We recently ran a nutrition workshop as part of our 8 week challenge. My personal goal was to share some information with participants that hadn’t been shared in previous challenges we had run at Beyond. Hopefully the 6 key points below are things you can apply or keep in mind if you are looking to balance out your energy levels or maintain/reduce weight.
Two important words to know; calorie and macronutrient.
- Calorie – “Energy needed to raise the temperature of 1kg of water by 1 degree”
The important bit…CALORIES are ENERGY for our bodies, like FUEL is ENERGY for your car. In NZ you will see Kilojoules on the back of food labels. 1 Calorie = 4.18Kj!
- Macronutrient – Macronutrients are nutrients that provide calories (energy). Since “macro” means large, macronutrients are nutrients needed in large amounts.
Three vital macros:
There is one more…alcohol; which does provide energy (7 calories per gram) however you can argue this is not a macronutrient as it is not vital or needed by the body to function.
1. Not all humans require the same amount of energy on any given day!
Females are typically ‘recommended’ to have 1500kcal per day and males 2300kcal but that is FALSE as we are all different… For example, each individual differs in:
- Activity level
- Body type (ectomorph, mesomorph, endomorph)
- Muscle mass
- The list goes on!
The best way to get an accurate measure of your metabolic rate is through an advanced body composition test, which we offer at Beyond.
2. There’s more to it than calories in versus calories out!
Losing weight or putting on weight is not just a case of decreasing or increasing calories. Yes the science of calories in versus calories out will have an impact on weight loss or gain but the type of calorie also plays a significant role. There is such a thing as EMPTY CALORIES. These are calories that only provide energy but don’t actually provide ANY nutritional value, e.g. unhealthy fats, added sugar and alcohol. Specific examples include lollies, packaged cakes and biscuits, beer, cheap and nasty bacon, fizzy drinks etc. The risk with eating calories this way is they don’t satisfy us and we don’t feel full so WE EAT MORE! Every time we eat these types of foods we also miss an opportunity to nourish our body with the nutrients it needs to function optimally
3. It’s not a case of eating less it’s a process of CHANGING WHAT WE EAT.
You wouldn’t tell a smoker to have a shorter cigarette to reduce the chance of lung cancer. You would tell a smoker to give up cigarettes altogether and perhaps swap smoking for a healthier habit. Like eating a carrot, doing a crossword or listening to music. Change the FUEL i.e what you are putting in your body.
4. There is no need to count calories UNLESS…
- You have absolutely NO IDEA how many calories is in your food and you are curious.
- You want to get DICED UP, under 6% body fat and win the Mr or Mrs Mount Manganui title this summer.
If you are eating HEALTHY FOODS you probably won’t go over calories especially if you are exercising. I don’t know any fat people that got fat because they ate too much broccoli!
To enhance the process of how your body uses food as fuel, try these proven methods:
- Get plenty of sleep i.e 7-8 hours so our recovery processes can fire and to lower stress levels
- Eat more VEGETABLES
- Lift weight – work your big muscle groups
- Drink water
- Reduce empty calories
- Drink less alcohol
5. Vegetables and fruit are not the same.
Any non-starchy veges are gold. If it is a vegetable that you can eat raw you are probably safe to eat as much as you like. Avoid over-eating potatoes, kumara and corn as these are complex carbs and packed with energy! Especially at dinner as it is unlikely you will use this energy as fuel to burn. A small amount of fruit is good (for essential vitamins) but don’t overdo it! If you are looking to decrease weight and maintain blood sugar levels go with citrus fruits and berries as opposed to bananas, grapes or apples! Oh, and avoid dried fruits – these are depleted of nutrients and packed with sugar!
6. Not all macros have the same amount of energy per gram
- Fat: 1 gram = 9 Calories
- Protein: 1 gram = 4 Calories
- Carbohydrates:1 gram = 4 Calories
- Alcohol: 1 gram = 7 Calories
Hopefully the above 6 tips will help you out with staying on (the right) track when it comes to managing your nutrition. Good luck!