How to fix a broken diet part 2

Step 2: Adjust food amount and food type

Now we have covered the need for covering nutrient deficiency’s we can move on to a more bread and butter topic food amount and composition in how it relates to fixing a broken diet..

  • food amount (what some call calorie intake); and
  • food composition (which includes macronutrient breakdown).

Food amount and calorie counting

You see, while we know that total food (calorie) intake matters, we’re just not fans of counting calories.

To begin with, calorie counting does nothing to help us tune into our own powerful hunger and appetite cues. By learning how to listen to our own bodies, we have better long-term success in healthy eating.

  • How many times have you been hungry but not eaten for another hour?
  • How many of you have set meal time you simply wont eat until no matter how hungry?
  • how often have you worked through your lunch break only to find your not hungry come lunch?

(Of course, not everyone knows how to do this from the start. It takes a little coaching and some practice.)

Nor does calorie counting help us balance our health goals with our natural human enjoyment of food. In the short term, anyone can turn eating into a numerical and boring exercise. But, in the long run, this strategy falls apart, unless you are really committed, have built up the habit or are just super neerdy when it comes to numbers!

Calorie control without counting

Being a certified Precision nutrition Coach we teach our clients a different approach to calorie control, using their own hand as the ultimate, portable measurement tool. we call this food on the run.

For example, a client might begin by eating:

  • 1-2 palms of protein dense foods at each meal;
  • 1-2 fists of vegetables at each meal;
  • 1-2 cupped handfuls of carb dense foods at most meals; and
  • 1-2 thumbs of fat dense foods at most meals.

we help clients see what this looks like. Like, in real life. On a plate.

Then, we help clients adjust their actual number of portions up or down, especially carbs and fats, depending on each person’s unique body and goals. For example:

  • Men who want to add mass fast would throw in up their intake to 3 thumbs of fat and/or 3 cupped handful of carbs at each meal.
  • But men in who want to lose fat might keep their intake down to 1 thumb of fat and 1 cupped handful of carbs at each meal, eaten slowly and mindfully to “80% full”.

Of course, just like any other form of nutrition planning this template is just a starting point.

You can’t know exactly how your body will respond in advance. So stay flexible and “steer dynamically”. Adjust your portions based on your hunger, fullness, overall activity level, and progress towards your goals.

Start with the basic template and then adjust your portions at any time using outcome-based decision-making, aka: “How’s that working for you?”

Food and macronutrient composition

Most people can simply eliminate nutrient deficiencies and get food portions and quality right, and stop there.

Small adjustments in these two areas – and nothing more – will make a huge difference in how 90% of folks look and feel. Simple. Easy.

However, for those who want to go further – because they have more advanced goals or because they’re already doing the first two and still struggling – let’s talk about food composition.

If you’re anything more than a casual observer of human beings, you might have noticed that they come in different shapes and sizes.

They also vary in their body composition, energy levels and metabolic rates…. Some people seem to be always fidgeting, always in motion; other people tend naturally to be more sedentary.

Which one are you?

Different body type groups — aka “somatotypes” — typically include a few general characteristics:

  • morphology and skeletal structure
  • hormonal environment
  • metabolism (including metabolic rate and how nutrients are processed)

If you specialize in a particular sport, especially at an elite level, you’ll often see that certain body types gravitate towards certain activities, or specific positions within sports.

We begin by classifying clients into one of three general categories (or somatotypes):

  • I types (ectomorphs),
  • V types (mesomorphs), and
  • O types (endomorphs).

Here’s a male and female example of each body type:

Body types are not “carved in stone”. They are not the basis for “nutritional rules”, nor are they any specific system. (In other words, not all ectomorphs will be exactly the same, and being an ectomorph doesn’t necessarily cause anything to happen.)

Body types are simply a starting point.

Body types are a proxy for thinking about possible differences in metabolism, activity types, and nutritional needs. so you can create some working hypotheses using body types, which you can then test.

Nutrition for “I types”

Elite endurance athletes, climbers, and dancers are typically light and lean; sparsely muscled and light-framed, with delicate bones.

They may be tall and long-limbed (which is helpful in sports that need both height/reach and low body weight), or they may be smaller (which is helpful in sports where low absolute body weight is important, such as cheerleading or horse racing).

I types (ectomorphs) tend to prefer endurance activities, and/or sports where a good strength-to-mass ratio is important.

  • Their engine speed is set to “high revving”. They tend to be thyroid- and sympathetic nervous system-dominant with either a higher output or higher sensitivity to catecholamines like epinephrine and norepinephrine. They typically have a fast metabolic rate.
  • They’re high-energy. They’re often fidgeters and pacers. They tend to burn off excess calories with near-constant movement throughout the day.
  • They tolerate carbs well and usually have higher carb needs. These are the rare folks who can seem to eat cookies with impunity.

I types therefore generally do best with more carbohydrates in the diet, along with a moderate protein and lower fat intake. So that’s what we recommend: more healthy carbs and less fat with a moderate amount of protein.

A nutrient distribution for this body type might be around 55% carbs, 25% protein, and 20% fat. (But don’t drive yourself crazy with the math. Just think “higher carbs and lower fat.”)

Here’s what that might look like using our portion control guide.

I type men begin by eating:

  • 2 palms of protein dense foods at each meal;
  • 2 fists of vegetables at each meal;
  • 3 cupped handfuls of carb dense foods at each meal;
  • 1 thumb of fat dense foods at each meal.

I type women begin by eating:

  • 1 palm of protein dense foods at each meal;
  • 1 fist of vegetables at each meal;
  • 2 cupped handfuls of carb dense foods at each meal;
  • 0.5 thumb of fat dense foods at each meal.

Nutrition for “V types”

Football running backs and safeties, soccer players, hockey players, wrestlers/MMA fighters, rugby backs and flankers, and other sports that combine all-around athleticism with speed, strength and power are typically mesomorphs: solid, strong-framed bodies that easily put on muscle.

If they’re taller, you might find them in sports like rowing, rugby, hockey, or basketball. If they’re shorter, you might find them in weightlifting or gymnastics.

V types (mesomorphs) have a medium sized bone structure and athletic body, and if they’re active, they usually have a considerable amount of lean mass.

  • Their bodies are designed to be powerful machines. Excess calories often go to lean mass and dense bones.
  • They tend to be testosterone and growth hormone dominant.
  • Thus, they can usually gain muscle and stay lean easily.

V types therefore generally do best on a mixed diet, with balanced carbohydrates, proteins, and fats. And they often gravitate to activities that require this kind of metabolic flexibility. So that’s what we recommend.

A nutrient distribution for this body type might be around 40% carbohydrate, 30% protein, and 30% fat. (Again, don’t drive yourself crazy with the math. Just envision a roughly balanced mix of all three macronutrients.)

Here’s what that might look like using our portion control guide.

V type men begin by eating:

  • 2 palms of protein dense foods at each meal;
  • 2 fists of vegetables at each meal;
  • 2 cupped handfuls of carb dense foods at each meal;
  • 2 thumb of fat dense foods at each meal.

V type women begin by eating:

  • 1 palm of protein dense foods at each meal;
  • 1 fist of vegetables at each meal;
  • 1 cupped handfuls of carb dense foods at each meal;
  • 1 thumb of fat dense foods at each meal.

Nutrition for “O types”

O types (endomorphs) have a larger bone structure with higher amounts of total body mass and fat mass. Football linemen, powerlifters, and throwers are typically endomorphs.

  • Their engine speed is set to “idle”. They tend to be parasympathetic nervous system dominant. Unlike ectomorphs, endomorphs are built for solid comfort, not speed.
  • They’re naturally less active. Where the ectomorphs tend to burn off excess calories with near constant movement, excess calories in endomorphs do not seem to cause that same increase in expenditure. This means that excess calories are more likely to be stored as fat.
  • They typically have a slower metabolic rate and generally don’t tolerate carbohydrates as well, particularly if they are sedentary.

O types therefore generally do best on a higher fat and protein intake with carbohydrate intake being lower. And they often gravitate to activities with lower carb demands. So that’s what we recommend: more fat and protein, less carbohydrate.

A nutrient distribution for this body type might be around 25% carbs, 35% protein, and 40% fat. Again, no math gymnastics. Just think higher fats and protein, lower carbs.

Here’s what that might look like using our portion control guide:

O type men begin by eating:

  • 2 palms of protein dense foods at each meal;
  • 2 fists of vegetables at each meal;
  • 1 cupped handful of carb dense foods at each meal;
  • 3 thumbs of fat dense foods at each meal.

Portions for men, O type.

O type women begin by eating:

  • 1 palm of protein dense foods at each meal;
  • 1 fist of vegetables at each meal;
  • 0.5 cupped handful of carb dense foods at each meal;
  • 2 thumbs of fat dense foods at each meal.

Portions for women, O type.

  • 1 palm of protein dense foods at each meal;
  • 1 fist of vegetables at each meal;
  • 0.5 cupped handful of carb dense foods at each meal;
  • 2 thumbs of fat dense foods at each meal.

This information was provided by Precision Nutrition, by whom I am a Certified Level 1 Coach


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