The more I learn about nutrition, the more interested and confused I become. No wonder so many people try so many diets and either fail miserably or succeed for a short while and then fall of the wagon and fail.
Now don’t misunderstand…diets do work for the most part but they only work as long as you continue the diet–which long term for most people is very hard–because diets all eliminate something major that the body needs.
What I am learning is better is creating your own nutritional plan that works for you. Yes–I did say create…but you can also adopt a way of life that provides you all the nutrients you need without the deprivation of most diets out there.
When you do this and keep it up and include at least 30 minutes of exercise everyday you will lose weight, feel better and naturally be healthier.
In order to create (or adopt) the right nutritional plan for you, you have to understand the Macros–or as I call them “the Big Mac”.
As with most popular buzzwords of the day, I usually get them wrong and invent my own.
So the Big Mac, or Macros are really Macro-nutrients. Those are the major categories of nutrients the body needs in big quantities to work. And work well.
Thankfully–for me–there are only three to remember: Proteins, Carbohydrates and Fats.
Here is a quick crash course on the Macros and how much your body needs in order to be healthy.
Proteins: These are the building blocks of, well, everything. It is the main thing in all our tissues, organs, bones, enzymes, blood and hair. Everything is made of proteins and proteins also help repair them–like our muscles after a workout.
Proteins can be found in most meats and dairy products but also in legumes and grains. Getting enough proteins and the right type of proteins is essential.
Carbohydrates: Carbs give our bodies the needed energy we need to function. Carbs are also what makes us feel full so we don’t over eat the wrong kind of stuff. Americans have a love-hate relationship with carbs.
Because all carbs are broken down into glucose by the body for energy–the wrong kind of carbs (simple sugars) will give you a great zing of energy followed by the slump. The right kind of carbs can give our bodies the more leveled output of energy that lasts longer and doesn’t make us feel like we let the air out of the balloon.
Fats: Believe it or not fats are very necessary in our bodies. They have a bad reputation for causing heart disease and obesity etc. but are very necessary for the body to use with our hormones, nervous system, skin and hair health and even as insulation and cushion for the body and our organs.
As with Carbohydrates the wrong kind–or too much of a good thing–can be bad. We need insulation–but not too much insulation.
The big question is how much of each do we need to live healthy, lose unwanted weight, or build muscle.
The big answer of course is–it depends.
Each person’s needs and tolerance will be different–that is why most diets don’t work long term because each person needs to customize them to their own needs and body reactions.
Here is a general guideline to start with and adjust as your needs change. Figure out how many calories you need to reach your goal. For example, if I want to lose weight–and I do–I want to stay at or under 1400 calories a day.
(The internet has many calculators you can use–as do most diet books–to figure out how many calories you need based on your gender, height, current weight and how much activity you have in your life.)
Once you know the calories you are aiming for–a simple method to allocate your calories is by getting 40% of your calories from Proteins, 40% from Carbohydrates and 20% from Fats.
Based on my number I would need 560 calories from Protein, 560 calories from Carbohydrates and 280 calories from Fat. Add 64 oz of water a day and moderate exercise and viola! a new me!
Easy right? No…absolutely not easy. And that is my point today. Being healthy is hard work, but it can be done and it is so worth it! You have to take the time to do the numbers and then make the numbers work for you into a lifestyle choice that gets you to and keeps you where you want to be.
We want to live better, faster and smarter–and the Big Mac will get you there…but you have to put in the work!
Have a great day today! Reach out with a comment about your Big Mac or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org with your thoughts and questions!