I am trying to lose weight and gain muscle using macronutrient counting, but I can’t figure the right combo. I am 47 years-old, 5’6” and weigh 159 lbs. I work out twice a week with a trainer and do cardio twice a week at the gym. I am always hungry and suffering headaches. What combo do you recommend? – Shelly
Really it depends on your total caloric intake, which may not currently be high enough given your maladies. If you require approximately 2000 calories to maintain, subtracting 300-500 will give you a target of 1500 to 1700 calories daily for weight loss. Aim for the upper end of the range since you also want to gain muscle which requires energy.
At most you need 1.8 grams protein per kilogram body weight (130 grams) so that will comprise 33% of calories taking the midpoint of your recommended energy range. Your minimum carbohydrate intake should be 130 grams, also giving you 33% of calories. The remainder can come from fat; at 34% this equates to 60 grams. Obviously you can shift carbohydrates up and fat down a bit, say to 42% and 25% respectively.
Comprising your energy intake and macronutrient targets, the food choices and timing are critical to feeling satisfied and keeping blood sugar stable. Use fats wisely to complement carbohydrate sources, notably fruit and starch. Eating them together (e.g. cheese and crackers) will slow digestion and thus absorption, causing blood sugar to rise gradually. Make sure to choose the highest fiber options of plant foods. Spread your intake out during the day so that you’re eating every 3-4 hours at most.
As with all eating plans, make sure you’re drinking enough fluids. In your case approximately 9 cups of liquid should be consumed daily. Keeping yourself hydrated will allow your cells to function at their best, help rid the body of toxins and keep metabolism at its peak.
– Debbie J., MS, RD
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