A Balanced Diet

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As I mentioned in PSD Day 3, I downloaded and started using the App, Lose It! last Thursday. It’s not perfect for a couple of reasons (which I won’t go into now), but it does have some really cool features. One of them is the Nutrients Tracker. It allows you to track the amount of Fat, Saturated Fat, Cholesterol, Sodium, Carbohydrates, Fiber, Sugars and/or Protein in your diet each day. I set-up this preference yesterday and realized that this feature not only provides a daily break-down of my nutrient intake, it also provides the percentages of my daily caloric intake that are attributable to fat, carbs and protein. The tracker also provides a weekly average for the selected nutrients.

However, this data can be useless if you don’t know what the proper balance of these nutrients is. I had an idea that my balance was decent (Avg: 13% fat; 67% carbs; 19% fat), but decided to do a quick search to validate that belief.

via LiveStrong.com

[T]he Food and Nutrition Board of the Institute of Medicine provides a range of your total caloric intake that is acceptable for each nutrient. Known as the acceptable macronutrient distribution range, this guideline can help you plan your diet.

Carbohydrates and Sugar
According to the IOM, carbohydrates should comprise 45 to 65 percent of your total caloric intake. … Sugar, is a simple carbohydrate that can be both bad and good for the diet. Natural fruit and plant sugars are beneficial, but added sugars, such as those found in soft drinks, can increase the risk of diabetes and weight gain. Added sugars should be restricted to 5 to 15 percent of total caloric intake, according to MayoClinic.com.s

Protein
Protein should comprise 10 to 35 percent of your total caloric intake, according to the IOM. … Athletes and other highly active individuals should consume a greater amount of protein to restore damaged muscular tissue and promote the synthesis of new tissue, erring on the higher end of the AMDR.

Fat
According to the IOM, fat should account for 20 to 35 percent of your total caloric intake. … Like the other two macronutrients, fat is essential to the diet and helps store vitamins, protect organs and provide energy. Extreme low-fat diets are unhealthy and can lead to decreased hormone production and damage to vital organs.

Fiber
I also wanted to validate that my fiber intake was sufficient. According to LiveStrong.com, women should consume at least 25 grams of fiber a day, whereas men should consume at least 38 grams (source). The amount of fiber is based upon caloric intake, which is why the amount recommended for men is greater than women. A simple formula for determining the appropriate fiber intake is 14 grams of fiber for every 1000 calories (source www.health.gov). This equates to 1 gram of fiber for every 71.43 calories.

Based upon my starting weight of 127 lbs, goal weight of 120 lbs and plan to lose approximately 1 lb a week, Lose It! calculated that my daily intake should be 1227 calories. I don’t entirely agree with this and will probably range my calories from 1200 to 1500 a day. In my opinion, varying my daily caloric intake works to “confuse” my metabolism, so that it doesn’t acclimate my energy expenditure to a set number of calories. Based upon my plan, my fiber intake should be at least 17- 21 grams a day. Thus far, my nutrient tracker indicates that my average daily fiber intake is 29.5 grams.

So, a little bit of research validated that I’ve been doing pretty well with my “Lazy Woman’s Diet,” which I developed intuitively years ago. However, let me clarify that that to say that my intuition is based upon a foundation of knowledge gained during my years of bodybuilding and reading tons of information about nutrition and diet.

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Are you eating a balanced diet?

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8 responses »

  1. I think my diet is balanced for my body and health. I don’t eat grains, sugars, soy, processed foods, fast food, etc. My diet is rich in veggies (I aim for 6 servings) a day, wild fish, organic non-factory farmed meats, nuts, some fruit and so on.

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  2. I come from a family of diabetics and heart disease victims. Both parents are diabetic and my Dad suffered a stroke at the age of 61. I am DETERMINED not to become a diabetic. Since 2005, I eat “clean”, meaning non processed foods (fruits, veggies, nuts) or minimally processed foods (locally raised meat, jarred tomato sauce, etc). I gave up soda years ago after reading a book where they described it as liquid sugar. For some reason, the visual turned me off of soda! I drink lots of water but for some reason, its hard to mindfully remember to drink 6-8 glasses of water daily. Working on it. I eat vegetarian twice a week – “meatless Mondays” and another random day of the week. I bring my breakfast AND lunch to work at least 4 times a week. On Friday, I may buy lunch or breakfast but never both. “Street” lunch is usually sushi (shrimp and avocado roll w/brown rice) or something else real low key (ie. some fruit). I usually always bring my breakfast. I make homemade soups twice a month (ie Sunday afternoon) and freeze the leftovers. Eating soups are cheap, filling and nutritious. Great go-to-meal when you don’t know what to eat or work late. One of my monthly soups is always a vegetarian and/or bean soup. I also re-activated my Lose it! app last weekend. Thanks for the tip about the nutritional break down. I’m not an exercise lover but I work out for my life. I’m trying to find ways to keep myself motivated. Thanks also for the constant motivation Skills! Like you I’m 5’2 and trying to slim my booty (lol).

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    • Awwww, thanks Erica! You and Carla eat a LOT better than me;). I need to live near you guys so that I can come over for dinner;)!! That’s great how you have taken control of your health. Fortunately, I haven’t lost anyone to diabetes, but I have a family history of it and know that if I allow my diet to spiral out of control, I’ll be walking down that path sooner than later. I am such a baked goods fiend and I can tell that my body doesn’t process those sugars well. I immediately feel exhausted after a sugar filled meal … I NEVER get that sugar rush. My sister, who is an endocrinologist, says we are all (meaning me, her and our other sister) probably pre-diabetic. So, my sugar ODs are a reminder that I better get it back together.

      And you are so right about soups … but, I just buy Progresso or get the free ones at work that aren’t too bad in the calories/fat (yeah, we have free soup at my job!! And PB & J!! It’s definitely a perk;).

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  3. You should use myfitnesspal.com. It is much better than Lose IT. I have tried both websites. My Fitness Pal is the most recommended. If you try it, you will love it.

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  4. I’ve been attempting to stay away from processed foods and incorporated my green smoothies in m diet and the results have been great thusfar! I’ve noticed that my cravings for sugar has greatly reduced since I’ve reduced the high fructose corn syrup also. Its difficult for me to rid it totally because its in so much but I still get it in the occasional soda.

    Are you a pizza fan? I found a recipe for cauliflower pizza that is incredible! The crust is made from cauliflower and I add a little ground flax seed to the recipe to get a more realistic crust but it tastes incredible.

    Mishie

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  5. Pingback: Sodium and Weight Loss « hairscapades

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