Is Eating More Actually Better If You're Trying to Get Fit?
Whenever there’s a new health revelation being shared across the vast neighborhoods of the internet, I routinely get on my knees, fold my hands in prayer, and whisper, “Please, just tell me to eat more.” Luckily, the current overlord heard my prayers when this woman shared how under-eating is bad for fitness goals, and naturally, I wept in gratitude before indulging in a basket of Popeyes chicken and biscuits. For my health, of course.
After spending years eating a strict diet of 800 calories a day (which she very carefully clarified was not an eating disorder but a carefully curated diet of health food), Australian woman Madalin Frodsham made an Instagram post documenting her recent diet changes and explained how doubling her caloric intake to 1800 calories a day has actually helped her achieve her fitness goals. Funnily enough, this is the exact same methodology I employed when I decided to increase my bagel intake from one bagel a day to five, which is rapidly pushing me towards my goal of having a booty the size of a boat.
In her viral post, Frodsham shared that while we are fed a steady diet of facts that tell us eating less is better for weight loss, it’s important to consider the ways in which eating more speeds up our metabolism and supports muscle building. This is beautiful information I will easily exploit when referring to bodega sandwiches as “metabolism accelerators.”
Let's just preface this by saying no, I did not have an ED. When I was eating 800 calories a day, I thought I was healthy. I was eating healthy food, but hardly any macronutrients. I was curious to find out what my macros were like before I actually started counting my macros, so I entered my old foods into @myfitnesspal to find out. I was quiet astonished to see how little protein and carbs I was eating. 800 calories seems absurdly low as now I need minimum 1500 calories to be full, but at the time 800 calories was keeping me full because that's what my body was used to. After a while though, salad simply wasn't cutting it, and for all the restrictions I was placing on my diet, I simply wasn't seeing the results I had anticipated. So I got in touch with a PT and nutritional coach and got my macros sorted. When he first told me to eat 50% carbs I nearly died! I was eating about 10% carbs before and could not fathom how 50% carbs would not make me fat. I also freaked out at all the calories. I've been keeping an excel spreadsheet and in the first week of being on macros my average calories for the week was a little over 1000. I remember how hard I struggled to actually eat the size of my meals. I would just put my lunch next to my desk and eat it over the course of 3 hours as I couldn't eat it in one sitting! Now my stomach can take way more and is much happier! In the second week I was averaging 1600 calories a day! It didn't take long for my body to catch up. A part of me may always have that mindset that relates not eating with weight loss and "being good today". Sometimes I may forget to eat lunch just because I got busy and for a second I will revert back to old thinking, and think "ohh, I've done really well today and haven't eaten much at all." That's why I love tracking my macros. It will tell me "Maddy, you need to eat more. Go eat 3 potatoes". And I'll pat myself on the back for being healthy and doing really good today! If you're under feeding yourself in an effort to lose weight, don't do what I did for so long. Don't waste your time eating salad when you could be eating sweet potatoes and banana pancakes. Eat more and get fit. It actually works
A photo posted by Madalin Giorgetta (@madalingiorgetta) on
As you can see in the before and after photos, Frodsham used to be a fit but deeply sad woman whose eyes were filled with the darkness that only preys upon people who eat 800 calories in salads a day while lightly crying, “No it’s OK, I’m full!” Her after picture shows her currently, as an even more fit woman who can now say, “Hell yeah! I’ll have a potato and then do a push-up because I’m a joyful fit human!”
As documented in her post, the move towards eating more came about after Frodsham decided to meet with a nutritional coach who instructed her to eat more of the currently maligned food group designated as carbs. She wrote:
“When he first told me to eat 50 percent carbs I nearly died. I was eating about 10 percent carbs before and could not fathom how 50 percent carbs would not make me fat. If you’re under feeding yourself in an effort to lose weight, don’t do what I did for so long. Don’t waste your time eating salad when you could be eating sweet potatoes and banana pancakes. Eat more and get fit. It actually works.”
While this is sound advice for those looking to lose weight, build muscle, and transform themselves into the muscular swan they’ve always been inside their hearts, the revelation that eating banana pancakes is more spiritually edifying than salad is something I’ve known since I popped out of my mother’s womb.