Counting Calories isn’t always helpful.
Eating healthy doesn’t mean just counting your calories. Our food gives us so much more than energy, it gives us the building blocks to keep our bodies in homeostasis, repairing it, keeping our immune systems strong, assisting with organ function. If you liken it to a car engine, it helps you keep the engine running efficiently, using the fuel, not storing it. So doesn’t it make sense to focus on quality more than quantity?
Some fad diets can be effective in shedding the first chunk of weight but they are not realistic, and if you manage long term adherence it can lead to other health issues, so when you come off the diet you tend to put all the weight back on, and more! Science will back this up (eg the Lean & Malkova (2016)), where a lower energy intake leads to hormonal changes that stimulate appetite. There are many more studies out there with similar conclusions. The body is clever, and adapts to any stress we apply upon it.
So how do you know how much to eat, and in what proportions?
If you manage the proportion and amount of macronutrients you intake it can help ensure that your body stays healthy and in balance, it should get what it needs to thrive and work efficiently.
Many studies have looked into the equation of how to calculate the perfect amount of food and in what macronutrient ratios, and although they don’t agree on one calculation, they do all draw from the same parameters to create a logarithm to formulate a sensible answer not widely varying.
The equations all tend to use age, sex, height and weight, others include muscle mass, however accurate measurement of muscle mass is not widely available. Highlighting the fact that your nutrition plan should be bespoke for you, as our variables all vary!.
Sorry to not be able to furnish you with an answer on “what you should consume”, however I can share with you the methodology I use:
1. Set goal – weight gain / loss, body composition change?
2. Set energy needs using an equation calculating Base Metabolic Rate by Mifflin–St. Jeor Equation (2005)
3. Establish energy requirements – for a sedentary person to an athlete – bespoke number to client.
4. Set Protein Target (typically 1.2 to 2.2 g/kg/day)
5. Set Fat Target (typically 20 to 35% of total calories)
6. Set Carbohydrate Target (daily calories – protein – fat = carbohydrate calories)
7. Convert Numbers to Food and Habits
Then as the weight changes the ratios adapt, so we reassess and evaluate on a monthly – 6 weekly basis. If you wish to contact me about a nutrition consultation please do email firstname.lastname@example.org, or call 07782 546604. I look forward to hearing from you.