The Perfect Diet: The Perfect Diet, is to me, not a diet at all. It is nutrition plan, a map, if you will, which allows any kind of food or drink, as long as it fits within the plan. Are some choices better than others? Yes. Are they always available or the most attractive? No. Is there a compromise we can come to? Most definitely, yes.
Counting Macros is a way to have your cake and eat it too. Following the 80/20 rule (where 80% of your choices are clean eating, and 20% fulfill our (cravings), we can have it all with this nutrition map. Macros are short for macronutrients, which are the three main categories of nutrients your body needs for energy. Each macro Protein, Fat, and Carbohydrates, has a different use in your body. By tracking how much of each you consume, you can impact things like body composition, energy levels, hormone health, recovery, sleep, strength, and even mood. It is important to remember that over consumption of one macro will not effect weight gain. Only over consumption of calories in general will do that. I remember in the 90’s we all avoided fat. Fat consumption equals fat gain right? Not so. More calories than we need will do that, no matter what their category.
The key is planning. Here is the plan, step, by step.
First, get a macros app or plan. Choose either Fat loss or Muscle gain as your plan. The app will designate your allotted Carbohydrates, Fat and Protein, based on your height, weight, and goals. We love Macrostax, a web based planner guide. There is a common saying in Macros Counting: IIFYM (if it fits your macros, its cool!) The thing is you want to go for nutrient dense choices 80% of the time, and fluff the other 20%. Fluff is allowed, that is the good news. You definitely want a food scale that counts grams , ounces, ml, and liquid ounces. I got one for about $16 on Amazon.
You should never ban one of these groups. All are important. Think of them as ingredients to a very important recipe: The best you requires a certain amount of all these macro groups. Please DO NOT cut carbs or another of these groups. It will not deliver In the end. Are all carbs created equally? Yes and No. Yes, carbs are carbs, but the quality of carbs (complex carbs offer more micronutrients and fiber than simple carbs), so much more beneficial to the body. Examples of complex carbs are fruit or sweet potatoes, simple carbs like white pasta or processed breads. Choose your carbs wisely, but do not eliminate them.
Same thing goes for fat. Much better to eat healthy fats like avocado or olive oil versus hydrogenated vegetable oils found in fried foods.
When you start counting Macros, you will soon find your fats are a precious commodity so choose wisely! For protein,try to choose low to no fat options like fish versus beef, or vegan options like beans (remember Beef is a great source of protein, but the fat adds up quickly, so just be mindful.)
Bottom line is if you find a macros plan that is right for your body, with a little planning, you can enjoy all you love to eat. Nothing is off limits with the 80/20 rule. This will lead to a lifetime nutrition plan you can stick to!