New Recipe! Oatmeal Raisin Protein Bars

If you know me, you know I LOVE OATMEAL RAISIN COOKIES!  I was going to make my typical breakfast cookies, but decided to switch up the ingredients and make a more cake-like bar cookie with fewer carbs, since I’m currently very low carb at the moment.  This recipe is simple, so I thought I’d share it with you all to enjoy!

If you make it, please share your photos and feedback by using #solanafit or #oatmealcookiesfitmymacros on social media!

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Oatmeal Raisin Protein Bars
(makes 9 large bars)

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup light butter (I use Land o’ Lakes Light Butter)
  • 5 tbsp Truvia brown sugar blend
  • 1/4 cup Splenda for baking
  • 1 egg white (46g liquid egg whites)
  • 50g fat-free greek yogurt
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 scoops (80g) vanilla protein powder (I used 1st Phorm Vanilla Ice Cream)
  • 1 1/2 cups old-fashioned oats
  • 28g coconut flour
  • 2 tsp cornstarch
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 80g raisins

Directions:

  1. Preheat over to 350 degrees.  Grease a 9×9″ baking dish.
  2. In a large bowl, cream butter with Truvia and Splenda.
  3. Add egg whites, yogurt and vanilla.
  4. In a medium bowl, sift together the protein powder, coconut flour, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon.
  5. Slowly add the dry mixture to the wet ingredients and combine.  Be sure not to over-mix.  Note: The dough will be thick.
  6. Add raisins and stir to evenly distribute throughout the dough.
  7. Pour into the prepared baking dish and press to fill the edges.
  8. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.  If you want a more cookie-like bar, bake for 12-15 minutes.
  9. Cool, slice, and enjoy!

Macros per bar:
Calories – 194, Protein: 9g, Carbs: 26g, Fat: 6g (sat – 3g), Fiber: 3g, Sugar, 11g, Sodium: 330mg

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Program Update

Hello everyone! In my last post, I shared I would be working with the lovely Katie Corio on my next fitness phase! I’ve been steadily using Beachbody products, which have gotten me quite far, and plan to continue doing so (especially with my favorites: Hammer & Chisel and Body Beast)! However, I wanted to seek the expertise from a successful coach to help me tailor my results while ensuring I stay healthy.

In the interest of being totally transparent, I wanted to share how my training program with Katie is going along with some struggles I’ve had up to this point.

Since I started using Beachbody products, I’ve been able to reach many milestones along my fitness journey. The 21 Day Fix/Extreme helped me shed close to 20 pounds in seven months by incorporating daily workouts and getting my eating in check. I then fell in love with strength training using Hammer & Chisel and Body Beast, which is also when I discovered macros and how to track food using them. The Beachbody container system was key in helping me lose weight by understanding portion sizes, but I love the idea of flexible dieting and doing away with “clean” and “dirty” foods.

At the time I started tracking my macros, I had already been dieting for close to a year. In other words, I was eating at a caloric deficit for about 10 months. While the diet allowed me to lose around 30 pounds at that point, it also began to seriously affect my hormone levels. In short (men….you may want to avert your eyes….), my periods had already been becoming a bit irregular, and in March 2016, had totally stopped. I wasn’t too concerned at first, but fast forward to the end of 2016, and I began to get a bit worried. I checked with a few doctors, who all said I was the picture of health, but I knew it wasn’t normal to simply not have periods for 10 months. My biggest worries were around my bone health, which is why I was so happy when the DEXA scan I recently underwent showed my bones to be very strong.

Anyway, the lack of periods was also one of the reasons I began reverse dieting in May 2016. I knew I needed to get my calories up so my hormones levels would normalize. In December, things looked to be going in a positive direction as I did have a short period. My calories at this point were around 2,200, but I had also started putting on quite a bit of fat. As such, I dropped my calories again following the holidays, which (unfortunately) prevented my periods….again. This is when I decided to work with Katie. Since I’m already pretty lean, I need to really focus on the science around macros and hormone levels to reach my goals in a healthy manner. I am not experienced enough in this area, so I was ecstatic when Katie began accepting clients.

While I’ve lost 30 pounds, I still carry quite a bit of fat in certain areas. I don’t like how it looks and would love to tone those areas by building up the muscle underneath while slowly burning the subcutaneous fat. I’ve been toying with a few macro settings since January, and have seen some positive results, but since I’m still eating at a caloric deficit, I know I’m preventing my hormone levels from improving. I’ve mentioned this all to Katie, who also admitted my situation challenges her. This is why I haven’t been able to post details about my training and nutrition plans….they keep changing as Katie learns more about me.

At this time we’re changing up my macros to have a focus on carbs. When I had my short period in December, my carbs were at 260. However, I dropped them back to the low 100s at the start of the year. Since I need to remain lean for July, we’re increasing my carbs….but only to 195 on my high days and 175 on my low days. Fat will remain consistent at 51, and we’re dropping my protein down to 125. The reason for this: carbs are also used in muscle building. While protein is the main start in building muscle tissue, carbs provide the body with energy. If the available carbs are too low, the body doesn’t have enough energy to function at 100%. We think this is what could be the cause of my issue. I’d been eating high protein/low carb for close to a year, and when combined with my 6-day training programs, limited the amount of energy my body could use to perform other functions. This meant I wasn’t building muscle like I had hoped, and it also caused my reproductive system to begin shutting down.

I’ll still be eating slightly under my maintenance calories to remain lean through July, so it’ll be interesting to see how my body responds to the extra carbs. I’m expecting a few pound weight gain during this week as my muscles begin storing the carbs as glycogen and water, but hopefully those carbs will eventually go towards muscle building due to my training program.

It’s all about science at this point, so I’m curious to see what the next few weeks will bring!

As for my training program, Katie sent me one, but forgot I was working out of a home gym. 🙂 As such, some of the exercises need to be modified as I don’t possess the equipment needed. In the meantime, I’m still doing what she sent me, which includes 5 days of training and 2 off days. There are optional cardio and ab circuits, but I’m mainly been focusing on the ab-work. However, since I’m gearing up for the Beachbody Classic, I intend to begin doing some cardio using a combination of Hammer & Chisel and Body Beast cardio workouts.

Okay….so sorry for the long post, but like I said, I want to be totally open with y’all! I’m loving the learning process of how the body uses energy, so I hope you’re finding it at least somewhat fascinating as well!

Recipe & Update!

Fierce 5 & Carb Cycling

So sorry for the silence!  The holiday season is always a crazy time, and then the new year just slams you right out of the gate!  It’s hard to believe we’re already in the middle of March, so I’ll share what I’ve been up to along with a sneak peek recipe from my up and coming cookbook!

As mentioned in my previous post, I did begin Fierce 5 on January 2nd.  I’m still going strong, and I must say, I’m really loving the program!  I also reached out to a mutual friend, who’s a trainer at Gold’s Gym to get his thoughts on my macros and optimizing them in preparation for the Beachbody Classic in July.  He thought I should try my hand at carb-cycling and set my macros accordingly.  As such, I have high, med, and low carb days were my fats and protein stay static.  I also consume 30% of my carbs post-workout.  Originally, I had three high carb days, but dropped one of them to a medium day since I felt it wasn’t enough time for me to deplete glycogen, thus my weight has been holding the same for the past month and half.  I do think I’ve entered into a sort of body recomp, which is good….albeit slow.  The main goal with carb cycling is to prime the metabolism ahead of a cut, so I don’t have to diet down so much to burn fat.

Okay, so more on my current program!  Fierce 5 is a relatively simplistic program that focuses on compound moves and heavy lifting to build strength and mass.  It consists of two workouts (A and B), which you alternate and do three times a week.  The goal is to increase the weight each week until you hit failure.  Then, reset the weights by 15% and continue on.  Workout A is comprised of squats, bench press, pendlay rows, and a superset of calves and triceps.  Workout B has front squats, overhead press, Romanian deadlifts, and a superset of lats and biceps.

I started my weights pretty light and have steadily increased each week.  Thus far, I’ve only failed on biceps and just reset this week.  They’re still quite tough, so I’m sticking with the same weight, but adding reps….for now.  Ideally, I can bump up the weight again in another week or so.  Front squats have also gotten tough, so there’s a good chance I’ll have to reset, or at least move to paused back squats for now.

Either way, the timing works out perfectly as I just signed up to work with one of my favorite athletes, Katie Corio!  She’ll be coaching me throughout the next 16-weeks as I prep for the Beachbody Classic!  I can’t wait to see what kinds of workouts she has in store for me.  We’re scheduled to begin on March 20th!  I’ll keep y’all posted with details as I get them!

Recipe Sneak Peek: Chocolate Protein Donuts

I’ve been wanting to share a recipe for some time, so here you go!  I been bitten by the baked donuts bug, and found that protein donuts make GREAT snacks that are low carb, high protein and delicious!  They’re fun to decorate and the flavor options are endless!  Below is the latest recipe I threw together, so I hope you enjoy it!  If so, let me know how they come out and share pictures!

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Correction: The serving for the above recipe is for one donut….NOT two.  You can make 8 smaller donuts by filling the donut cavities 1/2 full.

Body Beast Results & Next Steps

Body Beast Results
I began a full 90-day round of Body Beast on 9/24/16 and decided to follow the Huge Beast schedule, since I planned to do a lean bulk.  I increased my calories/macros each week, and while I expected to gain weight and lose some definition, I was also hoping to gain strength.

Overall, I did gain weight, but my measurements stayed almost the same. In the picture, you can see my muscle definition has decreased slightly (left is from 9/24, right is from 12/18), but I also took the picture after my rest day. I was up 4 pounds, which is typical following a rest day…since I eat a bit more loosely.  I gained an additional 7-8 pounds during the holidays and weighed just over 130 as of this weekend!

Start / End
————–
Date: 9-24-16 / 12-18-16
Calories: 1,904 / 2,180
Weight: 119.6 / 123.2
Body fat: 16.5% / 17.5%
Chest: 32″ / 32″
Natural Waist: 25.5″ / 26″
Around Belly Button: 27″ / 28″
Hips: 32″ / 32″
Thighs: 19″ / 19″
Calves: 13″ / 13″
Arms” 9.5″ / 10″

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The first place I gain weight is in my mid-section, which has always been my problem area. You can see during that’s where I’ve increased in inches. While I still wear the same clothing size, I did increase around the waist, which is most likely a combination of fat and muscle. While my other measurements did remain about the same, I did gain a slight bit of muscle in my arms, which is consistent with the increases I made in weights.

I’m most surprised that I didn’t increase in the chest/back. I made the most strength gains there (presses, pull-ups, deadlifts, etc.), but saw virtually no change in size.

I did one more week of the “extra” Body Beast workouts, and began another training break this week.  I also decreased my calories by 15% (since I’m not lifting) and am hoping my weight will normalize again.  

Next Steps
Starting Monday, January 1st, I’ll start a new program I’m looking forward to.  I’m going to start with a program called Fierce 5 that I found on BodyBuilding.com.  It has you lifting three days a week, and I plan to supplement it with Core de Force as cardio on the “off days”.  I will stick with the lower macros for another week or two as I need a mini-cut to get rid of some of the “cookie fat” I’ve put on.  Ideally, I’ll go back to increasing my calories with a goal of reaching 2,500-3,000 by the end of March.  At that time, I’ll switch to a “major-cut” ahead of Beachbody’s SUMMIT in July!

Reverse Dieting Update

It’s been a few weeks since my last post, so I thought it was time to share how the reverse diet was going along with other thoughts and updates.

Reverse Diet  
I started my conservative reverse diet back in May, and in that time I’ve been able to hit some small milestones regarding weight loss and caloric increases.  Right now I’m at 1,904 calories per day and am so close to hitting my next milestone of 2,000 calories!

The human body is an amazing work of art, and I love learning how it reacts to changes in nutrition and energy expenditure.  A few weeks back, I increased my calories and saw weight gain during the week.  I remained at the same calorie level for an additional week and saw the weight start to decrease again.  This meant my body established a new “homeostasis” or maintenance level as my metabolism increased. More food was required to maintain my weight, which gave me the opportunity to increase my calories again the following week!

The same thing occurred last week, so I’ve remained at my current caloric level for two weeks to see if my body hits homeostasis again.  Until that happens, I’m actually doing a very lean bulk as I’m eating at a very slight surplus.  I have noticed a slight decrease in muscle definition as I believe my body is gaining small amounts of fat, but hopefully I can keep that to a minimum as I continue with the reverse diet.

When looking at a chart, it’s easy to see how my weight is starting to level off, meaning I’ll more frequently be hitting maintenance calories and entering a slow bulk.  Below is a chart of my tracked weight since the start of the reverse.screen-shot-2016-09-23-at-8-30-08-amIt’s interesting to note the spikes in weight, as those are typically Mondays.  🙂  I use Sunday as my “refeed/free” days, where I’m much looser with my tracking and indulge in a few extra treats.  The following day, the scale is representative of the extra glycogen my muscles have accumulated from the refeed.

I believe the scale will begin trend upward more frequently from here on out.  I figured I would continue pushing my calories for a few more weeks until I hit 2,000 and then do a mini-cut to strip off some fat.  However, I’m now contemplating having fun with a slow bulk and continuing to push my calories as much as I can until I gain a certain amount of weight.  Perhaps I should set my next goal to do a mini-cut whenever my average weight for the reverse hits 125 lbs.  My current average is 119.6, so I’m not too far off.

I’d also like to move away from the scale as I’ve been tethered to tracking my weight daily for months.  Weighing yourself every day can be taxing on the emotions, so I have to constantly remind myself that the scale isn’t an indicator of my body composition.  Instead, I need to rely on how my clothes fit and how I look in pictures.

Speaking of non-scale tracking methods, I have been keeping loose track of my measurements as well, and have seen a slight uptick in my numbers.  While my arms, chest and legs remain about the same, my natural waist and mid-section have increased a bit.  I’ve been struggling with that fact as my belly has always been my problem area.  I’m not 100% sure if it’s muscle growth or fat gained, since I never actually hit my goal of a completely toned mid-section.  I still have a few pockets of stubborn fat, which makes gauging slight changes difficult.

General Updates
Lately, I’ve also been focused on a large, personal project (it’s nothing bad, I promise!), but am waiting for things to be final before I post anything about it.  I can say this project has been very time consuming and has caused me to put my certifications on hold for the time being.  I’m still working with a few people who reached out for coaching services, and am hoping to continue growing my client base over time.

I’m also making progress on the cook book, but it’s slow-going.  Writing up the recipes is easy enough, but I struggle with getting the images as it requires me to actually make each of the recipes in order to do so.  LOL….  It was also requested that I include a few other recipes I’ve talked about in the past, so a bit more experimenting and documenting needs to occur before they’re “recipe ready”.

Wow…..sorry for the long post! I didn’t think I had this much to say!  Have a day and enjoy your weekend!

Training Break Recap, Glycogen, and New Workout Program

My first training break is complete! I took last week off from working out to give my muscles some time to rebuild as I’ve only taken off 1-2 days at a time since I started working out last year. I was a little hesitant to change up my schedule, but the timing couldn’t have been more perfect with the surprise downturn in health of my beloved dog, Watson. Not only did I give my muscles a break, but taking a week of from working out allowed me to sleep in, gave me more freedom with food (since I didn’t feel compelled to down 30g of post-workout protein), and (most importantly) gave me more time to spend with Watson before he left this world.

Before starting the training break, I fully anticipated I would gain some weight. Mainly due to my muscle’s glycogen supply being restored since a lack of working out meant my glycogen levels stayed up. Over the week, I ended up gaining around 2.5 lbs, but I also (foolishly) added more calories into my diet as part of my reverse diet plan. In hindsight, I should have left my calories as is so I could gauge if the weight gain was due to the added calories or the training break. Since I did both, I’m not quite sure if one or both changes were the culprit. Either way, I’m confident I didn’t gain much fat, and I’m not too worried since my end goal isn’t to stay at 118 lbs.

Anyway, I’m leaving my calories/macros as is for this week and will see how my body responds. Ideally, I’ll see some weight loss so I can add more calories next week!

What is Glycogen?

Okay, I keep talking about glycogen, but perhaps you’re not familiar with what that is. In a nutshell, it’s how your body stores carbohydrates as energy. Fat is another way your body stores energy, but I won’t really go into that in this post.

When you consume carbohydrates, your body will store a limited amount of those carbs as glycogen in your liver, fat cells, and muscles. Water is required for storing glycogen, which is why many people see a 5-10 pound drop in weight when first restricting their calories and adding in exercise. While we’d all love it to be fat loss, it’s most likely water and glycogen loss. As you continue restricting calories and working out, your glycogen stores will remain depleted, which can make it difficult to gauge when you actually start losing fat.

To further complicate things, let’s say you have a treat meal and indulge in some delicious bagels, pasta, banana splits, etc. The following day, you’ll probably see the number on the scale creep up quite a bit. Fortunately, just as you didn’t really lose 5-10 pounds of fat when you first started working out/restricting calories, you didn’t actually gain fat after overindulging. Rather, your glycogen stores were replenished, which added to your overall weight. In order to gain a pound of fat, you must consume 3,500 calories OVER your maintenance calories. This would be extremely difficult to do unless you were consistently eating ridiculously large amounts of food throughout the day (like 6,000+ calories).

When researching how much weight glycogen can add to the scale, I read several articles stating the body requires around 3-4 grams of water to store 1 gram of carbohydrate. So if you were to eat 400 grams of carbs during a treat day, your body would also store an additional 1,200-1,600 grams of water. Add the carbs and the water together for a total of 2,000 grams which works out to around 4.5 pounds on the scale!

With that said, I feel understanding what glycogen is and how it works is essential if you are dieting. Dieters who are unfamiliar with how the body responds can easily feel discouraged and upset when seeing the weight on the scale increase after a tasty trip to McDonalds. This can lead to abandoning a healthier lifestyle due to feelings of failure, etc. However, by realizing how your body stores energy you can begin to understand how it responds to certain foods and situations. It’s also important to note why merely weighing yourself is not a good indicator of your overall body composition. Remember, taking progress pictures, measuring your waist, hips, chest, etc., and gauging how your clothes fit are better indicators of your progress over time.

New Workout Program

Today marks the first day of my next workout block, and I’m really excited about the program I’ve put together. Essentially, I thought it would be fun to make a program using the supplemental/deluxe/extra workouts from the 21 Day Fix/Extreme, Hammer & Chisel, Body Beast, and Sagi’s Beachbody On Demand exclusives. It’s a 4-week program where I’ll be focusing on different body parts each day of the week. Tuesdays are cardio days and Sundays will be total body.

It felt so good hitting the weights again! I felt stronger, and even lifted more than I thought I’d be able to. I also really enjoyed trying a new workout, as it keeps things interesting and exciting. Looking forward to the next 4-weeks! 🙂

Thank Yous, Reverse Diet Milestone, Training Break & Cookbook

Here is the first “official” blog post since Solana Fitness went live!

Thank YOU!

I want to give a BIG thank you to everyone for your support of Solana Fitness!  I truly appreciate everyone’s sweet comments, posts of encouragement and overall support!  You guys are awesome!  I’m also overwhelmed with the positive response and am happy to share that I’ve been contacted by multiple people already!  I’m so excited and look forward to helping others get started on their healthier lifestyles!

My promotional offer for the 15% discount on the first five people who signed up has expired due to the responses I’ve received.  Thank you again!!!

Reverse Diet Milestone

If you’ve read any of my prior posts, you’ll know I’ve been on a conservative reverse diet for the past three months.  My goal has been to increase my calories as much as possible to stave off any metabolic damage from prolonged fat loss.  I decided to take my time with the reverse diet to limit fat gain as much as possible.  As part of the diet, I decided to set some mini-milestones to help acknowledge how things are going and to set some goals for structure, etc.

When beginning the reverse, I set the following goals:

  • Reach 200g of carbs
  • Remain less than 125 lbs
  • Reach 2,000 calories
  • Body Fat of 14-15%

Starting this week, I was able to hit the first milestone as I reached 200g of carbs!  This may not seem like a big deal, but when I started the reverse, I was consuming 100g of carbs a day.  Adding another 100g is the equivalent of adding 400 calories back!  I’ve also been able to maintain my weight thus far!  In fact, I’ve lost weight since beginning the reverse since I started at 124, and now average around 119.  Body fat percentage can be harder to track, but I believe I’m holding steady around 16%.  I’d like to drop a bit lower, but that may not happen before I start bulking later this year.

I still have the goal to reach 2,000 calories, but have also added a new goal of hitting around 65g of fat.  I’m currently at 55g right now, so another 10 grams will add another 90 calories.  By that time, my carbs should be well into the 200s!  I’ll keep you all updated of my progress!

Training Break

So, after 15 months of training, I’ve not taken many breaks from working out.  During my rounds of the 21 Day Fix/Extreme, there were no actual rest days.  One day a week was scheduled for yoga (which I LOVED), but it still wasn’t a true rest day.  PiYo, Hammer & Chisel and Body Beast all have a rest day included, however, I’ve never really taken more than a day or two off since I started working out.

It’s recommended to take some time off from training in between programs or roughly every 8-12 weeks.  You should still track what you eat and limit the treats where possible, however, a cheat meal or two will help keep that metabolism chugging along.  Also, giving your body a full week to rest will help avoid burn out, allow your muscles to truly rebuild, and give you back some time to enjoy other activities!  Often times, people come back stronger and more refreshed following a training break, however, some may experience a bit of atrophy if the break lasts more than a week.

Anyway, I wrap up the first round of Body Beast this coming Sunday and am planning to take August 22nd-28th off from training.  I’m still trying to decide what I’ll try next, but am looking at either another round of Hammer & Chisel, or a hybrid of Hammer & Chisel with Body Beast.

Cookbook

Because I don’t have enough project lined up at the moment <insert sarcastic smile here> I’m currently working on a cookbook I hope to release in the coming months.  I love creating new recipes by taking my favorite foods and making them a bit healthier.  Many people have requested I create a cookbook to easily reference the numerous recipes I’ve created, so I’m doing my best to actually create that book!  I already have a title lined up, and am currently working on the layout along with obtaining nutrition information and photos for each recipe.  My goal is to reference macros and Beachbody container equivalents for each recipe in the book.

Got a recipe you’d like to see me include?  Please leave a comment and let me know!

Solana Fitness is now LIVE!

After months of planning, I’m so excited to finally launch Solana Fitness!  I’ve been dabbling with offering coaching services for a number of months and decided to make it more formal!  Firstly, I’ll address some “burning” questions you may have.  🙂

Am I keeping my day job?
Yes. At least for now!  I found I love learning about fitness nutrition and resistance training, and I want to do more with it.  However, it will take time to get the certifications and experience I need, so maybe one day I can do this full time.

What’s going to happen to Studio Solana?
Nothing! I plan to continue my crafty endeavors!  The number of craft shows I do each fall/winter may decrease a bit, but I still fully intend to melt glass, knit fibers, sew and just craft in general!

Why should I hire you as a coach?
If you’ve been trying to lose weight, or always gravitate to the diet/flavor of the month with little results, I can help you navigate the sea of information on the internet and give you some basic things to try.  I’ve also been told I’m a great motivator, and I do enjoy challenging and supporting people along their journeys!

How do I learn more?
Visit the Coaching page on this site to see what services I’m offering.  I also plan to blog/write informational articles from time to time, so be sure to follow me on Facebook and RSS feeds for the latest content!  I’ll even be posting some exclusive recipes that I’ve developed.

If you have any other questions, please don’t hesitate to contact me!  For now, explore the site, read my blog (I documented my macro experiment and am currently documenting my reverse diet experiment), and check out the Resources section for more information!

Photo Shoot Images

I had a great time working with Bliss Eleven Studio to create some fun fitness images!  The main purpose of the shoot was to get some decent images for this site and social media, but also to document how far I’ve come on my personal fitness journey.

After just over a year, I’ve lost around 30 pounds and five dress sizes.  I’ve gotten stronger, more flexible, am in less pain, and have learned a wealth of knowledge about diet and nutrition.

We took a lot of images, but here are some of my favorites:

I’d love to know your thoughts and which ones you like the best.  🙂  Also, be sure to check out Bliss Eleven for any photography needs!  Laurie is a genius with the camera!

Reverse Diet: Update #2

It’s now been 11 weeks since I started my reverse diet, and I must say, it’s been so nice to add carbs (along with some fat) back into my macros!  I find I get to eat a lot more fruit, sweet potatoes and plantain, since I don’t have to be so picky about how I allocate my carbs.

At the beginning I was eating around 1,389 calories, which broke down into the following macros:  Protein – 125 / Fat – 49 / Carbs – 112.  I’m currently at 1,700 calories, and my macro breakdown is:  Protein – 123 / Fat – 52 / Carbs – 185.  One of my mini goals was to get to 200 grams of carbs, so I’m on track to get there soon!

One of the things I’ve noticed during the reverse diet is how much hungrier I am.  I know it’s a byproduct of my metabolism speeding up, which is both good and bad.  I find I’m sneaking little snacks here and there more often, and while I try to track most of them, I don’t track them all.  This means I’m probably actually eating another 50-100 calories a day than my target.  Fortunately, I’m not too worried about it since I’m doing a very conservative reverse, but as I get closer to my maintenance calories (TDEE – total daily energy expenditure), that snacking could skew my results of how I’m actually doing on the diet.

Also, since I’ve been adding more carbs, I’m finding it difficult to stay within my protein target for the day!  I’m so used to eating high-protein foods and limited carbs, that it’s been a real shift in my eating habits!  I also tend to steer towards complex carbs, which have some protein as well (like broccoli, brussels sprouts, sweet potatoes), so even though I’m eating more than 1 gram of protein per pound of body weight, the grams just disappears so quickly!  Of course, my love of protein angel food cakes, protein fluff, greek yogurt with peanut butter, and ricotta cheese makes it extremely easy to do!  🙂

Anyway, here’s a chart of my latest ratio of calories to weight.  While I’m still trending downward, the weight is starting to level off a bit, which means I’m getting closer to my maintenance.

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The yellow line represents my calorie increases week over week, while the dark orange line is my daily weight.  It’s interesting to see the spikes in my weight following my “free” Sundays.  While I don’t binge, I do enjoy a few fun foods and eat closer to maintenance.

Overall, I was wanting to move into a body recomposition phase following my reverse diet, but have since learned I may be a bit “too lean” to recomp as I had planned.  I may need to enter a small bulking phase to gain some muscle along with a bit of fat for both aesthetic and hormonal reasons.  This will allow me to have a good foundation to start from when I am ready to recomp.

I’m also looking at the speed of my reverse diet, which has been extremely conservative.  I’ve only been adding about 30-50 calories every few weeks, so I may bump that up to 100 calories in the coming week or so.  Once my weight has trended up for a few weeks, I’ll begin doing a slow bulk where I’ll aim to gain around 1 pound per week.

With that said, it looks like my goals are shifting again!  Instead of a body recomposition experiment, I’ll instead start a bulking experiment.  This is new territory for me, so I’m interested to see how it’ll go!

Here’s a summary on my current short and long term goals:

Short term:

  • Reach 200+ grams of carbs
  • Reach ~ 60 grams of fat
  • Maintain a weight of around 120 lbs

Long term:

  • Push calories to 2,000+
  • Enter slow bulk phase to gain around 1 lb per week (3,500 additional calories or 500/day)
  • Target a weight of around 125-130 lbs before starting recomp

I hope to post another update in the next few weeks!