Mind Your Macros

Healthy Salad

I recently took off 60 pounds. Which sucked, more than just a little bit, because I worked out with weights since I was 14-years-old to get that big. Yes, I had body fat to lose as well, but I had no choice. It was either take off the weight, or go on blood pressure medication. Seems Age and heredity brought along a new friend to rock with me: hypertension. My BP was 173/85.

So, I started researching. And, after a very short time, I realized just how many companies seem dedicated to separating good people from their money. Certainly, low carb diets work. Low fat diets work. And, other types of diets work, too. But, at the end of the process, most people gained back the weight they lost. Logically, and with a great deal of reading, I figured out why. I’m here now, to save you the work, and time, I lost, finding out the answers.

Answer one: don’t change too drastically. Start with eliminating the things you can, but not the things you can’t live without. Mostly, begin by trimming your portion sizes. You don’t need all that food. Like me, you trained yourself to overeat. Cut back to what you need, not what you want. But, don’t count calories. Not at first; you’ll thank me later.

Answer two: pay attention to macros, NOT a particular-diet like low-fat, high-fat, low-carb, etc. The body needs protein, carbs, and fat for proper functioning. And, it needs these in proportional sizes. Get used to eating, and filling, all the proportional sizes, and soon, you’ll figure out you don’t need as much food. When that happens, it’s time to cut calories.

Here’s some of the science:

Carbs: the body breaks down carbohydrates quickly, efficiently, and uses them to fuel blood glucose, fast. They come in two types, simple and complex. Like in life, simple’s always easier, but complex’s always more rewarding. Complex carbs consist of long strings of simple carbs the body has to take more time to break down to simple states. Therefore, the absorption time’s slower, the energy lasts longer, and digestion takes longer. The bonus: you feel full, longer. By now, you know the difference. Simple carbs: white and brown sugar, pasta, corn syrup, etc., provide little, to no lasting nutritive value. Complex carbs: whole grains, root vegetables, beans, etc., contain long-lasting, highly nutritive values.

Fats: complex molecules composed of glycerol and fatty acids; essential for cell building, energy, and growth. The MOST energy efficient food, fats provide the longest lasting energy source. That’s why the body stores it so well; just in case you need it. Sadly, it’s also the most calorie dense. The idea is to get monounsaturated, polyunsaturated, and saturated, but not trans fats. Eliminate trans fats, or severely limit them. They’re man made by adding hydrogen atoms to poly and mono-saturated fats.

Protein: amino acid units strung together in complex formations, the body takes longer to break these down than carbs, but not as long as fat. Protein’s a main building block essential to replacing and maintaining tissues and growth; e.g., eggs, meat, dairy, whey powders, etc. Interestingly, proteins contain leucine, isoleucine, methionine, lysine, phenylalanine, tryptophan, threonine, valine, and histidine [which infants need].

Basic breakdowns depending on your level-best food choices:

Carbs – 45 to 65%

Fats – 20 to 35%

Protein – 10 to 35%

To help you stay within these norms, depending on your needs, likes, and activities, any number of dietary trackers exist on the web. Kerry and I both use one. They make life way, way, way easier and they give all the breakdowns, and you won’t have to do anything except log your food. After a while, you’ll have a database set up and you’ll only have to click a box. Dieting made easy, thanks to the web. If you have questions about which fitness apps to use, write us.

In the meantime, find your balance points and include all the categorical needs. Your body, your family, and your future health will all thank you for doing so.

Love to all and, if you’d like to learn more, click the link, below. Like a good day at a buffet, there’s a lot to digest. I’m Tony, thanks for reading. And, please do suggest our website to your friends and subscribe, if you haven’t yet done so.

USDA 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans

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