I recently realized that I need to prioritize my nutrition. I have reached a weight of about 210 lbs. while exercising. At 6’0″, I am technically obese or overweight. So far, my BMI is 28.3, which is high but not very high. However, my fat percentage is 24.5% which is normal. And my muscle mass is extremely high. So all things considered, my health metrics are fine. But that’s no reason to ignore my health.
But the more I can slim down, the better I can reach my goals; the more my muscles can propel me over the same distance. So, I consulted an expert nutritionist from Allina Health, a clinic local to my area, to learn more,
Here’s what I learned: “Don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater.” This means that just because part of something is bad, doesn’t mean that I should remove it completely. Because I may be losing something valuable by throwing it out. For example, eating meat often causes higher health risks. But, this case isn’t a universal reason to stop eating meat, because meat has other benefits that would be lost.
Nutrition is highly personal. Don’t take the advice for me as advice for you. You, the reader, have your own body and goals and quirks. Here are my lessons:
- I need to consume about 150 grams of protein per day. That means keeping meat in my diet to make this easier. I can increase the percentage of legumes I eat, but I cannot lose the protein that I need to maintain my lifestyle and goals. The best practice calculation is 1.4-2 grams of protein per weight in kilograms.
- I should add lentils, beans, or similar protein- and fiber-rich legumes to every meal. Recently, I have been adding a salad to nearly every meal as an add-on. I should do the same thing with lentils and beans to boost my protein and fiber intake. Protein gets me to my goal of 150 grams per day. And fiber fills me up quicker, so I can eat less and get full quicker.
- I can eat all kinds of legumes. Different vegetables contain different nutrients depending on whether they are raw, cooked, or roasted. I thought raw veggies always have more nutrients. However, sometimes cooking veggies can bring in new nutrients! I should eat a variety of colors of veggies, prepared in different styles.
- I should continue reducing sweetened foods with added sugar. But, I don’t need to throw out all sugar completely. I get benefits from the other nutrients in sugary foods.
- Soy milk is generally better than almond milk because it has more protein.
- I should buy more frozen fruit when we run out of fresh fruit. Typically, we go shopping every three weeks or so. But our fresh fruit goes bad by the second week. So, we should get frozen fruit to eat after the second week.
- I should eat without distraction: focus on eating the meal rather than multi-tasking. This gives me a better indicator of how much to eat until I’m done. So, I am less likely to overeat.
- I should eat when I’m hungry. Intermittent fasting has some benefits, such as maintaining stable blood sugar levels. However, it’s not a universal solution to weight loss or health. I lose valuable opportunities to take in nutrients while fasting.
- Below is a visual I can follow for each meal. Then depending on my goals, I can adjust the portions and sizes from this starting point. For example, in the morning, I should take in more protein. Whereas in the evening, I should take in more carbohydrates.