Eating for Weight Management
Have you ever eaten junk food and then tried to work out? It’s miserable!
Of course, you wouldn’t put water into your car’s gas tank and expect the car to function correctly. The same goes for the body. It needs to be fueled correctly in order to perform and feel its best.
In our last lesson, we learned about the stages of behavior change. Today, we will focus on the most important aspect of managing your weight: your diet. We will go over the basic guidelines of a healthy diet, and you will learn a few things that you can do to improve the way you eat.
When you use healthy foods to fuel your body, you will feel energetic, be able to function in the activities you enjoy, and think clearly. On the flipside, an unhealthy diet can cause the body to feel sluggish, tired, and store excess calories as fat, and it contributes to health risks.
Get to Know Your Macros
Food is composed of three macronutrients (or “macros” for short): proteins, carbohydrates, and fats. Each of these “macros” has a different function within the body: proteins are the building blocks of muscle, carbohydrates give the body energy and help the brain think clearly, and fats give the body long-term energy and help with hormonal balances. If you’re not eating a good balance of the macros, or if you’re not eating foods from natural sources, you’ll notice your body respond with some signals. These signals are fatigue, hunger, cloudy thinking, or a change in body composition.
A healthy diet includes foods from each of the macro groups at every meal. That means that in every meal you should eat a source of protein, carbs, and healthy fats. You’ll also want to choose foods that look the way that they are found in nature: plants, meats, and non- or minimally processed foods.
With that in mind, it’s helpful to know which foods belong to which macro group. Here are some examples of each:
- Whole wheat bread/pasta
- Lean beef
- Greek yogurt
- String cheese
- Nut butters
- Chia seeds
Now that you know what the body needs to function at its prime, let’s focus on how much to eat.
The average person needs 2,000 calories a day to have enough energy to meet their needs and maintain their current weight. This number will vary depending upon your height, weight, and how active you are. You can use this calculator to estimate how many calories you need per day.
If you want to lose weight, you’ll need to begin using your body’s energy storage, which is literally the excess weight you can see on your body. In order to begin using that storage, you’ll need to trim off your overall daily calories, either by increasing exercise or decreasing the amount of calories that you eat. In most cases, for most people, it’s recommended to do both! We will go over this in more detail in Lesson #5, The Secret Math of Calories.
Research by Kaiser Permanente found that people who track their daily food consumption lose twice as much weight as those who do not! It’s incredibly beneficial to use a system to track your calories every day. Tracking calories will allow you to see if you’re eating too much or too little and help keep you accountable to your established goals. The easiest and quickest way to track calories is to use an application, such as Loseit or MyFitnessPal, where you can record every meal to see an overview of your calories for the day.
- The body functions best when it has each type of macro at each meal: carbs, proteins, and fats.
- It’s important to choose unprocessed or minimally processed foods.
- In order to lose weight, a person needs to have a deficit of calories. This can be done via trimming calories from the diet and exercise.
- Logging calories is scientifically proven to be an effective tool when losing weight.
In our next lesson we will talk about emotional eating—how to recognize it and how to change the habit. Stay tuned!
Cheers to your health,
Get a free Loseit account to track your calories. You’re welcome to add me as a friend (Aimee Frazier), and we can see each other’s food logs and weight management progress!
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