Nutrition for Fat Loss - Part 2.2: 5 Steps to Determining Your Macronutrient Percentages
For examples of macronutrients in common diets read Part 2.1 - Macronutrients
5 Simple Steps for Basic Healthy Eating
1) Start with A LOT of vegetables. Adding vegetables increases your fiber intake which always helps with fat loss. Aim for 5-10 servings of vegetables per day depending on body size.
2) Eat 1-3 fruits a day. Fruit is nutritious, but it’s still sugar and fructose at that. So eat them, but don’t overdo it.
Any diet will get you to lose fat if you are strict enough. Depending your body chemistry, some diets work better than others. Some people have success with a high carb, vegetarian diet while others thrive off a low carb, high protein diet. There is an unresolved debate on which diets work better simply because the correct diet is a matter of personal preference. Macronutrients are carbohydrates, fats, and proteins. The purpose of these two blogs (Part 2.1, 2.2) is to show you a handful of common diets and to take the next step beyond calories in order to find what macronutrient percentages work best for you.
Calories are important, but there is more to it than JUST counting calories.
You can hate the word “Diet” all you want, but that is what you are doing when losing weight. Since I can’t think of any other way to describe how fast you lose fat, I’m calling this “Dieting Intensity”. Figuring out how much of a caloric deficit to be on can be trickier than one might think. Going to low may be painful and set you up to gain the weight right back. Not going low enough may not give you fast enough results to stay motivated. Here is a guide to help you determine your average goal calories based on how strict and uncomfortable you are willing to be while eating less.
Losing body fat is a very simple concept. Eat less than what you burn on a regular basis and you will lose body fat. This is step 1. It is ultimately about calories in, calories out. I’ve seen many books and articles claim weight gain is due to some other reason. They will state it is because of toxins, carbs, processed foods, not eating to our genetics (paleo), gluten, and the list goes on. While these all do play a role in weight gain, it is not the main reason why people get fat.
Bullet Points on Basic Nutrition
I recently gave a talk to a youth sports team on basic nutrition and these are the main points that all people should know regarding healthy nutrition. These are the most important items to focus on when improving your nutrition.
We all have a good idea of what’s healthy and what’s not. You should stay away from the obvious junk foods like fast food, sugary drinks, and desserts. They should only be consumed on occasion if at all. Very healthy foods like vegetables, fruits, and lean meats can be eaten multiple times a day.
First off, let me give you examples of foods that are considered protein. Lean meats, eggs, protein supplements, cottage cheese, and some Greek yogurts. That’s it! Notice I did not list nuts, cheese, peanut butter or beans. Reason being, they are predominantly either carbs or fat. It does not mean these foods are bad, just that they have been labeled protein foods for marketing purposes. Here lies the problem with lack of understanding which foods are considered protein. The companies that make products like peanut butter will say “good source of protein!” leading you to think you are getting enough protein by eating a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. The reality is that a peanut butter and jelly sandwich is 43% fat, 41% carbs, and only 16% protein. It has 12 grams of protein which is not adequate, especially if you count on it being one of your major protein meals.
What foods are protein?
Meats. The leaner the meat, the higher percentage of protein it has. For example, a rib eye (lean portion only) steak has about 65% calories from protein where turkey breast has about 90% calories from protein. Higher fat meats will have considerably less protein. Bacon has only 27% calories from protein and sausage only 23%. Lean meats are the best choices for a quality protein source. Eggs are a good quality protein, but also have a significant amount of fat (40% protein).
The Paleo Diet has been gaining some major popularity in the past few years with good reason. I am always skeptical of the latest fad diets because they are always hype and nothing else. Usually, these diets stave you in clever ways or convince you into eating less calories. The Paleo Diet took me a while to warm up to, but after trying it and seeing the high level fitness professionals who support it, I agree that it is a great base for good nutrition. I however, believe that everyone is different and that modifications to this diet need to be made for the individual.
Since its popularity, many Paleo “gurus” have come out with their own version. They claim theirs is THE BEST form of the diet urging you to listen to, read, and buy everything they produce. For the most part, The Paleo Diet is very simple. These people have merely tweaked it to their own one size fits all template.
Every year I encourage all of my clients to have New Year’s fitness resolutions. Most will have a goal of losing 10, 20, 50+ pounds. They should have this goal, however, regardless of the time of year. Resolutions should aim to improve on one or two aspects in your life to help achieve success. Take these resolutions and implement them into a plan that will allow you to achieve your fitness goal.
Lack of Sleep Contributes to Cravings and Obesity - Hormones Ghrehlin and Leptin
Have you every felt the need to eat sweets, pastries, chips, or other calorie-dense foods after a night inadequate of sleep? Have you ever felt hungry after eating in the same situation? These are common effects of getting too little sleep.
Ghrelin, Leptin, and Sleep
The reason why we tend to gravitate to the pastries the day following a short night sleep is a hormonal response. The two hormones responsible for this are ghrelin and leptin. Ghrelin stimulates appetite while leptin produces a feeling of fullness.(1) When you get a shortened night of sleep, levels of ghrelin increase while levels leptin decrease.(1,2,3) Studies have shown that individuals with habitual sleep of 5 hours compared to those of 8 hours had 14.9% higher ghrelin levels and 15.5% lower leptin levels.(2) This creates a double dose of food cravings matched up with the feeling of being less satisfied after eating. What can be worse than having a strong craving for a donut, not feeling satisfied after eating it, and knowing that you had just blown your diet.
A New Year!
It is the start of a new year and we are all excited to get after our fitness goals of losing weight, adding muscle, and feeling healthier. We have our schedules cleared of holidays and parties for weeks. Now is the time to really step it up, get exercising, and eat healthy.
This is a fun time of year for me because I get to work with so many motivated clients who are ready to see their bodies change. After many years of coaching the New Years mentality client (including myself EVERY year), there are some key points to keep in mind.
Jerry Yuhara, CPT, CES, CMT #75123
299 California Ave, Suite 120
Palo Alto, CA 94306
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