Eating Higher Quality Foods When on a High Calorie or High Macronutrient Diet

It is important to keep in mind that you can achieve preferred body composition goals and do it in a healthy way while on a macronutrient based diet, even when targets are extremely high. Actually, that is when you have the most flexibility to eat a wider variety and volume of healthy foods. Note: all uses of the word diet in this blog are based on the assumption that diet is being used as a healthy and fit lifestyle strategy, not a temporary solution used to achieve a short-term goal…
Agree it is fine to eat primarily highly processed calorically dense “junk” when your only dietary goal is to meet caloric and macronutrient (macro) targets. However, the founders or science behind macro based dieting never said it was healthier or ideal to eat garbage or that you had to eat garbage to meet your targets and ultimately achieve results, but if you wanted to you could.  So there really is no advantage in eating junk in place of a healthier and more balanced diet to meet your targets aside from a personal preference to allow indulgence in your flexible dieting plan. And by the way, indulging in saturated fats, sugars, preservatives, and artificial colors is fine in moderation, but not ideal as the foundation of your eating plan. In fact, it can prove to be a disadvantage for some to eat a diet deficient in nutritional value by hindering certain physiological processes that support continued success in achieving results while on a macro based diet or any other diet for that matter.  There are several examples of how the poor nutrition route can be detrimental to weight maintenance goals as well as several other factors which can significantly (negatively) impact weight and health in general. These include the potential for a low quality diet to increase inflammation and water retention, compromise or “burden” liver function/performance, create nutrient deficiencies, raise unhealthy cholesterol levels, decrease immune function or ability to heal and recover, and/or promote gut microbiome imbalances.

So my recommendation is try not to sacrifice your hard work and health by consuming the majority of your calories from junk so that you may eat in accordance with your targets. It’s entirely possible to hit these calories and macros in a healthy and satisfying way. Here are some tips of what you can add to the mix:

Healthy fats: flax seeds, oil on salads, even flax seed crackers; natural nut butters (the kind you have to stir a little to mix in the oil – almond or peanut are great) , avocados, coconut, fish oil

Also, high fiber carbs are more calorically dense: whole grain breads, cereals, crackers , rolled oats, and pastas; yams, beans and legumes

Finally, still eat plenty of simple carbs and higher glycemic fruits: bananas, citrus, melons

And congrats on having such an awesome metabolism!

Weight Loss: Beyond Diet

I have had so many conversations around this lately that I am going to put a bit of my personal journey out there to show I do believe and practice what I preach. After only a week and a half of more consistently following my own long-standing advice called “just eat a reasonable amount of food and cut out processed and chemically-laden junk in your life”, I am down 3 pounds. Just using optimal timing for my eating schedule as well as decreasing my exposures to certain environmental nastiness. Feeling great! No extremes, no starving, didn’t change workout at all. It feels like I am not even trying, just being a little more conscious. Many of you may know that I have been a competitive figure athlete for more than 15 years now. However, my only supplements right now are a multivitamin and a fish oil. Keeping it simple for the time being. You may be saying, I want to try this! How long do I do it? 10 days, 21 days, a month or two? You do it for the long haul. Weight loss happens folks, but just need to remember to be honest with yourself and above all, be patient. Without extremes, healthy and permanent weight loss can take months to achieve (years depending on how much you are trying to lose). It is a journey and you must make it your lifestyle. So many things that we are exposed to impact the way our bodies react including water retention, inflammation, emotional health, energy levels, pain and “weight” gain. It is far beyond just calories in and out and. What we feel, breathe, apply, eat, and drink all can affect us profoundly, synergistically, and/or cumulatively. Below are a few basic principles to follow which can make a significant and positive difference in any of the conditions mentioned above and more:

1. Avoid microwaving food in plastic containers. Also, choose BPA Free plastic food storage containers and water bottles.

2. Avoid perfumes, additives, preservatives, and dyes which can be found in foods, drinks, cosmetics, soaps, lotions, hair products, dish or laundry detergents, cat litter, and other items (one way to do this is by choosing the “free and clear” labeled products)

3. When possible, choose foods that are organic, hormone free, uncured, and antibiotic free

4. If you are going to eat canned goods, choose BPA free cans

Dr. Kris, ND – Let’s Talk Weight Loss and “Set Point”

We all recognize the first thing I am about to say, but I feel compelled to mention it anyway – none of the weight loss “rules” exist independently. That is, there are so many factors that can affect weight even on an hourly or daily basis. So it is important to be honest with yourself and be able to correctly identify what are truly transient weight fluctuations (and what causes them for you individually) and what are actual longer term increases. The good news is that time is on your side in regard to creating a new weight set point, but the bad news is that time can also work against you!! Here’s the key. Many of us say – oh I can get down to that reunion weight or wedding weight in “x” weeks . When we do that and then try to go back to a more flexible diet and exercise routine, we automatically tell our body that it cannot expect to be at the new weight for long, it just has to “survive” under the conditions, and pretty soon it will be fatter and happier again. So the body is already laying the foundation to return to your current set point. That said, if you gain weight very gradually over a chronic duration (6 months, a year, multiple years), you also solidify that higher set point making it harder to come down. If you have ever heard of the 6 month behavior change rule, it is generally true for the physiology that determines your metabolic activity as well. In fact, this makes perfect sense if you think about it because to change behavior, you also have to change cognitive patterns and all the associated biochemical processes that go with that. Survival is an important concept too. Once you tell your body that you are in any extreme pattern of change it will go into survival mode to do anything and everything it can to maintain homeostasis. Dehydrate, the body works to retain water. Starve (or lose weight too quickly), the body works to adjust metabolism down and prepares to store fat.
So my long winded background explanation for achieving a new weight set point actually brings me to two simpler points. 1. Use a 10% rule for change (only lose 10% of your body weight at a time) 2. Any new weight/body composition should then be maintained for at least 6 months to tell your body it is not in survival mode and it needs to support the new homeostatic targets before you pursue the next 10% drop.