Deciding what and how much to eat can be tricky, especially if you're trying to lose weight and improve your health. Throw in things like work schedules, parties, hunger pangs, cravings, and lack of sleep, and you've got a hot mess.
This year I've struggled with my nutrition—not because I stash cookies in the closet or live on fast food, but because I've been searching for the perfect balance of healthy foods and the ability to still live (meaning enjoy a gelato every so often). I've had days where my protein dipped way too low and days where I ate way more carbs than my body could burn. And as far as how many calories I need to have but still keep me nourished, I've wondered, "Is there a perfect number for me?"
Since nobody is formulated exactly the same, my registered dietitian, Heather Wallace, suggested I take a resting metabolism test, which would reveal how many calories my body burns at rest.
The test took place at my gym Life Time Fitness. It was done first thing in the morning since I needed to be fasting. Metabolic specialist Nick Beltz performed the test, which was as easy as could be: I reclined in a chair, feet up, with a mask on for about 25 minutes.
The end results were fascinating. I learned that my body burns roughly 1,400 calories and 77 percent fat (ideal is 80 percent) while at rest. This was great news. Nick said these numbers revealed that I was doing everything correctly concerning exercise and nutrition. As for calories and macronutrients I should be ingesting, my daily goals should be:
Fat: 30 percent = 478 calories = 53 grams
Carbohydrates: 40 percent = 637 calories = 159 grams
Protein: 30 percent = 478 calories = 119 grams
My calorie goal had been 1,500 to 1,800 calories a day, and I was aiming for more than 100 grams of protein and less than 100 grams of carbs (sometimes less). As far as calories, I did miss the mark regularly, either going too high (storing fat) or too low (making my body think it's starving). I found it surprising that my carbohydrate goal could actually use a boost to 159 grams! With these things in mind, I'm making diligent efforts to hit my targets every day. It's going well, and best of all—I'm never hungry!
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Making these little adjustments has transformed the way I eat and helped my energy levels, especially when working out. I haven't had any interest in any junk food (I haven't eyed my kids' ice cream in two weeks). My body is getting exactly what it needs, and I feel it.
Of course, health and fitness goes beyond healthy eating. Along with my good nutrition choices, Nick reminded me to keep moving by using my Fitbit (I'm still aiming for 10,000 step a day), managing my stress, getting good quality sleep, and continuing to follow Heather's nutrition guidance.
At last, my journey is coming together. I can officially say that I've found my sweet spot—and it's delicious!