By Taylor Robbins, C.S.C.S
You hear about “macros” all the time.
Some say it’s the only thing that matters.
Some say you need high protein, low carb, and blah blah blah.
You just need to know how to control your hormones for fat loss and stay full while losing fat rapidly, correct?
Here, we will detail what you need to know about macros and how to put them together for you.
Before I step into a macronutrient strategy for fat loss, I need to clarify first that nutrition is very individualized. Your best nutritional strategy is case by case. Because we cannot do 100 different diet plans here, I will explain the main components of what a good macronutrient (how much protein, carbs, and fats) strategy looks like for female fat loss, and give the disclaimer that all science, even when well researched, works 70% of the time for 70% of people. I cannot iterate enough, individualization, individualization, individualization.
This macro is by far the most important to nail down for female fat loss. Here are some of the things protein does:
– Increases glucagon secretion which counteracts insulin. This helps the body regain insulin sensitivity which improves fat loss.
– Creates a positive nitrogen balance. Because protein carries a nitrogen molecule, it allows the body to stay in an anabolic state. This allows lean muscle tissue to be repaired and grow. The more muscle you have, the higher your metabolism and easier it is to stay lean.
– Improves cellular turn-over. All the cells in your body are constantly becoming new. Imagine if those cells are become anew more often, you will have better overall function such as immunity, digestion, overall health, and fat loss.
– Has a higher thermic effect than other foods. Did you know when you digest food, you are burning calories also? Protein has double the thermic effect as carbs and fats do. This allows more calories burned and helps create a slight metabolic raise for the short time after your meal.
Now that you see the many benefits of protein in your diet, how much should you be having and when?
Your first meal MUST MUST MUST have protein and fat in it, and NO carbs in it. I will talk more on carbs later, but you have to have protein in your first meal.
The choline in the fat of the protein source (i.e. eggs, meat, etc.) will signal more acetylcholine concentration in the brain. This leads to productivity and mental focus for your day.
Protein will also give a steady flow and increase in blood sugar which will lead to more sustainable energy for the whole day.
I will speak on fats later, but the fat teaches your body to use fat as energy for the day. This is why cereal or oatmeal in the morning is bad because it tells the body to use glucose for energy instead.
Protein must be a cornerstone of every meal, so be sure it is present in every meal.
The amount can be highly individualized as some respond better to moderate or high protein intakes, but to start, shoot for around:
.7g per pound of body weight and
1.5g per pound of body weight
If you weight 150 lbs, this could be 150g of protein a day, divided by 4 meals is about 35g a meal. For example, five whole eggs would qualify your protein needs for one meal.
We have produced a lot of articles and content on carbs, so be sure to read the other ones, but our principle here is this:
You must deserve your carbs.
Some ethnic types can handles more carbs and some body types can handle more carbs and vice versa, but at the end of your day, you must trial and error the amount you deserve.
You may be a little peeved right now, because we seem to be beating around the bush with how many carbs you get, but here are some things to know:
Not all carbs are equal. Some cause a higher insulin response and turn into sugar faster, being classified as high glycemic index and high glycemic load.
If you have a lot of excess fat, you definitely need to manage the type of carbs you eat. So, stick to low glycemic index (55 or less) and low glycemic load (less than 12).
You can find the ratings of these carbs online pretty much anywhere, or you can look at a comprehensive list here: http://www.mendosa.com/gilists.htm
Also realize food preparation and food groupings will decrease glycemic index. This can be achieved through:
– Cooking gently (do not cook at high temperatures but instead boil and steam when possible)
– Eating carbs with fiber, such as vegetables
– Having acidic additions like vinegar in your meals
– Adding healthy fats like coconut oil
With all these rules in mind, where should you start in carb amount?
I would say, calculate your protein intake first, then based on your calorie allowance, give yourself 40% of your remaining calories in carbs.
You figure your calorie goal is 1600 cal/day.
You figure your protein goal in 165g protein/day.
That is 165×4=660 calories from protein. 1600-660=940 calories left. 940×40%=376 calories. 376/4=94 g of carbs a day.
Lastly, fats come into the game of rapid fat loss.
Fats are your best friend for rapid fat loss. The more flexible your fat cells and metabolism become, the more easily you can burn fat off your body. Eat fat to lose fat!
You see, the fat cell membrane actually becomes thick and rigid when you have been eating crap food and bad nutrients like trans fat, high poly-unsaturated fats, sugar, grain, etc. This makes it difficult for the fat cell to utilize its energy substrates (energy to leave the cell wall, which is how you burn fat).
To fix this rigid cell membrane issue, you eliminate the aforementioned foods and add healthy fats like saturated and mono-unsaturated fats.
Fats basically can be added in based on activity level and hunger. If you had a more grueling workout, add more fats into your diet. If you still feel hungry, add a few more fats into your diet again.
However, the rule to follow with what we have previously discussed is after protein and carbs are factored in, finish the fat amount.
Before, we said the calorie goal was 1600. We saw that you got 165g of protein, and 94g of carbs. This leaves 62-63g of fat left.
I hope this series really helped you with your fat loss goals and endeavors.
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By Taylor Robbins, C.S.C.S