Khane mein kya hai? (Simplifying dieting)

Dieting is the cornerstone of every successful fitness program, get this right and you will drive yourself towards your goal much faster. It is all about making the right choices with your food. We often spend a lot of time reasoning with the simplest things in life to make better choices. Like buying a new dress (all boyfriends will understand this one) or choosing which movie to watch. Dieting is a very similar notion and is simpler than you think!

In order to make better choices, we need to learn a bit about macronutrients. Our bodies need three main macronutrients a.k.a macros, namely carbohydrates (the infamous carbs), proteins and fats. It is vital that we consume these macros in our diet. Let me take you through the three macronutrients briefly.

Carbs

Why are they important?

  1. Primary source of energy, stored in the form of glycogen in liver, muscles and fat cells.
  2. Essential fuel for brain functions, physical activities and cellular operations.

Good carb sources are always complex carbohydrates. Complex carbs are high in fibre and they digest slowly, keeping you fuller for longer and not spiking your blood sugar levels. Oats, sweet potato, whole wheat roti/bread and basmati rice are few of the best sources of carbohydrates.

Proteins

Why are they important?

  1. Your body uses it to build and repair tissue
  2. You need it to make enzymes, hormones, and other body chemicals. For example, insulin and growth hormone.

Good quality protein sources include chicken, whole milk, fish, paneer or tofu, chickpeas, kidney beans or any type of daal.

Fats

Why are they important?

  1. They play a crucial role in brain and bodily functions
  2. Aid in the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins like A, D, E and K.
  3. A dense source of energy.

Avoid trans fats and saturated fats found in fried junk food and butter. Always go for mono and polyunsaturated fat sources like almonds, walnuts, fish oil, olive oil, egg yolk, flax seeds, chia seeds or avocados.

Coming to the most important concept of dieting to lose weight: ‘’Your calorie intake should be less than your calorie expenditure’’.

Start by finding your BMR(basal metabolic rate).BMR is the number of calories you expend while at rest, which means even if we sleep all day we will spend these many calories to carry out our bodily functions. You can use an online calculator for this

(https://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/bmr_calculator.htm).

Secondly, find out how many calories you should consume in a day. Start by accessing your activity levels in a typical day. For example, if you walk 5 Kms every day to work you would be spending around 250–300 Cal or if your workout regularly at a moderate intensity at the gym, you would be spending close to 500 Cal in a single session. Add this number to your BMR to get the total calorie expenditure in a day.

Depending on your goal to lost fat or build muscle you can either be in a calorie deficit or surplus. A good number to start with would be a -400 Cal deficit or +400 Cal surplus based on your goal. You can then modify this number each week based on your body’s response.

Make a list of what you typically consume in a day and do some research to find out how many grams of proteins, carbs and fats each item contains(you can use myfitnesspal, healthifyme or just google). A gram of protein or carb has 4 calories and a gram of fat contains 9 calories. Simply multiply the total proteins, carbs and fats in your food with these numbers to get your final calorie intake.

Divide your total calorie intake into 30% protein, 40% carb and 30% fat to start with. For example, if your calorie intake should be 1000 Cal, you will consume 300 Cal or 75 grams of protein, 400 Cal or 100 grams of carbs and 300 Cal or 75 grams of fats. Assess changes in your body composition and energy levels week on week and vary the % of fats and carbs keeping proteins constant based on how you feel. Some people may lose more fat with a higher fat content in their diets and some with a higher carb %, it will vary from person to person.

You can refer to this excel spreadsheet : Diet Plan for a better understanding of this process. You can modify the same to create your own diet plan. Aim for a maximum deviation of ±10% from your calorie intake to consistently see the results.

Dieting is a really simple process, you just need to know the nutritional content of the food you eat and fit it in your daily macros, hitting those targets each day. You can enjoy a cheat meal once a week just to keep yourself motivated and on track.

Follow me to know more about how to make your meals in under 10 mins and many tasty recipes!

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