If you are eating in a calorie deficit to lose weight, does it matter if you are in a daily deficit, or can you track weekly calories?
When I first started losing weight, I had an excel spreadsheet that would take my daily calories, add them together, and divide by 7 to give myself a daily AVERAGE, rather than my daily actual.
I found this actually quite helpful in my weight loss journey, as I was able to be a little more flexible to deal with unexpected meals or hunger.
Tracking weekly calories
There’s a few reasons why tracking weekly, to get a daily average, is helpful when you are losing weight.
- Our calorie needs don’t necessarily ‘reset’ at midnight. We are burning and digestion calories around the clock. So, it just makes sense that we are physiologically capable of storing and using calories whenever we consume them, even days apart.
- Our bodies work exactly the way they are supposed to. It’s science. We don’t need to add drama around the daily fluctuations in caloric intake.
- People sometimes argue that they can’t lose weight, when they ate 1200 calories all week, but then “had a small splurge on the weekend”. That small splurge could have been 800 extra calories on Saturday, and 800 extra on Sunday. This would add 300 calories per day over the weekdays, making your daily average 1500. Which might not have you in a deficit at all.
- Some days your calories will be higher and some days it will be lower, depending on circumstances. As long as your deficit at some point adds up to 3500 calories, you’ll lose 1 lb.
- Some people naturally eat more food on the weekends than on the week days. Or, they might have a cheat meal once a week. These people can still be in an overall deficit and lose weight when you look at the week as a whole.
Maybe you aren’t seeing results because you’re getting too close to the tree’s and can’t see the forest. Thinking long term (weekly instead of daily), just might help you have better perspective and give you some real evidence if you are sticking to your plan consistently.
Tracking daily macros vs. per meal
So, this short rambling came up because I had a question about eating carbs before bed, vs earlier in the day. The same way our body uses calories, our human body is pretty great at using protein, carbs, and fats, any time we feed ourselves.
When I started college in 1991, with my first nutrition class, we were taught that in order to have a complete protein source (with all the amino acids), that we had to eat beans and rice in the same meal, so our bodies can put those amino acids together.
Since then, we’ve found that it doesn’t have to be in the same meal. In fact, you could probably get away with it being the next day even. Our body can find the amino acids from both food sources, and make a complete protein.
So, it’s not impossible to believe that whether we ate our carbs in the morning, vs. before bed, that we’ll be able to use what we need, and store what we don’t.
In a practical sense though, I actually like eating carbs before bed because my morning workout is always fasted, and I feel like I’m using the glycogen stores from the meal the night before for my workout. But, that also might be all in my head, pushing me to work harder. LOL
Tracking weekly running miles
I also remember a pivot in my running that has made me run further and faster. Most runners will track their mileage by weeks, and I can’t think of it any other way now. When someone asks me how much I run a day, I kind of say, “I don’t know. Anywhere from 4-8 miles. But, I ALWAYS know how many miles I run a week. I’m constantly trying to push that number a little higher every year. This year I’ll be running 50-60 miles, but I can’t tell you how much I’ll run each day!
Tracking weekly weight
The final thing I’ll mention about tracking weekly, is your weight. I do weigh myself every day, because I found that it actually took the drama OUT of my daily judgements about what was happening. I saw the fluctuations as normal rather than a result of my behavior.
I do however look at weekly trends, and find this MUCH more informative! Weekly weigh in (whether it’s all 7 weigh ins and taking an average, or just weighing in one day a week, is a much better predictor of your progress than daily numbers.
Full Day of Eating for Bikini Prep 2023!
My Sunday meals! Full Day of Eating for weight loss
1447 calorie day, 141 g protein, 119 g carbs, 37 g fat.
Sunday’s are always a bit trickier because I make a big Sunday dinner for our adult kids, nieces, and nephews. (and any friends they want to invite).
But, I’m pretty good about modifying the meal to fit my macros. Last night’s menu for the kids was Chicken wings with different sauces, Hawaiian macaroni salad, white rice, and green salad.
This was easy, I just ate one wing, and the rest chicken breasts and I skipped the macaroni salad. I didn’t miss out at all (except for the brownie’s. I did miss out on those. LOL)
- 𝐁𝐫𝐞𝐚𝐤𝐟𝐚𝐬𝐭: SO Much food!! Egg white bites made with 1 cup egg whites, 1 ounce fat free feta cheese, spinach and mushrooms with avocado and 1/3 cup oats with sugar free syrup.
- 𝐋𝐮𝐧𝐜𝐡: Chicken Waldorf salad made with light mayo, 5 ounces chicken, celery, apple, walnuts, and lettuce
- 𝐒𝐧𝐚𝐜𝐤: YUM! 1 cup nonfat greek yogurt with 1/2 cup pumpkin puree, cinnamon, 1/2 scoop CSE pumpkin pie whey protein, and whipped cream of course.
- 𝐃𝐢𝐧𝐧𝐞𝐫: 6 ounces chicken breast with Yoshida sauce, 1 chicken wing, 3/4 cup white rice, green salad with Bolthouse dressing.