I usually poopoo counting calories in my articles, here’s why:
- It can be stressful
- Potentially steals the pleasure out of eating
- Creates a “I’m on diet” feeling
- May cause the bridezilla to come out in you
The first step to get Bride Fit in your body and mind is to add in more real food, such as vegetables and whole eggs, and limiting fake food, such as processed cereals and foods that aren’t offering you anything other than empty calories. By crowding out the foods that aren’t supporting your health & fitness goals with food that is feeding your body nutrients will move you closer to your goal of releasing fat and rocking a fit & firm body for your big day! Often just by eating real food over processed food, drinking more water (aim for ½ your body weight in ounces), regular exercise, and getting quality sleep brides start rapidly releasing fat and feeling fabulous!
If you have specific goals like increasing muscle or losing the last (usually stubborn) 5-10 pounds, the next step is to figure out how many daily calories to aim for and determine a percentage of how much of the calories are coming from proteins, carbohydrates and fats, macronutrients, that would best support your goals. Every food you eat is made up of one or a combination of the three macronutrients (macros); protein, carbohydrates and fat. Depending on your goals and bio-individuality, which is your unique food and lifestyle needs, will determine the percentages of the macros to aim for. There is no ‘one size fits all’ formula, as you know! It would be awesome if I could give you a specific plan that works for everyone but the truth is every bride is different, experimenting is the best way to determine what works best for you. You may eat more or less from one day to the next depending on the time of month, stress levels and varying daily activity. This is great news, in my opinion, because you are freed from a restrictive “diet” that doesn’t leave space for adjusting based on how you feel. For example, you may feel hungrier the week before your period and require some freedom to eat more, or more tired the week you are menstruating so you may have a lighter workout week and eat less. The message I want to send you is to honor your body and listen to the signals it gives you.
I’ll give you formulas to figure out your numbers, daily calories and macros, but keep in mind that these may need to be adjusted based on how you feel. For example if you are eating “low carb” and you’re feeling really tired and brain foggy, moving to “moderate carb” would be recommended. I use and recommend using an app such as myfitnesspal to use as a tool to keep track of your calories and macronutrient numbers. You need the upgraded version in order to plug in your daily calorie goal and macronutrient percentages, the free version figures out your daily calorie goal based on your current weight, goal weight, and how many pounds per week you want to lose. I don’t recommend this version because the daily calorie goal is too low and doesn’t consider where the calories are coming from. I know I said this already but this is a tool to make you aware not to make you obsessive about your calories! Diets that require only counting calories and don’t address the macronutrients ignore the importance of getting all the macros in your diet and tweaking the percentages which can have a big influence on proper nutrition and successful weight loss or gain, depending on your goals. Most of the brides I coach are interested in fat release, muscle definition, and feeling fit & fabulous for the big day!
Use this calorie counter to give you an idea of your daily calorie intake goal or choose your goal, determine your activity level, and multiply your bodyweight in pounds by the numbers that correspond with your choices.
GOAL: Fat Loss or Weight Maintenance
Sedentary: FL: 10-12 WM: 12-14
Moderately Active: FL: 12-14 WM: 14-16
Very Active: FL: 14-16 WM: 16-18
If you are 155 pounds, lower scale of moderately active and interested in fat release the formula looks like this: 155 x 12 = 1,860 calories per day.
In my opinion anything under 1,500 calories per day is not sustainable or recommended. With that being said, calorie cycling works well for a lot of people, including me! That basically means that you may have a few higher calorie days and they are balanced with a few lower calorie days. Again the daily calories you burn to maintain your current body weight are bio-individual and factors such as the percentage of body fat and muscle will affect your metabolism, how fast or slow calories are used.
Fun and useful facts: The total calories contained in a food or beverage is made up of protein, carbohydrates and fat; one or a combination. They are represented in grams. One gram of protein = 4 calories. One gram of carbohydrates =4 calories. One gram of fat= 9 calories. That’s how you can figure out the percentage of a particular macronutrient in your food.
Example: one egg is approximately 70-80 calories/6 grams of protein/>1 gram of carbs/5 grams of fat. Protein is 6 (grams in the egg) x 4 (calories per carbohydrate gram) = 24 calories of an egg are from protein. Fat is 5 (grams in the egg) x 9 (calories per fat gram)= 45 calories of an egg are from fat.
As you can see with the example about 65% of an egg come from fat and 35% from protein and almost zero carbs. The app I recommended above will calculate those percentages for you but I want you to have an understanding of how it works.
Here’s another example: a small banana contains approximately 90 calories, 20 grams of carbs and 2 grams of protein. 20 (grams of carbs) x 4 (calories in a gram of carbs) = 80 calories in a banana are from carbohydrates and 2 (grams of protein)x 4 (calories in a gram of protein)= 8 calories in a banana are from protein. There may be a trace amount of fat.
As you can see the numbers of calories in almost everything, including labeled food items are approximates, so don’t stress about exact numbers! In fact the possibility of error in total calories up or down can be as high as 25%.
You probably have a good idea of a daily calorie goal based on your current weight, goals and activity level. In addition you have an understanding of macronutrients and how to figure out if a particular food is higher in protein, fat or carbs. Now the question is how much of your calories should come from protein? Carbohydrates? Fat? The short answer is, it depends! The following are some suggested percentages for carbs and protein based on the recommendations in Chris Kresser’s book, The Paleo Cure. Once you figure out your carb and protein percentages the remainder of calories will come from fat.
When you think of carbohydrates consider the quality and nutritional value. Think starchy vegetables and fruits like sweet potatoes, carrots, beets, white potatoes, plantains, berries, and melons, NOT bread, pasta, crackers, and cookies!
- Weight loss, blood-sugar regulation: Carb intake % of total calories is 10-15%. Based on a 2000-calorie per day diet that would be 50-75 grams per day.
- General health and maintenance: Carb intake % of total calories is 15-30%. Based on a 2000-calorie per day diet that would be between 75-150 grams per day.