We’ve heard it a million times now. There’s a new diet that will change your life. Let me be frank, there is nothing new, nothing revolutionary that we will ever find to help people manage their weight. What I am about to tell you, you already know. You have known it for years, but society lacks the discipline to follow through on anything that requires work to achieve.
If your nutritional lifestyle consisted to an adequate amount of protein, an amount of carbs that reflects your activity level, and enough fats to support your body’s essential functions, you would look better and feel better than you have in your entire life. So, what’s the magic ratio? Well, that depends on goals. You must understand that you cannot eat whatever because you don’t have a “fitness” goal. Your first goal must be health and wellness. Your heart, your liver, your gut, your mind, all need adequate nutrition. They’ll take whatever you give it, but at a cost.
Eat adequate protein, for the day-to-day individual, trying to maintain a healthy body weight and relative leanness, .8-1g of protein per pound of bodyweight is a very realistic and easy to hit goal. How is it easy? Have 3-4 meals today, and let protein be the focal point of any plate you eat off of. Eat red meat, red meat holds more micronutrients than many other type of meat. You are getting essential vitamins and minerals from red meat that you will never get from chicken. I’m not saying don’t eat chicken, I’m saying eat all kinds of protein, but don’t let someone tell you red meat is bad, that is false and always will be. Let me reiterate, if you are trying to manage your weight, let protein be the masterpiece and focal point of the plate, and let me be clear, keep it to one plate vast majority of the time.
Eat carbs that reflect your activity level. Carbs are your primary source of fuel. Your muscles store this fuel directly in itself. If you do a bicep curl, there were carbs you ate, that are stored directly in that muscle, that are giving the muscle the energy to contract. So why does it need to reflect your activity level? Your body can only store so much energy in the muscle, so if you eat in excess of your energy requirement, where does that go? Into your long-term stores, or flabby love handled and donuts around a belly button. If you are relatively inactive, meaning you don’t work out daily, and you sit in front of a computer all day, then essential carbs are all that are needed, if you aren’t active, .5g per lb. of body weight is more than enough energy than you’ll need during the day. If you are moderately active, let’s say you like to strength train or lift weights recreationally. 1-1.5g per lb. of bodyweight is plenty adequate. At this level you need to be more conscious to how you feel and look, if you are strength only, 1g per lb. of body weight, if you do higher reps, and higher sets, you need more energy to do that work. This will also cause more muscle trauma that requires energy to repair. Any carb level above 1.5g per lb. of bodyweight doesn’t come here to get their nutrition advice, this is someone either trying to get huge, or are endurance athletes at a level I never care to experience.
Fats fill in the rest. You should be able to calculate your daily caloric expenditure fairly easy with online calculators, or hopefully tools that a practice has to help determine your BMR. Whatever calories you have left over after you’ve had your 1g/lb. of body weight in protein, and for the sake of example, 1g/lb. of bodyweight in carbs, fill in the rest with fats. There are a couple easy ways to calculate this. 1 gram of fat is 9 calories, so take your leftover calories and divide by 9, there’s your fat intake for the day.
I got mathematical at the end, but let me put it this way too, eat when you are hungry. I’m not saying eat whatever you want when you’re hungry, I’m saying eat whole foods, let protein dominate your meal, eat a reasonable amount of healthy carbs and fat when you are hungry, and you will look and feel great. The body is an amazingly efficient machine, and when we feed it what it needs, it communicates openly with us. Now, if you eat terrible foods, sugars and fats that shouldn’t enter your body, your body will forget how to communicate hunger when it’s needed, it will now communicate an addiction and a craving. Drink more water. Let it be your staple, adequate water aids in digestion, increases blood volume, and helps flush the system more effectively. Don’t go crazy, you can actually dilute your ability to digest food by drinking too much water with food, be conservative. Don’t feast and famine, regular intervals of a reasonable amount of food should fuel everything you ever need.