Last spring I attempted to start a little healthy living segment and then life happened and after 3 posts it did not continue. Fast forward to this spring and the president of Texas A&M where I work has made wellness a huge priority. Not only has he provided every employee the opportunity to take 30 minutes 3 times a week towards wellness, he has worked with our Human Resources area to create various fitness classes on campus FOR FREE during the workday. This created some discussion between some of my colleagues and we decided we would join together and help support each other! Since my favorite thing is sharing, I created a google group for us to use to motivate each other and share information. I don’t want to leave my readers out of this little journey so I am resurrecting Fit for a Queen!
***Full Disclosure, I am NOT a health professional. Everything I share will be based on personal experience and things I’ve incorporated in my own life that have promoted a healthy lifestyle, created weight loss, made me stronger. Any time you have concerns about your health you should always consult a professional.***
I personally believe the first area to evaluate when looking to live a healthier lifestyle is addressing what we eat. The rule of thumb is 80% nutrition and 20% exercise so I’m starting by sharing some information around nutrition.
Set your calorie goals. I try to focus on losing quality pounds verses quantity pounds which means losing more slowly but more likely to keepthe weight off. So how do you determine how many calories you should eat daily? First take a look at your resting metabolic rate which will tell you how many calories you burn daily just existing! There are many sites you can find with calculators but I used this one http://shapeup.org/resting-metabolic-rate-calculator/
I have been conscious about my weight for the past 30 years and during this time I’ve tried lowfat, nonfat and severe calorie restriction as well as various “miracle” pills and formulas. All of these more than likely will produce some results but what I’ve found is the results are temporary. The best course of action is to eat a healthy balance of food and focus on the numbers that really measure your overall health. This means lower blood pressure, good cholesterol numbers and reduced inches. Measuring your health only by the number on a scale is not productive. Easy enough right? Unfortunately not or we would all be walking around eating to our hearts content and wearing our ideal size feeling confident! So what’s next?
So I love food most. Like I really, really think food must just taste better to me than the average person. I also love to eat when I’m feeling a little stressed or to celebrate something exciting (like breathing, ha!). Seriously, though, I love food so much that restricting myself typically only leads to failure. What I have found is eating food that tastes delicious, satisfies my hunger and causes me to feel better while also improving my health works for me. When I first read about macronutrients I will admit I was a little overwhelmed. The more I read the more I realized how much
math was involved and instantly I was geeked out excited!!
There are three macronutrients required by humans: carbohydrates (sugar), lipids (fats), and proteins. Each of these macronutrients provides energy in the form of calories. The entire 90’s we were taught that fat was bad!! Good news; there are healthy fats!! Finding balance between the carbs, proteins and fats is the key. Depending on your goals (weight loss, increased muscle, etc) the balance will change. For me personally I use the 40/30/30 rule of 40% carbs, 30% proteins and 30% fat. If you have ever heard of the Zone Diet this is basically the same. Great right? So how does that compute? There are 4 calories in a gram of carbohydrates and protein and 9 calories in a carbohydrate of fat.
of how this shakes out for me.
40%)/4=150 grams of carbs
Sound too difficult to track your grams everyday? That’s why there are awesome people out there who develop Apps for us to track without the daily math!
Again, lots of “quick fix” solutions out there for rapid weight loss but I will tell you the one HUGE thing you can do to insure you WILL lose is writing down EVERY SINGLE THING you put in your mouth! You will be more conscious of what you are eating, come to understand how much you really are eating and what a reasonable portion is and become more aware of how your body performs with the right balance for you. Programs like MyFitnessPal are great for tracking and will even allow you to set your own macros to keep track of the grams for you! One of the perks of writing things down is you can really see how a day of derailing (and cheat days WILL happen) may be amazing while you are devouring but ends up making your feel sluggish and sometimes will leave you with physical symptoms like upset stomach, etc.
Writing everything down will also help you learn much quicker how the foods you are eating flow into your daily balance of macro nutrients. Ideally each meal or snack you should be thinking
about the balance of your macros.
Having at least one accountability partner, or cheerleader if you will, to help celebrate with you when you are doing well and cheer you own when you are on the struggle bus is also so helpful.
The logging and accountability will only work if you are 100% honest with yourself and that means you must measure everything! I bought a food scale several years back and it truly has made a huge difference for me when I’m using it. I’m even pleasantly surprised at times to find 4oz of meat is more than I thought I could have! I use this scale and have been very happy with the features. I can measure the weight of the plate first, reset and add the food. It also converts between lbs/ounces and grams/kilograms which can be helpful.
Bottom line, this works better than anything else I’ve ever tried. Restricting myself from ever having anything I love is just never going to work and I will always, always fall off the wagon. Eating food that isn’t satisfying is also never going to work for me…did I mention I LOVE to eat? I also can get quite carried away and eat way more than intended if I do not consciously measure what is going in. Think pan full of lasagna that you just have to “even out”. Oh…is that just me?
I have attempted to increase fat loss by trying a macro combo of 25% carbs/45% protein/30% fat and it was so incredibly hard for me. Even without eating bread or pasta I could not stay within the 25% a day. Another eye opener for me in learning so many more foods are high carb than I realized. My biggest suggestion is to start slow!! Don’t stress over what you are eating for a week or two but actually measure and log everything so you can get a good idea of where you may be off balance.
If there are areas of healthy living you would like me to share about such as workouts, meals, more post like this I would love to know!