Nutrition basics

Because it’s calories that determine your weight, you can still lose weight even if you never pay attention to carbs, fat or protein.

Reaching your Calorie Target is an important goal for weight loss and my program recommend focusing on this, but remember that you can lose weight without losing fat.

However, knowing something about nutrition  can help you get into the habit of making better food choices that will improve:

  • Your hunger control
  • Your calorie control
  • Your overall health
  • Your weight loss
  • Your weight control

This topic looks at:

  • General recommendations for carbs, fat and protein
  • Well-balanced meals
  • Easy ways to make eating fruits and vegetables a habit

Calories per gram

  • 1 gram of carbohydrates provides 4 calories
  • 1 gram of protein provides 4 calories
  • 1 gram of fat provides 9 calories
  • 1 gram of alcohol provides 7 calories

Besides alcohol, calories come from the 3  macronutrients:

  • Carbohydrates
  • Fat
  • Protein

Your body needs all 3 of these nutrients in order to be healthy and energetic, for:

  •  Weight loss
  •  Weight control
  • General health
  • Healthy aging

It is important not to cut carbohydrates, fat, or protein from your diet, or to restrict any of these major nutrients unnecessarily, but make better choices.

Alcohol is considered to be a source of empty calories because it provides only negligible amounts of vitamins and minerals. Due to the fact that alcohol often replaces nutrient-rich food and directly interferes with the body’s absorption, storage, and use of nutrients, it has also been called the antinutrient nutrient.

Carbohydrates:

Carbohydrates are needed for energy in particular – both for your mind and your body. You know that tired, lethargic feeling you get when you just can’t concentrate? That often happens when you don’t have enough carbohydrates in your system. High-fiber, low glycemic load carbohydrate foods are your best options. For more details click carbohydrates.   

Good sources of carbohydrates include:

  • Hemp breads
  • High-fiber cereals
  • Fruits
  • Vegetables
  • Brown rice
  • Legumes.

Fat:

Low in fat doesn’t necessarily mean low in calories.

For example, a low-fat muffin may have only 3 grams of fat, but still have 300 calories (full of sugar)

Good fats help keep you satiated and is important for good health. There are 4 types of fat:

  1. Polyunsaturated (includes omega-3-omega 6)
  2. Monounsaturated
  3. Trans
  4. Saturated (short, medium and long chains)

Trans-fat, too much refined omega 6 and long chain saturated fats are the artery-clogging fats you want to avoid, while the other fats have important benefits for your body.(For more informations click fats)

Sources of healthy fats include:

  • Avocados
  • Oily fish such as salmon, tuna and sardines
  • Olive oils
  • Raw nuts
  • Coconut oil
  • Etc…

Protein:

Protein is used to build and repair:

  • Muscle
  • Blood
  • Organs
  • Nerves
  • Skin
  • Hair
  • Brain

You can get protein from animal products and from some plants.

Good sources of protein include:

  • Lean meats
  • Poultry
  • Lower-fat dairy products
  • Soy
  • Nuts
  • Legumes
  • Eggs.

A well-balanced diet, ideally should make up with:

  • Carbohydrates 35% to 50% of your calories
  • Fats 20 % to 35% of your calories
  • Protein 25% of your calories.

Eating well-balanced meals helps you get this good balance of nutrients while filling you up and keeping your calorie intake low.

Rather than counting grams of fat, carbs, and protein though, an easy way to get into the habit of eating well-balanced meals is to aim for meals where two-thirds (or more) of your plate is made up of vegetables, fruits, whole grains or beans, and one-third (or less) of your plate is made up of meat or other animal proteins such as cream, butter, yogurt or milk.

The picture below shows dinner – but you can also imagine similar pictures for breakfast and lunch.

How do your meals compare to these two examples? Are they well balanced or poorly balanced? Can you do anything to improve the balance of your meals?

Fruits and vegetables

As well as the macronutrients, there are many micronutrients (vitamins and minerals) that your body needs. One of the best ways to get these nutrients without getting too many calories is to eat plenty of fruits and vegetables with and between your meals.

In terms of weight control the best thing about fruits and vegetables is that they are very low in calories. Snacking on a few carrot sticks will only cost you about 20 calories. Compare that with snacking on a few caramels which will cost you something closer to 200 calories! Fruits and vegetables are also packed with fiber, which can help prevent hunger and reduce your need to snack.

You should aim to get in the habit of eating at least five servings of fruits and vegetables per day.

Here are a few ideas to help you increase the amount of fruits and vegetables you eat.

  • Top cereal with sliced banana or other fruits
  • Blend soft fruit like bananas, berries, mango, or canned fruit (in its own juice, not in syrup) with skim milk and yogurt for a delicious smoothie
  • Top toast with fresh tomatoes and/or mushrooms
  • Add a variety of vegetables to an omelet
  • Top toast or English muffins with chopped vegetables and low-fat cheese and pop them under the broiler for a quick mini-pizza at lunch
  • Microwave frozen vegetables to have with your lunch
  • Make meat go further by adding extra vegetables in a stir-fry or casserole
  • Add vegetables or legumes (e.g. dried beans, peas or lentils) to soups for added flavor and taste
  • Barbecue or grill bell peppers, eggplant, mushrooms and zucchini
  • Include a green side-salad with your meal (use low-fat or fat-free dressing)
  • Add chopped fresh fruit to greek yogurt 2%

What can you improve?

Healthy eating habits don’t only make calorie control and weight loss easier, they also help you to feel and look better too. Healthy hair and nails, glowing, clear skin and a feeling of energy and wellbeing are all benefits of a healthy diet. How healthy do you think your diet is overall? What improvements can you make to it.

Remember, while it’s important to eat well and to try and get a reasonable balance of nutrients, it’s your calorie intake that determines whether you lose, gain or maintain weight. Healthy eating habits will help you lose weight and keep it off, but the most important part of the CK Program is to reach your daily Calorie Target.

A welleducated personal trainer will be able to teach you basic nutrition to optimize your weight loss and healthy aging.

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