All calories are not created equally
Knowledge is power, right? Have you ever take the time to understand what you are eating from a perspective other than "this tastes good"? We must understand and educate ourselves on what food actually is. We eat Macronutrients and Micronutrients.
Macronutrients are where our calories come from: Proteins, Fats, Carbohydrates. The total of these things combined is ultimately how you lose/gain weight.
Let's break it down a little more
1g protein = 4 calories
1 g carbohydrate = 4 calories
1 g fat = 9 calories
Above shows where calories come from but what foods look like that? Here are a few common examples of foods from each category.
Protein: Meat, eggs, beans, tofu
Fat: butter, avocado, nuts and seeds, oils
Carbohydrates: rice, oats, potatoes, vegetables, fruit
The above are examples but remember, each food typically has some of each protein, fat and carb that make up the macronutrient profile to give the final calorie count. For example: 1 whole egg is part fat and part protein, but for this example I put it under the protein category because there is more protein than fat. Also notice that most vegetables fall under the carbohydrate category.
Micronutrients are the vitamins and minerals found in food. Things like potassium, iron, magnesium, B vitamins and many more are categorized as micronutrients. These are just as important or even more important in a well-balanced diet in order to attain health. But we will get to that at another time.
In order to hit your weight loss goals, you need to make sure you are eating the right amount of calories first and foremost. But, as we learned above, all calories are not created equal. So, if you're a volume eater (like me) and like to eat a lot of food, your best option would be to opt for a plate full of veggies rather than "scoop" of peanut butter. Because, let's be real, my serving of peanut butter is probably really 3 servings and rather than eating 16 grams of fat I am more likely consuming closer to 30 grams, and we know that adds up. Fat is more calorie dense than any other macronutrient, so after doing this a few days a week, that is what I can blame the "curious" weight gain on.
Ok, now we understand food, how do we apply this to real life.
First would be the prepping. Food prepping is going to be key if you live a busy life and want to stay prepared. But sometimes the monotony of eating the same meal 5 days in a row can get to you. So what if instead of prepping meals, you prepped foods that could be mix and matched into different meals? A few choices of protein, carbs and fats to mix throughout the week is a simple and efficient way to prep.
Not sure where to start? Click here to download the interactive food prep guide for a simple way to plan your days of eating.
Next is your grocery list. Now you know what you want to prep, get everything written down so you are sure to stick to only the list when you are at the store. No "accidentally" walking down the cookie aisle and grabbing a pack of the latest holiday oreos, unless of course they are on the list.
Finally would be the snacks. Sure, you have food prep taken care of for you meals, but what about the times between meals. When you want something to snack on or you have extra fiber or protein macros that need to be hit. Adding things to the list ahead of time is just as important as planning so you can get in, get when you need and get out.
If you are looking for new ideas on what to cook with or eat, download this guide that provides new ideas to add to your weekly mix as well as links to where you can purchase everything.
Last but not least, make sure you are eating the right amount for you. Whether you track macros, focus on eating balanced meals or use your intuition, ensure you're not only avoiding over indulging but also making sure you're eating ENOUGH is just as important.
Do you need help figuring out how much you should eat? Or are you snacking on something that I need to add to my list? Don't be shy, tell me!