Calories and macros. Macros and calories.
These 2 items are synonymous when it comes to fat loss or muscle building by calculating up or down depending on your goals. Nowadays everyone seems to be obsessed with their calorie intake or "if it fits in your macros". While it's a good idea to have some basic knowledge on how your food is a measurement of energy and how it's utilized in your body or what food groups fall under which macronutrient category, the science and calculations behind the numbers are leading to more confusion, frustration, and misinformation as a whole.
Nutrition and the study of food and how it affects the body is a science in of itself and goes far beyond the manipulation of adding and subtracting for fat loss purposes. Before anyone should even consider calculating the breakdown of food or prescribing nutrition, consider this:
- First and foremost, having a solid foundation of how food works in the body and how it's metabolized is the first place to start before anyone starts to put together an eating strategy to support a particular activity. Understanding that everyone is different and has different needs (because no single type of diet fits all) is also key in helping formulate a responsible nutritional program.
- Food is required to fuel our daily activities but there are countless healing properties in food too. In contrast there are also many health problems that food can cause if it's manipulated enough (the facts and the studies on this are ongoing) and this type of food is readily available. Having the knowledge to navigate your way around food choices is vital information because not all food is created equal.
- Of course there are also supplements that should be taken to support the food you eat. Having an understanding of vitamins, minerals, and chemicals is also vital nutrition knowledge.
- Food is big business for countless of companies and have been in operations for more than a century. Through the years, food has been manipulated over and over with key nutrients replaced with chemical alternatives for bigger profit margins. What is in your food and food labelling can provide a detailed road map of your health so understanding what's in food is essential knowledge.
- Because food is part of our daily ritual, it is also deeply rooted in our culture and the time we spend with loved ones. Holidays and events are always just around the corner and food is always a big part of these gatherings so our social lives revolve around food more than most even realize. Understanding lifestyle is crucial in helping someone understand that food portions and food choices isn't always (and can never) be constant.
- There is also a psychology to food with countless of individuals suffering from eating disorders. Many of these eating disorders are kept in secrecy. Being able to identify these disorders requires thorough experience but being able to treat these disorders requires Professional Treatment and should not be undertaken by anyone (at all) without the proper designations or experience. A lack of understanding in this sensitive matter and providing uneducated advice can do irreversible damage to someone's already fragile state of mind with regards to body image and the way they look at food.
I've highlighted these points because there is so much thought and fail safes that need to be considered before "coaching" someone to their goals as it pertains to food. My protocol adjustments for my clients are number based but when a client asks me "how many calories should I be having?" or "what is my Macros breakdown for this meal?", I rarely give this information out individually because it's useless information. A coach should have your best interest in mind and will share information generally. By working with a coach, you should be walking away with a better understanding of, not only food, but of yourself too.
If anyone really wants a generic fat loss diet, I'm sure there are plenty of 12 week plans out there that do not take the individual into consideration and is considerably cheaper than working with a "so called Coach" with little to no legitimate nutritional knowledge or experience (i.e. have some chicken or tilapia, asparagus, and do lots and lots of cardio). Dieting is almost never perfect because there are countless of roadblocks, not only on a daily basis, but an hourly basis - ask anyone currently on a diet to confirm this.
If you're looking to find out more about calculating, I highly suggest starting at the beginning by going to school then getting some experience by working with clients. If you're looking to achieve a particular goal with your body, get your hands on a good program (or knowledgeable nutritionist/coach) that works for you as an individual keeping in mind that the work you put in should be something you'll be able to continue on into the future as a lifestyle - stop counting and start living. The science of food and fat loss is very interesting as a topic but learn it generally and not obsessively. If there's one thing that's a constant with fitness and nutrition is there are always points and counter points to theories so take all information in with a grain of a "mineral substance composed of sodium chloride" (i.e. salt) :)