RP Diet Templates – What to Expect when Starting
First of all, thanks for the interest in our RP diet templates. The templates are a bestselling product of ours that has been around since February, 2015. We’re super happy with all of the positive feedback we’ve received from our clients on the templates. Our goal in creating these was to help simplify the dieting process for folks used to so much information (and misinformation) out there in the fitness industry. We also wanted to create a product that was affordable for those who don’t quite want to make the larger financial commitment of hiring a diet coach, or simply prefer to do things on their own (these templates would have been PERFECT for Dr. Israetel and I back when we were in college!). Our templates have helped tens of thousands of athletes and fitness enthusiasts worldwide in the past year.
We can’t begin the discussion of what to expect without first covering something very important…setting REALISTIC expectations. I’ve worked with thousands of clients individually and seen thousands of questions in the RP Clients group, so I feel very comfortable in saying that many folks are WAY too hard on themselves in terms of expectations. Comparing yourselves to others is NOT a worthwhile endeavor (here’s another article on why).
Let’s take an example of you and your best friend starting the diet templates at the same time. Your friend might lose a lot of weight right from the start while you don’t lose any weight on the first “base” diet (we’ll cover what exactly the base diet is later on). You may feel that you’re not getting as good of results since she has lost more weight. However, what you aren’t accounting for is your friend is coming off of a massive cheat weekend before starting and is bloated from tons of carbs and salt. Of course she’s going to lose weight right away…but it’s mostly water weight! Be careful when comparing your results to others, because you can only control your own outcome! For some more female specific diet tips, click here.
In terms of setting weight expectations, our recommendation is about 1-2 lbs per week of weight loss. The inverse applies for weight gain as well. Sometimes for very small females, the recommendations go from .5-1.5 lbs/week (that works out to about 7-15 lbs per 3 months). For those who are, say, over 225 lbs, that range might be more like 1.5-2 lbs/week. Why don’t we aim higher? Well, for starters, most of our clients are focused on performance and improving their strength. If you lose weight too fast, you’re much more likely to see performance and strength drop. We also want sustainable results; typically folks that drop weight very fast tend to see larger rebounds. The old story of the tortoise and the hare would seem applicable here; slow and steady wins the race!
Once you have realistic expectations in place, it’s time to begin your diet templates (assuming you are physically fit and have no medical conditions that would limit your ability to diet - please read the waiver on our website before starting). Our recommendation is that you ALWAYS start on the base diet. We recommend this so that folks can get acclimated to the structure of the diet. The goal of the base diet is to help you get used to the diet (especially for those coming from a non-structured approach to dieting) AND to establish a baseline caloric intake. Of course you could start further on, but why would you want to eat less if you could possibly lose some weight while eating more food? One of the main goals is to eat as much as possible while losing weight (and as little as possible when looking to gain weight). There are no bonus points for dieting harder than you need to - unless you like pain and suffering for no good reason! Save that for later on in the diet – when you have to suffer a bit (it’s a fact of dieting) in order to reach your goal.
Should you lose weight on the base diet? That’s a good question, and I’ll give you my best – and often used – answer, it depends. Remember our example from above of the person that cheated before starting? Well she would lose weight on the base diet. If somebody has a strict diet before starting, they might not lose weight on the base diet and that’s 100% OK! The goal of the base diet isn’t necessarily to lose weight, but it’s entirely possible. If you do lose weight and your goal is weight loss, that’s great; keep going on the base diet! If your goal is to gain weight and you lose on base, you have to read the “how to” guide and start eating more.
Some folks get overly anxious or excited about wanting to lose weight (we live in a culture of instant results/gratification). The idea of just dropping calories or carbs (think low carb diets show results faster from losing water weight, BUT aren’t sustainable in the long run) really low is appealing, but that type of approach has tradeoffs. These tradeoffs are usually performance related; this is why few high level athletes use low carb diets. If your goal is to lose weight on the higher end of the range that we talked about earlier (1-2 lbs/week) and you aren’t getting your intended results as quickly as you would like…it’s time to diet HARDER. Unfortunately eating more isn’t going to yield more weight loss. I’ve seen a lot of comments in the RP Clients group on only losing a couple of lbs in the first few weeks (nothing wrong with that of course), but the answer isn’t to stay where you are, it’s to start dieting harder if you want faster results!
After being on the diet for a few days or few weeks, here are some general observations of thousands of clients:
- Energy should likely go up. This is mostly from having more carbs around training on days you work out. Also, lots of lean protein, vegetables, healthy fats, and lower GI carbs typically result in long lasting energy throughout the day.
- Improved recovery/strength. This goes along with the first, but typically an increased focus of peri-workout nutrition leads to more workout energy, better recovery and hitting PRs in the gym. There are always exceptions to the rule, but if you are eating more carbs than normal, but workouts aren’t feeling great…it might be time to think about a deload workout or examine your fatigue management a little closer.
- Being hungry. This one may seem like a no brainer because you’re on a “diet”, but it could be for reasons you may not have thought about. If you were truly in a hypocaloric diet (eating less calories than you are burning) the scale would reflect it. Remember the base diet should be at about your baseline, so that’s unlikely to be the case of being in a caloric deficit. This means you’re hungry as you’re getting used to more specific mealtimes and not eating whenever you want with whatever you want. Think of all those snacks at work you’re now giving up. This usually corrects itself in a few days as you get used to the more precise mealtimes. Don’t be surprised if you stay hungry, though, as the diet intensifies; that’s an unfortunate side effect of dieting to lose weight and is only temporary. Remember one of our main goals is to get you back to maintenance and eating a more “normal” lifestyle ASAP.
Building off of #3, if you are hungry, try using higher volume foods. One of the best examples is using nut butters vs using oils on your food. Something like butternut squash or sweet potatoes usually seems to be more satiating (more filling) than something like rice or pasta. The inverse applies if you are looking to gain weight, do the opposite and use lower volume foods! If you’re really struggling with hunger and have been for a while, perhaps the evening hunger templates are right for you.
Now that you know some common things to expect while beginning the RP diet, here’s another useful thing to keep in mind…your weight is going to go up and down REGARDLESS of your diet compliance. Say what? Yep, your bodyweight (especially for females) will do some whacky things. That’s part of the reason why we recommend weighing in only 2x/week in the AM using a similar routine to get weekly trends. There are about 100 different reasons for bodyweight to go up from water weight fluctuations (read here for some of those reasons). It’s generally not a good idea to weigh yourself every single day or more than once per day. We get clients all the time emailing that their weight has gone up from 7am to 7pm. If you’re eating food/drinking water, etc. that’s totally normal and to be expected. Focus on weekly trends instead of daily fluctuations. For females, sometimes you can simply disregard an entire week’s worth of data around your hormonal cycle. It’s going to do ZERO good to get caught up on your weight going up for reasons outside of your control. Let’s cover that again as it’s a SUPER important tip for females, sometimes it’s better to SKIP weighing in around your monthly cycle. If you want to weigh yourself around that time of the month, record what happens so you can chart/note it each month so you know exactly what to expect and can be prepared for those spikes. Even for males, weight loss is almost NEVER a strictly linear process.
Here's a female weight tracker below to give you an idea of water weight fluctuations:
To sum things up, make sure you set realistic expectations up front as it would be a crime for a client to lose 10-15 lbs over 3 months and feel disappointed with their results. Go in with a positive mindset that you are dieting for self-improvement, focus on your own results and not on those of others, and really commit. Chances are you’re going to be very happy at the outcome.
Interested in trying out the RP diet templates? Check them out here!