While it may sound counterintuitive, eating more can actually help you lose more. Most diets call for less food and more exercise. And while cutting back on the "bad" things is absolutely necessary (cookies, ice cream, chips, burgers, etc) it is even more important to eat a lot more of the good things. But how do you know what’s good, and aren’t you supposed to be eating less in general anyways?
The trick is eating more macronutrients and micronutrients. These are foods that support your body that give your body the healthy and sustainable nutrition it needs to support healthy weight loss and productive exercise. Macronutrients are the foods that your body needs in large amounts, and micronutrients are needed in smaller amounts but make a big impact on health.
If you don’t eat enough of what your body needs, it will literally go into survival mode because it detects that it is not getting proper sustenance to support a healthy body and life. This can have the opposite effect on your weight loss goals as your body desperately holds on to the fat that it does have and hunkers down for the long haul until the body gets what it needs for proper function again.
Carbs, Fats (the good ones) and Proteins make up the macronutrient family. Here’s some examples of the foods in this category that will give you the energy you need to make it through the day.
- Grains, dairy, fruit
- 40% - 60% of your daily intake depending on your activity (less active = less carbs, more active = more carbs)
- Benefit to body: sustainable source of energy during exercise or daily activities, feeds the brain and central nervous system, spares protein for other uses
- Nuts, oils, seeds, fish
- 25% of your daily intake depending on type of fat (less than 10% for saturated fats such as dairy, coconut oil, palm oil etc)
- Benefit to body: protection of vital organs, distribution of fat soluble vitamins, reserve of energy
- Meat, fish, dairy, legumes, eggs
- The maximum amount of protein the body can efficiently and effectively utilize is .91 gram per pound of body weight. Now this may require some calculation, but it can be highly beneficial for ensuring you are consuming the ideal amount.
- Benefit to body: supports healthy tissue structure, regulation of metabolism, balances acid in body, hormone production
This nutrition category consists of pretty much all vitamins that can be found in a vegetables. From water soluble to fat soluble, minerals and water. These can be taken as supplements or eaten as food, but all are incredibly important.
Counting calories is not a sustainable way to lose weight
because not all calories are created equal. A good example is a situation you are likely to encounter at a summer BBQ. You really want a piece of that festive cake, but you know you probably shouldn’t. So instead of having your cake and eating it too, you decide to skip out on the burger you had planned for dinner and eat the cake in its place. But 350 calories of cake is not nutritionally equal to 350 calories of a burger.
It is important to listen to your body and give it what it needs to not just survive, but thrive. Mindful eating and gratitude are very important to send positive and loving messages to your brain about what you are choosing to put into your body.
Stay tuned for more on mindful eating and respecting limits with food this month! We want to know if you’ve experimented with a micro/macro diet. Let us know about your journey in the comments below!