posted on 21/01/2015 4:35:00 PM
By Kirstyn Brown | Photography Maya Visnyei
When you work hard to maintain a fit body, it’s easy to get caught up in the caloric cost of everything you pop in your mouth. But by shifting your focus away from a food’s caloric price tag and concentrating on its nutrients, you can break free from the cycle of constant number crunching.
THE BIG PICTURE
Your sources of calories, or energy, are three macronutrients: carbohydrates, protein and fats. These compounds are the gas in your fuel tank, the tools for building lean muscle, and the factors necessary for healthy cell function and metabolism. How much of each you need daily depends on your goals, your level of training, and your basal metabolic rate (BMR, or how many calories you need to just stay alive).
Once you’ve determined the ratio of macros that will get you to your goals – whether it’s muscle gain, fat loss or weight maintenance – you can tailor your diet to meet your needs.
Translation? You can still monitor how much you’re noshing without having to make note of each and every calorie. “We live in such a crazy environment in terms of food, that you do have to be knowledgeable about what you’re eating,” says spots dietitian Monique Ryan. “But you shouldn’t have to weigh and measure every single thing in order to be healthy.”
Macro calculating is still a form of calorie counting, but how this approach differs from old-school calorie counting simply comes down to quality over quantity: instead of fixating on the number of calories, the focus is on where they are coming from. “We used to believe weight maintenance was a matter of calories in versus calories out,” says registered dietitian Tiffani Bachus. “Now, it’s more about what your calories are made of that will make a difference in your body.”
But isn’t a calorie a calorie? It depends on how you look at it. We know that if we eat more than we burn, we’ll gain weight. That’s a fact. But if one person consumes 1,500 calories every day from pizza, and another consumes the same amount of calories from broccoli and salmon, the salmon eater is likely to have the more enviable physique. “When you eat nutrient-dense foods, you’ll see the benefits in your body, hair, nails, skin, immune system and energy levels,” says Bachus. “You are nourishing the body and giving it what it needs.”
Use this guide from Tiffani Bachus to ensure you’re eating a macro-balanced diet.
1. Visualise what your plate should look like at every meal and snack. Start with vegetables and fill most of your plate.
2. Choose a lean protein. If you need to, fill a quarter to one third of your plate with a slow-digesting carb like sweet potato.
3. If your goal is to lose weight or you’re not training intensely, cut your servings of carbs in half.
HOW TO CALCULATE MACROS
First, calculate your daily caloric needs based on your basal metabolic rate (BMR) and activity level. There are several BMR calculators and formulas available online. For now, let’s assume your total daily energy expenditure (TDEE) is 1,600 calories.
For the full article, check out the latest issue of Oxygen Magazine Australia in all good newsagents.
Source Url: http://www.oxygenmag.com.au/Nutrition/tabid/620/entryid/1716/macro-management.aspx
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