As we move through the 6-week challenge there are a few themes that seem to be reoccurring in questions and concerns that I have been receiving from people. I will try to address some of these questions in the coming days and weeks.
One of the things I have been seeing a lot of, in many of your spreadsheets, is people who are under eating!
Now, this doesn’t apply to everyone, and not all of you are tracking macros, nor is that part of this challenge. The only requirement is that you track your food intake to gain a general understanding of what you are eating. I hope this has been helpful for some of you.
I also realize that for many (if not all) of you, one of your goals for this challenge is to lose weight, or lean out. I think this is a totally valid goal to have and we don’t have to pretend that we don’t want to look a certain way. Most of us started Crossfit with a goal of becoming more fit, healthy and of course to look good. Or maybe you just accidentally stumbled in the door having no clue what Crossfit even was and somehow decided that you that you like daily punishment 😉
With that being said, I am seeing a lot of you who are just plain not eating enough. Whether, you are eating too few calories on purpose or by accident (forgetfulness), the goal of this challenge is to create sustainable long-term habits. Eating a large caloric deficit is not sustainable…our bodies prefer and thrive on homeostasis.
TRUE, you must eat a caloric deficit to lose weight. However, this idea that you must eat 1200 calories a day to lose weight is absurd. As we age, as hormones change, our need for calories change, and yes, we will unfortunately get to eat less (boooo). But, when we eat a caloric deficit greater than 500 calories/day for a long period of time, our bodies will adapt. I could go into the science, but basically the combination of excessive caloric deficits and large amounts of activity can cause problems. Whether it’s simply cortisol related, water retention, a drop in metabolic rate due to leptin resistance or something else, something happens. From a more practical standpoint, for a lot of people, the combination simply doesn’t work and you will hit the ol’ plateau where nothing will change despite under-eating and over-training.
Why does this work for some people? Some people are just lucky enough to have extremely resilient metabolisms. But I ask you…what is the rush to lose weight? What are the benefits of eating too few calories? A more balanced and sustainable approach to weight loss will be more beneficial in the long run! This is life, it’s a long-term game, be patient because with consistency comes change.
So, when trying to hit your macros (if you care), I would say, try to always remain +/- five to 10 grams per macro within your target range.
Oh…but here is the caveat. If you are estimating your food intake willy nilly, this will change things.
If you write down in your food log that you ate 1 tbsp of peanut butter, when in fact it was more like 3.5, then you are only lying to yourself folks. Or, if you ate half your kids leftover lunch but didn’t track it, IT STILL COUNTS. That handful of nuts you had while you were prepping your salad..that counts too.
So, I caution you to eat, eat well, eat enough to fuel your workouts and don’t chronically under-eat. However, if you are estimating, remember that, and try to be mindful.
All that being said, for the most part, your spreadsheets look great and I am extremely impressed by how diligent everyone taking part in this challenge has been. We are half-way there, you’ve got this!