My 12 Week Fat Loss Challenge!
As you might have already read here, I’ve been struggling this year to move past the ‘last 5kg’ plateau. It’s largely been a result of having a messy 6 months – a relationship breakdown, moving house, etc. I’ve had good weeks but also not-so-good weeks, so my overall progress has been minimal.
I haven’t gone backwards though! Which gives me great hope that maintenance, when I get to that point, won’t be the constant struggle I had feared. Gone are the days where the kilos will slowly pile back on without me noticing. As I blogged about previously, if it comes up in conversation that I’m still a few kilos away from my ideal goal, I’m often met with the comment “but you don’t need to lose anymore weight”. No, I don’t. My weight, my size, my overall dimensions are absolutely fine. But I’m still carrying more excess fat around my stomach, hips, thighs and upper arms than I want to. I JIGGLE – a lot. This is entirely expected when someone loses nearly 30% of their body weight and I don’t judge my body for it, but I also know I can change it.
So! What am I going to do? Starting G.I. Gen has re-inspired me. It only takes 3 or 4 really good days in a row for my stomach and thighs to tighten up and then I just fairly strut down the street. I want that feeling every day, and I’m going to get it by losing 3% of body fat over the next 12 weeks. At 29.9% my body fat is still a lot higher than is desirable, and if I can get it under 27% (which is actually a modest goal) this puts me back in the middle of the ideal body fat range (depending on which source you refer to – there are dozens out there). Here’s how I’m going to do it:
For the next 12 weeks I’m going to focus hard on getting my diet right. And by right, I mean doing what’s required to focus on losing body fat rather than just weight. Weight could be a combination of muscle and fat loss, and I don’t want to lose muscle. Why not? Find out here.
Not only is it important to stay under my calorie goal each day, or most days, so that I’m burning more calories than I’m consuming, but the type of food – getting the right macronutrient split – becomes even more important. In prioritising fat loss, carbohydrates are not my friend. (Although in truth they’re not my friend anyway – they spike my blood sugar and usually leave me feeling bloated and tired). Who has time for a carb coma?
I’ve consulted the various experts in my life in putting this challenge together and their advice is that my ideal macro split should be no more than 15% carbs, with the remainder split approximately equally between fat and protein. I thought this was going to be hard, but with a few tweaks, I’ve worked out what I think will be an ideal meal plan for the first week, then I’ll replicate it with a few changes for each of the following weeks.
12 Week Fat Loss Challenge Plan
- Approx 1600 calories worth of food, Monday-Thursday, with a 40:40:15 protein:fat:carbs macro split (yes I realise that doesn’t add up to 100!)
- Friday nights I’ll continue to have ‘off’ – have been referring to this for awhile now among friends as ‘F*ck-it-Friday’. Not everyone is comfortable with this approach, but it’s worked for me so far, and I need one night where I can have a few drinks with my friends (just a few) and not be the stick-in-the-mud who refuses the bread, alcohol and dessert.
- Weekends I’ll relax a little on the macro split but will still stay under my calorie goal.
- I’m going to aim for four strength sessions a week, with some HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) cardio in there too. If this turns out to be too much (possible, on account of my ongoing hip injury), I can cut it back to three without having to worry too much. Sticking to the nutrition plan means that I can miss a gym session if I’m too tired or unwell, and it’s not going to derail the progress.
- Monday night is back/arms/shoulders, Tuesday night is legs, Wednesday night is chest and triceps, Thursday night is abs and core, and Saturday mornings is my usual circuit-training style PT session.
- On advice from my PT I’ve mixed my weight sessions up a bit so that I’m lifting heavier weights at lower reps, and no more than 5 different exercises per session. This makes the training much more efficient at building muscle. More muscle = less fat.
- I’ll weigh myself and take my measurements monthly. I will hold off on the body fat testing until the end of the 12 weeks because I want to hopefully be nicely surprised by the result. If the monthly weigh in and measurements don’t show much progress then I’ll know I need to tweak the plan – possibly by being equally strict with the macro split on weekends as during the week.
My Current Body statistics:
Weight: approx 63.5kg (139 pounds)
Body fat percentage: 29.9. This was measured on the Bioelectrical Impedance machine at my gym (Virgin Active in Bourke St, Melbourne in case anyone’s interested – awesome gym) a few weeks ago but I doubt it’s changed since then so I’m going to take it as current.
Waist measurement: 72cm (28.5 inches)
Hip measurement: 96cm (38 inches)
Thigh measurement: 60cm (23.5 inches)
Week 1 Menu Plan:
Here’s my menu plan for this week:
Breakfast: Fetta, egg and spinach scramble (recipe can be found here)
Lunch: Salad of 100gm chicken with lettuce, tomato, cucumber, half an avocado and lemon juice
Dinner: Monday and Tuesday I’m having a 200gm salmon fillet pan fried in peanut oil with steamed broccoli and fennel. Wednesday and Thursday will be 200gm rump steak stirfried in peanut oil with fennel, broccoli, mushrooms, capsicum, mushrooms and some red onion, with a tablespoon or two of satay sauce.
Snacks: I’m a grazer, so snacks will include a small flat white coffee, an Atkins coconut protein bar (tastes just like a Bounty – Yum! You can buy them here), a capsicum cut into strips and eaten with low fat cottage cheese, 10 smoked almonds, and 2 low fat slices of cheese before bed IF I think I need them to help me sleep.
That’s it! And lots of water of course. I aim for 2.5 litres a day and anything else is a bonus. Stay tuned for updates. I’ll post progress photos (maybe – if I dare), menu plans, and updated stats. Any questions, comments etc, just drop me a line!