Throughout my blog, I will be posting the psychology behind my journey and getting plenty detailed on how I was able to get to this point (and beyond). There had to be a complete overhaul in my thinking process, and I had to understand that my body is different. I had to stop comparing myself to what other people were doing and what they ate. I also had to accept that what I thought was fun and relaxing was actually a temporary insulin spike that made me feel worse when I came down off my high.
I first used the P90X nutrition guide as a plan (I am doing the P90X workouts, 2nd round day 140), but 60 days into the program (this was my 5th attempt) I started getting weak and my hunger was starting to feel like my old crash diets. Normally, I would have used this as an excuse to crush a massive cheat meal because my body needed it, right? But, I went a different rout, and decided to customize a meal plan that worked only for me, and get away from using more general guidelines (i.e Resting Metabolic Rate + Daily Activity Burn + 600).
I searched the internet, and came across three key websites that helped me determine what I should be eating with my workouts. The first thing I realized was that I wasn’t eating enough calories, even though in the early phases, the P90X guide (remembering it is just a guide, and it’s been very helpful) recommended that I start out at 2400 calories /day. Once I realized what my caloric intake should be, I found that I really had to pay attention to my macronutrients (macros) to start getting closer to my fitness goals. Macros are your daily protein/carb/fat intake, and there are excellent educational posts on how to calculate your needs on an excel spreadsheet.
I then came across a website that did all the calculations for you, and came pretty close to what I had calculated on a spreadsheet based on the information provided in the links above. So, you can save yourself some time and go here:
I always underestimate my workout intensity, so as my activity level, I selected 3-5 hours/week of moderate exercise….knowing that I am conservative on my caloric needs. This gave me assurance that I am not overestimating, and that the ultimate guide was to listen to my body. If I am feeling weak and having trouble in my workouts, then I would increase my caloric intake. So, when I started at 2400 calories/day, and was feeling sluggish after 60 days, I recalculated with my new weight, and upped my caloric intake to 2600 calories/day. I also went from the goal "lose weight-10% calorie reduction" to "gain muscle and lose weight". Now, I am switching things up even more…..resistance days, 2800 calories, cardio 2400 calories. I am not entirely at my fitness goals, that is why I am still running a deficit on my cardio days. I’m also sticking to the following macros:
Many of my meal plans are followed from this publication http://www.cleaneatingmag.com/ and prepared by my wonderful wife (she is the best cook and my #1 reason for being this successful to date).
I also monitor everything that goes in my body through www.fatsecret.com. It’s free, and there is a really slick app that you can load on your phone to track meals and scan barcodes.
Now, this is the 30,000 foot view, I will dig deeper, and let you know how I killed cravings by staying away from what are considered “bad carbs”. Alcohol, birthday cakes, cookies, pizza hut….all the fun crap that I used to know. But, I wouldn’t change the way I feel for any binge weekend again. Additionally, there are many people out there who can get away with eating the bad carbs, I can’t. That is why I stopped comparing myself to other people. I know my body better than anyone else, and if you listen to it….amazing things can happen. More to come……