Bret Williams is a 40-year-old husband, father, financial advisor, and most importantly (wink, wink), coach here at Gravitas Fitness.

Here is the second installment of “Deep Thoughts, by BW” that are released the first Wednesday of each month. In each one, he shares stories of fatherhood, husbandhood, struggle and success, and how he manages to balance it all and still be a CrossFit stud. This one is about food…mmmmmmm.

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I love food. L-O-V-E! And I don’t care what kind of food it is…I love it. Me and food haven’t always had the best relationship but it has always been there for me. I am a stress/emotional eater and have been for as long as I can remember. When I’m stressed, it’s not uncommon for me to find myself at the pantry and magically some form of cookies find their way in front of me and I proceed to eat like 3 or 15 of them…typically the latter. My portion sizes are generally out of control. I don’t want a 5-6 oz portion of steak because, frankly, that’s annoying…my steak should look more like what Fred Flintstone would get, and like a good boy, I will clean my plate because there are people starving around the world!

None of this has been issue enough for me to actually do something about it. I’ve always thought ‘it’d be cool to have a six pack’…as I finished my double char with cheese, a side of onion rings and a soup bowl full of ranch. Side note, did you know it was just National Oreo cookie day…that’s a holiday worth celebrating. I’ve been blessed with a pretty good metabolism and my weight has never been an issue…

And then something changed. I turned 40. The BIG 4-0, and whatever strategies I used previously to drop a pound or two in order to demonstrate control over my weight no longer worked (the only strategy I had was to restrict calories). Shit got real. I had to actually make some changes to my nutrition. I had to admit that eggs and a donut for breakfast, chicken strips and a diet coke for lunch, whatever I wanted for dinner and then dessert doesn’t really qualify as ‘nutrition’. I have been doing crossfit long enough, and been around enough ‘nutrition’ conversations that I knew I didn’t want a diet. I needed to find something that would be sustainable for me and my life what with work and family and the CrossFit gym. Something around which habits could form so that I had a better chance at long term success.

So I tried the Zone and that lasted about a week. It worked great but just didn’t work for me. The Zone was discussed at the Crossfit level 1 certification course where they devote an entire lecture to nutrition. In fact if you see the Crossfit pyramid, nutrition is the foundational block of everything that we do in the gym. I was still 39 at the time so was not yet prepared to soak this nutrition concept in. Throughout the lecture my eyes glazed over as I kept thinking ‘can you please just tell me how to go faster in FRAN or lift heavier shit’.

So with the Zone tried and failed, I moved on to something a friend had mentioned to me in passing…intermittent fasting. Eat whatever you want without restriction though you can only eat during a certain time period of the day, your ‘feeding window’. This seemed pretty good to me at first but I quickly found that given my history of not respecting portion sizes, this was not the right thing for me.

My beautiful wife Nicole, who just got her first bar muscle up, suggested I try counting macros (macro is short for macronutrient…think protein, fat, carbs). Nicole went through one of the first iterations of the nutrition program here at the gym and therefore has a good idea of some of the different options I could do. So after some discussion with her, I decided to give it a try. Based on my height, weight and activity level, I have a macro budget that I get to spend (eat) throughout the day. This budget changes depending on if I’m working out or not that day. I’m a couple of weeks plus in and this has definitely been working for me. I have a ton of energy (because I’m eating more…duh), I feel way better in the gym and I’ve lost a few pounds already as well as 2.5% body fat. The worst part so far has been weighing and measuring my food. We have a food scale and plenty of measuring cups and after the first handful of days you start to get used to it. I am eating way more food than I was previously. Let me say that again so it sinks in. I AM EATING MORE FOOD…I EVEN HAVE BREAD(the horror) and I’ve lost weight.

I am not writing this to say that Macros is the way to go for everyone because it is not. Our nutrition coach Hannah wrote a post several weeks back about this. There is not one silver bullet that works for everyone though there are plenty of options for you to explore if you have interest in beginning to make some subtle changes in the way you eat. If you are curious, talk to Hannah! She’s has a wealth of knowledge. Don’t like British people? Talk to Dani…she knows her stuff! Not crazy about women that can out-lift you? Talk to me!

But please…don’t wait. Thomas Jefferson said it best when he said “Don’t put off till tomorrow what you can do today.” Also Arnold Schwarzenegger said it pretty well too when he said “DO IT! DO IT NOW!”

See you at the gym!

Coach BW