Time of food intake -
What you’re eating -
Quantity of everything -
Any liquids taken in -
At the end of the day, calculate your caloric intake. Is it in line with what your caloric intake range should be? If it is within that range, decrease your caloric intake by about 250 calories a day. If it is NOT in the range, decrease your caloric intake to be within that range.
We’ve established how much you should eat; now the question is WHAT should you eat? While it’s true, weight loss is calories in vs. calories out, not all calories are created equally. Furthermore, many chemicals added to food (i.e. artificial sweeteners) may not necessarily have calories, but they will change the physiological processes of your body and can potentially lead to future health problems such as migraines, GI problems, and potentially different cancers. Here is a great blog a friend of mine wrote on artificial sweeteners. For a specific meal plan, you should be working closely with a registered dietician. In general, the more natural your foods are the healthier they will be. You should be avoiding simple carbohydrates which the body digests and absorbs very quickly leaving you hungry again. Lean meats, a lot of veggies, and whole grains are fantastic. Fruit is a great way to regulate your blood sugar without eating a Snickers Bar. If you need some variety in your diet, there are online meal plans which can help you plan a menu.
There are 4 macronutrients you need to consider (technically there are 3, but I’m including water).
Protein is used by the body to rebuild and recover. If you’re not getting enough, your body will not be able to stay healthy, rebuild bones, build muscle, heal from injuries..etc. Depending on your goals, your protein intake should be no more than 25% of your overall intake.
Carbohydrates are your body’s energy source. Your body breaks down carbs relatively quickly and allows you to get through the day. There are good carbs and bad carbs . This is based on how quickly your body digests the carb. A good carb is also known as a complex carb and also known as low-glycemic index carb. Bad carbs are simple carbs or high glycemic index carbs. Complex carbs should be about 50% of your daily intake. As a side note, fruits and veggies are good carbs.
Fats are used to coat nerves, help lubricate joints, insulate the body, and keep the skin and arteries supple. Fats are subdivided into saturated and unsaturated. Saturated fats are solid at room temperature (dairy and meats). Unsaturated fats are liquid at room temperature (vegetable oils). Saturated fats, due to the extra density, are not healthy. They clog arteries and create health concerns. Unsaturated fats are healthy and should consist of no more than 25% of your daily intake.
Water is used for everything. A majority of the physiological reactions that occur in the human body need either hydrogen or oxygen. By staying properly hydrated you are providing your body with these necessary elements. 60-70 ounces of water a day is a good place to start. On exercise days, this should increase.
Next month, Part 3, Exercise.