For the past six weeks I have been working with Emily Field, a registered dietitian, on my nutrition and diet. We have set a goal for me to gain 10 pounds over three months without drastically changing my body composition, which means maintaining a body fat percentage below 10%.
Each week, Emily prescribes my daily macros and caloric intake. She has provided a recommended list of foods but there is flexibility in what I can eat and drink. I can have a burger or a glass of red wine if it fits my macros. Obviously one can’t go hog wild or it will be difficult to consume the needed amount of protein and carbohydrates if I choose foods that are high in fat. Emily’s methodology is for me to gain weight in a slow and measured way so that my body composition doesn’t go out of whack (a.k.a not suddenly putting on a beer belly). Here is a look at the prescribed macros over the past six weeks:
While 1,740 calories per day in the beginning seems low, Emily correctly diagnosed that I was under eating and not even consuming that many calories despite going to CrossFit classes four times per week.
The increase in carbs and calories in the first few weeks kicked my metabolism into high gear. As you can see on the chart below, despite eating more I actually lost weight. In response, Emily said, “You’re earning ‘unicorn status’. This refers to the phenomenon that a few handful of people experience – increase in carbohydrates and overall calories WHILE dropping in weight and inches. This warrants another increase in macros. Eat up, hopefully this will slow things down a little and we can get your weight to stabilize.”
And so as you see the daily macros, you might be wondering what does that specifically look like? How much food am I eating? Here is a day ripped from my food diary earlier this week as I am not consuming 2,400 calories:
|White rice (1/2 dry cup)||6.0||0.0||70.0||304|
|Mozzarella (1/4 cup)||7.0||6.0||2.0||90|
|Carrots (1.5 oz)||0.5||0.0||4.0||18|
|Pork muffin (2)||33.6||38.0||8.4||510|
|Turkey burger (2)||44.0||20.0||0.0||356|
|Peppers & onions (1 cup)||1.0||0.0||7.0||32|
|Vanilla Ice Cream (6 oz)||2.0||10.0||24.0||194|
It’s a good amount of food. I workout at 5:15am in the morning and so by the time I am back home by 6:30am, I am ready for a big breakfast. I try to bring lunch for work and I find it easiest to bring a lot of grab and go items – banana, carrots, cheese, etc. I tend to eat just three times per day rather than small meals throughout. I get home from work by 6:30pm / 7:00pm and so dinner is followed pretty quickly by dessert.
Over the past six weeks, I have realized that when I get my carbs and fat from foods high in gluten and sugar (i.e. bread, cookies, etc.) that I don’t feel as satiated later and I can’t eat as much. For example, a #10 Hunter’s Club from Jimmy John’s with no mayo is 67 grams of carbs. It is a protein heavy sandwich but that takes up a 1/3 of my daily allowance of carbs. Or even more extreme, the chicken salad sandwich from Panera Bread is 9o grams of carbs. I’m trying to be more diligent about cutting back on these types of food and making sure I just meal prep for success.
I weigh myself ever Monday morning as part of my tracking with Emily and hopefully the number on the scale keeps going up!