There is a lot of information out there and new studies are coming out all the time when it comes to nutrition.
This is all great, but it can get a little overwhelming at times, and people spend too much time reading rather than just getting started.
Knowledge is excellent, so we definitely recommend reading what you can and learning from the people who have been there and have done so, but the best advice we can give you from Dermatology is to start and adapt as you go along.
Simply put, if you want to lose weight, you should eat fewer calories than you burn. Basically, you must be in a calorie deficit.
There are two ways to do this:
- You can exercise more to burn calories.
- Eat less.
If you combine both with exercise and a proper diet , the results will be much better, but that does not mean that you should do hours and hours of cardio and cut down on your food intake.
If your case were weight / muscle gain, read this: Hyper caloric Diet: What is it? Characteristics, what it is for, considerations and types of necessary nutrients.
I would always suggest making the most of it and just starting by increasing your activity level, which will give you a multitude of positive results without having to cut down on food for now.
First, you need to calculate how many calories you need to consume to maintain weight. This is called your resting metabolic rate, and to calculate that, you must multiply your body weight by 12; if you have a physically active job, then multiply it by 15.
This is just a very general rule of thumb. We are all different, but this will give you a decent base plan to follow. For more information on how to set your diet, check out this article I wrote a while back.
You can also track food for three days and take average calories for three days and see if you are losing, gaining, or maintaining weight, and this can give you a very good idea of where to start.
Most, if not all, nutritionists will echo this sentiment: What causes confusion is “one calorie is just one calorie,” meaning that as long as you are in deficit, you will lose weight.
What science says is that this is a precise statement, and you will have to tend to agree with this. But behind this statement, even if you lose weight, some vital nutrients will also be lost. Also, if your calories are not very high, you will look for and opt for foods that create more volume and fill you for a longer time.
“And we all know what this type of food is”
Listen and understand your body
“A Calorie Is Just A Calorie” is a great guide for the general population of people looking for an easier route to lose weight, but for athletes and fitness enthusiasts, a calorie is not just a calorie, and those you consume they make a big difference.
Focus on how your body feels and how it digests the food you eat.
If you feel good and are performing at a high level with your food selection, then stick with it. There are no good or bad foods, it”s just taking into account what makes up the majority of your calories and making sure they have something of nutritional value.
Calories are derived from three macros that give our bodies energy for our daily lives. This includes brain function, consciousness, body performance, and all of our everyday events.
With that said, I”ll have to say that common sense will tell you that the better you eat, the better everything else will work.
We”ve all heard the car analogy, and it rings true: Our bodies are high-performance machines like a Ferrari, and if you want your Ferrari to run on all cylinders, don”t put cheap oil or gasoline in it; put good and quality things on it.
Our bodies are the same way: The more nutrient-dense foods you feed, the better it will perform. Yes, a calorie is just a calorie, but if you feed your body the best food, it will work at a higher level day by day.
If you train correctly and at a high level, you will burn more calories during training; you will increase muscle size, endurance and strength.
Good calories will also help with recovery, so you can exercise harder and more frequently throughout the week. Focus on good quality food for good quality muscle size and weight loss.
Create your own diet
The next step in creating a diet that works for you is to figure out how to break down the macros for your diet and learn exactly what they do for you.
We have already laid the foundation for a successful diet with the importance of calories and how to find the right amount for your goals. Now, we will connect the macros by food to achieve the desired objectives, but before doing so, you must know exactly the benefits of each macro and how to incorporate them into your day.
You have your three macro nutrients, which are protein, fat, and carbohydrates.
First, let”s talk about proteins. Proteins are the building blocks of muscle growth and repair, so after intense training, protein breaks down into amino acids and the repair process begins so you can come back the next day and fully recover for your next workout.
Protein also has the greatest thermionic effect on the body, which means it burns most of the calories from all macros when you consume it. Protein is also great for keeping you satiated / full longer.
As you can see, protein is crucial to a successful diet. Not only does it help you maintain your muscle, but it also plays an important role in burning calories and keeping you full – all of which will help anyone on a diet stay healthy. Each gram of protein you consume equals four calories.
The following two macros have a bad reputation. From one extreme to the other, you”ve probably heard that carbohydrates will make you fat and should be avoided at all costs; On the other hand, you have also heard that fats are bad for you and should be avoided at all costs.
However, both play a very important role in the human body, and neither should be neglected on a diet.
Fats are great for regulating the thyroid and various hormones , like testosterone , that help suppress hunger as you diet, which is crucial to stay on track.
Fats are also good at keeping you full longer, lowering cortisol levels, providing energy, and helping the body to function properly. They also help with insulin sensitivity and cardiovascular health. Fats are extremely important during the diet.
Naturally, as you go into a calorie deficit, testosterone and other hormones decrease, so fats will keep your endocrine system healthier.
They also help with joint pain, which will come as you lose weight. A good threshold for total fat intake is 30 grams a day. Each gram of fat you consume equals nine calories.
Carbohydrates give you energy and replenish your glycogen reserves that have been depleted due to intense workouts, which help transport a large amount of protein and other micro nutrients, such as vitamins and minerals, to keep your body functioning at a high level.
Carbohydrates are also the most metabolic nutrient we eat. They are a key macro nutrient for a diet, as it saves protein, so it will help preserve size and give you energy in your workouts.
Our bodies prefer carbohydrates as their primary source of energy, and it”s available at a rapid rate, so you can see why carbohydrates are crucial for athletes who lift weights or do any type of anaerobic exercise. Each gram of carbohydrates you consume equals four calories.
Obviously, when you”re trying to lose weight, you”ll have to manipulate macros to cut calories, but you don”t have to completely eliminate a full macro nutrient for an extended period of time.
An easy way to see it is that on the days you train, you can increase carbohydrates and lower fats, and on days off from training, you don”t need as many carbohydrates, so you can reduce some carbohydrates and increase fats a bit. Keep in mind that you still need to be in a calorie deficit to lose weight.
I hope this shows you why all macro nutrients are important for body composition and performance.
Try manipulating your macros to fit your activity level and syncing most of your carbohydrates around your workout and fat away from them.
Drop carbs on days off, but never completely drop a macro for an extended period of time.
We have already discussed the importance of calories and the use of macronutrients in a diet in a simplistic approach.
Take these basics and start implementing them in your diet because you will never know what works for you until you try it for yourself. With that said, let”s get into the latest installment on nutrient timing.
Nutrient timing is simply defined as when you eat and what kind of macros are part of that meal.
A very basic approach to timing nutrients with macros per meal is pretty simple. You keep fats away from carbohydrates and vice versa. So if you have high carbohydrates in a meal, you will need to reduce the amounts of fat in that same meal
The reason behind this is that once the carbohydrates are ingested, your body will create an insulin spike, which will help transport the carbohydrates to the empty glycogen stores.
Once those reserves are full, they are transferred to the fat reserves. Now, if fat is in the equation, it will also carry fat and carbohydrates to fat cells. If your food is richer in fat, then you should cut down on carbs for the same reasons stated above. Fats are necessary in a diet, so don”t neglect them. And that brings us to meal times throughout the day.
When scheduling meals for the day, you should start your workout. Meals before, after, and after training should be high in carbohydrates and low in fat; the reason for this is that fat will slow down the absorption rate of the nutrients you consume.
After those meals, depending on your goals, you”ll start to drop carbs and increase fat with the mindset of keeping calories where they need to be to reach your goals. Along with the nutrient timing of meals for a day, we will now enter the time of days during the week.
This is a very simple idea: on the days that you don”t train, you lower the carbohydrates substantially and raise the fats. You need carbohydrates more on training days.
Now that you have the basics, start developing your diet and be patient with the process to reap the rewards.
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