Having a reference of dietary intake is important for balancing your awareness with regards to your body’s physical needs versus seasonal tastes, wants, and desires.
Let’s get real. The Holidays come with a monstrous storm of temptation for some of us. This might be in the form of pumpkin flavored everything or seasonal beer and cocktails. Follow these with Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and then New Years.
We may rationalize over-indulging in these seasonal occasions by thinking, “It only comes once a year,” or “This [insert seasonal indulgence] is what truly makes this [insert holiday] in my mind and I must have it in abundance right now or it’s like that holiday never happened.”
Well guess what? While these tastes and indulgences warm your heart and fill your taste buds with eternal joy, they can add up in a big way and wreak havoc on your body and metabolism. If you like the pumpkin sweep of October through Halloween, and follow your indulgences through November and December for Thanksgiving and Christmas, that’s potentially 3 months of overeating— a full quarter of the year making poor dietary decisions.
It’s exceedingly good to have some basic understanding of some numbers or amounts of calories and nutrients that your body needs. This understanding empowers you to strategize these flavors and indulgences into your season without breaking your body’s bank.
So first let’s run down a few of these basic concepts:
What is your Basal Metabolic Rate?
Your Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR) is the amount of calories and nutrients that your body needs to function at rest without physical activity. You can find your Basal Metabolic Rate here:
Add activities of daily living and perhaps an hour-long workout during the day, and the numbers go up from between 150 calories (for very small women) to 1000 calories (for men over 230lbs) on top of BMR linked above.
To adequately use our daily allotment of calories towards their best outcomes, we should aim to get an established amount of Protein, Carbohydrates, and Fats per day to suit our body’s needs and maintain bodyweight. These three are widely known as ‘Macros’ (short for macronutrients).
As active gym goers we generally need about 0.8g of protein per pound of bodyweight per day. Good sources of protein are lean meats like chicken breast, ham, or lean ground beef. Fish and seafood are also great sources along with Whey Protein.
On gym days, for workouts that generally last an hour, we also need 1 gram of carbohydrate per pound of bodyweight per day and sometimes more. Good sources of these are whole grain breads, cereals, and fruits.
For fat, we generally want 15-30% of calories in our diet to come from mostly unsaturated fats. Or just whatever calories are left over in our allotted calorie amount after consuming the above-mentioned protein and carbohydrate amounts. We want to ideally get fat from unsaturated sources like olive oil, nuts, or peanut butter.
Now that we’ve glossed over the basics of BMR and Macronutrients, how can we work our seasonal and holiday desires into the equation?
Adding in the Goodies!
After you’ve discovered your daily allotment of calories and macronutrients, take a couple of weeks to be good and track your food on an app like MyFitnessPal or read nutrition labels and track your Macros by hand to ensure you’re getting close to those numbers. See how it feels to hit these amounts regularly for two weeks. Ask yourself, ‘what do my meals look like?’ ‘How many grams of protein are generally on my plate?’ ‘What foods represent my carbs?’ ‘How many calories was that?’ ‘How many calories do I have left at the end of the day or did I go a touch over board?’
Try to get as close to these numbers as possible without over doing or under doing your calories for two weeks. This diet will become more comfortable and familiar. At this point you can be empowered to play with your indulgences and fit them into your day.
Maybe you were having two pieces of fruit after your workout during that two weeks, or a bowl of oatmeal with blueberries to fulfill your carbohydrate needs. Great job that’s right on point! Now if you are a sucker for pumpkin bread, that would be a great opportunity to swap it for your post workout fruit or oatmeal since pumpkin bread mostly consists of carbs as well.
Maybe you’d like to indulge in some seasonal beer on Friday night and perhaps throughout the weekend. Plan to hit the gym a little more often throughout the week to build a calorie deficit and stimulate your body’s need for muscle tissue growth rather than fat. You’d also be wise to eat less calories from carbs and fats on Friday and throughout the weekend to make some room for that beer. Being mindful as you indulge will help you too. As you reach for another cold one throughout the weekend, ask yourself each time how you’re feeling and check-in with your body and mind. “Will this beer help you enjoy yourself and have a better time?” Maybe it will, maybe it won’t. Just check in.
Well hope this run-down of BMR, Macros, and strategizing indulgences can help you out this season! It’s a way of life that takes time to master so don’t get discouraged if it doesn’t come naturally. Thanks for reading and give us a shout if you need some help implementing these numbers!