Calorie Deficits and Frustrating Instagram Posts

Heidi and a burger

I promise you that this isn’t meal 3- 6 for Heidi.


For as long as I have been involved in fitness, I have noticed trends.  Fitness seems to have trends just like designer clothes.  Lately, the newest trend seems to be “look how much BS I can eat and how I can sit on the couch all day and still get shredded AF” as opposed to the previous “I went six years without a cheat meal”.  I don’t know where how this evolved.  I know that ever since flexible dieting has come to the forefront, one of the downsides is that it seems cool to eat low-quality foods.  It is even cooler to post your ridiculously high macros filled with low-quality foods.  To be the absolute coolest, you will do both of these things without a trace of cardio.  Then, you will be respected and envied by your peers and your counterparts who do need to be low- cal plus cardio to shed pounds will be wallowing in their sorrows.  If only they knew, though! They too could eat how you eat if they would reverse diet properly or stopped doing the starvation diet their current coach gave them (obvi their coach doesn’t know ANYTHING because if they went to your coach, they would be eating AT LEAST 3 times as much!)


Ok, time for a little truth in the matter.  It is easier to maintain than it is to actively lose body fat.  To lose 2 pounds per week, you need to make a deficit of 7000 calories.  That is a lot of food to eat if you are at maintenance.  Read: the ability to fit in those low-calorie foods if you wish without taking a huge chunk out of your macros.  Besides that, when you have more lean tissue, you naturally will have a higher amount of calories for maintenance than your equal weight counterpart who has never lifted before in his/ her life.  (More reason to pick up the dumbbells).  When you see your favorite IG celebrity housing donuts, ice cream, Oreos, pop tarts, and staying lean- keep in mind that those people do not need to shed body fat.  They also have a great deal of lean mass, and likely are burning more calories per day even if they aren’t doing plain Jane steady state cardio (and might be posting old photos but that is neither here nor there).


Another factor to take into consideration: some jobs require microscopic calorie expenditure versus others.  If IG queen is waitressing on the side, on her feet all day chasing around 2-year-old triplets, then she is burning much more than you are at your 9- 5 desk job PLUS she has more lean body mass PLUS she isn’t actively trying to shed more body fat.   You see where I’m going with this…


I am sensitive to this trend since I am a coach, well actually since I am a female probably, and I see, first hand, that not everyone responds as they hope to reverse dieting or to shedding body fat.  Some bodies are super stubborn.  There are some individuals who were dealt the short end of the stick with metabolism- yes genetics DO matter- and no matter how hard they try to boost that thing it only increases at molasses speed.  Alternatively, it can take some individuals going incredibly low on macros to get their desired results and contrary to popular belief it is ok for them to do so in the short term.


Another common blunder in fat loss is that many ignore the science of being in a calorie deficit to lose weight.  The good ole energy balance equation is the single most important factor in losing weight. You must manipulate this equation to show a deficit to lose body fat.

Energy In – Energy Out = Change in Body Stores (Weight)1,2

Side note: in the equation- please be careful what you determine as energy out.  If you are scorching 800 calories at your boot camp each day and you are eating at a 500 calorie deficit, you are losing about 2 pounds per week.  If you are not, then you just are not at that kind of deficit (sorry FitBit)


You can eat 100 percent wholesome, natural, organic, healthy, high-quality foods and still GAIN weight- or not lose weight.  I feel horrible for people who say “my diet is perfect, I changed my whole life to eat better, I missed out on every social event this YEAR and I haven’t lost an ounce!”  If you are not in a calorie deficit, it doesn’t matter what you are eating (or if you are a homebody or not).  Have you heard of the “Twinkie Diet”? The original experiment when Mark Haub ate only Twinkies, other snack foods, Doritos and the like and lost weight? (Here’s a little article about it if you missed out) Yeah, that happened.


Bottom line: calories count, and there are no magic foods.


Being in a deficit will take effort.  It may look different for everyone.  As I always say, don’t compare.  Stay your course.  You never know what is going on behind closed doors, and social media is everyone’s highlight reel.  If you take the time to get to the root of the problem (unfortunately sometimes that means crunching some numbers), you can eliminate the frustration of dieting without results.  If you did the math and something else is missing, you might want to glance over my blog HERE about being honest with yourself to make sure you can eliminate that fact as well.


Creating a deficit- barring any medical condition- and ruling out common mistakes with being honest with yourself in your fitness endeavors, you will be sure to see some serious results (happy dance!)