Swimsuit season is coming. Are you ready? If you’re hoping to shed a few pounds before the pools open, you might be thinking about reducing your calorie intake. While taking charge of your diet is always a good idea, counting calories alone may not be the solution to your weight loss goals. In reality, what we eat may matter more than how much. Rather than counting calories, let’s take a closer look at what our calories are made from and how those macronutrients matter when it comes to weight loss.
What are Macronutrients?
Macronutrients are the main building blocks of our foods: carbohydrates, protein, and fat. We need all three of these macronutrients to function properly and absorb the vitamins and minerals in our food. Let’s see how each one impacts our weight:
Carbohydrates are the body’s main source of energy. They offer quick fuel for your brain, heart, kidneys, and other organ systems in the body. Carbohydrates are also a source of fiber, which is essential for healthy digestion, appetite control, and balanced blood cholesterol levels. In the digestive tract, carbohydrates are broken down into sugar molecules and sent into the bloodstream as glucose. Insulin is released to help the body’s cells take in the glucose for future use. However, when we eat too many carbohydrates (especially simple sugars), this excess glucose is stored as fatty acids. Over time, excess sugar can also lead to insulin resistance, diabetes, and a range of other health conditions. For this reason, getting fewer calories from carbohydrates than fat or protein may be helpful for weight loss.
Protein is broken down into amino acids that help to build muscle and carry out other important body functions. As most bodybuilders can attest, eating protein is essential for healthy weight loss and strong muscles. A diet with substantial protein helps to ensure that any weight loss comes from reducing fat stores – not breaking down muscle. Eating healthy protein sources also helps you build lean muscle mass, which naturally increases your metabolism to burn more calories each day.
Fat was once considered a villain, but we now know that healthy fat is crucial for our health – and even helpful for weight loss! We need fat to absorb the essential fat-soluble vitamins (A, D, E, and K) and protect our brain, skin, eyes, and gut health. Healthy fats also contain omega-3 fatty acids, which have potent anti-inflammatory and antioxidant benefits. Fat also helps us keep our cravings and appetites in check. As the last nutrient to leave the digestive tract, fat makes us feel fuller longer. This helps to reduce unnecessary snacking and overeating.
Why Cutting Calories Isn’t Enough
Cutting calories could help you lose a few quick pounds, but it doesn’t often offer sustainable or lasting weight loss. The reason is simple: as we saw above, not all calories are used, stored, and burned the same. For example, a 200-calorie bagel and a 200-calorie chicken breast may offer the same amount of energy, the way your body uses those calories is vastly different. While the bagel’s excess carbohydrate calories could be later stored as fat, the chicken’s protein calories will be used to restore muscle tissue. To get the best results with your weight loss meal plan, consider the quality of your food and the macronutrient balance as well as calorie count.
6 Macronutrient Diet Tips to Get Swimsuit-Ready
If you’ve struggled to lose weight by counting calories alone, consider changing it up and try a new strategy. Here are a few macronutrient diet tips that will help you make better progress with your weight loss efforts.
1) Strike a macronutrient balance that encourages weight loss.
The typical macronutrient balance recommendation for weight loss is 10-30% of your calories from carbohydrates, 40-50% from protein, and 30-40% from fat. While these numbers tend to work for most people, the best ratio for you will depend on your body’s needs and specific health goals. It’s best to speak with your AlignLife chiropractor to determine your optimal balance.
2) Consider nutrient value over calories.
Rather than fixating on a specific number of calories, focus more on how valuable the nutrients are in the foods you choose to eat. Like our example above, a 200-calorie chicken breast offers more nutritional value than a 200-calorie bagel, donut, or candy bar.
3) Eat healthy protein throughout the day.
Include protein at every meal so your body can access this energy source throughout the day. Eating a high-protein, low-carb breakfast can also reduce blood sugar fluctuations and keep insulin levels in check. You can also make getting your daily dose of lean protein easier with a supplement like Peak Protein from Aceva.
4) Go unprocessed and whole-grain whenever possible.
Carbohydrates should make up 10-30% of our daily calories, but the types of carbs we eat matters significantly! The refined sugar in processed foods and sodas will spike your blood sugar and cause weight gain without any nutritional benefit. Instead, choose fiber-rich, whole-grain sources of carbohydrates like whole-wheat bread, brown rice, and quinoa.
5) Be flexible and patient.
Some days, you’re just going to be hungrier than other days. Maybe your morning workout was more intense, or you need extra brain food to solve a complex problem at work. Fuel yourself with smart snacks and be flexible to shift your diet plan as needed. Flexibility and patience help keep your stress levels low and prevent yo-yo dieting.
6) Support weight loss with Meta Trim.
For those ready to take swimsuit season seriously, pairing Aceva’s Meta Trim with a macronutrient diet and exercise plan can help. This supplement boosts fat loss, improves energy, and controls cravings naturally with ingredients like L-Carnitine, GABA, Medium Chain Triglycerides, and Green Tea Leaf Extract.
Get Swimsuit Ready at AlignLife
As it turns out, getting in shape isn’t all about cutting calories. For the best results, we also need to consider the macronutrient makeup and the quality of the foods we eat. But a strategic weight loss plan doesn’t stop there. Exercise, sleep habits, stress management, and even healthy spinal alignment are also necessary for lasting weight loss success.
Ready to start reaching your weight loss goals today?