Today a thought had occurred to me – what foods are ‘healthy’ and what foods will actually help me get closer to my lean body goals? I think there is a difference between those two points, and I want to expand my knowledge on these so that I can plan what I eat more effectively. Sure I could eat nothing but a single bar of chocolate a day and still lose weight, but it is neither healthy nor is it likely to help me move towards my goals realistically. But does a diet consisting purely of vegetables necessarily going to help me appear lean?
The question that I’m raising here is what balance of carbohydrates, protein, and fats (the 3 macro-nutrients) do I need? I think that simply managing my calorie intake is not enough, and that I need to delve deeper into where my calories are actually coming from.
The way I see it, and from a little looking around online, I should be looking at reducing carbs and increasing protein and healthy fats in what I eat. The protein is essential for obtaining and maintaining lean muscle mass, and some vitamins are fat soluble meaning they need fat to be absorbed into the body. I can manage my carbs better by switching my current carbs for better alternatives, like swapping out chocolate and crisps for fruit and veg.
Some ratios that seem to correlate with what I am looking for would be 10-30% carbs, 30-40% fat and 40-50% protein. If I were to look for around 140 grams of protein a day (around 560 calories), then I would be looking for somewhere around 336 – 448 calories from fats and 112- 336 calories from carbohydrates, coming to a grand total of 1344 calories per day. For comparison, a low calorie diet for males is around 1500 calories, but lower than 1200 is not recommended without medical supervision. This may sound like a lot or a little, depending on your point of view, but that is coincidentally quite close to the number of calories I have consumed on average over the last 2 weeks.
Working out how much to eat is fine and dandy, but is useless if I don’t know what I can eat. Some high protein foods that I could feasibly take (either immediately accessible or could be prepared) are:
- Whey protein to make protein shakes
- Tuna (I hate the stuff, but I can learn to like it I guess)
- Low fat/skimmed milk
- Beans (kidney beans have good fiber
- Nuts (these have those healthy fats too)
- Soba noodles
This post really is food for thought for me. Realistically I probably won’t be able to reach those protein targets and will probably overdo it on the carbs, but the drive home message here is that for a lean body, I need to maintain a high protein intake. I would hate to reach my weight goals and turn out ‘skinny fat’ from the whole process; I want to be lean-thin, even if that means muscle makes me a little heavier.
In other news, I’m really happy that my blog has reached 173 hits – woohoo!
Anyways, till next time…