“When I was eating 800 calories a day, I thought I was healthy,” Frodsham recently wrote on Instagram. In her post, the fitness blogger assured her followers that she was eating until she got full—but as a reminder, an individual’s exact calorie needs vary based on their metabolism, activity, and other facts. However, she assured her followers that she ate until she was full. “After a while though…I simply wasn’t seeing the results I had anticipated. So I got in touch with a [personal trainer] and nutritional coach and got my macro[nutrient]s sorted.”
Macronutrients—carbohydrates, proteins, and fats—are major dietary components that the human body needs to thrive. After assessing Frodsham’s diet, her nutritional coach gave her two pieces of advice. First, she should increase her calorie intake—a lot. Second, she should make sure that 50 percent of her caloric intake comes from healthy carbohydrates (like legumes, vegetables, and whole grains).
“When he first told me to eat 50 percent carbs I nearly died,” the blogger wrote. “I was eating about 10 percent carbs before and could not fathom how 50 percent carbs would not make me fat.” But she didn’t. Instead, Frodsham gained visible abs, defined biceps, and a ton of energy. Now in a typical day, she eats a protein shake with banana and oats for breakfast. She cooks chicken with quinoa and steamed veggies for lunch, and she has whole wheat pasta with bolognese sauce or a whole wheat quesadilla for dinner. She’ll also snack on an oat and applesauce muffin or a sweet potato and zucchini brownie. It was hard adjusting to the calorie increase at first, but now Frodsham says she’s reaping the benefits. “If you’re under feeding yourself in an effort to lose weight, don’t do what I did for so long,” the blogger said. “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.”
So why did this simple change make such a difference for Frodsham? Nutritionists say it probably has something to do with how few calories she was eating before. “Over-restricting calories to lose weight can sometimes backfire,” says Nikita Kapur, R.D., dietician at Compass Nutrition, . “If your body gets less calories then it needs to function, it can go into a conservation mode where it tries to hold on to as much energy as it can.” Not to mention, getting enough nutrients is key to optimal body function. “Carbohydrates are the body’s main source of energy,” says Robin Kaiden, R.D., nutritionist and personal trainer at Robin Barrie. “If we don’t get sufficient carbs, our bodies will eventually use the protein in our muscles as an energy source.” And since muscle helps the body burn more calories at rest, under-eating can sabotage weight-loss and muscle-gain efforts.
Still, it’s important to remember that everyone’s body is different. Kapur emphasizes that each person’s diet should be individualized, based on things like basic metabolic rate and average level of activity. So while 1,800 calories and 50 percent carbohydrates was right for Frodsham, it might not be right for you. “Bottom line?” Kaiden says. “Each person is so different with varying calorie, macronutrient, and micronutrient needs.” So taking a visit to a fittness coach and a nutritional coach is a good idea, if you’re trying to find the right diet for you.
See Frodsham’s Instagram below.