GET READY FOR 2020!

xmas-challenge

New Year is exactly 4 weeks from today! If you’ve been wanting to make the change in your life to lose some weight, then why wait until next year? Let’s start a 4-week weight loss challenge and get yourself into healthy habits before 2020! In this article we will give you a step-by-step guide that will help you to build up your daily nutritional plan, and start your fat-loss journey!

 

STEP 1: IDENTIFY AND REMOVE NUTRITIONAL DEFICIENCIES

You might think that you should reduce your calorie, increase your activity level, and íou right, you have to. But first, you have to cover your body’s need! Often, people struggle with how they look and feel because their body doesn’t work the way it should. Energy levels, appetite, strength, endurance, and mood all rely on getting enough of these essential nutrients. No matter where you live, or what stage you are at in your life, for maximum physical and mental performance, and highest quality of life, you have to be able to get all the nutrients your body needs by eating a varied and balanced diet.

The most common deficiencies could be the followings:

  • Inadequate vitamin and mineral consumption
  • Suboptimal protein intake
  • Inadequate intake of essential fatty acids
  • Inadequate water consumption

 

VITAMINS & MINERALS

In this regard, adequate consumption of vegetables and fruit rich in vitamins and minerals are vitally important. Statistics show that average daily consumption of vegetables and fruits is far below the recommended daily amounts. In the U.S., only 1 in 10 adults, while in the UK only 3 in 10 meet the “5-a-day” recommendation.

So, first of all, be sure that you consume at least five 80 g portions of fruit and vegetables every day (total 400 grams per day). This amount should be the minimum quantity, potatoes, sweet potatoes, cassava and other starchy roots are not classified as vegetables, and not included in the “400 grams per day” limit!

How it looks like? Let’s see couple practically measured examples for 1 serving of vegetables and fruit, that may weight about 75-100 grams:

  • 1 cup green leafy or raw salad vegetables, such as lettuce, mustard greens, collard greens, cabbage, Swiss chard, spinach, watercress, arugula, endive, escarole etc.
  • half cup chopped or florets raw or cooked vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower, brussels sprout, carrots, turnip, celery root, beetroot, cucumber, summer and winter squash, eggplant, radish, daikon etc.
  • half cup cooked dried or canned beans, peas or lentils
  • 1 medium tomato or a small bell or green pepper
  • 1 small apple, peach, pear, orange, banana, or similar sized fruits
  • 2 small mandarin, apricots, kiwi fruits, plums or similar size of fruits
  • 1/2 cup of berries, including blueberry blackberry, cranberry, strawberry, raspberry, red and white currant etc.

Second, be sure that you cover your calcium needs! Our most important sources of calcium are dairy products. 2 to 3 servings of dairy products (500-750 ml of milk, or equivalent dairy products) provides three-quarters of the recommended daily intake of calcium. If you are unable, or unwilling to consume dairy products then be aware of which foods provide the range of nutrients generally obtained from dairy. Non-dairy sources of calcium, including green leafy vegetables, legumes, and fortified foods.

In addition to the above-mentioned foods groups, although nothing can substitute for a balanced diet, the daily use of vitamin and mineral supplements may help to assure an adequate intake of key nutrients, and provide a nutritional insurance policy against nutrient deficiency.

The Journal of the American Medical Association is currently advising all adults to take at least one multivitamin pill each day, to avoid vitamin deficiencies that can lead to chronic disease. 2

 

PROTEIN

The name of protein refers to their importance in the life, because the word “protein” is derived from the Greek word “protos”, meaning “primary” or “first”. Human body is made up 16-19% of protein, we can’t live without them. Be sure that you consume enough!

The current Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) for protein is 0,8 g/kg/day, but increased physical activities, aging, and weight-loss goals all increase our protein needs. For highly active exercising individuals 1,4 to 2,0 g/kg/day might be recommended, according to the position stand of International Society of Sport Nutrition, while this higher protein level of protein intake may also support appetite control, increase satiety, reduce food cravings, and may help weight management.88

 

OMEGA-3 ESSENTIAL FATTY ACIDS

The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) sets Adequate Intake (AI) level for combined EPA and DHA (long-chain omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids) at 250 mg. The main dietary sources of EPA and DHA are cold-water oily fishes, such as salmon, herring, mackerel, anchovies, and sardines. Eating about two servings of fatty fish per week covers the above recommended daily amount.

On the other hand, to obtain a beneficial effect for disease prevention, such as the maintenance of normal blood pressure, or the maintenance of normal triglyceride levels, a daily intake of 2, or 3 grams, but no more than 5 grams of EPA and DHA is needed.

Fish oil, and krill oil based supplements provide high quality, contaminant-free source of long chain omega-3 fatty acids (EPA and DHA) to cover our daily needs.

 

WATER CONSUMPTION

The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) defined adequate total water intake of  2.0 L/day for females and 2.5 L/day for males. Be sure that you consume at least this level of water, and be aware that increased physical activity, and higher external temperature may increase our needs. According to sport activities, during exercise sweat rates may vary from 0,3 to more than 3 L per hour depending on exercise intensity, duration, fitness status, and other environment conditions. Because of this variability, measurement of pre- and post-exercise bodyweight should be advised to estimate final sweat losses during our workout, and to customize our fluid replacement strategies. As general rule, 125% to 150% of the body mass lost during exercise should be consumed within 1 hour and electrolytes added such that fluid losses are ameliorated.

 

STEP 2: CALCULATE YOUR TOTAL ENERGY REQUIREMENT, AND ADJUST IT TO YOUR GOALS

 A simple equation to calculate Estimated Energy Requirement (EER) for weight maintenance developed by the Institute of Medicine (US):

EER for Men Ages 19 Years and Older (kcal/day): 662 – (9.53 × A) + PA × (15.91 × W + 539.6 × H)

EER for Women Ages 19 Years and Older (kcal/day): 354 – (6.91 × A) + PA × (9.36 × W + 726 × H)

 

Where

  • A is age in years
  • W is body weight in kilograms
  • H is height in meters
  • PA is the physical activity coefficient:
  • PA = 1.00 sedentary lifestyles
  • PA = 1.11 moderately active lifestyles
  • PA = 1.25 active lifestyles
  • PA = 1.48 very active lifestyles

Total Calories that a 32 years old man who is 1,78 m tall, weight 75 kg, and live a moderately active lifestyle, with sedentary job, and half an hour moderate intensity exercise per day, requires in order to maintain his current weight: EER = 662-(9,53×32) +1,11×(15,91×75+539,6×1,78) = 2748 kcal per day

This result should be modified if specific goals are set (i.e. during weight-loss dietary interventions). If your goal is weight loss, than you should decrease this number. As a rule of thumb, a deficit of 500 to 1,000 calories per day will lead to a weight loss of 0,5-1 kg per week. But be sure that you don’t go below 1400 kcal/day. Analysis of data from the National Weight Control Registry indicates weight-loss maintainers have an average intake not less than 1,400 kcal/day, get one hour of moderate activity per day and eat breakfast daily. Weight-loss recommendations that exclude food groups and/or restrict macronutrients substantially below the dietary reference intakes and NRVs can cause nutrient deficiencies and increase health risks.

Don’t forget that these calculations can only provide you starting point. The best way to determine and control an appropriate level of calories is to regularly monitor weight, and adjust calorie intake or expenditure (via physical activity) based on changes in body weight over time.

 

STEP 3: CALCULATE YOUR MACRONUTRIENT RATIO

Macronutrients are the main nutrients that make up the foods we eat. Three main types of macronutrients in the human diet are Protein, Carbohydrates, and Fat.

As we mentioned above, protein intake should be between 1.4–2 grams per kilograms of body weight, if you exercise regularly, and attempt to lose weight. Each gram of protein contains 4 calories, so to figure out how much of your calorie intake is coming from protein, you would multiply your intake in grams by 4.

Fat intake should be between 0.4–0.8 grams per kilograms of body weight. Each gram of fat contains 9 calories. So, to figure out how much of your calorie intake is coming from fats, you would multiply your intake in grams by nine.

All remaining calories are allotted for carbs. Just like protein, each gram of carbs contains 4 calories. To calculate how much of your calorie intake is coming from carbs, you would simply divide by 4 your remaining number of calories after protein and fat have been added together.

  • Step 1: Calculate your target calories based on your goal (add or subtract calories to your maintenance)
  • Step 2: Figure out your protein and fat requirements
  • Step 3: Eat your remaining number of calories from carbs

 

Here’s an example:

  • Weight: 78 kg
  • Calculated maintenance calorie level = 2,400 calories
  • Calories he needs to consume to lose fat = 2,400-500 = 1,900 calories
  • First step is to figure out his protein target = 78*1.8 = ~140g protein
  • This guy has problem with carbs, so we’ll stick with the higher end of his fat requirement at 0.8g/kg/BW. Thus his fat target = 78*0.8 = ~62g fat
  • Carb Intake = Total Calories – Protein Calories – Fat Calories
  • Protein Calories = 140g*4 = 560 calories
  • Fat Calories = 62g*9 = 558 calories
  • 1,900 total calories – 560 protein calories – 558 fat calories = 782 carb calories
  • 782 carb calories/4 = ~195g carbs

Once you know how many grams of each macronutrient you should consume every day, it’s critical to track your food intake to determine whether you meet your macros. You can calculate your day in advance or there a number of open access popular mobile applications and websites that may hel you to tack your calories such as MyFitnessPal, My Macros+, or Lose It!

STEP 4: PLAN YOUR MEALS

There is a lot of confusing advice about the optimal meal frequency. According to a number of publication and expert, eating breakfast jump starts your metabolism and 5–6 small meals per day prevent it from slowing down. But studies show mixed results and it is not clear that more frequent meals help you lose weight. To date we have to conclude that there isn’t enough evidence to prove that changing the number of times we eat has a significant impact on weight. it seems that the key isn’t the number of times we eat, but rather what we choose to eat. So, you should make the decision on the basis of your individual preferences. Pay attention to your body’s hunger signals for when to eat, and avoid eating just because others are eating. In its latest scientific statement, the American Heart Association encourages an intentional approach to eating:69

  • Plan meals and snacks for specific times throughout the day to manage hunger.
  • Limit meals and snacks to a 10-12-hour timeframe during the day, avoiding eating later in the evening. For example, eat only between 6am and 6pm.
  • Choose meals and snacks that contain a variety of nutrient-dense, healthy foods instead of relying on packaged and processed snack foods.
  • Consume a larger proportion of calories earlier in the day, making breakfast, lunch and daytime snacks higher in calories than dinner and evening snacks.
  • Consider using an intermittent fasting approach to decrease calories and lose weight, which may also decrease cardiovascular and diabetes risk.

 

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