Another Q&A for you. From tracking meat, raw or cooked to why do I want you to eat so much. Bottom line is life is too short to make things overly complicated but you still must achieve consistency or you will never get anywhere. And food is life! I would love to shift your mindset from restriction to addition. Eat more protein, eat more fruits and vegetables, drink more water.
Questions of the week:
- Should I weigh my meat raw or cooked and does it matter?
- Why is the goal to eat as much as possible?
Should I weigh my meat raw or cooked and does it matter?
The answer is raw is most accurate. And it does matter. But, and that is a big but. Unless you are prepping for a show, or have OCD, prepping and cooking your meat all separately is probably too much work and not necessary.
Here’s the low down. When meat cooks it looses water, so 4 oz of raw chicken will weigh less than 4oz due to the water it looses in cooking. The macronutrients are usually based on raw food. So to be 100% accurate, you would track raw. But like I said who has the time.
You have a few options here.
- You can weigh your protein raw. Cook it, and then weigh it again to determined each servings. Note this process is quite time consuming and also not very realistic when cooking more than one serving at a times.
- You can select a “cooked entry” on MyFitnessPal when available.
- You can apply this simple calculation. On average when meat cooks it looses 25% or 1/4 of it’s weight. On average. You can to keep things simple multiply by 0.75 and determine your serving this way.
What does this look like? All you need to do is take the cook amount on your scale and times it by 0.75.
3oz. cooked = 4oz. raw
4oz. cooked = 5.3oz. raw
5oz cooked = 6.7oz. raw
6oz. cooked = 8oz. raw
7oz. cooked = 9.3oz. raw
It won’t be perfect, but remember this is flexible dieting, goal is to find just enough consistency. What matters is that you be consistent on your end.
Why is the goal to eat as much as possible?
Despite the crap information most women magazines have been selling us, most adult women should be eating 1800-2100 calories a day. More if you are very active. Most men should fall in the 2400,2600 calories a day, again, more for the lean high volume athlete.
So this brings into context the struggle that I will try to explain in this next point. The reality is most people come to me looking for weight loss. The other reality is that those same people come to me after trying and failing at this for a long time. And quite often, another diet is really the last thing they need. For example, if you are currently eating 1400 calories and not losing weight, the answer is likely not to drop to 1200 calories. Don’t get me wrong, there is nothing magical about weight loss, it does take a calorie deficit to achieve success, but the problem is it also takes a healthy body first to see results. Your body has to feel safe to lose weight. If you have been malnourished for some time, it is not feeling safe. And no it’s not because your metabolism is broken. Your metabolism is highly adaptive and while it may not be broken it probably has just adapted to you eating too little for too long. In essence slowing down for you starving yourself. By slowly increasing your calories, we can reverse that adaptation and give you more food freedom. Which ultimately is the goal here, live a full life and not be limited all the time.
You can check out this previous post for more context: https://powerupnutrition.ca/earn-your-right-to-diet/ .
Also to be frank, as much as you may think you are eating only 1400 calories, chances are you might be on some days, but since we know this level of deprivation is hard to sustain, you most likely quite often end up going way over. For context, the average entree in a restaurant is 1000 calories and that half bottle of white whine you shared with your girlfriend last night set you back over 300 calories.
So with this in mind. We do want to diet on as many calories as possible and in some cases, we want to reverse diet first. And yes, the goal with reverse dieting should be to be able to maintain on as many calories as we can.
Also, one more side note, if I am telling you you should eat 8-10 servings of fruits and vegetables and your first thought is this will put me over my carbs and calories, you are not eating enough!
Why do we want to eat more food?
- Because why deprive ourselves? If you can only survive on rice cakes and egg whites that is not a quality life. If you are really limited in your food choices to meet your goals, this is a big red flag. Temporarily you might need to restrict some things, but we should not live our whole lives like this.
- More food = more energy. When you cut calories too much your body becomes really smart about conserving energy and you will burn less energy through the day even without being conscious of it. Eat more food and you will suddenly have more energy to live your life!
- People who have more realistic targets tend to have better adherence. Often we increase calories and people see more weight loss. It’s not because they are eating more, its because they are able to stick to their target. On 1400 calories, they probably cheated enough on weekend to put them over on their week, vs being consistent every day at 1700 calories and overall maintaining the deficit.
- More food = a healthier more flexible metabolism. You can diet on limited calories for a while. But the goal should always be to bring calories back up to a maintenance level that you can sustain. But also one that allows you to have a normal life, including meals out and travels without you seeing the weight come back on. The higher we keep the calories, the more your chance to keep the weight loss will be. If you can only maintain your weight on 1500 calories a day how long do you think it will be before you regain the weight? How long can you go without eating out or traveling? Is that a life you really want?
In my experience when we learn what it truly feels like to eat to support our lives vs eating to shrink our bodies, we understand how good it feels and it becomes really hard to revert back to the old heavy restriction mentality. But the buy in can take time and I will continue to be here to educate because ultimately my goal here to have you achieve your goals. But only in a way that supports your health longterm.
Happy Sunday! Now go eat something.