Calorie Counter

You are currently viewing the message boards in:

Macros to minimize fat gain when eating in surplus

oat_branoat_bran Posts: 345Member Member Posts: 345Member Member
This might seem like a strange question, but is there a way to manipulate your macros to gain as little fat as possible when eating in a caloric surplus? I know that weight loss and gain is CICO at the end of the day, but I also remember reading here several times that both carbohydrates and protein are very hard for the body to transform to fat. Does it mean overeating on lower fat foods would cause less fat gain? On the other hand, you often see low carbers claim that as long as you're eating low carb, you won't gain fat even at a surplus (which I suspect is bullsh*t).

[If anyone interested in the context for this question: I'm a 30 yo female, 5'2'', currently around 135lbs. No matter whether I'm eating in a deficit, maintenance or surplus, I've been struggling with hormonal (menstrual cycle-related) hunger for years. Tried EVERYTHING under the sun over the years (so don't bother with tips, I'll probably jump out of my window if I hear another "Have you tried eating more protein/fiber/fat/drink more water"). just to make it absolutely clear: ITS NOT A CRAVING FOR CHOCOLATE or any other junk food for that matter. It just want to eat ANYTHING (though carby foods sound particularly good), almost non stop. Its insatiable (can't feel satiated no matter what or how much I eat, though eating takes the edge of off it for a while), it's compulsive (often feel like I absolutely must eat), pretty much constant (though its intensity varies throughout the day) and it usually comes and goes in streaks of several days. And when it's gone, I can almost pinpoint the moment it start to decline, it's almost like a switch. This is when I have my "normal" hunger days where I can eat a meal like a normal person and move on with my day until I start getting hungry a few hours later. No problem with eating at maintenance or in a deficit on such days.

The patterns was never regular (probably because my cycle was never super regular) and it's not like a usual pms appetite a few days before your period. When I was on the pill it would come in streaks of 3-5 days every 2-3 weeks or so. I came off the pill several month ago and at first it subsided completely and I thought I found a cure! But then it came back with a double force unfortunately. I get it almost non-stop now with occasional 1-4 day "breaks". Also, no period for months. I guess my hormones are completely out of whack. Doctors say to just wait it out. I pray to gods that it isn't my new normal and my hormones will stabilize and it will go away eventually, or at least that I get a clear pattern and it won't be like this 90% of my time.

Trust me, I try to resist it (and it takes A LOT OF will power to do it). If I stay very busy all day and spread my meals and snacks as much as possible, I manage to get though the day without overeating. But when I need to focus on my studies on very demanding days or at the end of the day, when I'm tired, my will power is depleted and I am desperate to fall asleep or when I wake up during the night (can't sleep hungry), I usually just give it and eat until it subsides a little. This is usually when I end up going over my TDEE, often times by several hundred calories (considering that I'm very active and my average TDEE is 2200-2300, that's a lot of calories). Filling up on food with very low calorie density doesn't help at at all though, unfortunately, just makes me feel uncomfortable and bloated and still ravenous. At this point I pretty much abandoned my attempt to lose more weight. I'm just trying not to gain too much since I'm moving dangerously into the overweight category. Hence, the question.]

I do realize that ideally I'd combine sufficient protein and strength training so that some of the weight gain is muscle. I eat enough protein (130-160g or 30%) but I really can't afford a gym membership at the moment. I go indoor climbing 2-4 times a week so I hope that that the elements of strength training there would help. But other than that can decreasing fat, for example, help?

Replies

  • MikePTYMikePTY Posts: 2,591Member, Premium Member Posts: 2,591Member, Premium Member
    To answer your original question, no, there is no macro breakdown really that will cause your body to minimize fat gain in a surplus. Yes your body naturally has an easier time storing fat as fat than carbs or protein, but all that really means is that it affects the backend process by with your body burns and converts energy. Meaning that if you are at a surplus, you body will use all of your carbs and protein for fuel, and will store more of the fat you give it as fat. So whether you eat a lot or a little fat, the end result is still the same. Even if you were to somehow completely cut out fat (which would not be recommended as some fat is essential and doing so could cause serious harm), your body would eventually process excess carbs or protein to fat if you give your body too much of it. There is no way to really hack the macro percentage to stop fat gain.

    The best way to prevent fat gain in a surplus is to keep your surplus small, eat sufficient protein (which it already sounds like you do), and stimulate your muscles in such a way that they receive progress overload, will help maximize the amount of muscle gain your receive during a surplus vs the amount of fat. That is the best way you can control it. I know you have said that a gym is too expensive at the moment, but there are usually gyms out there available for as little as $10 a month. You don't need a great gym to have access to sufficient equipment for strength training. If this is still not feasible, there are body weight exercise routines that you can do from home that you can follow that do not require any cost, and would still be beneficial for muscle development. I don't know the specifics of how you are stimulating your muscles during indoor climbing, but I suspect you can probably be doing more for muscle growth than you currently are.

    The other answer is that increasing your exercise to increase your TDEE will also reduce your surplus, minimizing fat gain. I don't know what you currently do to be considered "very active" and if there are additional things you can do to safely increase calories out, but those are potentially areas to look at is well.

    Ultimately, it sounds like you likely have a medical condition that should be investigated and diagnosed by a doctor for potential areas of treatment. I imagine that you've probably gone down this avenue to some extent, but sometimes these things can take a while to figure out and diagnose.
  • oat_branoat_bran Posts: 345Member Member Posts: 345Member Member
    MikePTY wrote: »
    To answer your original question, no, there is no macro breakdown really that will cause your body to minimize fat gain in a surplus. Yes your body naturally has an easier time storing fat as fat than carbs or protein, but all that really means is that it affects the backend process by with your body burns and converts energy. Meaning that if you are at a surplus, you body will use all of your carbs and protein for fuel, and will store more of the fat you give it as fat. So whether you eat a lot or a little fat, the end result is still the same. Even if you were to somehow completely cut out fat (which would not be recommended as some fat is essential and doing so could cause serious harm), your body would eventually process excess carbs or protein to fat if you give your body too much of it. There is no way to really hack the macro percentage to stop fat gain.

    The best way to prevent fat gain in a surplus is to keep your surplus small, eat sufficient protein (which it already sounds like you do), and stimulate your muscles in such a way that they receive progress overload, will help maximize the amount of muscle gain your receive during a surplus vs the amount of fat. That is the best way you can control it. I know you have said that a gym is too expensive at the moment, but there are usually gyms out there available for as little as $10 a month. You don't need a great gym to have access to sufficient equipment for strength training. If this is still not feasible, there are body weight exercise routines that you can do from home that you can follow that do not require any cost, and would still be beneficial for muscle development. I don't know the specifics of how you are stimulating your muscles during indoor climbing, but I suspect you can probably be doing more for muscle growth than you currently are.

    The other answer is that increasing your exercise to increase your TDEE will also reduce your surplus, minimizing fat gain. I don't know what you currently do to be considered "very active" and if there are additional things you can do to safely increase calories out, but those are potentially areas to look at is well.

    Ultimately, it sounds like you likely have a medical condition that should be investigated and diagnosed by a doctor for potential areas of treatment. I imagine that you've probably gone down this avenue to some extent, but sometimes these things can take a while to figure out and diagnose.

    @MikePTY thank you for a clear, straightforward answer to my question and for some solid advice! It's too bad there's nothing I can do macro-wise, I was hoping that sticking to low-fat foods, at least on days I go over my TDEE could help somehow...

    I live in Paris and even a *kitten* gym here costs at least 3 times more than that plus membership fees plus minimum 1 year membership. But I'm still planning on getting one once my financial situation is better. And in the meantime I will try to increase strength/resistance exercise as much as possible and stay as active as possible (though I exercise every day already and have a high NEAT) to try and keep my surplus low.

    Doctors don't seem to be too concern with "good appetite" and many think that people tend to exaggerate their pms hunger/cravings, but I'm planning to go see a doctor again if nothing changes in the next few months.
Sign In or Register to comment.