by Doc Mok
Many of us have been hungry for years. Societal expectations and pressures have led many to eat in ways that are unhealthy and unsatisfying. Low carbohydrate, low fat and low-calorie diets force us into a chronic state of caloric restriction, which can lead to a depressed mood and stunted athletic performance. Through working with patients and clients and what I have learned in my own wellness journey, I now know that we CAN EAT MORE AND LOOK GREAT! This week at Maximal Being, let’s undo years of deprivation and learn how to optimize and eat enough at the same time.
Breaking Down Nutrition Myths
In the United States, we are faced with excess. Buffets, all-you-can-eat meals, and two-for-one specials abound. If offered two for the price of one, saying yes is easier than saying no. These messages are further reinforced when fitness models, athletes, and influencers post pictures that represent an impossible ideal: six-pack abs while eating pizza. What these photos do not show is the years of dedication and discipline that athletes have devoted to getting to their present state. These images represent a moment in time, not a daily lifestyle choice.
Don’t Diet, Make Lifestyle Changes
Fad diets demonize certain macronutrients or food choices. They are often restrictive and proclaim that there is only one way to achieve goals. Staying with a highly restrictive diet is not sustainable. These restrictive plans are a set-up for failure. No one can sustain a restrictive diet long-term. Although failure is inevitable and not due to a lack of willpower, it still leads to feelings of guilt, remorse, and worsening self-esteem. As the yo-you dieting goes on and on, restrictions can become even more extreme and the process repeats itself.
If you are reading this, you have likely been the victim of a fad diet. Many people have functioned on a caloric deficit for decades. In this article, we will review how to eat well to fuel your energy and reach your fitness goals in a healthy sustainable way. For most people who have tried restrictive diets, you will be surprised to find that this means that you can eat more and look great at the same time!
Food Quantity Theory
We are taught in health care the FOOD quantity theory:
Calories Eaten – Calories Burned = Body Composition
There is some truth to this equation. You will certainly gain fat/weight if you never move and eat a lot of food. However, to gain muscle, you have to increase caloric intake. What this simple equation does not address is food quality. It is true that you can eat a lot and also reach your body composition goals. The key is high-quality food.
Weight, body fat, and nutrition are linked, but not mutually exclusive. An individual can be nutritionally deficient whether they are obese or underweight. A person can be nutritionally deficient due to taking in a small number of calories, eating only “healthy foods,” or dieting, but still can be obese. This common conundrum is often the result of an issue with food quality.
I was eating 1,2000 calories per day, running 8 miles every other day, and NOT reaching my goals
Choose Real Food and You Will Win
Therefore, let me submit to you the following equation-
(Quantity x Quality of Calories Eaten) – Calories Burned = Body Composition.
This means that you get to EAT MORE! Just eat good food. You really should not be hungry all the time. If your body is telling you to eat, do it, just eat quality food, eat REAL FOOD (CLICK FOR OUR ARTICLE).
By this I mean, food from nature. Have filling meat, veggies and some more complex starches and eat enough. If you cannot pronounce what it is made of it is not real food. Eat until you are full. Listen to your body.
If you are active, you need to EAT MORE. Nourish that body you are working hard to build. Allow your body to tell you what it needs, listen to it, and grant yourself permission to eat more.
Quality Food Matters Most
You can eat a LOT OF QUALITY FOOD and improve your body composition. An example of this would be the nutritional value of one cup of french fries versus one cup of roasted sweet potato. Both have similar quantities of carbs, yet the fries are lacking the micronutrition and fiber present in the sweet potato.
Another example is that 3 cups of veggies contain more micronutrients than 3 cups of french fries. The fiber in the veggies will allow you to achieve satiety and will keep you full for a longer period of time. This approach also will allow you to take in the vitamins and minerals that your body needs.
I increased my caloric intake to 2,800 calories of REAL FOOD every day.
Quality Food Does Not Have to Be Boring
Okay, so perhaps my equation has more to it. The entire process is multiplied by time.
Time x [(Quantity x Quality of Calories Eaten) – Calories Burned] = Body Composition.
It takes dedication, but if you know yourself and build sustainable habits, the effort to implement change is less.
If you aren’t leaving yourself starved for calories, macros, micros, etc., you can then make changes in the quantity and eat enough quality over time to achieve your body composition goals.
Doc Mok’s Experience
When I started on my own nutrition journey, I was eating 1,2000 calories per day, running 8 miles every other day, and NOT reaching my goals. I wanted to get leaner and stronger. Conventional knowledge teaches that cardio and calorie restriction leads to fat loss. Yet, it was not working for me. I began to research nutrition on my own. I read articles, papers, and journals, and gathered information from selected individuals. Next,I increased my caloric intake to 2,800 calories of REAL FOOD every day. That is MORE THAN DOUBLE what I was eating previously!
I reached this number using macro calculations based upon my height, weight, sex, activity and goals. If you want to learn how to calculate your macros, click this article on HOW TO Calculate Your macros in 4 Easy Steps. Want OUR FREE MACRO CALCULATOR? Click here and join our email list. Want more hands-on planning for eating more and meeting your goals? HIRE US for a Custom Nutrition Plan by clicking here.
Also, I ADDED weightlifting. I gained 30 lbs of weight, but this weight was muscle. As an added bonus, I lost fat around the middle. My mood improved and I was NO LONGER HUNGRY ALL THE TIME. Not only has this plan allowed me to make progress toward my goals, but it also is sustainable!
Many of us have been starving for decades. Conventional wisdom and fad diets have led many of us down a path of deficiency and depression. Stop starving yourself and EAT! Drop the diet and make sustainable lifestyle changes. Increase the quantity and quality of food over time to achieve success.
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