Previously I explained that it is best to imagine that there are 3 fuel tanks in the body, the smallest for fats, slightly bigger for proteins and the largest for carbohydrates. If you over fill any of these tanks at any given meal or in a 24 hour period or if you under fill any of these tanks in a 24 hour period you will get fat!
For example if you have a large breakfast of carbohydrates only – juice, toast and cereal, there is a good chance you will store the excess as excess weight. Likewise if you had a large meal of all proteins only, or all fats only, the excess over your needs will most likely be stored as excess weight, although in the case of proteins it is a little harder for this to happen due to their more complex digestion.
Once you have 20% of your calories from fats and 25% from proteins that covers their requirements for most people. Therefore that leaves 55% of your daily calorie to be ideally from carbohydrates. This tells you straight away about the limitations and imbalances of high protein diets where 40% or more of calories are from proteins, the limitations and imbalances of high fat diets, where 35% or more of calories are from fats and the extreme limitations and imbalances of low carbohydrate diets, where only 20% of the calories are from proteins.
Therefore the ideal balance for weight loss for most people is 20% fats, 25% proteins and 55% carbohydrates. We have previously discussed the types of fats and proteins that are best so now I want to explore the best type of carbohydrates to eat. But before we do there is one more question to answer. Just how many calories should you eat to lose weight? You should look just 6 weeks ahead at a time and whatever weight you want to be 6 weeks from now you should never eat less than 10 calories per pound! So if you want to be 10 stone (140lbs) 6 weeks from now, then eat 1400 calories. If you want to be 12 stone (168lbs), then never eat less than 1680 calories and if you want to be 9 stone (126lbs) then never less than 1260 calories.
The best type of carbohydrates throughout the day are those that raise blood sugar more slowly and also have the most nutrients – fruits, vegetables, natural yogurts, wholegrain breads, wholegrain cereals and other wholegrains. The faster your blood sugar rises the more likely you are to store weight. You need to avoid as much as possible sugar, sweets, soft drinks, processed fruits and vegetables and processed breads, cereals and grains.
So here are the golden rules of eating to lose weight and to make sure you don’t over fill or under fill your ‘fuel’ tanks:
- Never eat less than 10 calories per pound of the target weight you want to be 6 weeks from now.
- Eat 20% of your calories from fats, 25% from proteins and 55% from carbohydrates.
- Eat small and often every 3 to 4 hours to avoid over filling your ‘fuel’ tanks
- Most of your fats should be essential fats from nuts, seeds and fish or in supplement form.
- Eat lean proteins from poultry, white fish and low or non fat cheese.
- Eat healthy carbohydrates from fruits, vegetables and wholegrain bread, cereals and grains