I opened up Google recently and there was a recommended article titled, “This Is the Exact Balance of Macros You Need to Eat to Lose Weight (and Keep It Off)”. The author, a beach body fitness instructor explains the ideal macro-nutrient prescription, 40/30/30, 40% healthy carbs, 30% lean proteins, and 30% lean fats. The article said that if you want to lose weight, you have to stick to this exact percentage about 90% of the time. While this method can work, if you do further Google searching, you will find a thousand other articles with similar or more likely conflicting advice.
There are so many diet options out in fitness sphere:
- count your macros
- if it fits your macros
- Whole 30
- gluten free
- zone diet
- the carnivore diet
- Intermittent fasting
- calories in, calories out
- eat less, move more
Oh wait, don’t forget the food plate ratio graphic:
So with so much information out there about diets and nutrition, it can be a challenge to know what to do. If you have fitness performance goals, weight loss goals or just general health goals, there are plenty of books, websites, and podcasts that will tell you what to do. But here’s the truth about all the books, website and podcasts: no two people have the same nutritional needs. So generalized nutrition programs can be helpful, but they may not address your highly individualized needs.
I’ll use myself as an example. At the age of 18, I developed a milk intolerance. I can eat cheese and yogurt, but I can’t drink cow’s milk without experiencing really harsh cramping. In my mid-thirties, I developed a nut and seed allergy. A couple of years, I started having a hard time digesting most meat products. So by my 40th birthday, I was on a vegetarian diet. It definitely helped me reach some weight loss goals. But in the process, I wasn’t getting enough protein from non-processed sources. As my workouts increased, the protein deficiencies started to hurt my progress. Eventually, I talked to a nutrition coach who suggested a regime that would re-introduce lean meat into my diet so that I would be less dependent on protein powders and bars. I added meat back in slowly, along with getting on a regular regime of vitamins and minerals. Now I am able to eat meat, but I try to stay away from fried meats or processed meat sources. I tried a bunch of the diets listed above, but now I know what foods my body needs in order for me to live a healthy life.
My point is this: filling out an online calculator or an online quiz isn’t going to get the heart of your specific health needs. Neither is doing what your favorite athlete does for nutrition. You need to work with your doctors to see what your health markers/blood work might indicate about your current health. Then a licensed nutrition professional can help develop a plan to optimize your nutrition based on your health, fitness and sports performance needs.
But wait, there’s more… how you eat is just part of the story. Your health is impacted by your nutrition for sure. But how you sleep, how you handle stress, and how you get in movement each day are all contributing factors. Your health is holistic, it encompasses a lot of moving parts. But with the right tools and resources, you can find the right approach for your needs:
- Stupid Easy Paleo – Don’t let the name fool you. This site is run by the amazing Steph Gaudreau who focuses on what she calls the “core four” pillars of health. She has a ton of information about building stronger bodies and minds and offers nutrition, mindset and fitness-based information. She is also the host of Harder To Kill Radio.
- Laura Schoenfeld – Laura is a Registered Dietitian and Holistic Health Expert who helps people feel better in their bodies and achieve real health and wellness.
- Dr. Mariza Snyder – Dr. Mariza is a Women’s Hormone Practicer who helps identify and heal hormonal imbalances that keep women from living their best lives. She also hosts the podcast, “Essentially You with Dr. Mariza“.