Health and Fitness Fridays: Macro Nutrients Part 1

If there is one thing about dieting and nutrition that has always confused me, it’s macro nutrients. I managed to lose weight without paying any attention to them, so I figured I could maintain without paying attention to them too.

This past Wednesday, I was ravenous. I couldn’t satisfy my hunger, I ate and ate all day but it wasn’t until I ate one slice of cheese right before bed that I finally felt satisfied. It got me thinking that maybe I need to re-examine my nutrient intake.

I have had my Macros set at 40% Carbs, 35% Protein, and 25% fat for a while but never actually tried to hit those numbers. I have no idea if those numbers are even right for me as I just randomly picked them. You can see from my weekly report that I am not even coming close to hitting my protein number but my carbs and fats are almost always over.

Macros 2CarbsProtein Fat

So my goal is to really examine my macro nutrients to find the right mix for me. The first way for me to do that is to really focus on hitting my current targets and see if that makes a difference in how I feel.

Part 2 will review how I have been doing at hitting my targets. I will also be researching more into Macros and will share some of what I learn with you.

Stay tuned.

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Health and fitness Fridays: Eat More to Weigh Less

When I started on my weight loss journey I was like everyone that was new to this. I had no clue. I put my numbers into MyFitnessPal and was on my way.

These numbers weren’t “wrong” but they weren’t right for me either. I had set my goal to lose 1.5 pounds a week, a number that I never ever hit on my journey. I averaged one a week.  I had a net goal of 1300 calories which meant I was eating in the range of 1600 to 1900 a day depending on my exercise.

I was hungry constantly.

The hungrier I got, the more I began to think that this wasn’t how it was supposed to be. So I started researching.

Knowledge is power, and I researched any diet plan or weight loss method I could find. I wanted to find the way that would work for me. The overwhelming results from that research was that you didn’t have to starve yourself to lose weight.

Wait, what!?!?! You don’t have to be hungry all the time. Mind blown!

BMR and TDEE

Basically to lose weight there are two numbers you need to know, your BMR and TDEE. All the rest can be considered fluff (In my opinion at least).

So let’s start with BMR.

What is it? Well Wikipedia says it is: “Basal metabolic rate (BMR) is the minimal rate of energy expenditure per unit time by warm-blooded animals at rest.” In plain English that means that it is the number of calories you burn each day if you did absolutely nothing.

So why is this number important? Well basically it’s the minimum amount of food you need to be eating, you should aim never to eat below that number.

There are a number of ways to calculate your BMR, and there are a plethora of calculators online. One of my favorites is from Fat2Fit Radio and can be found here http://www.fat2fittools.com/tools/

So next is TDEE.

Total Daily Energy Expenditure (TDEE) is the amount of calories your body needs to function in a day. This sounds very close to BMR but with one subtle difference. TDEE takes into account the activities you perform in a day while BMR does not. BMR only calculates what you need to eat if you stayed in bed all day.

Typically you get to your TDEE by placing yourself into different activity categories. The more exercise you do, the higher your TDEE.

What it comes down to is the TDEE is how many calories you need to eat in a day to maintain your current weight.

How does this help you lose weight?

If you want to lose weight, all you do is eat less than your TDEE. Generally this should be a 15-20% reduction. But keep in mind that this should also be more than your BMR. Essentially you want to be eating between these two numbers.

Let’s run my calculations.

I am 5’7 and 144 lbs.  From the Fat2Fit tools my BMR is 1442 calories, and my TDEE is 2487 because I am very active.

If I wanted to lose weight, I would take 15% off of 2487. That is a reduction of 373 calories for a daily intake of 2114 calories. That’s not too shabby, and certainly won’t leave me hungry.

I realize that it sounds complicated at first, but once you have it figured out, it makes weight loss so much easier.

As you lose weight or change your activity level your BMR and TDEE will also change, so it is important to recalculate every so often to keep on track.

Health and fitness Friday: Hitting Bottom

The bottom is that point where you realize that you can’t continue on in the same manner and that you need a change. Whether it be with your weight, your job, or an addiction.

The bottom is a revelation, it is a turning point where you are now ready to change and let go of the excuses.

People often wonder why they yoyo diet, or continually stop and start a healthy living regime. It’s because they haven’t hit their bottom. They want to change, but they don’t want to put in the effort. Change means hard work and sacrifice and some people just aren’t ready. They are looking for that quick fix or only view a “diet” as a short term thing.  They aren’t ready to make a lifelong change.

But what happens when you are ready is amazing. The revelation that comes with hitting bottom means that the effort that used to seem impossible suddenly seems easy. If it moves you towards your goal, that sacrifice doesn’t seem so great. You step away from the fads and focus on what will take you to where you want to be.

This point is different for everyone. For me it was trying to squeeze myself into the super form fitting dress my friend chose for her bridesmaid’s dresses and just being fed up with where I had let myself get to. I had stopped all forms of exercise and I felt weak and unhappy. One day I woke up and said enough is enough and I stepped on the treadmill and I haven’t stopped since.

How do you know when you reach your bottom? Well the easy and hard answer is that you just do. You will be suddenly filled with a drive that you never knew you had before, then you know you have hit your bottom. And you can only go up from there!