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What is nutrition and why this is a crucial part of the jigsaw to your fitness journey.

Nutrition is a topic and industry that is confusing and misleading due to large marketing schemes that make it hard to understand what is the right thing to do and what foods should you be eating in order to make a health difference to your life.


Food should be seen as something that fuels your body and mind, leaving you more energised. Therefore the higher the quality of the food the greater the benefits and more fuel you’ll obtain to complete your day and workouts. A good analogy people like to use is thinking food as the petrol you put into your car, the higher the quality of petrol the longer the car will run for and at a higher rate.


But what does this actually mean? What’s good and bad, what’s healthy and unhealthy…?


It’s often to see things on social media or read things online that leaves you feeling overwhelmed and confused when it comes to nutrition. The best way to remove this, is through stripping back to basics and utilising the common phase ‘everything in moderation’. No fad diets or restricted diets will leave you with lifelong success or you hitting your goals, instead you should be enjoying food that helps transform your body and mindset and so here’s how…


Calories and Calorie deficit

A calorie deficit is when you consume fewer calories than you burn. It is commonly created through a diet that restricts the amount of food consumed and regular exercise that will help you burn more calories.


Understanding macros

Macronutrients are your carbohydrates, fats and protein. Whilst the ratio of macronutrients does not directly influence weight loss, it can help improve your body composition through helping adhere to a reduced-calorie diet. It is important to find what works for you.

For example; A type 2 diabetic individual might have more success on a low carb diet vs. high carb diet in order to control their blood sugar. This might not be the case for you, as you get lethargic or binge if you are low in energy or restrict yourself too harshly. We would then focus on a balance macronutrient split that allowed for calorie deficit yet kept you feeling full and satisfied.

A ROUGH GUIDE:

The acceptable macronutrient distribution ranges set forth by the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies recommend that people get:


45–65% of their calories from carbs

20–35% of their calories from fats

10–35% of their calories from proteins(if you're looking to lose weight we advise (25%+)



Protein

This is the most important macronutrient for weight loss as it has the highest thermic effect over fats and carbohydrates. This means that protein requires more energy to break it down and therefore increases your metabolism. It also builds muscle, which increases metabolism and helps you feel fuller for longer. A high protein diet is recommended for an individual who is doing a lot of physical activity, especially with weights. However, it is also beneficial for immunity, hormonal protection and protection of muscle wastage with old age.


There are 4 kcals per 1 gram of protein.


Carbohydrates

Let’s get rid of this myth that carbs make you fat. It is not the carbohydrates that make you fat. It is the calorie surplus that comes from overeating food. People have led to believe this is carbohydrates because they usually consume a large amount of simple carbohydrates which don’t leave you feeling satisfied and so you can consume a large quantity of these low volume foods which then results in overeating. Not the macronutrient itself!


Carbohydrates are you fuel, your energy house and what powers your through your daily life and activities. They fuel all the essential pathways in your body and help ensure your brain is functioning sufficiently for productive days at work!


Carbohydrates come in two forms: simple and complex. Simple; as mentioned above, are the carbohydrates that give you rapid energy, whereas complex carbohydrates that take longer to digest, so give you energy at a slower more sustained rate and are usually the preferred source when you are training to lose weight and reduce the consumption of food across the day.


There are 4 kcals per 1 gram of carbohydrates.


Fats

Another macronutrient that gets a lot of hate in the industry. This is due to its high caloric value, having 9kcals per 1 gram vs 4 kcals in the other two macros and therefore a common macronutrient that individuals avoid in order to cut calorie for their deficit. Fat however plays an essential role in the body. Fat is needed as a second energy source, it insulates your body and organs, promotes healthy brain function, regulates hormones, aids reproductive health and aids absorption of your fat soluble vitamins ADEK.


Be mindful with fat. Use the rule of thumb tip, e.g. peanut butter, olive oil and seeds etc should not be greater than a thumb in size.


When choosing your plate: ✔️ Choose wholefoods over processed foods ✔️ Aim to cook your meals from scratch ✔️ Limit the use of creamy and salad dressings ✔️ Eat a variety of veg to fill your belly with nutrients



Bottomline:


As I said at the beginning of the blog ‘moderation is key’. There is no point placing yourself in such a strict deficit or restrict yourself of lots of food you enjoy as it just creates a negative mindset and increases your chances for rebelling and rebounding back to your old habits, creating that ‘all-or-nothing’ mentality. Whilst if you allow yourself to eat that piece of cake or chocolate bar every so often you will be more satisfied and in a healthier mindset to keep going and stick to your goals. Life is too short to miss out of social events or meals with friends because you are trying to lose weight. Enjoy yourself, make a plan, chat to a nutritionist and you can lose weight whilst living your best life 

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