Moving into a sustainable plan
As we have mentioned fat loss is a calorie balance...at the start. For sustained fat loss we cannot just keep restricting calories and doing more exercise!
In month 1 and 2 we had calorie targets that we didn't really change all that much. This is essential to find out what works for each of us. For fat loss we advised you to 1 week at baseline then 3 weeks at the calorie target that matches your training.
We may have experienced a few of the follow scenarios -
- Felt like way too much food to be eating to lose fat
- Struggled to hit the carbohydrate target
- Didn't know what to do on a rest day
- Wasn't sure if some workouts warranted a training day
Now we asked you to stick to the calorie targets for a reason. This is to help us find your upper calorie target.
We hope you committed to the structure we outlined and even saw that eating a little more actually resulted in further weight loss and increased energy?!
Now in Month 3 we will work within a calorie window.
For example your baseline may be 1700 calories and your calorie target in month 2 was 2150. Now as long as you are within those calorie targets each day for the next 4 weeks we are happy!
This allows us to employ some flexibility and correlate our intake to our output. If we feel that the training session was really tough then you can edge towards the higher calorie target. You may feel that you want to drop a little more weight leading into a weekend away so you will stick to baseline for 5 days.
Whatever works for you...however
ENSURE you are not over eating or under fuelling.
You need to trust that eating the right amount of food for your output is essential for fat loss. You cannot just keep restricting calories.
Strategies to help you stay on track
Let's use an example to kick us off here.
- Jane followed baseline calories of 1600 for the first month. She lost 2.2kg.
- Month 2 she followed moderate training (1889 kcal) for 3 weeks and then dropped to baseline for 1 week. Her weight dropped by 0.5kg over the month (with many fluctuations).
- She found it tough in the first week to eat more (from a psychological and physical point of view), but in week 2 found her energy levels were increased and her sleep was so much better.
- In month 3 she wants to lose an extra 1.5kg. So she sets a target window of 1600 as baseline and 1789 kcal.
How Jane manages her nutrition is she has her baseline intake plan every day. She then has the flexibility to add extra in if she feels it is needed. She is aware of when she is hungry or feels that extra is needed to help recovery.
Jane then looks at her diary for the week and averages her calories. If it falls between 1600 and 1789 then we are winning! She assess' how her training performance / her weight / measurements / sleep / mood are and repeats the following week.
It allows her to use the decision matrix and align her intake to her output.
What if I go over or under?
First thing is to assess why and where this happened. Was it a complete blow out day or was it over several days? Use the FAQ section to help guide you on reducing the macros you were over on. If it is was one day - chalk it off and stay on plan.
What if I put on weight in a week?
As we know we look at the average weight over the week / month / 6 months. First thing is to ask is it due to calories? Or could it be due to sleep, poor food choices (even if within our calorie target), stress, too much training, menstrual cycle etc. If you are really dialled in then it can be due to overeating (so drop to baseline for 1 week) or under fuelling (be aware of the signs). Check out the recovery week 3 for more info.
It is too confusing to change each day, can I just commit to one target?
Yes of course. If this is easier for you and you feel you are making progress then absolutely. Make this around 100 kcal above baseline.