Intuitive / Self-regulated diet log
I'm going to go on a short cut to get rid of a little bit of fluff for 5-6 weeks or thereabouts this log will detail my strategy and progress.
My main stats are:
Lowbar SQ: ~160kg
DL: approx 200kg although I don't push myself due to form concerns. I'll likely switch to romanian deadlifts soon as my hip hinge movement.
Chin up is 94kg bodyweight plus 30kg for 5RM-6RM
38 years old male, 6 ft, 94kg in morning weigh in roughly fairly consistently.
My current body fat percentage is essentially unknown but if I had to guess probably in 15-19% zone. I'll input caliper readings to have a more objective number to look at but I'm fairly lean (compared to an average person) though and generally happy with my physique it's all good there.
I'm very well versed in tracking calories when dieting and most days I mentally track protein intake in my head regardless of what I'm doing.
I've decided to go a more free-form dieting style as I find tracking calories a BIT of a pain and it makes me obsess about food more than I would normally, or stress out about not eating enough if I've went too low (if I'm at 1400 calories before bed but not hungry I'd probably make another meal so my muscles don't fall off lol).
I've a good feel for eyeballing the calorie count of most things so I'd know if I was eating a dangerous food for a cutter and I have reasonable food control in my everyday life. I can let my bulks get sloppy, eat an odd candy bar too often and have portion control issues but otherwise I'm in a good place and can tighten these things up without much hassle.
I'm likely NOT going to count calories at all during this cut so I won't be posting meal plans or macro totals but I'll post workout info and my thoughts on the experience. I'll input the guidelines I'll be adopting for this period explicitly later today, but the most important will be to follow actual hunger signals. I've a few more guidelines apart from this but that's a start.
Day 1 in the bag.
I hit around 200g protein and I ate lean steak, veg, mushrooms, small low oil (used spray) Greek salad, low fat yogurt, chicken mayo filled sandwich with a small class of 1% milk with whey powder.
I'm not going to retroactively count as that would defeat the purpose but as my maintenance seems like it's somewhere in the 2700-3000 calorie range I'd say I was comfortably under given my prior knowledge of the calorie content of food and the fact there was nothing too awful in there.
I'm going to explicitly lay down the principles I'm going to use (stolen from a Jeff Nippard youtube diet cut update video).
1) Give myself unconditional permission to eat when hungry and what food is desired.
(e.g. if I want to eat cake I can eat cake if I really, really want. I adopt this approach anyway as I've followed the psychological aspects Lyle's Guide to Flexible Dieting for the last ten years or so and I've found truly allowing yourself the OPTION of food X has a way of totally crushing the craving cravings most of the time instantly).
2) Rely on internal hunger and satiety cues to determine how much to eat.
(E.g. decide food portion sizes and when to stop eating a meal based on how full or hungry i feel at the time respectively. Yesterday I split up my steak meal dinner in to two smaller two meals as I thought the smaller one would be sufficient).
3) Eat for physical rather than emotional or environmental reasons.
(e.g. wait until I feel hunger for more than a fleeting minute or two rather than boredom or because it's 1pm and it's my 'time' to eat).
In addition Jeff Nippard added a couple more.
4) Aim to consume at least 25g-40g protein per meal across 3+ meals.
5) Use average bodyweight weekly to gauge progress and calibrate changes in food intake.
(e.g. if I'm not losing weight after a couple of weeks then reexamine my habits and make behavioral changes or adopt another strategy).
None of these things are particularly new and Lyle's been talking about them forever it feels like (guide to flexible dieting is the bomb and is the book almost everyone should read but don't think they need to, you do!!!) but this is my first sustained attempt to diet using this approach. I feel i'm well-placed to succeed due to lots of experience of tracking in the past and general good food control. I'm enjoying it so far and find i'm spending a lot longer 'waiting' for hunger signals than I would normally but this may change daily.
Ok, it's been about three additional days since last post.
First day I went WAAAAYYYY over maintenance by getting a Chinese takeaway bought for me and a few ice creams sticks in a rare sort of 'f**k it' moment. My calories before that point were pretty low so it wasn't as bad as it could be.
If I had to guess I'd say I was realistically 2000 calories over for the day. I find it super hard to calculate thick highly processed Chinese takeaway curry. If it's only 'a LOT' of fat then my guess above is accurate but if it's a cup of oil in it then god knows what it is. It didn't have the oily sheen of really insanely oily foods though. The sauce is powder based.
Second day was fairly good.
I had lots of lean BBQ style foods and a few drinks plus a few bits and pieces. It wasn't low nor high.
Third day. Low appetite and was dealing with the 'ahem' aftereffects of undercooked BBQ food so this day was pretty low and I was surely in a deficit.
Low calorie day in a medium to small deficit I wager. Solid gym session.
Start of day 5.
Felt unusually hungry for breakfast so had small bowl of cereal. I've most of my meals arranged for today so I can't be too off.
Honestly, I find from previous dieting experience just eating a few moderate sized meals of most foods (aside from the obviously very high calorie ones), minimizing the carbs a little, and stopping my snacking to a few bits of fruit and lower liquid calories the weight falls off me without much effort.
I'm so glad my mental game is relatively good (thanks to Lyle) that this awful high calorie day I feel like 'meh no big deal'. Tomorrow is always another day. One day won't make or break anything.
I AM GOING BACK TO MACRO COUNTING. Farewell intuitive eating :-)
Ok. I've had another 3/4 days since last update. It's been okay since the last check in apart from yesterday (the office bought loads of pizza).
I've decided that I am NOT going to adopt the intuitive eating strategy going forward (I'm going to go back to counting protein AND total daily calories) which is my usual dietary approach.
My reasons for stopping are:
1) The process of losing weight is so slow even if you are doing everything right, intuitive eating can make you doubt yourself.
If I've counted my calories I'll KNOW that I'm losing weight even if my weight stalls for a week or two. (eg. that 800 calorie per day deficit WILL eventually show up). Without that I can't 'feel' progress.
2) I didn't realise this but I like small WINS.
If I've hit my marco and calorie target for the day I get a sense of accomplishment out of it even though I know I'll 'miss' lots of days too. Intuitive eating you do really have wins/losses.
3) It's too easy to have days where you are too close to maintenance or over.
I don't like the act of dieting and would prefer a bit more suffering rather than it last longer.
4) I'm not adhering to my 'rules' as much as I would like.
I generally HAVE been adhering but the lack of tracking makes me wonder A LOT whether the times when I'm NOT adhering are undoing my good work. If I had numbers I'd be like 'meh, it's fine...I'm still at x calorie deficit for the week,etc', no numbers make this all guesswork.
5) Hitting macros and targets are much psychologically simpler than rule-based intuitive eating strategies.
I have one protein target and one daily calorie target and that is it. I can do anything as long as these two numbers are hit. Intuitive eating rules are a bit more 'fuzzy' and less clear cut (e.g. am I really hungry right now or is this a fake bored sort of hunger). Having a number of calories to hit is just so much simpler.
Those are my reasons for changing back. I'll probably adopt a more relaxed eating pattern when I'm at maintenance. Overall I've probably been fine during this period it wasn't a total write off and I'd wager 5/6 days I'd be a medium to small deficit but I think I like to know how I'm doing.
New log incoming :-)
Doing this is very hard for me. Think I have a permanent fat boy appetite. Wanna see someone succeed who doesn't already have low appetite and good impulse control.
Anything to report?
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