Tag Archives: macros

Why Slimming World is Flawed…

Recently I’ve been working in an office environment, so it’s swarming with women who are all on some diet or another, but one seems to be more popular than any of the others & it’s SLIMMING WORLD.

Slimming World is the land of syns, some foods are “free” – this means you can eat as MUCH as you want, others have syns – these are the ones that you should only eat a certain amount of in order to keep losing weight.  Sound ideal?  Where’s the issue?

So, what’s in a syn?

You have a total  daily allowance of syns, 15 to be exact. That 15 syns equates to 300 calories per day.  Um, come again?  How many?  I eat more than that for breakfast! No, no! I hear you cry from you syn thrones – there are syn free foods too!  Mate, I don’t care.  This working things out in fake points is insane!  (it’s like Reddit, but for food in the real world!)

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So, I give you the flaws in this insane system*

I’ve googled free foods/syns in foods to create a daily plan & will be adding actual macros/calories as well.  All the food listed below is from the SW website & SW Survival website.

Breakfast:

Baked oats or a full English

Oats are:

35g oats, 3tsp sweetener, 1 egg, 1 pot of yoghurt & some fruit.  Bake it.  Job done.  ONE WHOLE SYN.  (343 cal, 22g carb, 6g fat, 11g protein)

Full English:

2 sausages, 2 rashers of bacon (fat removed), mushrooms, 1 whole onion, 1 whole tomato, 1 boiled potato, 1/2 tin of beans, 2 eggs.  ZERO SYNS!  (ok….this is free food, so why stop at two sausages, why not have eight? They’re no syns!!)  (942 cal, 59g carb, 48g fat, 59g protein)  This bad boy also benefits from 1,852mg of sodium!!!  FTR, 8 sausage is 1600 calories.

Lunch:

125g Cheese, Leek & Ham pasta.  100g Chicken breast, & a 500g tub of fat free yoghurt – SYNFREEAGAIN (936 cal, 84g carb, 9g fat, 63g protein)

Dinner:

Lamb shank with mint sauce, 100g oven chips, side of veggies & a Curly Wurly brownie, fuck it….I’m on one syn, so let’s have 4 brownies. 4 SYNS  (857 cal, 50g carb, 43g fat, 67g protein)

Total Syn count: FOUR or FIVE depending on breakfast

Some fruits are free too, so we’ll have 2 mandarins, 100g peas & 100g carrots as snacks for the day.  (163 cal, 38 carb, 6g protein)

Because we have around 9 syns left, we’ll have a 14% glass of red wine with dinner. (175ml)  (175 cal, 3g carb)

Don’t worry about being peckish…..carbs are FREE – go eat that bowl of pasta & sauce,  or super noodles.  (pasta is 522 cal, noodles are 264 cal)

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So, that gives you a total (excluding MOAR pasta snacks) of:

2474 cal for the day if you have the oats

3586 if you have the full English.

Remind me, this diet is supposed to help you LOSE weight, right?

Macro-wise, it’s a little more promising;

196g carb, 58g fat, 147g protein OR 233g carb, 100g fat, 195g protein  sort of,  I suppose.  It depends on a multitude of things: height, weight, age, gender & activity levels.

I can burn through over 3000 calories a day, however that is only IF I cycle a good 10 miles, as well as go & lift weights for an hour.

Look at it this way, most women in the UK  on average, are 5 foot 5 (169cm) & weigh anywhere from 7st 12 to 10st 10 (50-64kg)  If we take the middle of that weight range, around 58kg & work out that they’re a 40 year old office worker that drives everywhere & walks the dog a mile a day.

That gives you a TDEE of 1477 NOT 3586. Broken into macros, as per MFP:

1477 cal,  50% carb – 185g, 20% fat – 33g & 30% protein – 111g which is WAY off the food i selected at random from the lists of free foods that I could.

I’m aware my examples are probably extreme & SW will hopefully teach people portion control & so on, I also know that many people have lost weight using SW – that doesn’t make it right!  Eating at a calorie deficit will help you lose weight, you don’t need points, coloured days, or whatever else some diet guru is trying to tout you with.

Plus, without knowing what a macro is, you’d never be able to work out your daily needs.  That & there’s no paid support group for macro counters…….

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Diagnosis of Slimming World:  NO.

 

*I know people who have lost a lot of weight with SW, those people have added exercise to their lives as well as watching what they eat. I 100% believe that following a standard macro/TDEE would have yielded the same results & forgone some potentially, dangerous eating habits.  This post is to show those flaws & how open to interpretation this “diet” is
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All Aboard The Frustration Train!!

Urgh.  It feels like it wasn’t that long ago I wrote a post similar to this.  Like a perpetual cycle of highs and lows; the highs are amazing & the lows are, frankly, more annoying than an itch on the sole of your foot when you’re wearing boots that have 12 feet of shoe lace & you’re wearing a corset.

A few weeks ago my training programme changed, this one has taken weeks to get used to & I’ve been sticking to weights that I *know* I can handle, not necessarily seeing if I can go higher than before (I like round numbers, doing 5 or 7 of something doesn’t sit right with me & if I can do 8 then I may as well try to do 10)

I had a few days away from the gym last week (for the past few weeks I’ve not had a proper rest day, I’ve always been doing something) so on those days away I spent a fair amount of time reading & trying to find out where I was going wrong.  I’m still a novice with lifting & my PT was away on business so I couldn’t pick his brains.  Anyway, in those days I realised that most of my heavier lifts haven’t changed for MONTHS; I know that training isn’t about consistently getting those PR’s but my thinking was how can I continue to progress & get out of the constant plateau that I’ve been floating on for the last few months (weight loss isn’t a goal, so IDGAF what the scale says)

If there’s one thing I’ve learned over the last year is that when a plateau hits, you need to figure out why & it’s not a simple task (or it isn’t for me) The easiest way to go through it, is – ironically enough, via my weight.  I lost weight when I started cycling to & from the gym, I lost weight when I changed my eating habits, I lost weight when I switched to intermittent fasting. The scale hasn’t changed since er, July I think.

In my reading mission, I read a great post from Chris Mullen about bulking (something I’ve heard about, but never gave it much thought) towards the end of the post he said:

Remember though, TRACK YOUR MACROS, ok you’re bulking so it’s never going to be perfect but you have to have some idea, how else are you going to grow muscle?! You need to eat in a surplus to build muscle.

The severity of this surplus will determine the ratio of muscle mass to fat mass you gain.
You can only build muscle at a certain rate, so a big surplus will inevitably lead to lots of unwanted fat gain. Conversely, too small a surplus and you might stay lean, but your muscle building will be compromised.

Unfortunately, building muscle just isn’t possible naturally when you aren’t eating enough.

You need to spend time consciously building muscle if you wish to look muscular in any way (hence ‘bodybuilding’).

I’ve underlined the part that resonated through my head.

Andy told me I need to watch my eating when I first started cycling & I’ve been eating to maintenance for a long, long time. Maybe I haven’t.  Maybe I’ve thought I was & in actuality I’ve been under-eating….it’s a possibility. It’s a possibility that I’m now exploring, I’ve changed my macros to suit & am hoping that the extra calories gives me that boost to be able to lift more.

I’ll report back after a few weeks & let you know how it’s going!

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How Much Food Is Enough?

There have been multitudes of various different recommendations from WHO, the FDA & governments from around the world about “how much” food you should eat; the food guide pyramid, using your fist & hand as a portion guide, or even Michelle Obama teaching people about the “food plate”, to name but a few.  Obesity in the US started in the 70’s when food needed to be cheaper, so it was bulked out with lots of processed things – which made it taste awful so sugar was added in vast quantities, a seemingly fine idea at the time that people are paying with their lives for now.

As someone who has struggled with food for many years, knowing how much to eat has been a constant battle for me.  However, if training has taught me anything it’s that you really need to pay attention to what you eat; as well as how much of it you eat.  I’ve tweaked my food intake vastly since I began training & my current food relationship is a mostly healthy one. I seem to have adapted a high fat/high protein & low-ish carb kind of thing.  However, a more in-depth post about my current “diet” will be forthcoming in a few weeks.

Mmmmm, bacon. *homer drool*

So, that being said…..with all the vast choices of diets & faddy “lose weight FAST” kind of advertising about, it’s no wonder people often find themselves slipping from one diet to another; losing weight only to put it back on due to restricting certain foods & finally, admit defeat on the “contraband” and gorge until you feel sick & full of guilt.  Usual pattern, no?

I did Dukan 2 years ago, & while I did lose about 2 stone doing it, it didn’t stay off.  As soon as we stopped the crazy restrictiveness (my hubby did it with me) the looseness in my clothes that I’d began to notice started to lessen.  After that I just kinda went back to the “old” way I ate; skipping breakfast, grabbing something sugary/processed for lunch along with crisps or whatever & then devour a whole tub of Ben & Jerry’s every few weeks because well, why not?!  It was only when I started going to the gym & Andy asked me for a food diary of a few days that I found out that what I was eating was mostly awful.

I was given a guide on foods to stick too, if it wasn’t on the list I didn’t eat it.  I experimented and managed to get a decent diet sorted & lost a few pound in the process.  By this time, I was cycling & was advised to recalculate what I was eating as that level of cardio meant I needed to refuel more than what I was used to; or risk going catabolic – a process that essentially uses your muscle to refuel, meaning muscle loss & fat gain NOT something I was aiming for.

I started looking at calculating what I needed, there’s a few TDEE (Total Daily Energy Expenditure) calculators on-line, I used a few then took an average & used that on My Fitness Pal….it wasn’t working though.  I was cycling through my calories….literally. I had MFP paired with a cycling app & the results were, less than promising.  I needed to eat.  This was disconcerting.  Especially as everything in the media tells us to eat less not more, we’re surrounded by people pushing low fat garbage at us; “guaranteeing” to help weight loss….ummm, no. Stop that. My issue was that I felt full,but how? I was eating about 500 calories less than my original TDEE calculation had said, there was no way I could fit more in…..was there?  I heard about macros through xxfitness (an amazing subreddit for ladies) and looked in to that side, instead of calories.

Recently, I learned how to calculate macros myself. they need tweaking from time to time, however this is the formula:

Calculate the calories you need:

Calculating for cutting (Fat loss)

Bodyweight in lbs x 11, 12, 13, or 14

11 if you’re sedentary with little exercise

12 if you’re sedentary & train 2-3 times a week

13 if you’re active & train 3-4 times a week

14 if you’re active & train 4-6 times a week, or more.

Then, from that you can work out your own macros:

Protein:

Take your weight in lb & that’s how many grams you should eat

Fat:

Ideally, you should aim for 0.3 to 0.6 grams of fat per pound of weight.

Carbohydrates:

Take your daily protein & multiply by 4. This is because there are 4 calories per gram of protein. Then multiply fat by 9, as there are 9 calories of fat per gram.

Add the numbers together & minus your calorie intake to get total carbs.

 Using this helped me work out how much of each macro I needed, so now when I prep for the week I can gauge how much of each macro I need per meal.  They’re not hard & fast rules though & you require a “delicate balance” so you don’t begin to panic if you’re over or under on a macro.

Since starting training & being more aware of food I’ve lost 17kg (2st 6lb, or 37lb) however have gained strength.  My total inch loss is around 12″, oh & my body fat percentage has gone from 35% to around 20%. It has taken me months of trying various different eating plans to find something that I’m happy with & what works for me – everyone is different & what is working for me, may not necessarily work for you, however a good place to start is knowing how many macros you need!


I Baked……

One thing that I’m learning is that some recipes work really, really well & others have honestly made me question if the original recipe maker actually has taste buds. This week I’ve thrown away things that flopped, badly.  One or two were because the protein shake mix I had, I cannot really abide the taste in some things but it’s worked in other things; hence the reason I’ve not thrown it out.

Also, the mix being so different to normal cake mixes and things they can be incredibly drying, perhaps next time I need to adjust my timings.  I have a fan oven, so maybe I need to take that in to consideration.

I was gonna share everything I’ve made, however I’ve since changed my mind and am going to share with you what is, so far my favourite bake…..CARROT CAKE!  I wanna say who doesn’t like carrot cake?! However I know people that don’t, so I won’t 😛

I mean, look at that?!  Doesn’t it look incredible?

I’ve been searching for a few weeks now for a carrot cake recipe that genuinely excited me to try & I found one on TrainEatGain, this is what the recipe looks like:

Cupcake Ingredients:

  • 1 cup Oat Flour (I just grind regular oats in the food processor)
  • 2 scoops vanilla flavoured Whey Protein
  • 1/4 cup Egg Whites (approx. 3 large egg whites)
  • 120g greek yoghurt
  • 1/4 cup Almond Milk
  • 1 Tbsp Coconut Flour
  • 2-3 Carrots
  • 2-3 Tbsp Agave Nectar
    (adjust this to your own sweet tooth)
  • 2 tsp Cinnamon
  • 1 tsp Baking Powder
  • Walnuts (optional)

I used chopped up pecans instead of walnuts, and the carrots I had were huge so I only used one & my frosting was cream cheese, cinnamon & some vanilla extract.

Macros for each cupcake is 221 calories, 15g protein, 19g carb & 9g fat.

I threw everything into a bowl, grated my carrot & chucked that in too, then spooned the mix in to silicone cupcake cases & baked for about 25 minutes at 180 degrees (350F I think that is)

I kept the frosting in a tub in the fridge & only added it to the cupcake when they were ready to be eaten.  One of the PT’s at the gym got 4 of them, they’re quite hard to share though!