Understand Your Macronutrients!

Food is comprised of Carbohydrates, Protein and Fats, referred to as your macronutrients, and each is critical to your overall health. The key to achieving results, whether it is weight loss, muscle gain, sports conditioning, improved energy or optimal health, is understanding how much of each macronutrient you should be consuming.

Personalize Your Nutrition Plan

Some of us need more carbs and others less.

Some require more fat, and others don’t need as much.

Some people thrive on more protein while others don’t need to consume as much.

So, how do you know how much YOU need? Bottom line, eat a balanced diet that is low in processed foods and high in fiber content. Each macro-nutrient (protein, carbs and fats) all play a critical role in the overall functioning of our body. Any diet that severely restricts any of these nutrients has consequences and is often not sustainable for the long-term.

With that said, each of us is different. The most common recommendations are 45-65% carbohydrate intake, 10-35% protein and 20-35% fat intake, which are big ranges. Should you be at the low, mid or high ranges of any of these recommendations? It depends on your age, gender, activity level, goals, current health, and genetics.

You can go to Precision Nutrition and use their free online comprehensive macronutrient calculator, which asks a number of questions to help estimate how much of each macronutrient you should be consuming based on all variables.

Eat Plants

It’s important to note that every ‘diet’ recommends more vegetables, so if you start there (regardless of whether you trend towards Paleo, Keto, Vegan, Adkins, Mediterranean or any other nutrition plan) you will be on the right track. The more you can lean towards a plant-based diet, the better for your overall health.

Manage Portion Sizes

Regardless of the allocation of macronutrients, you can still eat too much of a good thing. The key to optimal health and maintaining your ideal body weight is not consuming more calories than you’re expending.

If you’re trying to gain muscle weight, you’ll typically need to eat more than you’re expending. If you’re trying to lose body fat, you’ll need to consume less than you’re expending.

It’s also important to note that not all calories are equal. Some calories will fill you up, so it takes longer for you to get hungry again. Other calories won’t satiate you at all and you’ll be hungry in no time. The key for most Americans is to consume calories that are nutrient-dense and filling.

This is where eating a diet high in vegetables and fiber can help a ton. You can eat a lot more vegetables for the same amount of calories making you satisfied for longer. When trying to lose weight, providing a caloric deficit of about 500 calories per day, tends to be more sustainable. That could involve increasing your energy output with exercise and/or decreasing your caloric input. Slow and steady weight loss is the way to go towards optimal health and reduced risk for disease and illness.

Don’t Eat For 13 Hours

There is value in fasting every day for at least 13 hours. That means if you stop eating at 7pm, you won’t eat again until 8am the next day, allowing your body a full 13 hours to digest repair and do its job. It is typically not a good idea to go to bed with a full stomach. Try to stop eating three hours before sleep.

Sometimes nutrition requires a change in your mindset. Think of food like gas for your car. Your vehicle doesn’t operate as well when it’s empty and it will typically perform better using premium gas. Remind yourself that food is not the enemy. Food is the medicine and fuel your body needs to perform at it’s best.

Bon Appétit!

Yours in health & fitness,
Sherri McMillan

Sherri McMillan

Sherri McMillan

Sherri McMillan, holds a master's degree in exercise physiology and has been inspiring the world to adopt a fitness lifestyle for more than 33 years. She has received numerous industry awards including 2010 CanFitPro International Presenter of the Year, 2006 IDEA Fitness Director of the Year, 1998 IDEA Personal Trainer of the Year, 1998 CanFitPro Fitness Presenter of the Year and 2005/2006 ACE Fitness Educator of the Year - Runner up. She is a fitness trainer, fitness columnist for various magazines and newspapers, author of five books and manuals including "Go For Fit - the Winning Way to Fat Loss" and "Fit over Forty" and the featured presenter in various fitness DVDs. She has presented hundreds of workshops to thousands of fitness leaders throughout Canada, Australia, Mexico, Jamaica, New Zealand, Germany, England, Spain, South America, Asia and the U.S. She is the owner of Northwest Personal Training in downtown Vancouver, the founder of WHY Racing Events & WHY Community, participates in various community fundraisers and can be found running, biking, or hiking around the community. Find more information at nwpersonaltraining.com.

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