Nutrition 101 (part 1)
Depending on what side of the fence you sit on, today can either be a wonderful time or confusing as ever if you are trying to eat better. INFORMATION IS EVERYWHERE! There are many "famous" diet and nutrition programs out there that do very well because of the ease of use in how they present their programs. They sell a TON of them too! Sexy models pitching shakes, supplements, herbs, or even exotic foods you can't seem to get your hands on. Most of the time, this all ends up costing a lot of money without providing results. Does it work? Maybe. In my experience, I don't know too many people that follow a lifestyle like this for very long for sustained results. After a few weeks, maybe a few months, most people are back to square. This short guide was written to help you understand Nutrition at the most basic of levels. I hope you enjoy Nutrition 101 part 1.
So why is it so hard to eat like we should?
Humans want easy by nature. That's our default. There are very few of us (myself included) that have the mind power to keep going on things that are hard. It really is as simple as that. For the rest of us, the key is to find a way eating that fit's into your lifestyle. Something that flows with your day and does not disrupt it. The sooner you can get that part down, the sooner you will experience the results of your consistency.
Focus on the “WHY” not the “HOW TO”
To simplify the way you look at your eating, you must first understand what exactly your body is needing. Once you understand this, you can do it however you want to. There are many routes you can take, but they should all end at the same destination in order to be safe, provide goals and sustainable for your lifestyle. Believe it or not, 95% of us all need the same exact thing from our food, POWER! If you can learn to give it exactly what it needs, only then will you realize the true benefit of how much it will change you. The more you understand Nutrition 101, the better you can create it for yourself.
It all starts with the Calories (kcal)
Ok, so , not really, but technically, or figuratively , it does. In the simplest of terms, your body is much like a car. It has a certain need for energy much like your car does for gas. If you want to drive 400 miles, you most likely won't make it on 300 miles of fuel. While there is much more to it, this is a basis for understanding the concept. You, as a living person, need energy to accomplish hundreds of things on a daily basis. Energy is needed to run your organs, take care of your muscles, and power each movement you make. This process starts with the conversion of food (the calorie) into energy for your body to use. I could also argue that not eating enough is the reason why people cannot lose weight. They don't not have the needed energy to burn the fat!
( to figure out how much you should be eating, visit here)
Inside Those Calories Hides the Macros
Macros, yes, the 2nd “trendy” word that gets thrown around all over the internet. You may have heard the big bro from the gym say “its all about the macros”. Well, much like the calories, it is but it isn't. The more you can understand calorie intake as well as macros together, the quicker you will be able to create a diet that works for you.
What is a Macro?
Protein, Fat, or Carbs. The 3 life forces inside a person's energy needs. Fulfilling your bodies needs for these will provide what you need to be healthy and strong!
- Protein. Provides the necessities for the body to regenerate itself (grow muscle, etc.)
- Carbohydrates. The chief energy source for your body's physical activities. (quick availability)
- Fat. Also an energy source, however at sometime double the calorie value as proteins or carbs. Not all fats are good for you.
While it would be false to say your macros don't do things more than what I have mentioned, this is a generalization for easy understanding.
If science was never really your thing (Im right there with you), this is a simplified version that is hopefully easier to digest, understand and hopefully learn.
To read a more scientific explanation, please visit here.
That's it for Nutrition 101 part 1. Now that you understand the basics of calories and macros, Nutrition 101 part 2 will show you how to apply this knowledge to the foods that you eat. Then in Nutrtition 101 part 3 we will focus on how to put it all together.