How To Make Macros Work for You

I was talking with a petite girl on Insta and she shared how she was has been tracking her macros for a few months but she was becoming frustrated because nothing was happening.

And she thought “Macros doesn’t work for me.

 She was logging her foods each day – all of which were totally healthy and nutritious – with some occasional treats here and there. But nonetheless, it all looked really good from her perspective. But her body wasn’t changing. I asked her a few questions about how she was tracking her foods, and that is where the issue came to light. 

Her problem was a typical one many people have, and today I am going to share with you what it is and how to avoid it, as well as two other common mistakes with macro counting and what to do in order to really see results! 

Keep on reading to learn how to do the same…  

When you start counting macros but you’re body still isn’t changing, there are generally 3 mistakes I find when I do a review of someone’s food log.  

If you feel that your macros aren’t working for you either… take the time to check for these 3 mistakes listed below and determine if one of them might be your issue. Then block some time to fix it and be sure to track the results and changes after you make the fixes. That way you will know if they worked! 

MISTAKE ONE.
Are your macros even right for you??

The first thing that you need to make sure is that your macros are right for you. Often this may be the #1 problem…you’re eating too little, too much, or not enough of the right stuff. 

Figuring this out can be challenging. You may need to do some research. Or enlist the help of a coach to properly access. You can use a online macro calculator to find your maintenance (listen to Kier Here Podcast Episode 40 for to learn why petites shouldn’t go in a deficit right away), or you can track to find your maintenance first (episode 22) .

There’s a bunch of different ways to go about find them but it always depends on a number of factors including how tall you are, your body weight/fat, your activity level, hormones, age, sleep, stress, etc…. 

But how do you know if they are RIGHT

The million dollar question.  

You’ll want to start your macros at a point where you don’t feel too hungry but you don’t feel super stuffed either. Somewhere in the middle. This is your maintenance level or rather, your baseline macro requirements. Later on, you’ll want to slowly manipulate those numbers so that you are in a deficit to elicit change. But for now, you gotta start where you’re at. 

If you start your macros too low below what you need you’re gonna end up feeling hungry, your body is gonna go in ‘starvation mode’ and it’s gonna hang on to every ounce it’s got to protect your organs (ie, no fat loss). Likewise, if you’re macros are set too high you’ll likely see the scale go up. Neither of which, you want. 

Oh and p.s. Your macros should be to a specific number of grams, NOT to a percentage. Reaching your macro percentages doesn’t mean you’ll have the right number of calories. But when you reach your macro grams, your calories will also be where they need to be.   

MISTAKE TWO.

Do the food you enter in your log have the correct macros??

This is generally mistake #2 – the foods you are entering in your log have incorrect macros. They are skewed or inaccurate or it shows only the calories but no macros. 

This was the issue with one of my clients. She was having plenty of carbs throughout the day but by the time she got to dinner she still had so many carbs left so she would eat a carb heavy dinner. I showed her that her Ezekiel bread entry was inaccurate because it showed 12g carbs when her 2 slices were really 30g carbs. When she fixed that, she was way over on her carbs at the end of the day. And let me say this… she is not the first person I have seen this with. It is sooooo common. 

Rule #1 of macro counting>>> Log accurately! Here are some tips:

  • Use the bar code scanning feature to scan your products (be sure to check that they match up because sometimes that happens too)
  • Use the verified foods (with the checkmarks) when able. If you are unable to use verified foods
  • Measure your foods with a food scale before you eat them. Measuring cups/spoons are super inaccurate due to human error.  I like to measure [almost] everything in grams on my food scale. I believe it’s way more accurate than ounces.
  • Log your foods in the cooked form if you measure them in the cooked form. For example, raw meat always weighs more than cooked meat. If you’re measuring your meat cooked, make sure you are finding a cooked entry. If you are having chicken, don’t search ‘chicken breast’…. search ‘grilled chicken breast.’ I’ll do you one better… search ‘grilled chicken breast grams’ and you’ll get an entry with a serving size in grams so that you can measure more accurately 
  • Change the serving size when applicable. If the serving size of oats is 1/2, you can absolutely use 2/3 cup and then adjust the serving size. 
  • Log each food item individually. Example: If you’re eating a turkey sandwich don’t search ‘turkey sandwich’. Instead log the type of bread, the brand of turkey breast, and what ever else was on it including the lettuce, tomato, onion, mustard and mayo. It all counts!
  •  Log everything! from your food to condiments to drinks and supplements. You might be surprised where your macros are hangin out. 

MISTAKE THREE.
Are you planning your meals BEFORE you eat them?

Okay THIS one is generally the mistake people do not realize really makes the difference. Just because you track macros doesn’t mean you’re COUNTING macros. 

Tracking as you go is just data collection.  

PLANNING in advance is winning the game.

Are you finding yourself with a weird amount of macros left at the end of the day? or way over on one macro but under on others? This is proof you’re not planning in advance.  Logging after you eat is like shooting in the dark, hopping you reach your target…. ain’t gonna happen, sister. 

PRO TIP – Plan your day of meals to meet your macros before it even starts. 

I log all the food I’m gonna have over the next day or 3 days and adjust the serving sizes to meet my macros for each day. Then ALL I have to do is just follow what I planned. No more thinking needed. 

Wanna know exactly how I do it?

Watch this YouTube video series to get allllllll the details from start to finish!
[Be sure to hit the subscribe button!]

Overcoming these three mistakes with your macros will help you become consistent with macros. Then you can begin to slightly adjusting your macros to elicit change in your body so that you can see and feel the fat shedding off your body. 

And if you need help setting & adjusting this numbers for realz, you know where to find me

Funsized Approved Condiments

Okay sooo, once upon a time, I was coaching one of my petite clients and she seemed to be following everything I had set for her but her body wasn’t really changing and I was like okayyy there’s either something she’s not telling me OR there’s something she doesn’t know is even happening. And of course, I was right on the money.

Before sending her to go get her hormones and thyroid check I asked her to do this one thing. I asked her to snap a picture of all her meals and send them to me before she ate them.

And so she did. And what I saw was that she added a condiment or a sauce to every meal but she wasn’t logging it in myfitnesspal because she didn’t think it was a big deal.

And you know what? every once in a while, those little things are okay but if you’re adding things at every meal, it’s going to add up.

And when I asked her what brand of bbq sauce and what branch of mayo she was having, I immediately found the answer as to why her body wasn’t changing. She was adding an average of 50 cal to 5 of her meals…. Which put her 250 calories over what I had set for her and what she told me she was eating. Most people would think so what? 250 calories but that’s huge for a petite girl who’s trying to lose weight. We don’t have a large amount of calories to take in as it is so anything over that amount is probably going to hinder our progress.

So once I figured this out and showed her WHY those things were hindering her success and had her remove some and make substitutions for others, guess what happened? Her body started to change.  

To bring awareness to what those condiments were doing, what I had her do was scan the label and add each one of those condiments to her food log(MyFitnessPal). Since she had not measured them in the past, I asked her to be honest about how much she thought she was having and so when she saw that her carbs and fats were way over what her macro targets were, she was like OMGGG I didn’t even realize they would add up that much. So If you’ve never taken a look at the nutrition label on some of your favorite condiments, I encourage you to do so now. 

And if your goal is to shed body fat AND you are petite (under 5’3″), I encourage you to avoid or seriously minimize these traditional condiments. You may have used these things in the past without measuring or tracking but that all stops now because every thing counts towards your total daily macros.

Now I know you’re thinking “OMG Kier is such a food nazi! How am I supposed to enjoy what I’m eating if I can’t add condiments or sauce!” And I’m not saying you can’t. I’m saying you should make some smarter swaps AND definitely measure and count the extras in your macros.

So let’s talk about those smarter swaps. First off, there are a lot of health brands out there you can find online or in health food stores who claim they are organic and blah blah blah but just because something organic or vegan or keto or what every else, doesn’t mean that the macros are good and doesn’t always mean that the ingredients are good. 

Don’t be fooled by good marketing. It used to happen to me all the time but now I know exactly how to determine if something is worth my while or not. It all comes back to that nutrition label. 

I usually look at the ingredients label first and if oil or sugar is in the first few ingredients, I pretty much never put it in my cart. I’m looking for a low list of ingredients that I can actually pronounce because that tells me its natural and not full of chemicals.

I usually also stay away from dairy so anything like milk solids or cheese is typically out. Then I look at the macros and I’m looking for those to be as low as possible. If I see something over 8g fat/carbs/sugar it’s usually a no go. But of course that’s all relative to the serving size. Like if there’s 8g sugar in a tsp, no way but it there’s 8g of sugar in 1/2 a cup, okay maybe because I can use 1/4 cup and get half the sugar and be fine. So it really all depends on those 3 things: ingredients, macros and serving size. 

And then… 

Just because it’s low on macros doesn’t mean I can have unlimited amounts.

I’m still going to measure it out AND count it towards my macros. I prefer to measure it in grams rather than measuring spoons because honestly, it’s so easy to make it a heaping tbsp rather than a perfect one and a heaping tbsp will put you over a few grams. WHICH TOTALLY MATTERS because…

Petites have limited room for error.

Since every gram of macro matters for petites, we really have to be vigilant about tracking the things that might not seem like such a big deal to other people.

And honestly, I dunno about you but I much much much rather get my carbs and fats from whole foods that I can actually chew and have an abundance of (like the avocado or fruit you see in the last two photos).

Just remember, the more volume you have, the fuller you’ll feel. Condiments and sauces can be super calorie dense so just be aware!

So in summary, there are 3 things I want you to do when choosing condiments 

  1. Read nutrition labels and decide if the macros/calories are worth including in your total daily requirement.
  2. When finding better alternatives, look at the ingredients, macros and serving sizes on the nutrition label.
  3. Measure and log whatever you use.

Happy eating! And as always… have FUN!

Petite MISTAKE: Inconsistent Steps

The importance of a wearing step tracker is all about awareness.  When you wear one and you monitor your activity, it shows you how active or inactive you are.

Most of us think we are active, until we see start using step counter and we see how far off that 10k really is. And I’ll get to how many steps you should really be taking in just a bit but first I wanna tell you a little story… 

I remember when I first started wearing my fitbit charge and found that my steps on the days that I would work as a personal trainer in a gym were always way higher than then days I was off. And what’s worse, was I found my steps were crazy crazy low the days I would work as a substitute teacher. [There’s a fun fact for you. I was actually working 3 part time jobs at the time. The 3rd was painting with a twist and on those days I was pretty active as well.  But back to subbing….] You would think that being in a school, standing in front of a classroom full of kids and monitoring them that you were constantly on your feet – especially because at the end of the day I felt so exhausted – but I would come home from a 7 hour day having walking only 3000 steps and sometimes even less. Before wearing a watch, I would come home and veg out on the couch thinking I deserve this after a long day but that’s probably the worst thing I could have done.

That all stopped when I started wearing my Fitbit because it would actually encourage me to try to move around more during the subbing days. And I found that by coming home and going for a walk, not only did I get my steps up, but my energy levels picked up and I felt capable of finishing out the day productively rather than just watching netflix for 6 hours.

And I know most of my clients who have never worn a step tracker have this same amount of shock when they first start monitoring their activity. It just brings this whole new level of self-awareness about how active you really are.

Now the awareness is great. But it’s what you do with that information that matters. You see most people who wear a step tracker because it’s the trending thing to do, tend to not do much with this information. They look at and say “oh cool, I did 9k today” or “oh nice, I did 16k on Saturday, so now it okay that I only hit 4k today.” All that is is collecting data. Which is a great first start to wearing a step tracker, but here’s where you can become the advanced step tracking rockstar you should be…..

It all comes down to consistency. Just like counting macros, just like working out, just like drinking water and taking your supplements and everything else in the health and fitness realm, your steps should be consistent. The reason for this is super simple. Having a consistent amount of steps ensures you have a consistent calorie burn throughout your week or months and so on.

When your steps are consistent, it’s much easier to manipulate the pieces of the weight loss or muscle building puzzle to initiate further response from the body. I think the easiest way to understand this is the same way you understand water intake. If you drink a lot of water one day you might feel water heavy and then if you don’t drink much they next day you’ll feel dehydrated. And if you keep this up and down cycle, you feel different each day. But if you were to drink a consistent amount of water for a few days, you’d feel very much the same all week right?

It’s the same with steps, if you take a lot one day, your step tracker will even show your calorie burn was higher than the day before in which you only took half the amount of steps. Whereas if your steps were consistent throughout the week you’d have a more even amount of constant calorie burn over the course of your days. Which makes your body almost like a well working machine.

When you pair that with a consistent calorie intake, you’re much more likely to be in the correct energy balance in which you could manipulate to be either a deficit, maintenance, or surplus. It’s much easier to manipulate these things when everything like steps and water at a constant and consistent level. When your calorie intake and your calorie output and your water and your supplement and so on are so sporadic and all over the place, it’s so much harder to understand what’s causing hurdles or what’s causing success. But when you have control over them, you become the one in control of your body -and that’s where I want you and all my clients to be. 

So when I coach my clients, the first things I have them do is get consistent with these puzzle pieces – the macros, the water, supplements, steps, workouts. And what often happens is it takes them quite a while to fall into the groove. And that’s okay. Having everything consistent takes effort but the more you try, the better and easier it gets. And once everything becomes consistent then I can manipulate the other pieces to push them in the direction they want to go.

But when it comes to steps, I always start them at a realistic number. See if they came to me only having walked 3k steps per day, asking them to do 10k per day like the standard recommendation is going to feel so hard and impossible and when it feels impossible, they are goin to get discouraged and most likely feel like this program is too hard and probably give up before we even get anywhere. I don’t want that to happen because that looks bad for both of us. Instead, I set them up at a challenging but achievable # of steps. In this particular example this client would start at 5-6k steps per day. What this does is increases her calorie expenditure with still room to grow. Rather than if she just started at 10k and stayed there, her body would respond really quickly and then plateau forever.

We don’t want that. We want small changes overtime to keep yielding results. SOOO when she can easily hit 5-6k per day which usually takes 2-3 weeks for most people who are just getting started with this kind of routine, then we can increase her steps a little more. I usually jump up about 1k steps which is like an addition 10 min of walking per day which again is a little bit more challenging but totally achievable. Then I keep progressing clients this way, a little bit more every few weeks. But they have to be consistently reaching their goal before I advance them. 

So for you, if you want to know how many steps YOU should be taking I encourage you to try this approach instead of reaching for that unrealistic 10k right off the bat. Now if you’re a superstar and you’re already averaging 12k per day. GO YOU! but let’s just double check. Are you consistently reach 12k everyday? or is it some 9s, some 15s and kinda scattered in between? If so, I want you to try getting as close to you can to 12 every day.

IF you are really close to 12k every day GO YOU FOR REALS! Now try increasing by 1k.

The goal isn’t to keep increasing until you’re at 26k per day. that’s super insane. Honestly, once my clients get to 16k or so, I try to ween them back down while keeping their calories where they are at. The goal is to be at a challenging amount of steps for you! And that varies depending on what stage of life you are in. Maybe you are like me who used to work a very physically demanding job where you were at 16k per day but now working from home at a desk most of the day, 11k is perfectly challenging enough for now. It really all depends on you.

I will say that my most successful petite clients move around a lot each day. Not only do they complete their 30-60 min workouts throughout the week, but they are moving all day long. I’m not talking about a 10-mile hike everyday. But just getting up from your work desk periodically to get water or coffee, standing up when you’re on the phone (instead of sitting on the couch), and parking furthest from the store entrance. You’ll find that all of these things increase your step count. And every step counts towards the overall lean petite product.

So if you’re truly trying to alter your body composition, you definitely don’t want to be that person who’s like “oh I average 12k per day but some days you’re hitting 4k and others 18k.” It’s so inconsistent! And again, when you’re trying to lose or gain weight, that inconsistency makes it much harder to manipulate anything to get your body to change. 

But what if you go over? Okay there’s nothing wrong with having some extra steps some days but if you find yourself constantly going way over then maybe it’s time to increase your goal. If it’s just a few random days, give yourself the reward of chilling out on those days.  For example, every Sunday my boyfriend and I go on a hike. We usually get anywhere from 8-10k steps before 9am. So on these days, I actually take the rest of the day really easy because I know I’ll easily hit my 11k just by moving around the house like I normally do. I owe myself that rest for how much I do throughout the week and I don’t feel guilty for it because I already met my step goal. But I will also say, it’s not ideal to do everyday like this. And that’s because you want a consistent calorie burn throughout most of your days – especially as a petite – and besides, it helps keep your energy levels up when you’re moving throughout the day. I know you know what I’m talking about because I always feel way more exhausted on the days that I still around inside. [That’s why I could never live in a cold snowy climate. This girl NEEDS TO MOVE! It’s honestly when I feel most creative and I have a clear mind. I take a walk once or twice a day because it helps me think or I listen to a podcast because it helps me learn and be more creative.] 

As far as step trackers go, I’m obsessed with my fitbit Versa. It looks very much like an apple watch and has some apps without being a full on phone on my wrist. Some of my clients love their apple watches but I’m just not there yet. Maybe one day. In my opinion, these are both the most accurate options. Plus they sync with my funsized program app so it just makes it easier for the both of us to use one of those brands. Speaking of my program, I do have an app to deliver my clients unique macros and training program and everything else that comes along in my coaching. You can check it all out on my website at HERE and be sure to fill out the application there so we can hop on a phone call to see if we’re a great fit to work together. 

P.S. if you have a Fitbit or Apple watch, I suggest you turn the movement reminders on! Every hour your watch will buzz and remind you how many steps you need to take that hour. I love this feature because it’s an accountability partner on your wrist! Just imagine me in your ear next time it buzzes saying “go get your funsized steps!

Happy Stepping!

6 Healthy Habits of A Lean Petite

1. Lifts Weights

The key to a petite’s metabolism is muscle. The more muscle, the faster her metabolism, the more food she can eat without gaining fat. How do you get more muscle? You gotta lift weights but more importantly, you gotta lift HEAVY (relative to your height, of course) . The nice thing is, since we’re so short there’s really only so much weight that we can safely lift. I used the example of biceps curls on the last episode about how I won’t ever need more than 20lbs and I’ve been lifting for years. Whereas my boyfriend needs at least 35lbs to put enough tension on his muscles. It also holds true for squats. You’re considered an advance lifter if you can squat your bodyweight with good form. So for most of us that’s in the low 100s which isn’t really that much for a taller person. That’s like their warmup but for us its highly effective. That doesn’t make it easier for us since its all relative but it does mean that we have our own standards.

2. Counts Macros

Since petites have a smaller calorie requirement than taller people, every calorie matters but more specifically – where our calories come matters most. And our calories come from macros. You might already know that 1g of protein is 4 calories, 1 gram of carb is 4 calories and 1 gram of fat is 9 calories. Well By counting macronutrients to meet your calories you’ll be aiming to reach a balance of all 3 nutrients you within your calorie requirement. ⁠When your macros are balanced, you’ll feel well-fueled for your workouts, have energy throughout the day and you’ll just feel more satisfied after each meal you eat. Rather than if your calories were made up with mostly carbs, you woudn’t feel so great.

3. Practices Volume Eating

Hunger is the reason most of us can’t stick with a diet. Filling your plate with lots of low-calorie/high-nutrient foods (as opposed to high-calorie foods), will help you feel like you’re eating a ton of food and will keep you fuller for longer. It’s like if you had $100 to spend at the mall. Are you gonna buy 1 hand bag for $100? or are you gonna shop for the deals and get 4-5 items? I’m all about getting more for less. and that’s exactly what Volume eating is. – more food for less calories!⁠

4. Meets Step goals

Since petites expend less calories during exercise and we don’t require as many calories, it’s much harder to be in a calorie deficit. But doing more intense exercise to burn more calories will leave us feeling nothing but BURNT the fuck OUT! But incorporating more low-intensity movement throughout the day like walking will initiate a steady calorie burn. Walking is not hard but it keeps our petite engines running so good. My most successful petite clients move around a lot each day. ⁠I’m talking 10-14 thousands steps. If you’re not there yet, it’s okay. Slowly increase your goal by 1000 steps and once you can do that consistently, add another 1000. Wearing a step counter like fitbit or apple watch daily is the easiest and most accurate way to count your steps plus there some other neat things to track like your sleep, resting heart rate and calories burned. 

5. Always Keeps learning. 

Learning what makes you different as a petite is the first step to making long lasting habit changes that will result in a healthier and happier you. Knowing the WHY behind what you have to do makes it that much easier to follow. ⁠If you’re not learning you’re not growing. And there is so much to learn just about ourselves. As you go through a nutrition and fitness journey, you will always keep learning more and more about who you truly are. 

6. Has petite community

There’s nothing worse than thinking you’re alone in this process. Just think back to when you first found my instagram or podcast. You were probably like “OMG I didn’t even realize this is a thing! Other ladies have the same struggles I have?!” Yes, girl. Yes, they do! And we absolutely need to stick together to support each other in our unique challenges we face on a day-to-day basis!⁠ It makes the process feel a lot better.

All 6 of these are the backbone in my 1:1 funsized program. Throughout the 16 weeks you will be practicing all of them in a way that not only fits your lifestyle and schedule, but fits your height. My program is fully customizable to you. I make weight lifting programs based on the equipment you have access to. So if you only have a pair of 5lbs dumbbells or some resistance bands, you can still build muscle. Each week I provide you with customized macro targets to reach every day. I also view your food journal frequently and I help you add more volume to your meals when needed. I provide you with step goals to reach as well as cardio and supplements if necessary. And everything you need to know about how and why you’re do the things you’re doing is included inside my mini macros course so that you keep learning and understanding the meaning behind it all. The more you understand the WHY the more likely you will be committed to this petite way of life. And last but not least, when you enroll in my program, you’ll instantly become a member of my petite community where you’ll receive added support from others who are going through or have gone through my program too.  Overall, I work with you to make it a routine you actually enjoy that actually makes sense for you. By the end of the 16 weeks, you’ll be feeling much more confident to continue your 6 new healthy habits on your own. 

Petite Mistakes: Cheat Days

If you’ve ever given yourself a cheat day and watched your progress stalk for over a week, keep reading.

You might have heard that throwing a cheat day once a week tricks your system into thinking food is plentiful and that it’s ok to burn through fat stores. And you might have heard cheat day can help to reset hormones responsible for metabolism and insulin regulation, replenish glycogen for increased energy and keep calories brining and fat torching mechanisms high.

While all that is true to some degree… cheat days are a recipe for disaster for petites and I’m gonna tell you why…

Let me paint a scenario here: Let’s pretend I have 2 ladies and I’m even gonna give them names….. Kier is 5’0” and Kate is 5’6”.

Kier, the short girl typically eats about 1500 calories per day, Kate the taller girl usually easy 2500 calories per day. Let’s say both ladies had a super busy friday and only ate about 600 calories before they together for their workout. They did the exact same workout, using the sam weights, same number of sets and reps and same rest time. Unfortunately, just because Kier is smaller, she burned less calories than Kate. (This is a totally different topic about calories expended but I feel its important to remember in this story too.)

Anyway, let’s say they both go out for an early dinner after their workout. They split an appetizer, order the same entree, and maybe even split a dessert. Both girls eat the same amount and overall, the total intake for the entire day is 3000 calories for both women. (You might be like whoa 3000 calories is a lot but it’s way easier to do than you think, trust me.)

If we subtract Kate’s normal calorie intake from her cheat day, 3000-2500 we get 500 calories. 500 calories is about the amount of one of her normal meals so at the end of the day her cheat day only put her 1 single meal over her calorie goals. This is perfect, this is just the right amount for her metabolism to speed up, burn through the extra calories and then burn through stored fat. Kate might be up a pound or on the scale the next day but within 2 more days her weight might actually drop below what it was before the cheat day. Good for Kate right? that’s awesome!

But poor Kier over there, gets the short end of the stick. So if we do the same thing for Kier, where we subtract her normal calorie intake of 1500 from her 3000 cheat day calories, that comes to 1500 calories which is an entire extra days worth of food for her! She had 2 days worth of food in one day its no wonder she would be up 2, 3, 4 pounds on the scale the next day! And what’s worse is that she spends the entire week trying to burn off the extra calories and added weight. If she’s lucky she might get back to her weight of the week before but her progress definitely stalled after one cheat day and she starts to feel frustrated and defeated. 

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Before I go any further, Stalled progress is not the end of the world. You shouldn’t always be trying to lose weight everyday of your life. There are seasons in your life, there’s pregnancy, there’s so many other reasons why you maintaining or gaining weight is OK. My biggest fear of airing this podcast is that someone who listens starts to fear food at holidays and events and that is not my overall goal. My goal is to help you be more aware of what makes you different as a petite an to help you to understand why certain things don’t work for everyone. In this case, it’s large cheat meal. And having that awareness is the first step to making long-lasting behavioral changes because when I first figured this out I was like OMG MIND-BLOWN this is a total game changer!

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So rather than having cheat days, here’s what petites should do instead:

-First off, stop calling it a ‘cheat – A cheat has a negative connotation. It sounds like you did something bad, unplanned, and disloyal. You’re better than that. Instead, I call it a refeed. A refeed is a planned and better-said way of giving your body extra calories. 

Unfortunately, Changing its name alone is enough for regular-sized people but we still have some work to do as petites. Remember, that our window of calories is small and so our refeed meals should not be infinity calories unless you don’t want to see any progress and if you’re listening to this – I know that’s not you – at least not right now. Soooo what you want to do is…

Make it a refeed MEAL not a refeed DAY. Taking it back to the example of Kate who had only 1 extra meals worth of food and then lost weight within the following few days. This is exactly the space we want to be in too. We want an extra meals worth of calories. It really only takes one extra meals worth of calories to boost your leptin levels and to tap into those fat stores. You do not need an entire extra day’s worth of food  and you definitely should not continue on into the next day. In most petite cases, I would have between 300-600 calories over your normal allotment of calories. I know it doesn’t feel like much but remember, our window of calories is smaller. 

I created refeed levels in which I assign to my clients based on their progress. I honestly don’t know any other coach who does this. I kinda just made it up one day.

There are 3 levels:

Level 1 is the smallest and most calculated refeed. It’s anywhere from 200-400 calories and should be consumed immediately after a hard workout. It should be something that’s easy to track like a sleeve of pop tarts or a big measured bowl of cereal or even a small chick fit a sandwich without fries. Something with a nutrition label or nutrition facts that are definite and not estimated. 

Level 2 is a little more calories and slightly less calculated. It should be 400 to 650 calories and is meant to replace one of your normal meals. This is usually a dinner or maybe even a lunch. An example is 2 clean simple rolls of sushi like spicy salmon or california – by clean I mean nothing fried or with cream cheese or anything else that’s going to rack up the calories. You could also do a chipotle bowl, a subway sandwich, or a homemade burger with the bun and some toppings. This refeed is perfect for when you’ve got some sort of special event going on whether its date night, back yard bbq, or grabbing lunch with the girls. Level 2 allows you to have some flexibility without blowing your limits and starting back at square one.

Most of my clients are assigned levels 1 and 2 and feel like it was the perfect amount to satisfy their needs and then they hop right back on track and continue progressing. However, there are very rare instances where they are assigned level 3 which I’m sure you could have guessed are the larger and less calculated meals.

Level 3 is what most people think as a cheat meal or a diet break.  It’s worth 800 or more calories and I usually don’t have my clients track it at all. Some examples are a burger with fries, 2 slices of pizza, pancakes, waffles, french that or 2-3 special rolls of sushi. Still notice though that this is not a refeed day or an all out binge. It’s limited to one meal. Some of these options can quickly put you up over 1200 calories which could be your normal intake. Depending on the situation, I may have my clients skip 2 regular meals in order to still be successful with this refeed level. 

Which one I assign definitely depends on what’s going on with them, how there adherence has been to my program and what their goals are. And it could change week to week and sometimes I may have them skip a week entirely.

But I do believe in having refeed meals to generate a calorie surplus to prevent slowing of a petite’s metabolism. Because when you are on a calorie deficit – which you are probably on if you’re trying to lose weight – you’re body is starting to adapt to that low intake of food. If you continue to keep that low calorie your body is going to become sufficient at only taking in that amount of calories. But if we give you a caloric surplus every now and then a couple things happen. Your leptin levels shoot up – which is a hormone that increases your metabolism. You get this quick little burst where your body burns calories a little bit faster to accommodate for the new food. It’s like when spin a wheel and it goes really fast at first and then it slowly starts to slow down. That’s what you’re doing to your metabolism when you give it a surplus but if you give it too much, your metabolism slows down before it reaches all the new calories and that’s where you get the spill over which might eventually lead to fat storage. But if you give it just enough extra, it speeds up and once it burns all the incoming calories, it begins to tap into the fat stores. 

That’s why it’s so so so so important that you get right back on your normal intake the next day. so that your body taps into those fats stores. What generally happens is that you might feel very very hungry the next day and if you do thats an incredibly good sign! That means that what you did WORKED! You sped up the metabolism and now your body is processing faster causing you to be hungry faster. But remember, if you are trying to lose weight you want that caloric deficit on that day the most!

For more information about my coaching go to funsized.life/coaching and more fun stuff for women under 5’3” check out my instagram @funsized.nutrition.