UNRAVELING THE CALORIES
How it all works? Now the absolute foundation to this is “EAT MORE if you want to gain and EAT LESS if you want to lose.”-the most common nutritional advice. Let’s elaborate this a little. Firstly, you need to know what your calorific maintenance is, that is, the number of calories you’ll need to maintain your present body weight. Now to lose weight you should be on a calorific deficit which basically means you’re eating lesser than your calorific maintenance. It’s typical to subtract 300-700 calories per day to lose weight at a safe and gradual rate. To gain weight one needs to be eating more calories than the present calorific maintenance and should be on a calorific surplus of about 500 calories.
But this is just the beginning of the whole story. If we dig deeper and look at it from a broader perspective, the approach above may not be suitable for all and may completely obliterate your body proportions. For example: If a calorific surplus diet consists of 60% fat and the rest as proteins and carbohydrates, you are gaining weight but no muscle. You’re just gaining an obscene amount of fat. This is where the role of the three major macros (proteins, fats and carbohydrates) enters the scenario.
Proteins: Includes foods containing chicken, soy, fish, beans, nuts, cheese, milk, etc and helps in muscle growth and maintenance.
Carbohydrates: Includes foods such as oatmeal, rice, pasta, potatoes, fruits, etc. These act as a fuel for the body.
Fats: egg yolk, coconut oil, olive oil, cashew nuts, peanut butter, etc. These help mainly in the production and optimization of hormones in the body.
The proportions in which these macro nutrients maybe present depend on your goal. Go for a standard split of 40% protein, 40% carbohydrates and 20 % fats for gaining muscle or 40% protein, 30% carbohydrates and 30 % fats for weight loss. Now just convert your macros to grams using the units below:
1 gram of protein=4 calories
1 gram of carbohydrates=4 calories
1 gram of fats=9 calories
Write this all over your kitchen walls or get it tattooed on your arm.
Viola!!Now you know how many grams of each macro you need.
This approach to nutrition is flexible and easily adapts to your daily choices and lifestyle. Have plans in the evening? Well then plan your meals accordingly during the day. While planning just remember that these are just general guidelines and slight changes can be made with respect to your comfort. If you feel more hungry during you day, add more proteins or if you feel you’re lacking energy, you might want to increase your carb intake. The basic idea is to create an ideal symmetry.
Don’t spend more time doing the math than on the actual eating and don’t bang your head on the wall if at the end of the day the ratios vary a little. 100% accuracy is a myth unless you suffer from OCD. And finally, be honest to yourself and loyal to the system.