Last night I was having coffee with friends, and I decided to help myself to a cupcake when someone asked me, with a surprised look: “How can you be so lean and still eat cupcakes? I have given up all carbs to get in shape!”
People are shocked to hear that I do eat rice, bread, pasta, pizza, and even cupcakes, while maintaining my body fat in a low single digit. I have heard this craziness many times: unnecessary, extreme and unsustainable nutritional measures to quickly get in shape. Now, imagine yourself being free to include all your favorite treats in your diet, guilt-free while maintaining a lean body. How is that possible?
People are shocked to hear that I do eat rice, bread, pasta, pizza, and even cupcakes while maintaining my body fat in a low single digit. I have heard this craziness many times: unnecessary, extreme and unsustainable nutritional measures to quickly get in shape.
Now, imagine yourself being free to include all your favorite treats in your diet, guilt-free while maintaining a lean body. How is that possible?
Some of you might know that spending hours on the cardio machines help to lose weight but will not improve one’s body composition – which is the best measure of being in shape. I also showed a proven workout strategy to burn fat while maintaining or building muscle mass. That strategy is infallible when paired with a nutrition plan that contains the RIGHT amounts of calories from ALL macronutrients working together – protein, carbs and fat, each one with its unique nutritional function working in perfect combination.
Our bodies are always burning calories; the more active we are and the more muscle mass we have, the more calories we will spend. To start shredding fat it is crucial that the calories consumed are less than the calories burned. To start shredding fat, it’s crucial. But all three macronutrients should always be present. Here’s why:
Proteins are necessary to build and repair muscles and other tissues; carbs are the quickest and most efficient source of energy for certain types of physical activity, and fat is stored in our body as a backup source of energy. The optimum amount of each macronutrient and the overall calorie intake depends on each individual’s body composition, activity level, and fitness goals.
During a workout, we primarily use carbs for energy, and protein to build or maintain muscle. When building muscle, the body uses calories from its various sources of energy, including stored fat. By extremely cutting carbs, the body will eventually break down its foundation of protein – your muscles – for energy. It’s like a car engine running on zero fuel and breaking down its parts to keep functioning. Just picture this: carbs are the key that turns the metabolic machine on so that the body can burn calories from fat. Without that key, it will burn protein, worsening your body composition. So, for those who think that by giving up carbs their body compositions will improve, think again: this does not work and is detrimental to your health and fitness.
Again, what is important is to consume the right amount of calories from the right amount of all macronutrients!
That cupcake I had last night – even though I recognize that it was an occasional treat with a little nutritional value of micronutrients – didn’t hurt my diet because it fit my daily macronutrients. Besides, I didn’t go overboard with my calorie consumption for that day. By knowing the right macronutrient amounts, one can have a flexible diet and eat the occasional treat without feeling guilty. This is called flexible dieting, more realistic and fun than any extreme dieting measures that cause anxiety and guilt, and ultimately not being sustainable.
Stay tuned! In my next post, we will talk more about flexible dieting, and I am sure that you will find it very practical and easy to follow. I will show you how you can fit all your favorite foods and treats without any guilt. Share this post and leave me your comments and questions. I am logging off now, as I am meeting friends tonight for a great guilt-free pizza night!