Think for a moment about all of the diets, attempts to lose (or gain) weight, or nutrition fads you might have tried at one time or another. On how many of these regimes did you actually understand the biological principles behind the approach? Maybe a few (at least a little bit).
Even if you did sort of understand ‘how’ the diet was working, were you confident that it fostered healthy & sustainable behaviours? Probably not.
And how many of these diets left you with a positive, intuitive & genuine understanding on how to feed yourself going forward? Almost all fad diets have at least one of two things in common: 1 – calorie deficit / surplus 2 – significant/total food group restrictions &/or emphasis on favoured ‘fat burning’ or ‘detoxing’ foods
No foods have magical ‘fat burning’ properties. ‘Detox’ diets are consistently discredited. Smoothies & shakes will not save your life. Cutting out entire food groups without medical requirement or supervision, or severely reducing any single macronutrient, is unhealthy, irresponsible, & largely irrelevant to altering body composition long-term. The diet’s calorie deficit / surplus? That is important.
The magical rules, crazy restrictions, & unique fat burning food combos? Not important. That is MARKETING.
Wouldn’t it be better & more sustainable to actually understand how to structure your own nutrition genuine good health and a truly positive relationship with food?
What you need to know: #1 – ‘Macros’ - What my body needs to function healthily
Carbohydrates & Fibre - Source of energy - Optimal intake prevents use of proteins from muscle mass as last resort energy reserves, supporting recovery from exercise & maintenance / growth of muscle mass - Regulates hormones associated with balancing blood sugar levels & combatting stress - Promotes healthy digestion & micronutrient absorption Fats - Source of energy - Aim for regular consumption of ‘Good Fats’ e.g. Omega 3, natural saturated fats (meat, eggs, coconut oil) - Reduce consumption of ‘Bad fats’ e.g. ‘Trans Fats’ found in artificial, processed foods - Many vitamins are ‘fat-soluble’ & are therefore absorbed better when eaten with good fats Protein - Source of energy - The body’s building blocks, critical for maintaining & building cells, bone & muscle - Increased exercise demands increased protein intake to repair & maintain muscle tissue - Regulates appetite & hormones associated with motivation & cognition
#2 – How I need to eat for my goals
For healthful weight loss… - a small-to-moderate calorie deficit vs. daily expenditure - a small reduction in carbohydrate intake, usually an increase in protein intake - optimal micronutrient intake
For weight gain… - a small-to-moderate calorie surplus vs. daily expenditure - an increase in both carbohydrate & protein intake, slight increase in fat intake - optimal micronutrient intake
For athletic performance… - calorie intake matches / slightly exceeds daily expenditure, dependent on individual & goals - an increase in both carbohydrate & protein intake, slight increase in fat intake - optimal micronutrient intake
For health & weight maintenance… - calorie intake complements average daily expenditure - healthy, balanced intake of carbohydrates, protein & fats - optimal micronutrient intake
#3 – ‘Micros’ – Why my food choices matter
Vitamins. Minerals. Anti-oxidants. Micronutrients are vital in supporting health, preventing damage (from cell walls to muscles, bones, brain, eyes & skin), reducing aging, providing energy & preventing disease.
Focus on a diet rich in colourful vegetables & fruits, comprised of single ingredient, ‘as nature intended’ foods, rather than reaching for a donut ‘because it fits your macros’! Seek advice on health focused supplementation.
Optimal body composition is harder to achieve when the body is in a less-than-optimal state. What’s more, your results will be short lived if you’ve achieved them via unhealthy methods. You should feel good as a result of your food choices, & have faith that you are supporting good health & longevity. To put it simply…work from the inside-out.