Your brain and body craves them, but your health driven conscience tells you NO! Well I’m telling you to say YES to fats! You need those deliciously satisfying fats! Dietary (added) fats are the key to a sustainable, healthy eating plan that is well-balanced…and a well balanced meal plan is the key to success! I’ve tried many many different types of meal plans with various macro ratios and I’ve had the most success as far as sustainability and reaching my fitness goals by keeping my added dietary fats around 20% of my total calories; however, healthy ranges can go up to the 30-35% range of your total calories depending on your body type, current condition, activity level, and fitness goals.
When I say “added” fats I’m referring to utilizing natural plant/nut/seed/fish sources (unsaturated fats) in your meal plan to keep the feeling of satiety and to keep your sanity! You know what happens when you go a substantial period of time without fat…you feel like you’re starving regardless of how much protein and carbs you eat…trust me I know! The key is to “add” or plan healthy fats into your daily meals to keep your brain and body satisfied so that you don’t binge later!
What I’ve often come across are people who are “dieting” and trying to lose weight think that they need to stay completely away from fats, but then binge on them over the weekend or late at night which is what leads to that unwanted weight gain or lack of weight loss. Fats have over double the amount of calories per gram than carbohydrates and protein (fat has 9Kcals/g whereas carbohydrates and protein have only 4Kcals/g). Your body only requires so many calories and macros at any given time, so when you binge on a high fat meal (especially saturated/trans fats) you can be certain that most of those calories are going to go right to fat cells. As they always say, eat smaller meals throughout the day instead of 2-3 large meals/day because your body can only digest and utilize so many calories in one sitting…
So to avoid those fat cravings/binges you just need to plan and incorporate some healthy fats into your daily diet. As far as how much fat and when to have the added fats depends on the person, but I can certainly give you some pointers to get you in the right direction.
1. Choosing good sources of dietary “added” fats: All-natural nut butters (peanut, almond, etc..), raw/unsalted nuts/seeds, avocados, vegetable oils (in moderation and not to cook with), whole omega-3 eggs, salmon/fatty fish, coconut oil (in moderation), and oats (yes- believe it or not oats have a good amount of fat in them). Stay away from saturated fats which are found predominantly in animal products (beef, butter, lard, full-fat dairy products, etc…).
2. Quantity and timing of your added fats: In most of the above mentioned fats (nut butters, oils) a single serving size is 1 tbsp. or 1 oz. for nuts/seeds. Your appropriate serving size will vary, but I’ll use my meal plan as an example: I eat 3,800-4,300 Kcals/day depending on the day. Of which 20% is from fats. For argument sake lets use 4,000 Kcals. 20% of 4,000 Kcals is 800 Kcals. There’s 9 Kcals/g of fat, so I try to consume around 90g fat/day. Now that I know how much fat to eat I need to space that out appropriately so that I don’t eat to many calories in one sitting, but also eat enough to feel satisfied throughout the day. There’s roughly 10-15g of fat in the above mentioned serving sizes and I eat 7-8 meals/day, so I usually have 10-15g fat w/breakfast, then 10-15g fat at 4 other meals excluding my post-workout meal (I’ll also skip added fats in a meal if I’m having salmon or beef that day). My “added” fats are a little low because fat occurs naturally in proteins (even lean proteins). This ensures I hit my target numbers and that I’m not eating to many calories at any single meal.
3. Review and adjust your dietary fat intake accordingly to how you feel: I stay pretty satisfied with 75-90g of fat per day, but everyone is different and you have to go with how you feel. I also know that if I’ve had a “cheat” meal or a high fat meal the prior day that my fat pools are probably pretty full still and less added fats are needed the next day or two. Other days when I’ve eaten very clean with a lower intake of added fats (closer to 75g/day) that I’m going to start to feel hungry at some point, so I add in a little more healthy fats to give the feeling of satiety.
Fats will always have a bad wrap, but they’re an essential nutrient for optimal health and for a sustainable meal plan. Don’t avoid eating fats, just make sure you pick the right sources and have them in the right amounts at the right times so you don’t binge or over eat at other times.
Please feel free to post your questions/comments on the NO B.S. FITNESS BLOG at www.check-yourself.com or on my FB business page wall, Check Total Health.