Recently, I have been reading more than you care to understand about nutrition. I know that I kind of do that anyway, I love food and how it works in our bodies. But I have recently switched my focus to macronutrient nutrition in the past couple of months and I am completely captivated.
As much as I’ve been reading and learning about macro and micro nutrition, I’ve also been talking to a lot women. I’ve been asking them how much they eat, how much they workout, what their protein looks like, and the same for carbs and fats.
You know what I’m finding out?
Most women are under-eating.
Food is the enemy of the woman, right? Too much of this, too much of that…it all leads to the hips, thighs, and the stomach. And many women are just plain terrified of food.
Foods are labeled good, bad, healthy, high carb, low carb, low-fat, heart-healthy, or just plain terrible. Those are the ones we crave and we refuse until we give in and sometimes binge. Food makes us feel guilty if we splurge, great if we control our urges, and phenomenal if we drop a few pounds.
Most women have never figured out exactly how many calories they need to eat every day, much less have been told how many grams of protein her individual body needs, plus the calories from carbohydrates and fats that are equally important. We’re all different. There’s no article out there on Google that tells every woman specifically what HER body needs to do to lose weight. So we try low carb diets, high protein diets, Paleo diets, etc., all in search of that Holy Grail and maybe a six pack stomach.
But what happens when a person diets for too long?
I talk to two types of women. The ones who eat for athletic performance and the ones who eat to lose weight. And let me tell you one thing: every single woman wants to look good no matter what the bigger picture may be. Every single woman also likes chocolate, wine, or has a similar vice that she does not want to give up.
Where food goes wrong.
Most women who make the decision to lose weight and start dieting ASAP, all make the same mistake. They slash calories, deprive themselves of the foods they enjoy, and they lose weight while low on energy, missing out on parties, and eventually fail or plateau. What next? They may start exercising and keep the same caloric intake, they might start slashing calories more, they may do both, or they may just give up. And most of these women are extremely protein deficient, are eating too low carb or too low fat, and the end result is typically weight gain, depression, and the sense of failure.
I mean, that’s kind of my story before strongfigure. Before I had actual training goals, I was the exerciser who ate “healthy.” I wanted to lose the weight I gained in college so I ate low carb, Paleo, whole foods, avoided sugar, sometimes tracked my calories, sometimes I didn’t. I developed horrible relationships with food–the “healthier” I ate, the more I craved pizza, ice cream, and chocolate.
I’m very close to publishing a large document that teaches women, athletes, and all types of people how to eat for his or her goals, but I do want to say that there’s a big problem out there right now with food shaming, and with women not eating enough food. I know, because as I’ve started learning how much food women need to be eating, and the more I talk with these same women, the more I’m finding how low their caloric intake is.
And that’s screwing them up–just like it has screwed me up.
I’ve been stuck at the same weight for a few years now. It’s not a bad weight but I know that for my size, I should be able to drop 5-10 pounds. And I’m not a scale junkie, and this is not one of those posts where comments should render below as “don’t look at the scale, muscle counts…” etc. I am looking to compete and I know where my weight needs to “hover” for an athletic chick of my size and shape.
So why can’t I drop a few pounds?
Like too many women, I spent so long under-eating calories (carbs especially) and then binging on my favorite cheat meals that my metabolism was just, pardon my language, fucked up. The combination of too much exercise and not enough calories resulted in poor metabolic function. But through better and proper nutrition, I have been able to reverse most of the metabolic damage that I caused. Moreover, if I knew then what I know now, my metabolic damage would have been much easier to fix in a shorter period of time.
So now, one of my quests is continuing to fix my own metabolism and helping other women do the same. Ladies, listen to me, stop slashing calories and eat what your body needs. And if you have no idea what that should be, just contact me so I can help you.
I just finished reading Krissy Mae Cagney’s “Flexible Dieting 2.0: Flexible Nutrition for the Modern Athlete,” Dr. Israetel’s “The Renaissance Diet,” and I’ve signed up for Cagney’s nutrition seminar, as well as conducted several interviews with female athletes. I’m drinking in and soaking up the nutrition guidance. (You should check these books out too if you’re a nutrition nerd like me.) I’m astounded at some of the things that I’m learning and I’m beyond thrilled to think I may be able to help a lot of women eat more, live happier lives, and still–LOOK GOOD.
What’s one more thing that can help you look good? A few good workouts.
Here are your Strong Figure Conditioning Workouts for the week. Enjoy!
Workout 1: For Time
- 4 rounds of 200 meter sprints followed by 30 squats, then
- 4 rounds of 200 meter sprints followed by 20 push-ups
Workout 2: Tabatas!
Four rounds of each exercise, 20 seconds of work followed by a 10 second rest. Each exercise will last 4 minutes:
- Sit-ups (or planks)
- Flutter Kicks
Workout 3: 4 Rounds for time
- 400 meter run
- 30 kettlebell swings
- 20 front rack lunges (use two weights if possible)
- 10 V-ups
If you don’t have access to equipment, substitute squats and push-ups for the swings and lunges.
We want your responses! Do you think you’ve been eating too low calorie for too long? Are you having a hard time losing fat and making progress in the gym even though you’ve been working hard and eating well? Let us hear your frustrations in the comments below.
In case you missed my popular, “Women: You’ll Get Bigger Before You Get Smaller” article, check it out! It’s “trending” right now and there is a LOT of great info in the “Comments” section of it. Check it out!
Make sure you don’t miss my upcoming feature that outlines all you need to know about flexible dieting/nutrition, and how to eat according to your own activity levels and performance. All you need to do is subscribe here!