Nutritional Guide for a Healthy and Fit Lifestyle
Regardless of the outcome, you wish for when setting nutritional goals, whether it be gaining, maintaining, or losing weight, the most important components to seeing results are the foods you choose to fuel your body with. Without getting too technical, our bodies run off of three macronutrients; fats, carbohydrates, and protein.
Oftentimes when people are setting nutritional goals for themselves, they hear the term “fat” and run. There are healthy fats that are necessary for our bodies that can help in the process of losing fat. Healthy types of fat such as avocados, nuts, flaxseed, walnuts, fish, and tofu help to break down the unhealthy fats in our bodies.
The macronutrient that most people seem confused about is carbohydrates. No one should fear eating carbohydrates, but often there is a stigma around them that leads people to believe they will gain weight by consuming them. Our bodies run on carbohydrates as our main energy system by breaking them down into glucose and storing them in our liver and muscles for use later on. To clarify this myth that carbohydrates cause weight gain, let me elaborate. Yes, some carbs can lead to excessive calorie intake and overtime aid in fat gain. These carbs are found in foods and drinks like soda, cereal, chips, pizza, fries, and other processed foods. While many foods contain these unhealthy fats, that does not mean you cannot indulge on occasion. While I am someone who has dedicated a large amount of time to understand what is best for my body nutritionally, I too indulge in various unhealthy foods. The key is to eat in moderation and to keep consistent with exercise and maintaining a healthy balance. The types of carbohydrates that are beneficial to your body include grains, rice, beans, nuts, potatoes, fruits, and vegetables.
Last but not least, the most important macronutrient of them all is protein. As we perform a workout, especially weight training, our muscles are in a sense tearing apart. As they heal, protein is what helps aid in their healing and also what helps build more layers around the muscle. These layers that form around the muscle are what makes the appearance of a bigger muscle, or a more lean muscle, depending on the individual’s fitness goal. Protein also helps with the process of losing weight. Eating more protein can aid in suppressing hunger hormones along with having a lower caloric intake, as protein-rich foods are low in calories. Protein-rich foods include eggs, egg whites, lentils, greek yogurt, cottage cheese, oatmeal, quinoa, chicken, beef, and chickpeas. If you’re wondering how much protein you should be eating based on your goals, here is a reference.
Maintain Weight: 0.1 to 1.0g per pound of body weight
Weight Loss: 1.0 to 1.2g per pound of body weight
Weight Gain: 1.0 to 1.5g per pound of body weight
-- Danielle Dunn Instagram
Having grown up playing competitive tennis, my passion for fitness and nutrition grew from a young age. In 2018, I graduated from Merrimack College with a bachelor’s degree in Sports Medicine. I then became NASM certified so that I could expand my knowledge of fitness to those seeking it. Follow Danielle on Instagram: www.instagram.com/danielledunnnn/