Keep It Simple Stupid is an acronym I often use with my own exercise and diet routine as well as with my clients.
With so many supplement companies making claims about their products and how you can lose weight without dieting, to “exercise” equipment that claims just laying in it or on it and you will lose inches, what is one to do?
I suggest to those of you who are new to fitness and even those of you who have been involved with fitness for years to stick to the basics. “But what are the basics?” I’m glad you asked. The first article of this 2 article series will deal with eating properly and the second will touch base on exercise.
In regards to eating, remember macro-nutrients should not be eliminated and in many cases should not be greatly restricted. They are called “macro” nutrients for a reason. The 6 macro-nutrients are: water, minerals, vitamins, carbohydrates, protein, and fats.
This article is going to focus on the macro-nutrients that have a caloric value (carbohydrates, proteins, fats). Many individuals will try to eliminate or greatly reduce one of these 3 when trying to lose weight. The thing is, your body is smarter than you and sooner or later it will not function properly without adequate amounts of that particular nutrient.
Take for instance carbohydrates. They are the main source of energy for your brain and body, so when you reduce them drastically or try to eliminate them completely you can not function at work, at home, or exercise as well as you can when you are eating them.
Everyone’s different and knowing the exact amount you need for your particular goal is tricky, but to keep it simple, I recommend you stick to 2 complex carbohydrates a day. The most common complex carbohydrates are potatoes, yams, sweet potatoes, oatmeal, breads, pasta, and rice. The ideal times to eat these complex carbohydrates are breakfast and lunch, but if you want them at dinner, no big deal. Remember that when it comes to weight loss it is calories in versus calories out. If you take in more than you need, you WILL gain weight.
The reason it is ideal to eat the carbohydrates earlier in the day is because they are an ideal source of energy for the body. If you are going to be active throughout the day your body will utilize them better then eating them late at night and then sitting on the couch or going to bed. If this is too difficult for you then just keep it to 2 a day. The amount of veggies (primarily greens) are unlimited, and fruits (those low on the glycemic index such as: apples, pears, grapes, and berries), should be kept to 2-3 servings a day.
As far as protein, try and get some in each of the 4-5 small meals you should be eating throughout the day. Your body can only assimilate so much in one sitting (15-25 grams). Protein also helps slow down the absorption of carbohydrates.
In regards to fats, 30-50 grams of quality fats (Omega 3’s and Omega 6’s) is ideal. Fish is by far the best source of Omega 3 and olive oil, cashews, walnuts, almonds and flaxseed are good sources of Omega 6 fats.
This will vary depending on your caloric requirements and fitness goals. Again, this is just a simple template to start with and you may need to adjust based on your fitness level, goals, age, gender, genetics, etc.