Macros, micros & food groups
Before going any further I must stress that I am by no means an expert, scientist, nutritionist or any other authority in this field. My musings are based on my (semi) reasoned understanding and twenty years’ experience of diets, nutrition and fads.
The basic principle of weight loss is to create calorie deficit. If more calories are being burnt than your body provides then the body will use stored fat to generate the energy it requires. In simple terms, eating 1500 calories of chocolate should provide the same energy levels at 1500 calories of salad. The micronutrient make-up will be very different but the energy levels are the same.
Foods are split in to three macronutrient groups; protein, carbohydrate and fat. Each serves their purpose and the body needs all three in differing levels.
Protein is described as the building block of life. The body needs protein to maintain its cellular structure and to build new cells.
Carbohydrate is the main source of energy for the body. Carbohydrates are used to make Glucose which is the body’s main energy source.
Fats are important for providing acids and cell functions that the body cannot produce by itself and are also a backup energy source.
In the world of wellness, fitness and diets, wildly different theories exist on these food groups. The Atkins Diet is based on low carbohydrate intake resulting in existing fat stores being raided for energy. Variations of this have developed since the Atkins was high fashion. High protein diets are a form of this and they encourage eating carbohydrate after intense exercise. The assumption is that the body is more susceptible to utilising the replaced energy in an efficient manner. This was the foundation of the Body Coach plan that I followed in 2015. Low carbohydrate, high protein with carbohydrate intake permitted after high intensity workout.
The GI Diet, which I referenced in my introduction, is based on slow release carbohydrate consumption which provides a steady supply of energy to the body. The logic is these foods leave you feeling fuller for longer as opposed to food with quicker release sugars which provide an immediate boost but follow with a crash, thus leading to more snacking.
All variations, despite what they might say, are dependent on creating a calorie deficit. What I have learned in my 20 years of failed efforts to lose weight is that there is no magic bullet.
Calories in > calories expended = weight gain
Caories in < calories expended = weight loss
With that in mind, my plan from this point is to amalgamate everything that I have taught myself over the years and create a tailored plan for myself. I know what foods I like, I know rough calorie allowances for certain groups and I know that carbohydrates might be better consumed after exercise.
Guidance ranges but a balanced diet is often described as 50% carbohydrate, 30% protein and 20% fat. This is a simplistic approach and based on making good choices within these groups. Good carbohydrate sources are fruit, legumes and whole grains as they provide fibre, vitamins and minerals. Bad choices are refined white grains which are processed and provide the quick energy hit hit followed by a crash. Using oily fish and nuts as a source for fat is considered a better choice than animal fats due to the make-up of the fat and the body’s ability to process and utilise them.
I am in the process of creating a nutrition plan to support my efforts to shed excess timber. I plan to incorporate facets of the Body Coach plan along with the GI Diet. Planning is, at least for myself, the most important part of this. If I can be organised, coordinated and regimented then there will be much more change of success that trying to wing it on the hope that I make good decisions on a whim when 20 years of evidence suggests this is not the case.
I look forward to sharing some recipes and food photos once I am up and running. Starting at the start, I will look to create some healthy breakfasts as this is often the hardest part to get right. A good, well balanced breakfast is always going to help start the day in the best way and lead on to better choices throughout the day. I often look on with envy at the breakfasts the likes of Alive Liveing post on Instagram as I much my way through a high sugar cereal. Head over to @jammyplodger on Instagram to see my attempts to create breakfast foodporn. This will require some time management on my part but it is good to have goals right?