If someone would have told me 20 years ago that I needed to increase my caloric intake by 30% to lose body fat, I would have laughed while continuing to lace up my Mizuno running shoes preparing for my hour long run. Now 5 kids later, a little older and a little wiser, with decades of trial and error underneath my belt, eating more to weigh less has been a key factor in my fitness journey.
A common misconception among those that want to lose weight is that you need to drastically cut calories and increase cardio workouts. This problematic approach has resulted in many trying to lose weight to only damage their metabolism. I speak on this issue not only from reading other stories, but I have personally experienced this metabolic damage which resulted in a serious health issue called Adrenal Fatigue. After everything I have learned, when I log onto My Fitness Pal and I see I see others eating 1200 calories with high calorie burns, my instincts are to immediately say, “Stop! Don’t do what I did.” As a longtime “My fitness pal” member, I recall an honest pal, Becca, specifically sharing this very concern with me that I was exercising too much, and not eating enough calories. Initially, for many weeks, I held onto the fallacy that I would attain my dream body while continuing on this path of destruction.
It was not until “my plan” to reach my “goal weight” by my 38th birthday came to a halt when my body reached homeostasis. I had reached a plateau in my weight loss journey and I was no longer losing fat, or gaining muscle. I was starving, exhausted and my body was at a complete standstill. Exasperated and feeling defeated, I went back to the drawing board to research fat loss remembering all the while Becca’s encouragement to eat more. Becca introduced me to a website for calculating calories. After spending some time on this website, I was shocked at the advice given. Based on my height, weight and activity level, I needed to be consuming 30% more calories. This line of thinking was so shocking and it went against every principle “I thought” I knew about losing weight.
I even approached my husband with my concerns asking his advice. With the research I had been doing, along with the advice given by Becca and Kiki, it was evident a metabolic reset was necessary. In terror, just 3 weeks away from attempting to reach my birthday goal, I began reverse dieting adding 50-100 calories weekly to reach my Total Daily Energy Expenditure (TDEE). At this time I also implemented a plan to strategically count my macros. I pay close attention to the number of grams of proteins, carbs and fats I intake daily. From my research, the keys to cutting body fat are increasing calories while counting macros, reducing cardio, and increasing my weight lifting.
Well, my 38th birthday came and went. The scale never reached the number in my head, but my goal had changed during this time. I was determined to be fit and healthy versus being skinny. I continued on the metabolism reset with correct macros and increased calories while simultaneously reducing my cardio, and lifting heavy weights.
The number on the scale temporarily went up, but then my weight leveled out. One of the first physical changes I observed was my lack of hunger, increased energy level as well as the change in my body composition. My cellulite and fat began to diminish and I could see I was building muscle to form shape to my body. These major changes finally allowed me to feel more comfortable with my body.
Although, I agree with counting your macros daily food intake, I am not a fan of “If It Fits Your Macros” simply because many will eat pop tarts, snickers bars, and a bag of chips, if it fits their macros. Although, I do have a weekly cheat, I attempt to eat real whole foods. Food is fuel. As a general rule, I stay away from processed foods, which means making time for prepping meals. With a large family to take care of and working 30+ hours weekly planning meal prep time is just as important as planning my workouts.
I am a homeschooling mother of 5, and I hold a 30+ hour job outside of the home. I make time for heavy lifting 5 days a week along with meal planning. This is not a New Year’s Resolution. This is mine and my husband’s lifestyle. My continued love for fitness has propelled my desire to become a certified personal trainer to continue to learn about fitness while helping others achieve their fitness goals.
Don’t give up on your fitness goals. I believe that anyone who truly wants to be fit and healthy will make the time. There is no secret pill or supplement. Hard work and dedication will help you get to your desired level of fitness. I know the proposition of adding calories for weight loss seems improbable, but I am living proof that it works.
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Becca is a busy wife and homeschooling mother to five children ages 5 to 13. About three years ago, she embarked on a journey to health and fitness that resulted in the loss of approximately 100 pounds. Today, she is a competitive powerlifter and strongwoman who loves ice cream and deadlifts. As an ISSA certified personal trainer, she is passionate about helping women to get started on a lifestyle of strength and fitness.