There are three macronutrients we all need every day to be healthy – protein, carbohydrates and fats. Each one is critical to overall health. You can’t just eat protein or cut out all fat and carbs to lose weight AND still be truly healthy.
So, balance is the key – not only to fitness and fat loss, but to wholeness and life!
Let’s briefly talk about each one of these components of a healthy nutrition plan. Protein is first. Actually, the word “protein” is from a Greek word “proton” which means “first in time, place, order or importance; before, at the beginning.” So here’s the first tip – each meal should contain some clean protein and I recommend you eat it first.
Why include protein in each meal? Well, it helps curb your appetite, maintain lean tissue while burning fat for fuel and provides amino acids, the building blocks of muscle, cells, enzymes, hormones and more! I recommend including at least 4 oz. of clean protein in your meals depending on your size, activity level and goals.
What is “clean protein?” Well, first let me give you a few examples of the wrong type of protein: Big Macs, bacon, cold cuts, hot dogs, fried…anything! You want to use eggs, egg whites (real ones, not ones in a carton); lean meat and poultry; a high quality protein powder like whey or hemp protein; nuts, seeds and beans.
Ok, what about carbs? They have been made out to be the “bad guys” that cause weight gain. But do they? Complex carbohydrates include fruits, vegetables, beans, legumes and grains. The key is to choose the highest quality carbs and to prepare, combine and eat them properly.
Your meal plans should be focused around a variety of fresh (or frozen) non-starchy vegetables. These are your #1 carb choice for health as well as fat loss. Grains, as long as they are whole grains, are healthy, complex carbs as opposed to simple carbs like cookies and doughnuts. Be sure to prepare them properly and they are a great energy source.
I saved fat for last. Fat has earned a bad reputation – and it’s not fair! Fat is not the enemy. Eating too much of the wrong fat is what causes trouble. Remember when the fat-free craze hit a few years ago? People lost weight initially, but they hit one HUGE brick wall.
By eliminating all fat and simply eating all “fat free, low calorie” foods –
People were ravenously hungry – ALL THE TIME!
Besides the fact that all those fat free, low cal foods were full of sugar, which raises cholesterol (yes, sugar does that!), messes with blood sugar levels and insulin production and causes blood sugar spikes and steep drops that lead to bingeing – fat slows the digestion of your meal, making you feel full and satisfied causing you to eat less.
Now, don’t misunderstand, eating too much fat – even good fats, will, well, make you fat. But good fats, like omega-3’s, play a vital role in the health of every cell in your body! Some of their benefits include: reducing the risk of heart disease and stroke as well as symptoms of hypertension, depression, ADHD, joint pain and other rheumatoid problems. They’re critical for healthy skin and boosting the immune system.
There’s more to this than I can go into here, but just keep in mind, fat is NOT the enemy you may have been led to believe it is.
So, rather than eliminate any one food group, eating a healthy, nutrient-dense, balanced diet is the key. It really is easier than you may think. I would love the opportunity to help you with this. Please share your thoughts!