I know that as you begin your weight loss journey, there are many confusing things so I thought I would try to clear up some things:
You have probably heard that if you aren't eating enough, then you won't lose weight. While this is minimally true:
You must be in a caloric deficit to lose weight.
When you begin a diet program, you may decide to cut your calories in a drastic way. Your body goes into "shock" for lack of a better word and you produce cortisol. Cortisol is a stress hormone that will make you retain water therefore you might not lose the amount that you thought you would during the first week. However, this is harder to do than you might think and a rare occasion.
Most of the time, you simply need to eat less (unfortunate I know). You want to do this effectively though. If you cut too much then your body will also lower it's resting metabolic rate and when you decide to eat normal again, your body is going to respond by gaining weight quicker. This is the unfortunate case for those women in their 40s and 50s because they have done these yo-yo diets for so many years that they would have to cut to 800 calories or less just to see results. This is a time that you would want to look into reverse dieting.
(Note: I'm well aware that there is no published literature on reverse dieting. However, just because Benjamin Franklin had yet to discover electricity does not mean that it didn't exist and that we could enjoy it!)
But, you may ask how much do you cut? Well, it's all relative. If you are eating 230g carb and have an event coming up that you want quick results, then cutting 30g is totally fine, safe, and reasonable. If you eating 120g of carb, then you DO NOT need to cut to 90g. This is where I think coaches are so important as they see people daily and know what works.
You might also think that if you gained weight in the first week, you just gained some muscle and your body composition will still change.
You did NOT gain muscle in the first week. You are simply eating too much.
For starters, it has been shown that you can only gain approximately 1 pound of solid muscle per month and that's with some serious heavy weight lifting. When you start, you may not know how much you were eating before. Even if you were eating crappy foods, but in 3 square meals, you may have been intaking far less calories than you thought. So, you may start at 1600 calories in a balanced macronutrient breakdown and gain weight. This simply means that you were eating less than that before. Again, if you feel that you are cutting too low without results then you should look into reverse dieting, spend some time, then cut later. If you don't race to the finish line then you can get to a place of stability and hang out there for the rest of your life instead of all the back and forth dieting.
I know you've also heard: the calories don't matter, it's the quality of foods that matter. This is simply not the end of the story.
In strict, weight loss purposes, that is not true. I have preached this over and over, and while I think that micronutrients are so important and while you really need to pay attention to the nutrients that you are putting in your body, if you are in a caloric deficit, hitting your macro breakdown but eating crappy foods, you will still lose weight.
There ARE studies that show that insulin production can reduce fat loss to some percentage (and normally in those with lower body fat percentages). Therefore, if you are eating higher glycemic index foods (cakes, cookies, breads) to fit your carbs and want to lose more weight, then your body may be insulin sensitive and you should try eating more quality foods. By how much percentage though would this affect each person? We certainly don't know that and maybe it's only 3%. I personally, in my humble opinion, don't think that it's worth eating "windex clean" foods all day long, and I think that with some flexibility in your diet, you are going to have a lot better results in the long run!
(Note: For your health, I recommend the highest amount of nutritious foods to fit your diet. I simply am just saying that if you eat 1000 calories with the same macronutrient breakdown in quality foods versus crappy foods, you'll still lose weight. And don't eat 1000 calories-that's not a good idea for anyone on creation.)
Lastly, you may have your macros calculated by 10 different coaches and think to yourself "THEY ALL GAVE ME DIFFERENT NUMBERS. THIS IS BULLCRAP!" Let me explain:
There are equations that all coaches use that have been studied in clinical trials and take into account what the normal population norm would be for resting metabolic rate and then multipliers for height, weight, age, and activity level. I, personally believe, these don't take into account metabolic capacity because that is where everyone is so different. There are also many equations out there, and not one of them is projected to with 100% accuracy. We also all have many different clients that we have watched get results so we know what works and we all have differing opinions. This is not to say that there aren't crappy coaches, but in our defense, we are not giving you crap. We are giving you what we think will work for you.
If you know that your body responds best to higher fats, there is absolutely NO way that a coach could know this right off the bat, and this is something that you need to communicate with them. You know YOU best. Being insulin sensitive or responding better to higher fat diets is something that you should let your coach know or if your coach does more higher fat diets, then you need to let them know that you respond to higher carb diets. Everyone is different.
You will have to do some trial and error and be patient.
Please be reasonable. Please be patient and communicate with your coach if you feel that you aren't seeing the results that you thought that you should. If you have tried all options with lower fat, higher carb then switch that to higher fat, lower carb and you may respond better.
To go back to the caloric intake debate and the fact that I think metabolic capacity should be included in these equations, your coach has NO way to know that you eat 3000 calories on a normal basis unless you tell them. There are no equations that are going to produce those kind of numbers. Your coach also has no way of knowing that you are currently starving yourself on 800 calories and have destroyed your metabolism over the years unless you tell them.
I think that if you can stick to a diet long enough to get to a place that you are happy in your own skin and then reverse diet out of that, then you are going to be so happy for the rest of your life because you were patient and took a year or two of your life to change the rest of it. That's just my opinion, though. :)
To come full circle, I wanted to give you a summary of everything:
- If you aren't losing weight, most likely you need to cut calories and carbs.
- If you gain weight your first week, then it's not muscle.
- Micronutrients and quality matter, but for weight loss ONLY, they kinda don't.
- Macros aren't a perfect science. You need to do some trial and error.
Now that I've given you all the tools, I hope you can go out and reach your goals!