Fats is the big topic of discussion these days. Should I go low fat? Should I drop my carbs and increase my fats and eat spoonfuls of coconut oil and grass-fed butter? Should I do intermittent fasting? Should I eat when I get up before I train? Should I Should I Should I????
And I say YES to all of the above. Nutrition has become such a complicated topic of discussion these days and truly, even those of us that have been in our so-called fields of expertise are guaranteed to not have all the answers all the time. And that's because the answer changes from day to day. We can't possibly need what we consumed yesterday because we are no longer there. Today we are right here.....right now. And our bodies do require, even ever so slightly, a shift in nutritional components to fuel our bodies, calm our minds, keep us focused, and establish homeostasis.
Now I am a huge fan of coconut oil. And I'm even a bigger fan of BUTTER (specifically ghee). But I am also a fan of many other foods like some gluten free (dare I say) grains. I love starchy vegetables in the form of potatoes and yams. I have my days where I eat lighter fare foods like salads and fish and then I have my days where I consume heavier more grounding foods like meats and grains. Consuming foods in a way that creates balance in how you feel emotionally will almost ALWAYS help guide you to make proper decisions.....even if it doesn't meet your macros, follow along with your plan of the month, or go along with your restricted food list.
I'm not asking you to not follow your plan. If you are clear on your intentions regarding your body and you have a set goal, by all means, stick with what is lined up for you. But there is always a little wiggle room that can still get you to where you need to be. Stress is the number one cause of illness within our bodies. Even the most perfect dietary strategy can derail your efforts significantly if you are anxious and stressed either about your diet or other life scenarios.
I had a meeting with a health coach the other day and one piece of advice she shared with me that she offers to her clients is "No matter how healthy the meal is in front of you, ask yourself how will it make you feel after you eat it.....in 10 minutes, in 2 hours, and throughout the day."
If you're eating a food that is part of your program and it makes you feel awful, then it's not serving you. If you're not eating foods because they are "restricted" but they make you feel great.....perhaps it's a food you should revisit. Look for obvious symptoms of imbalance like:
- Digestive disturbance--bloating, gas, constipation, diarrhea, cramps, halitosis, mucous, etc.
- Emotional Imbalances--anxiety and depression (huge signal something is off)
- Mental and Cognitive disruption -- fatigue and foggy thinking
Look out for change in sleep patterns, hormonal imbalances, skin irritations, hair loss. etc.
When you pay attention to the biofeedback your body is sending you, you will instantly get notification that you are either in or out of balance. If you are not sleeping well and following a ketogenic or low carb diet, chances are you may need some starch in your diet to help boost your serotonin levels. By taking supplements you limit your body's ability to function naturally and fall into alignment with what it really wants.
Pay attention to the signals. Ask yourself how a specific meal or dietary plan will serve you. Is this something that is sustainable? Does it offer satiety? Is it serving you physically, emotionally, and mentally? Are you having cravings? Do you wake in the middle of the night or have a hard time falling asleep overall? Are you anxious and stressed and is it flowing into other areas of your life? Just ask yourself these simple questions and you may see that you've had the answer all along.
To answer my friend's question.....I do not have a set number of fat grams I consume. Depending on my energy expenditure for the day, I may consume more or less fat grams and more or less carbohydrates. But a ball park figure can range anywhere from 60 to 100 grams a day. As a woman in my 40s, fats are critical for hormones, digestion, and yes, emotional balance.
Working with a nutritionist or a health coach who can specifically run your numbers based on your activity level, health status, and life experience can benefit you tremendously. But the first question you need to ask and answer is what is your goal......and is this goal something that you can achieve by living it out on the day to day where it becomes a natural process.....not something that you need to grind out.
It's beautiful here in San Diego this week.....so get on out and enjoy the weather as the rain is coming back big time this weekend.
To your health!!