Are you following a consistent workout routine, but not sure about how to manage your nutrition? At Fitbliss, we teach and empower our clients to follow an adaptable approach to nutrition called “flexible dieting” (commonly known as IIFYM or “If It Fits Your Macros”).
The basic premise is that you can adapt your “diet” to your lifestyle, preferences, and schedule. You are able to eat any foods that you like as long as you are hitting your calorie, protein, and micronutrient (vitamin) goals.
Basically, you manage your diet the same way you would your finances. You are given a calorie “budget” each day, for example, 2000 calories a day. Within that budget, you have certain necessities you HAVE to hit (like your rent) which are protein, fiber, and vitamins. With your leftover calories, you can spend them on carbs and fat however you please – including date nights out or doughnuts in moderation!
To become a flexible dieter, you will need to download a food tracking app. The app that we recommend to our clients is MyFitnessPal. You can totally get away with using the free version! Once you’ve set up your account, you’re going to want to PAY ATTENTION. We want you to completely disregard the macronutrients that MFP will set for you. We wrote a blog post all about why you can’t trust MFP to set your fat loss calories (which you can read HERE) but long story short, you’re going to want to personalize your nutrition goals on your own! Keep reading to find out how!
OPTION 1: TRACK IN MYFITNESSPAL
Accurately track a “normal” week of eating for yourself in a food tracking app like MyFitnessPal.
Be sure to track drinks, sauces, bites…everything! For the best results, weigh the food you eat at home or anything that isn’t prepackaged. If you’re going to be eating out, choose chain restaurants that have their menu items listed in MyFitnessPal or make your best, most accurate guesstimate if nutrition information isn’t available. At the end of one full week, check your weekly calorie average by going to the nutrition section, selecting the calories tab, and changing to “weekly view.”
OPTION 2: USE A FORMULA
If you’d rather not track for a week, use the following formula to determine your starting intake for maintenance:
Take your body weight (in pounds) and multiply it by between 12-15.
12 = Not Very Active (Desk Job, 0-2 workouts per week)
13 = Moderately Active (3-4 workouts per week)
14 = Active (You have an active job or lifestyle and get 4-6 workouts per week)
15 = Extremely Active (You have a physically demanding job, active lifestyle and you regularly get 4-6 workouts per week)
Your equation would look like this:
Let’s say you’re a 140 lb moderately active female. You’d take your weight (140lbs) and multiply that by your activity level (13). 140lbs x 13 = 1,820 Calories.
Your starting calories would be around 1,820.
If the equation gave you less than 1600 calories per day…
If you followed this equation above and got 1600 calories per day or less, we recommend you simply set daily calories at 1650 minimum your first 10-14 days. If you lose inches off your waistline and/or weight on the scale, there is no need to drop your calories lower than this at this time.
If you don’t drop inches off your waistline or weight on the scale stays the same after the first 10-14 days, try dropping the calories by 250 calories total and/or adding in 20-30 minutes of cardio 3-5x per week.
NEXT IT’S TIME TO INTERPRET YOUR DATA!
After tracking for 10-14 days if you LOSE weight, you will know that you are in an area for fat loss. If your weight stays the same, that would be your maintenance (in this zone you can slowly add muscle and lose fat at the same time). If you gain weight (not just normal fluctuations) that would mean that you are in a good spot for muscle gain! A good rule of thumb is about .5 pounds of weight gain per week on average in this spot.
If you need to troubleshoot your numbers:
For maintenance/muscle gain: Take weekly waist measurements and bodyweight to gauge if your body can handle more calories. If your waist measurements stay the same, add 50 calories per week.
For fat loss: Subtract 250 calories from that number and use that as your calorie goal.
At Fitbliss, we offer personalized weekly nutrition coaching that will not only provide you with macro & calorie goals but will assist you in making changes to these numbers as needed, and will help you to reach your goals with the support of one of our expert coaches at every step!
Click here to set up a free consult!