Intake Targets: True Targets or Upper Limits?

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Intake Targets: True Targets or Upper Limits?

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“I know I have daily intake targets, but is it okay if I finish under since I’m trying to lose?

It can be appealing to try to undershoot our calories or macros when we’re trying to lose, but I always encourage my folks to treat their targets as *true targets*, not upper limits.

We want to progress as long as we can *on as much as we can*.

Finishing shy of targets is not necessarily a bad thing if a day or two we realize it’s late, we still have some numbers to get in, but we *are not hungry*. I’d never ask someone to override their body signaling and keep eating solely to hit numbers, when they’re already satisfied. That happening once in a while, while cutting anyhow, not a big deal.

What can get tricky is if it becomes a habit, and then we take the deficit we had in place by design (the deficit we’d hit if hitting targets true) and add to it this “bonus deficit” that starts to develop by finishing under, and the two compound and stack more and more and more over time.

Our bodies can end up down-regulating as they acclimate to those lower levels, and essentially our targets will end up having to go lower down the line vs where they would’ve gone had we always been eating up to target.

On top of that, hunger can appear randomly and fiercely after this sneaky big deficit compounds and then we find ourselves wanting to eat EVERYTHING, without any idea why. The double stacked deficit is usually why, at that point.

One more thing to consider, the person finishing short of targets consistently is probably going to start moving less without realizing it, and their NEAT expenditure would deteriorate whereas hitting their numbers they’d move a bit more on that extra energy, and burn more than that margin.


When in doubt, aim to finish as close as you can to your intake targets, but always listen to your body and never ‘keep going’ solely for hitting-numbers-sake. If its happening often where hunger doesn’t allow you to hit your targets, let your coach know, and its probably time to adjust numbers to make them feel more ‘right’ given how your body has changed and where your movement levels are now.

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