There has been a load of talk the past few weeks with my coaching clients (my Ninjas, as I like to call them) about cutting macros.
Nobody likes getting an update from their coach with a decrease in carbs, or less fat. I didn’t like it when I had a coach and I know my clients don’t like it either!
So how to we decrease our hunger at the same time we are given decreasing macros?
We do have goals, and sometimes those goals take precedent over all other things.
That does not mean it’s easy!
Here are a few tips that have helped me deal with lower macros and still stay sane.
Get back to your roots. Remember in the beginning, when you first started to track, you would plan out your food the night before? Start this practice again. If you are planning before you are even hungry, you can make choices that will provide you with volume and flavor without the stress of a rumbling belly.
Volume for the win. If you’ve ever come up short on protein at the end of the day, you’ve probably eaten your body weight in egg whites. I know I have stood at the stove, shoveling in egg whites at 9pm, feeling like this must be an odd punishment for not paying attention to my protein earlier in the day. I felt like I needed to eat an entire dozen just to get the small amount of protein I needed to meet my goal. Use this same tactic to your favor now. Find foods that are loads of volume without a lot of punch. Things like egg whites, shrimp, and zucchini, all give you a lot of food without a lot of macros. I can eat an entire head of cauliflower and hardly hit the double digits in carbs.
No more combining. Early in your journey, you probably added something to your yogurt, put peanut butter on your pancakes and added creamer to your coffee. Stop doing that! Go for whole foods and stop combining. Get back to basics, lean chicken breast and zucchini noodles will fill up your belly while leaving you macros to spare. If having a ‘treat’ of peanut butter is something that makes you feel like you can take on the world, then factor that in, but change up other meals so you can still feel full and not walking around hating your life.
Cut down on your meals. In My Fitness Pal, I have set up for 3 meals and 3 snacks every day. When I getting ready for a competition and cutting weight, I can’t eat every single one of those regular meal times and not go over my macros. Aim to have a few bigger meals, making you feel emotionally and physically full, than spreading your macros out over 5 or 6 mini meals a day.
Plateaus are the pits. My body likes to stick at one weight (to the OUNCE!) for days… sometimes weeks. It’s incredibly frustrating, but we have to remember our bodies are super efficient machines, and the goal is to stay alive! Our bods want equilibrium. When everything stays the same, it is happy. So plateaus make perfect sense and is really a success in a lot of ways. Our body’s see all the changes and wants to establish a baseline. One way I found to break up this baseline was to throw my body off. Think about how many times you eat the same breakfast or snack at the same time every single day. Switch it up! Have breakfast for dinner. Skip your morning snack. Don’t start eating until lunch. (some people are good with this, some not. Do what feels right to you!) Mix it up to see more results.
Watch those drinking calories. Protein drinks are great when you are pushing to get in your protein and you have macros for days, but when you are in a cut, be watchful of how much you drink those calories. Eating (and chewing) has a physiological effect on our bodies and our brains. This is how our brain is triggered to recognize that we are eating and we are full. When you drink your calories, you tend to do it pretty quick, not giving enough time for this response to be triggered and it can leave you feeling unsatisfied and searching for more food within the hour. In this same vein… SLOW down! Don’t eat so fast. Eating the macros you have much slower can help you feel fuller and stick to the plan.
Remember, you aren’t going to die. I know it’s hard, but hunger isn’t a total emergency. I say this with love, because I’ve been there. We are trained to look for food at the first sign of hunger, but really listening to your body and understanding that you will never be given macros so low that it will cause you harm, can help you refocus and relax.
Drink up. Just make it calorie free! I love hot Tazo tea (this is great if you are meeting a friend at Starbucks too! Grab the tea and skip the non-macro-friendly latte!). Grab some sparkling water, I love LaCroix or I make my own in a sodaStream and mix with True Lime. Have some coffee. (Okay, be careful of the creamer) but a bit of caffeine can not only help with your hunger but can help carry you through your workout with a bit more energy as your macros get lower. Drink loads of water.
I know it isn’t always easy, but remember, you only need to make it through TODAY. (worry about tomorrow when it gets here) So set your plan, find your high volume foods, drink up and keep your mindset right, and you will be hitting those goals in no time!