Most people think that if they eat less and exercise more that they will lose weight. This unfortunately is a very simplistic view of how the body works. At a very high level we know that it is excess calories and lack of exercise that causes weight gain; however, when it comes to losing weight or fat successfully and keeping it off long-term without adverse effects to our health, we need to do a bit more.
The first thing we need to understand is that there are two components for nutrition for fat loss: food amount and food composition. Food amount is the calories we consume but it is not as simple as eating less. In some instances, yes, that may be the answer. However, in others, the answer might actually be eating more. Knowing how the body functions and what is required for optimal performance based on lifestyle and body time is very important. This is long-term thinking because ultimately we all want to be healthy more than our need to lose an extra 10 lbs. The second component, food composition, refers to macronutrient breakdown mainly. Macronutrients are made up of carbohydrates, proteins and fats. Our body needs all three to function. Of course, everyone is different and such perform better with different rations of macros.
Although most people are familiar with calories and calorie counting, there is a lack of knowledge and understanding when it comes to macros. This is also true when it comes to consuming enough calories to perform. We have been trained to think less is more (calorie cutting), fat is bad, carbs are bad etc…
It is time to re-educate ourselves and start eating for our goals by consuming not only the right calories but also by understanding our macronutrient needs and staying within them. Watch this video to learn more about macronutrients:
Now, let’s look at each macro and why it is essential:
Protein: is essential for our body function. It is made up of amino acids, the building blocks of life. Protein helps replace worn out cells, transports various substances throughout the body, and aids in growth and repair. In other words, your body needs it to produce important molecules in our body to function. If you want to get results and stay healthy, it is important to ensure you are getting enough protein.
Carbs: are typically broken down into simple and complex based on their molecule structure. This simply indicates how quickly they will be broken down to enter the blood stream based on their original state. Therefore, complex carbs are digested and absorbed much slower while the simple carbs are digested very quickly. Carbohydrates are primarily a source of immediate energy for all of your body’s cells. No carbs or not enough carbs means poor performance.
Fats: dietary fat provides an energy source. In fact, it is the most energy dense out of all the macronutrients. It forms our brains, cell membranes and nervous systems. It helps transport fat soluble vitamins. It provides two essential fatty acids that the body can’t make: omega 3 and omega 6. As you can see, fats are essential for body function and are part of a healthy diet.
It is important to provide the body a balance of all 3 macronutrients with focus on lean proteins, complex carbs and fruits and vegetables and healthy fats. These changes will overtime feed the body’s need for nutrients so it can let go of unwanted body fat and give you the results you want.
Check back later this week for a detailed explanation on how to calculate your macros!