I had a couple of sloppy days of eating at the start of the week. To relate it to the willpower discussion I had in the last post, I was having to make a lot of big decisions about work, and stress was a major factor, so my willpower battery was drained, and it hurt my nutrition plan. It happens. It’s something that you cannot beat yourself up about either, because you have to realistically assume that during a long term plan to change an aspect of your life, you will have little lapses. But it is fine provided that you can recover. There is no point in saying “well I slipped up, it’s over now, I may as well stop.” No. Take a more positive outlook. “Well I slipped up, but it’s OK, it’s part of the transition to achieving my goals. How can I get back on track?” And it can be done by looking back on your food diary, or your food plan, and programming what you eat to balance things out.
You program a gym program long term to make improvements, so why can’t you program your nutrition program?
And that is something I want to touch on today, but I’ll give my results for the week up front. Despite the sloppy start to the week, and the stressful time I had along the way, I am now down to 82.4kg, so another 0.5kg this week. I am happy with that, not just because it is still weight loss, but because I now notice areas of my body where there is noticeably less fat deposited, namely my chest/ribs, my thighs, and my arms. Love handles are still there, but they feel softer and that is a great sign.
Alright, on to the good stuff. Attached to this post (below this paragraph) is the excel file I use as a food diary. On the first sheet, you enter your details in the blue shaded boxes as appropriate. I then use the low range of my BMR, multiplied by my activity factor to estimate my “break even” or maintenance calorie value. Remember that activity factor is important and needs to be relevant for you. To get a full list of activity factors see the previous post in this series.
The second sheet is a very good example (humble, I know) of a food diary. I have recorded the time I eat ANYTHING, what it was I ate, how much I had (usually by looking at the food label and sticking to the serving size), and noting the calories most importantly. I spoke about calories (and how to convert from kJ) previously. What I haven’t mentioned is macronutrients: Protein, Carbohydrates, and Fat. I want to keep this simple. So let us say that Protein is important for recovery and staying full. Carbohydrates are your primary energy source, and they sate your sweet tooth. Fats are essential, but as the most energy dense macronutrient, they can be minimised. In terms of calorie value per macronutrient:
- 1g Protein = 4 calories
- 1g Carbohydrates = 4 calories
- 1g Fat = 9 calories
- (1g Alcohol = 7 calories)
Why is this important? For a starter it is not the absolute key. But as you get more into tracking your food intake, it is good to have balance. I aim for 25% protein, 45% carbs, 30% fat (total calories from each, not grams of each). So that is an addition to this spreadsheet, rather than a necessity, particularly if you are new to this, or you don’t want to spend a little extra time on it.
The example page gives a snapshot of my own week over Christmas (actually from 2014-15). As you can see there are plenty of snacks, and my family Christmas Eve is a huge sloppy day for eating. But even with that in there, I still lost weight over that week. You can see this in the weekly total box at the bottom. This tracks the total calories for the week, your average daily calorie deficit (how many calories your consumed below your adjusted BMR), and how that ROUGHLY predicts your weight loss for that week (may be more, may be less. This isn’t a precision tool). Remember, even if you slip up you can get back on track if you know what to do.
Whether you are trying to lose weight, or just want to give it a shot and see how your week measures up with this tool, please download it, enter your details, and give it a go. Let me know how it goes for you too!
If you want to learn more, are interested in exercise that is right for you, or are looking for a solution to an injury or chronic disease management, please contact Body Link Health Clinic on 0400 225 116, or send me an email: firstname.lastname@example.org