Check out the pyramid below:
What we’re looking at is the hierarchy of the importance of certain components of your nutrition intake. In this series of upcoming posts, I’m going to go into detail about each layer and why they are stacked in this order.
Many people try to pick up one part of this pyramid in an attempt to improve their health or their body composition before conquering the layers below it. Most commonly, I’m asked about what supplements someone can take in order to replace a meal, fulfill vitamin requirements, or just lose weight. Focusing on that part of the pyramid sets you up for the least amount of success because it is the smallest component and you can’t out-supplement an overall poor diet. In terms of your health or even your athletic performance, supplements will only make up about 10% of your progress…spend your time and efforts, first, on the base of this pyramid which is going to account for at least 90% of your progress.
Before we do get into this, let me also note that this pyramid is built on top of healthy behaviors making up a balanced lifestyle of quality sleep, daily physical activity and healthy relationships with yourself and others, among other important parts of life!
Something I talk about a lot in my blog posts, on my FeNom-Iron-Eater Weekly Vlogs, and on my foodcertitudenutrition Instagram account is the importance of your caloric balance for whatever body composition goals you have. If you want to put on muscle-mass, you need to be eating enough food to provide the energy and building blocks for your muscles to put the work in that’s needed for strength and muscle building. If you want to decrease fat-mass, you need to take in fewer calories overall than you are expending – yet just enough to keep you energized and recovered.
Overall, balancing your calories needs to be the first step in changing your eating habits to achieve any performance, health, or body composition goals. I know I talk about eating proper macronutrients (proteins, carbs, fats) and micronutrients (vitamins, minerals) a lot too, but it is possible to eat the right, balanced quality but in too high of a quantity. Many people looking to lose weight feel frustrated because they are healthy, “clean” eaters. Unfortunately, just because it’s gluten-free, or paleo, or vegan, it still has calories and it’s likely you’re eating too much of them (which can be easy to do unknowingly because we feel like we’re being healthy!).
So, if you’re looking for some nutrition improvements, start with how much you are eating before anything else. Subscribe to the blog to stay on top of these posts – the rest of the pyramid will be posted about soon!
So that’s Calories: how much you are eating…
Next up: Macronutrients: what you are eating…
Then: Micronutrients: what you are eating is made up of…
Then: Meal Timing: when you are eating it…
And finally: Supplements: filling in the 10% of what you’re not eating
5 thoughts on “Nutrition Priorities: Part I”
looking forward to the rest of this series!