When I first began losing weight I solely focused on calorie counting. When I say solely, I mean that I didn’t pay attention to the actual nutrition I was getting from foods, aside from the calories.
That being said, I used to allow myself to eat a candy bar as long as it fit in my calorie count. Eating 4 slices of pizza was acceptable as long as I burned off enough calories at the gym or didn’t eat anything else for the rest of the day. This was a very, very incorrect way of thinking. When starting any lifestyle change it’s important to realize that calories aren’t the only thing you need to pay attention to.
The term “macros” is short for “macronutrients.” Macronutrients are substances that the body requires in large quantities in order to live. Fats, carbs, and protein are all good examples of macros. Paying more attention to these instead of just calories will help you be healthier overall in the long term.
Let’s focus on protein today. Protein is a very important nutrient for your body. The highest sources of protein include fish, dairy, meat and eggs, although there are plant sources you can receive protein from as well.
Eating too little protein can cause you to be sluggish, it can make it difficult for you to lose weight and can cause moodiness. It helps you to build muscle mass and assists in strengthening your immune system. According to the USDA, men and women should eat about .5g of protein for every pound that you weigh.
Yesterday, I decided to whip up something new for dinner – seared ahi tuna steak that I purchased from Trader Joe’s. I’ve never seared anything before and I’ve definitely never made tuna steak. It was a success though! I marinated the tuna steak in some garlic & herb seasoning and seared it for 3 minutes on each side. I also cut up some butternut squash to make “fries” and served it alongside of the tuna steak.
It wasn’t until after dinner that I looked at the macros for tuna steak — are you ready for these? For 4 ounces, the steak was 120 calories, 0 carbs, 1g fat, and 27g of protein. TWENTY SEVEN GRAMS. That’s so much protein!
Moral of the story: if you’re going to try to lose weight or change your eating habits, focus on what you’re putting into your body – not just the calories on the label. There’s much more to it than that.