Macro-nutrients – What are they?
Macro-nutrients or macros for short, is essentially the bulk of what you eat. In our everyday diet, we mainly eat carbs, fats, and proteins and that is what macros are made of. When counting macros, we are counting the macros in grams.
What are macros?
Macros are carbs, fats, and proteins and they are the bulk of what we eat. Micronutrients are the vitamins and minerals and they don’t take up as much of our diet but they are still necessary for health. A carb, fat, and a protein all have different ways our body utilizes energy or rebuilds our system with.
Carbs – a carb or carbohydrate has 4 calories per gram.
Protein – protein has 4 calories per gram.
Fat – has 9 calories per gram.
Each macro is utilized in the body for a specific purpose
Today we will focus on carbohydrates and dive into them. Carbohydrates are probably one of the easiest macronutrient to consume. They are also the most hated macro.
Carbs are the body’s primary energy source. They are the easiest for the body to convert into energy for the body to use to help transport protein into the muscles, to help either with slow twitch (long endurance feats) or fast twitch (sprinting) muscle fiber actions.
Fast carbs VS slow carbs
Even within the class of carbohydrates, some are burned more quickly than others. Complex carbohydrates, such as starches, have a more complex structure than simple carbohydrates like sugar, so it takes a little longer for the body to break them down. Fiber, a third type of carbohydrate, isn’t broken down at all — it travels through the digestive tract mostly unchanged, adding bulk to waste and helping to move waste along to be excreted. Examples of complex-carbohydrate foods that digest more slowly are whole-grain breads, brown rice and vegetables. Examples of simple-carb foods that digest more quickly are refined-grain products, candy and cake.
Glucose and glycogen
Glycogen and Glucose are the two forms of sugar that your body employs to store and use as energy . Glucose is the sugar your body converts into energy. Glycogen is the sugar your body stores in both your liver and muscle cells. Your body can’t use glycogen directly as a source of energy, and cannot store glucose.
When you eat a well-balanced meal with both carbohydrates and protein, your body converts and absorbs the carbohydrates and part of the protein into glucose. It then attempts to maintain an even blood glucose level. When your blood glucose is too high, your pancreas produces insulin to convert some of that glucose into glycogen and then stores it for later use. When it is running low, it produces glucagon, a hormone secreted by the pancreas which stimulates your liver to convert some glycogen into glucose. Once converted, the glucose can be released into your bloodstream. (The glycogen stored in your muscles can’t be converted back into sugar, so it can only be used by your muscles.)
That is a simple bit of information about glucose and how our body uses it.
Realizing that all carbs essentially turn into sugar/glucose for the body to store and be used for energy. There are other things that could be going on if you have diabetes or other types of dis-ease but for the simplicity of it, we will leave the information about glucose, there.
For the first day of our tracking challenge, we will focus on tracking our food, whatever is going into our mouth we want to bring awareness too and owning it. What carbs do you notice you eat more? What do you like? What do you not like? Lets have that conversation!
Today we are going to go over the second of the three macronutrient, protein. For the average person, it is not the easiest macro to get into your diet without being intentional about it. Proteins are in –
- Dairy, cottage cheese, cheese, milk, yogurt (especially greek yogurt)
- Meats and fish
- Beans and rice (a little, not sure good source but there is some) tofu, soy products, lentils
Protein is similar in calories as carbs, it has 4 calories per gram of protein.
Why is protein important? It is the building blocks for our muscles. The amino acids help heal and grow our muscles. Protein is an important component of every cell in the body. … Your body uses protein to build and repair tissues. You also use protein to make enzymes, hormones, and other body chemicals. Protein is an important building block of bones, muscles, cartilage, skin, and blood.
The majority of the “fun foods” are not usually good protein sources. It’s actually pretty hard to get good amounts of protein if you are not focused on that. Some people choose to not eat meat and that’s totally ok but I always just suggest they focus extra and should really know how many grams of protein they are getting to really make sure they are keeping and growing their muscle.
Why am i so obsessed with muscles? The more muscles you have the more calories you burn doing nothing at all. When you are dieting, it is easy to lose muscle over fat. Since muscle burns more calories (or energy), when you’re dieting and in a calorie deficit, your body wants to get rid of your muscle so that you can conserve your energy (or calories and fat). It is how we have evolved from back in the times where we had to hunt for our food. We didn’t just have a store we could go to, there were some days and weeks we as a species wouldn’t have food so our bodies had to preserve our fat so we could survive. We are really remarkable in that sense.
How much protein should you be eating? The best and most accurate way to know this is to know your lean body mass or to know how much muscle you have. There are different ways you can do this. There are machines that tell you your lean body mass. Otherwise the more generic answer to how much protein should you be eating is this:.
the American College of Sports Medicine recommends that to increase muscle mass in combination with physical activity, you need to consume between 1.2 and 1.7 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight per day, or 0.5 to 0.8 grams per pound of body weight.
If you have any sort of questions, please feel free to share a comment or even just message me.
Some days when you’re tracking food may be better than others. Some days will be easier than others. Whether it is an easier day or whether you only tracked once or not at all, give yourself some grace as tracking is only a tool to help you get to your goals. If you do it well or not does not define you as a person. Anything in life if we want to get good at something takes time, grace, practice, and consistency. So this is your reminder to take time and be kind to yourself. Figure out your goals, write them down, ask myself or a trusted friend to keep you accountable to those goals and/or help you create a plan of action with daily small steps. It is always in the small things. For they are really the big things.
Today we are going to go over fats! The either loved or hated macronutrient.
Fat per gram is a little higher in calories. Per gram, fat has 9 calories whereas carbs and proteins have 4 calories per gram. Fats will usually allow you to become fuller on less as they contain more “energy”. They are also digested a bit slower. Dietary fats are essential to give your body energy and to support cell growth. They also help protect your organs and help keep your body warm. Fats help your body absorb some nutrients and produce important hormones, too.
Sometimes when you go on low fat diets you may feel like your feelings are up and down as fat helps your hormones regulate. The key is to get a good balance of fats and other nutrients in your diet. Eat the healthiest kinds of fats, in the right amounts.Some types of fats are better for you than others.
Different types of fats – The difference between these fats lies in their chemical structure. All fats are made up of a chain of carbon atoms that are linked — or bonded — to hydrogen atoms.
You’ll find saturated fat in foods like these:
Red meat — beef, lamb, pork
Skin-on chicken and other poultry
Whole-milk dairy products like milk, cheese, and ice cream
Butter, Eggs, Palm and coconut oils
French fries and other fried foods
Cakes, pies, biscuits, cookies crackers, donuts and other baked goods.
Stick or tub margarines
Unsaturated fats come mainly from vegetables, nuts, and fish. They’re liquid at room temperature. These fats are good for your heart, and the rest of your body. Within unsaturated fats are
Monounsaturated fats –
In foods like avocados, olive, canola, and peanut oil.
Polyunsaturated fats –
Flaxseed, corn, soybean, and sunflower oil, walnuts, flaxseeds, salmond, tuna, and other fatty fish.
There are two types of polyunsaturated fats: omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids.
Omega 3 fatty acids come in three forms:
Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) acid – found mainly in fish
Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) – also found mainly in fish
alpha- linolenic acid (ALA) – from plant sources like flaxseeds, vegetable oils, and nuts.
Omega 6 fatty acids are found in foods like leafy green vegetables, seeds, nuts and vegetable oils.
That is a lot a lot of information. There is neither good or bad fats, there are just some that if you choose elicit different outcomes. You get to choose those outcomes by what you decide to put into your mouth.
Today we are going to go over meal prep and the benefits that you could gain from preparing. There is a quote that states, “By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail”. With any goal, having specific actions steps and then executing them with a plan is the best way to have success. For our weight loss and maintenance
Prepping food will look different for everyone. It really just depends on your lifestyle and what meals you want prepared. We have already gone over in the blog post I shared where we figure out one way to meal prep the proteins as that will help a lot. Now, we can figure out what other meals you may or want prepared.
It would be helpful to figure out how many times you want to eat. Some days are different too but become a little more consistent with your schedule and what you want that to look like will help you know what and when you want to eat.
To give some freedom, you are free to eat as many times or as few of times as long as you are hitting your calorie goals. With this challenge, we don’t necessarily have our macro goals as we are just getting into the rhythm of what tracking is and creating that habit. Eating six times per day is no better or worse than eating two times per day. We really just want to avoid crazy hunger as when hungry, we tend to not make the best food choices and don’t have as much willpower when it comes.
Usually picking one day per week to prepare some meals for the week is helpful. You can start with a few meals for the week. I know when i first started with meal prep i would prep a few meals that would last a few days. I would then prep again after three days. Really there is no wrong way to meal prep. There is only what is working for you and what is not working for you. But you do not know what that is until you start. You just got to start!
How do you start? Well, finding some good recipes that you like and that help you hit your carbs, fats, and proteins for the day. Also, foods with good amounts of fiber help keep you full and regular.
Dietary fiber — found mainly in fruits, vegetables, whole grains and legumes — is probably best known for its ability to prevent or relieve constipation. But foods containing fiber can provide other health benefits as well, such as helping to maintain a healthy weight and lowering your risk of diabetes, heart disease and some types of cancer.
Selecting tasty foods that provide fiber isn’t difficult. Find out how much dietary fiber you need, the foods that contain it, and how to add them to meals and snacks.
Dietary fiber, also known as roughage or bulk, includes the parts of plant foods your body can’t digest or absorb. Unlike other food components, such as fats, proteins or carbohydrates — which your body breaks down and absorbs — fiber isn’t digested by your body. Instead, it passes relatively intact through your stomach, small intestine and colon and out of your body.
Fiber is commonly classified as soluble, which dissolves in water, or insoluble, which doesn’t dissolve.
Soluble fiber. This type of fiber dissolves in water to form a gel-like material. It can help lower blood cholesterol and glucose levels. Soluble fiber is found in oats, peas, beans, apples, citrus fruits, carrots, barley and psyllium.
Insoluble fiber. This type of fiber promotes the movement of material through your digestive system and increases stool bulk, so it can be of benefit to those who struggle with constipation or irregular stools. Whole-wheat flour, wheat bran, nuts, beans and vegetables, such as cauliflower, green beans and potatoes, are good sources of insoluble fiber.
The amount of soluble and insoluble fiber varies in different plant foods. To receive the greatest health benefit, eat a wide variety of high-fiber foods.