminated carbs and lowered calories. But then she was saying how she had such a huge headache and she was tired all week during workouts. I don’t genereally like to harp in on conversations in the sauna, but I felt I needed to… I told her there’s no reason to eliminate carbs and decided to tell her how I had lost weight. I never once considered macros, carbs, blah blahhhh. I viewed things as just calories. Calories in vs calories out. She asked me 5-6 times “wait so you ate carbs?” and every time I told her yes… She seemed in disbelief. Carbs have gotten such a bad connotation, but they really are what fuels our bodies. They are metabolized to give us energy; it doesn’t take my biochemistry degree to know that. The reason they have a bad reputation is because of the foods like french fries, cake, cookies, burgers, and similar foods that are widely overeaten by the public. Processed carbs. But carb sources like brown rice, sweet potato, and oats should be, by all means, consumed without fear!
I also want to apologize if any of my posts help perpetuate the habits I am referring to. Yes, I do occassionally post macros. Yes, I do post low carb recipes. This is because I understand many people compete and must temporarily follow strict macros. I know many also follow the IIFYM approach to training. So having low carb options is ideal in certain circumstances. But by no means do I wish people eat low carb everything all the time. Wanna know a secret? I bet you 95% of the time I post a meal, especially if it’s low carb, I’ve eaten about 200 calories worth of squash and peanut butter while I make it. :D I eat about 2400-2600 calories a day and 300-350 g carbs. Posts to my site or Instagram can be deceiving since you only get a glimpse of my day. This holds true for anybody you see on Instagram. Never follow one person’s posts as “the way” or view them as completely true. It can be deceiving; you are not there with them every hour to see what they actually eat day in and day out. They could be binging behind Instagram, therefore making what they do post seem small. Or they could post a larger meal, but not actually finish it. You just never know. The main purpose of my recipes is to provide a healthy alternative of sugary treats as well as inspire new and creative meal ideas. This way people can maintain a healthy lifestyle without “falling off” from healthy eating. It should be a sustainable and realistic lifestyle. Realistic is not a 1300 calorie a day diet including working out 5x a week. Realistic is not a 60g carb diet. Realistic is not saying a carb-less, 100 mugcake is a “cheat.”
I think it is way too easy to get in a “fitness bubble” where you think everything is a lot more crucial than it really is. There is a point of TOO much influence, and you begin to think that everyone else is better, skinnier, more fit, eats healthier, etc. So you get more strict with your diet to the point of lacking proper nutrition and energy because you think that’s how everyone else does it… Like I said, everything can be deceiving. A good example for me was last week. I am currently training for a half marathon in April. I have not run longer than 2 miles in about 9-10 months. I went for my first run to gauge my starting point. I lifted for an hour first, then went for a run. I had a goal of 3-6 miles. I had to stop after 3.5 miles and felt disappointed. Then I was speaking with my coworkers (we’re running the race together) and they were shocked and amazed at my distance and pace because they’ve been training for a while and still run 2 miles in 25 minutes. I just stopped and realized… I’m in a fitness bubble. I’ve surrounded myself with other fit individuals and assume that they are the standard and I am not good enough. But that’s not the case.
Point is, don’t compare yourself to others because you just end up cutting yourself short. Treat your body right. Give it the energy it needs. It breaks my heart to see people, unknowingly, restricting themselves of the food they deserve. Ease up a bit. I’m not saying go crazy and eat a ton of candy, but I am saying that something like healthy french toast shouldn’t make you feel so guilty. It’s okay.
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