It’s Wednesday! And I think I’ll try to be consistent about sharing my “What I’m eating Wednesday” on my blog so I’ve got somewhere to fit all the details. But first, here’s the latest.
Switching Up my macros!
If you’ve followed my instagram closely, you might know I’ve recently decided to carb cycle. And maybe more importantly for me right now, set my numbers a little lower overall as well. I’ve been spinning my wheels for the last couple of months wondering why I can’t see progress and finally decided that EVEN THOUGH it’s much more fun for people to hear that you’re having all sorts of success AND eating tons of food… this just might be what I need to do if I want to remind my body how to burn fat.
I’m sure it doesn’t work that way. It’s not some forgetful mom like me, I know. But it makes sense in my brain. Don’t quote me. xo
Anyway… for the last couple of months I’ve been eating at around 170c/40f/140p 1618 calories… with some sloppy tracking here and there and one VERY SLOPPY trip. But overall I truly believed those numbers, even with some overages here and there, should work!!! But I’m finally humbling myself and realizing, the proof is in the pudding. It’s not working. So I reached out to Madeline of “Madeline Moves”, who I know does some carb cycling (and talks about it on this post) with her clients and asked what she would recommend I do.
Here’s my new plan to carb cycle:
- Three low carb days 130c/40f/140p 1440 cal
- Followed by one high carb day 190c/40f/140p 1680 cal
- She mentioned I could probably raise my fats a tiny bit too and have success but I don’t have plans to quite yet.
But here’s the full truth: I’m so sick of dragging this out so long, and right now I’m feeling pumped, so I’ve done four low carb days in a row and haven’t wanted to take a high carb day just yet. I’d like to feel like I’ve got this under control first. That might not be good advise for anyone else! If numbers are so low that they lead to binging… that’s not a recipe for success. But for me, I’ll take a high carb day when I’m ready.
I do NOT plan at staying at this calorie range forever… or even for very long! I plan to give it about six weeks and reassess. After that my goal will definitely be to reverse my calories back up to about 2300. Unless I realize I need to top short because I’m starting to gain.
What is Carb Cycling?
Honestly, I’ve ignored this concept for a while. I hated the idea of dreading some days more than others. It just seemed like I’d be teasing myself! Not to mention of course counting macros was time intensive enough in the beginning, I wasn’t looking to complicate it more. BUT– I was also having success without it.
HA! Suddenly it’s looking interesting.
The quick version of carb cycling is this: it’s a dietary approach where you manipulate carb intake depending on goals and other variables. Typically you might have a few low carb days, a couple of moderate carb days, and a couple of high carb days in a week. The low carb days can help your body to burn fat, while the high carb days can restore glycogen levels and improve performance at the gym for building muscle. From what I’ve read, it can be a good way to get over a plateau, without technically having to reduce calories overall. Lots of resources suggest that on low carb days, you’d increase fats. But that’s not what I’ll be doing.
Here’s a pretty simple article about carb cycling and the science behind it.
What I’m eating Wednesday
On to what I’m eating! The good news is… I figured this might be helpful since a lot of you who are trying to cut, have numbers closer to these! Since I’m 5’10, I think my intake can generally be a little higher than some. So let’s say this is for you. I’m hungry for YOU. xo (I’m lost without sarcastic emojis!)
– Breakfast/Pre-workout 15.9c/3.3f/7.8p 124cal
- Plain rice cake with low fat cottage cheese, Waldenfarms maple walnut syrup, 15-20 g fruit (bananas today), 3 grams Purely Elizabeth granola (my all time fave), 3 grams peanut butter drizzle (I leave my Kirkland natural in the pantry instead of the fridge), and a sprinkle of kosher salt and cinnamon. This is a major staple for me. It’s small, YES. Just enough to get me through the gym without burning through too many macros before I REALLY want them.
– Lunch: 36.7c/3.3f/31.9p 318cal
- My staple turkey crunch wrap, always on the Cut Da Carb bread because the macros and taste CANNOT be beat. (This is not an affiliate link, I don’t make any money if you buy them but I do have a one-time code for 10% off of a 24-pack. Use “lillie10”). But the Joseph’s lavash work great too. (Affiliate Link). Especially if you find them at your Walmart for cheap. They just don’t get quite as crispy and will cost you a bit more of your protein.
- Lately I’ve just been LOVING my red onions pickled, I just keep a jar in the fridge all the time. They’re SOOOO easy. I’ve also been in to adding a little chopped sweet bell pepper, avocado if I can spare a few fat, and then some thin sliced mango or pear. Obviously you can stuff in whatever your heart desires. And I really do mix it up sometimes but I just ALWAYS seem to come back to this basic combo. I feel like everything else I try, requires a little more fat or carbs to come together and never beats this combo for me. It’s so big and satisfying and I’m officially and genuinely OBSESSED.
– Afternoon Snack: 25c/14f/18p 298cal
- G2G bar! You know they don’t get old for me. And surprisingly even though my numbers are lower, I’ve become a pro in watching fats, so I don’t actually feel like I run out of them… and that’s the only struggle with this HEAVENLY afternoon treat. They honestly quench my need for a giant cookie out of my freezer (which is what I used to have in the afternoon pre-macros- ha- true story.) I swear it’s every bit as delicious and satisfying to me. Kind of nothing like a protein bar to me… more like a dense no-bake cookie situation. And while the fats at 14 are CLOSE to a cookie, the carbs are about HALF at 25 grams.
*If you love them like me- or want to give them a try… you can use my affiliate link and code “Lillie” to save 20% right here.
– Dinner 14.7c/8.2f/36.1p 289cal
- A pile of arugula (not in the photo) next to half of this pan (not the <1/4th you see me cutting into) or about 365 grams- It’s a shredded chicken enchilada spaghetti squash bake that I’m experimenting with. So good! And a huge portion is just 11.2c/8.2f/33.8p and 265 calories. Trying to get it just right for my eBook! Using leftover chipotle lime instant pot chicken for it tonight. But if you’re looking for something similar with INSANE MACROS… check out this Creamy Cauliflower Spaghetti Squash Casserole.
– Dessert: 26.5c/11.5f/37.1p 359cal
- Chunky Peanut Butter Chocolate Protein Shake. You can definitely keep these numbers lower, the shake alone is like ten carbs… but I’m loving a good 15 grams of powdered peanut butter and some whipped cream, granola, and a little Cocoa Bar in a Jar these days! Find all the details on the post.
Below is my food diary from My Fitness Pal. I was going to clear out the top for the sake of this post, but the truth is, I love to pre-log my day but leave a tiny bit of wiggle room. So I can decide as the day progresses if I want to add more turkey at lunch or more chicken at dinner… a rice cake after the gym when I planned to skip a snack… or a little more mango in my wrap etc. I could EASILY add more protein powder to my dessert and enjoy a few extra grams of granola. If I choose something that takes me negative a couple of fat, I’ll just make a point to leave about twice that in carbs.
(I actually decided to switch mango for pear and add a little avocado after I wrote this, so that took me over a couple of fat. No biggie. And worth it… this may have been my best crunch wrap ever. seriously.)
A few more pro-tips for nailing your day:
- I absolutely have each of these meals saved in my app. So when I plan my day… I log meals I know I love! I can always make adjustments from there. Adding or subtracting meats or fats or expendable carbs until I hit my goals at the top.
- The goals up top are an option if you have the premium upgrade on MFP. It’s not necessary, but I’ll admit I’ve had it since just after I started macros and I could never go back! I just think it makes it so much easier to pre-log your day if your goal is to really nail it.
- If you’re at the beginning, try and keep your proteins SUPER lean… in my opinion, it’s not worth working in full fat ground turkey, or any red meats really… I’d rather have better control over getting in my protein without it bringing on a bunch of fat. Same with sweet pre-made meat options. Keeping it simple with chicken, lean pork, and super lean ground turkey will make it so much easier to hit your protein without going over in fats.
- Also keeping your proteins SEPARATE will help so much. If you’re trying too many one-dish meals while your carbs are low and you’re trying to figure out macros.. it’s going to be much harder to manipulate the macronutrients you need more or less of.
Below is my diary!
Lillie, Did you ever post/perfect the recipe for chicken enchilada spaghetti squash bake that you were experimenting with?!
Yes! Well perfected it… but it’s coming in the eBook!
I’d love a post sometime on how you handle going to friends/families homes for a meal? One of the biggest things I struggled with when counting macros was that it made me not want to do social things that much. Or I’d always pack my own food which looked weird and took away some of the joy. Is your family naturally just homebody’s that don’t do that a lot? Or do you just own that you are going to count macros even at other peoples homes? Hope this makes sense! Thank you
Good question! And maybe I’ll do a more thorough post about it… but the short version, I’ll be honest, we used to do a lot more dinners with friends when our kids were younger but naturally that just doesn’t happen as much in our current phase — not sure why but it was before macros.. we still go out a lot, and certainly we wouldn’t turn down a dinner invite. But they’re rare enough at someone’s house that I’m just gonna do my best. If possible, I’ll offer to bring a salad so I know I can make it super clean or deconstructed so I can fill my plate with salad that won’t cost much. Then I can eat the whole time and take part but just take a little of dinner if it’s something super hard to fit like pizza or ribs or lasagna – ha. But if I get lucky and there’s a lean protein, I’ll just do my best to estimate that and the salad… Long story short- I’d just make the best and lightest choices I can there, without being weird about it or sitting with no food in front of me, and then estimate my logging as well as I can. Overall, those rare occasions won’t slow your progress really at all, unless you see them as a chance to flip the switch and eat three rolls and a few cookies. (Been there!)
I’ve been looking for your recipe for that chicken enchilada spaghetti squash bake….Are you ready to share it yet? Your website has been so helpful in my journey to fuel my body better. Thanks for sharing your stuff!
sidenote: you look hot! don’t be so hard on yourself. Women kill to have bodies like yours!
Oh I’m sorry I’m so late to respond to this! Thanks! xo And I’m so sorry I teased with that enchilada bake.. that one is going in my cook book but I hope to finish it in January!
Thanks for sharing your height. From seeing you on Instagram I would have not thought that and with how I see you on there – super skinny- it’s nice to realize you could eat more than someone 5’2 lol.
Love that your sharing this journey! You are amazing and one of my favorite people to follow because your real!
Ha! I’ve caught from a few comments that people can’t tell how tall I am. I have this anxiety that I’ll meet people in real life and they’ll think I’m a giant compared to what they picture. Ha. But for sure, I’ve learned with macros it does make a difference in how much food our bodies can use! Not fair.
Have you ever shared your weight? I have never used my height to set my macros. But I do use my weight and my body fat percentage, always.
My numbers are similar to your pre-carb cycling numbers when I’m in a cut, and there are times when I literally want to hide in the pantry with peanut butter and pretend it doesn’t count lol.
Yes! I’m an open book. SOrry I’m just getting to this! I’m 140 today… and that was my average for the last few years before macros… but I got down to 130 with macros… than settled at a more muscular 135 and loved it. Crept up to 140 then 144 and I don’t even know how. Just over time. So I’ve been trying to shed just a few .. wanted 135 but have settled on just holding 140 again with weight training etc. Crossing fingers!
1. You’re 5’10”????
2. I have been wondering about your lean pork. I tried to buy what the 2-pack of pork loin you mentioned at Costco (couldn’t find it…) and then cut all the fat off my pork and made your instant pot carnitas for Banh mi and tacos…but I just log it in as “Pork loin roast” on MFP. How do I log the right pork? In other words, I have no idea how much fat my pork has and how to get less or more in real life and on MFP.
SHoot I’m so late to this, so sorry! I wonder if your Costco doesn’t carry the tenderloin?? I would just log the pork you bought by scanning the barcode if possible.. if not, search the name of it and find one with nutrition facts that match the label of the one you bought. And you can usually find pork tenderloin at any normal store, or walmart etc.. It’s just the leanest cut… But what you bought is probably the Pork Loin which is only a tiny bit higher in fat,… as long as you didn’t get pork butt (or shoulder) which is way higher in fat (and yummy of course.)..:)