Dieting – Am I doing it right?
Well firstly, I don’t like using the work ‘diet’
Simply because as soon as you say “diet” people immediately assume that you’re starving yourself.
I prefer to use terms like “nutritional guide” and I say “guide” because there’s a million and one ways you can structure your nutrition, and that will be heavily dependent on the individual at hand.
There’s not set rules as to how you should set out your nutrition, only guidelines that we can follow based on research that has proven results. But again, every single one of us is different, so what works for you may not work as well for another.
It’ a pretty common thing that people get overwhelmed with what they should be doing in regards to their nutritional intake, and unfortunately these days there’s so much marketing around fad diets and super shakes and all that other crap, how can you not get confused?!
So I’d like to share a bit of clarity, based on my knowledge, to help you understand what you should be thinking about when it comes to sorting out your nutrition.
Some of you have heard of them, some of you have not.
Pretty much, all foods we consume have a calorie content. It’s the energy that’s within the food that out body will then use to fuel our own movements.
The single, most important thing when planning nutrition is to set a calorie goal.
Start by working out your estimated calorie maintenance. You can do this using an online calculator. Then based on what you want to achieve, set your calorie target around that. If the goal is fat loss, you should be setting it in a small deficit to begin with (i.e. maintenance is 2200 cals – set your target at 2000 cals to start).
If the goal is muscle gain, you’d do the opposite and go into a small surplus.
Monitor your weight on a regular basis to track progress, and once your hit a plateau, make another small adjustment.
People claim there’s some magical diets out there…
Let me tell you something, it does not matter what type of diet you follow, the only thing that matters is that you’re in a calorie deficit.
Don’t overcomplicate shit.
Once calories are sorted, the next important thing to look at is where those calories are coming from.
Macronutrients come in the form of Protein / Carbohydrates / Fats
The fourth one is actually alcohol, but it’s basically an empty calorie that offers no benefit the body, so…don’t drink, it’s not good for you (that was a joke…ha ha)
The most important of the 3 macros that I always emphasize with my clients is Protein.
Your protein intake is essential to aid muscle retention and muscle growth.
A guide that I generally work off is:
Females: 2g per kg bodyweight
Males: 2.8g per kg bodyweight
Males tend to have higher requirements as they naturally have more muscle mass.
But again, it does come down to the individual.
What do we do with carbs & fats?
Well this really comes down to personal preference…
There have been studies that state you body doesn’t actually require additional fat from your nutritional intake, and our assumption of fat requirements is much higher than what our body actually needs.
It’s also been proven that glucose is the preferred source of energy for our body to function. Where do we get glucose from: Carbohydrates
So you could assume that a low fat / high carb diet would be best suited. However, there can be some other factors that come into play that could effect how you should structure your carbs & fats, insulin sensitivity being the biggest one.
But without overcomplicating things – once you set your protein goal, make up the rest of the calories as you please.
If you’re someone that likes carb type foods, then eat carb type foods.
If you’re not a huge fan of potatoes, rice etc. then look to get more calories from fat based foods.
Once you set your targets, them aim to be hitting them on a consistent basis.
Something that many people won’t even thing about when they sort out their nutrition.
‘Micronutrients’ is referring to the vitamins and minerals you obtain from the foods you eat.
They more processed a food is, the less micronutrients it’s likely to contain.
Why do we need micronutrients?
Simply – to be healthy…
You’re body can only handle so much artificial and processed crap before something gives.
By something, I mean one of your internal organs that are vital for everyday survival.
I like to encourage my clients to work off a 90/10 or 80/20 rule.
This meaning that 80-90% of your daily nutritional intake coming from good, unprocessed, nutrient dense foods and the remaining 10-20% coming from ‘bad foods’.
It’s completely okay to have a bit of chocolate each day, have some ice cream, have a burger etc. but that should not be what your whole day looks like.
You should still be aiming to eat unprocessed meats, seafood, nuts, fruits, veggies and all the other good stuff!
“Eat the colours of the rainbow”
If you do this, you’re more likely to have a nutritious diet that your body will thank you for.