Season 7, Episode 4: That Time of the Year


This week Sue and Meagan are talking about nutrition and weight management: how to lose weight, how to gain weight, and how to accomplish body recomposition.

Listen now: Episode 4: That Time of the Year

Full Show Notes

Weight Management – Basics of CICO

Always consult your doctor before beginning any diet or exercise routine

What are macros? Macronutrients: Protein, Fat, and Carbohydrate that give your body fuel to stay alive and for activity. Calories are the units of measurement for the energy supplied. One gram of protein supplies 4kcal of energy, as does carbohydrate. Fat supplies 9kcal of energy. Alcohol is kind of a 4th macronutrient – it has calories but isn’t really a usable fuel source. Alcohol has been shown to inhibit both fat loss and muscle growth because when the body processes alcohol, it can’t burn fat or synthesize muscle at the same time.

  • Figure out your TDEE (Total Daily Energy Expenditure) based on BW + activity level

How? Use an online calculator, use a fitness monitor, get a DEXA scan

  • To lose weight: eat at a caloric deficit
    • One pound of fat = about 3500kcal, so to burn one pound of fat per week, eat 500 cal under TDEE
    • Lifting weights will help to retain muscle on a deficit
    • Aim for about 1 gram protein per pound of body weight to prevent muscle loss
    • Fill the rest of calories with fat and carbohydrate to your preference
  • To gain weight (muscle mass)  – eat at a caloric surplus & lift weights
    • For women, muscle grows much more slowly than for men, about 1 lb per month under ideal conditions
    • You will not get bulky, but will get fit & toned 
    • To limit fat gain, keep your caloric surplus minimal – about 150-300 calories above TDEE
    • Again, aim for about 1 gram protein per pound of body weight to maintain muscle
    • Some people like to increase protein, and is generally safe to do up to 2g protein per pound of body weight, although studies show extra protein may or may not be beneficial (eating more protein than needed may not put on more muscle, but it may be more satiating than carbs or fats) – protein also has a higher thermic effect than carbs or fat (it takes more energy to burn the protein, depending on what type of protein you eat)
  • To recomp (body recomposition) – gradual increase of muscle and decrease of fat at the same body weight
    • Eat at TDEE for weight maintenance
    • Again, some form of resistance training needed to improve muscle composition
    • This is an extremely slow process
  • As your BW or activity level changes, you may need to re-estimate your TDEE

Your specific macro ratio (how many of each carbs, fats, proteins) can be tailored to your preference. As long as you are tracking what you are eating with a good app like myfitnesspal, loseit, or avatar nutrition, and measuring your food with a food scale, you should lose weight at a caloric deficit and you will gain weight at a surplus – it’s basic thermodynamics. It’s also important to remember that micronutrient density is important for optimal health. While you can lose weight on a twinkie diet, your health will probably suffer if you do so. So focus on eating nutrient-dense whole foods to support your body, and to feel good too.

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