A Nutritional Hierarchy For Health
Macros are a great tool for fat loss or performance goals. They help you see how little or how much you are eating on a day to day basis. BUT, most people want to jump into them first thing without building a base foundation of any lifestyle habits which in turn, leads to a less successful outcome. This is why having a nutritional hierarchy of steps leading up to actually counting macros will build a better base of support so that when it does come to counting macros, it will be much smoother and easier to transition.
What does it mean to live sustainably and have a healthier relationship with food? This nutritional hierarchy can and will develop a base of support that will sustain someone through their entire life. Understanding, implementing, and consistency must be shown before moving up to higher levels in this hierarchy. 1-6 are foundational steps; they are part of our life-style. 7/8 are optional steps.
First level: Sleep and wake cycle; your circadian rhythm. When you go to bed, when you wake up, the quality of your rest. THIS is the base of your pyramid. How much sleep and the quality of your rest is going to impact your appetite, your energy, your digestion, your mood, cognitive function, how your body feels when you train, the quality of your training, your hormonal levels; everything is impacted by your sleep so if that’s not consistent or as dialed in as possible its going to be hard to see the fruits of everything else that comes after that.
Second Level: Hydration- meeting the bare minimum 60% of BW in pounds per ounces per day; more when training/higher sweat levels and making sure that your body is actually absorbing the water
Third level: Consistent meal timing each day; there is great consistency in when you are feeding your body and the types of food you’re feeding your body because it loves routine and consistency. When in a routine, the body starts to automatically creating hormones for digestion starting around consistent eating times and preparing it for digestion.
Food hygiene; chewing, energy state, location; the environment in which you eat (ie are you stressed/relaxed), chewing 20-30x per bite, putting the fork down during bites, not drinking water during the meal, no phone at meal time- present and enjoying the meal; you are improving the ability for your body to extract nutrients from food- this also helps you become more satiated more easily
Fifth level: Food quality; decreasing the amount of processed foods, eating a variety of meats and vegetables, whole foods, daily variety
Sixth level: Food quantity; How much are you getting in during the day? How are you feeling after your meals? Quantity is just paying a little bit more attention to how you feel after meals, and adding or taking away based on how the body is feeling. Adding more awareness on how the body is feeling after eating and how it affects your training, cognitive function, and daily energy. This is not where you start tracking your macros and measuring, its just being a little bit more mindful of how your body feels about what you’re currently eating.
Seventh Level: Monthly food tracking and check-ins specific goal and outcome that you are going after. Looking for things that could be changed that you are eating and how it can be made better. Starting to possibly weigh and measure or just writing down what you are actually eating. Becoming a lot more conscious of the actual food you are getting in and the size and quantity of it on a daily basis. A temporary step, you will not be doing this forever.
Eighth level- Daily intense tracking; weighing and measuring food, an actual set of macro numbers you are aiming to hit.
This is a lot. It’s definitely different from how a lot of people think about food; giving people macros is a short term tool, vs something that is long term like the hierarchy. It’s simply because it’s the simple things you need to get good at, and if you put time and energy into how to take care of yourself, you will set yourself up nicely for health, nutrition, and longevity. Because the ultimate end goal is a healthy body AND mind. If we rush and try to pack on too much too fast, it won’t stick. This will take a lot of time, but if you go in with the right frame of reference around it, it makes it more digestible.