5 Things to nail your nutrition!

When it comes to nutrition, there is so much noise out there!  It can be very challenging to try to understand what is good and what is not.  I have developed a list of the only 5 things you really need to pay attention to when it comes to your nutrition.  You should conquer each one individually before you move onto the next, starting with #1.
1) Calories.  Science has supplied us with research over and over again that indicates that your overall calorie intake is the most important nutritionally factor when it comes to a change in body composition.  Plain and simple, if you are looking to lose weight and you haven't dialed in a specific calorie budget, you need to re-evaluate your priorities on the matter.  For most people, 12 x BW (body weight) is a good place to start.  If you don't lose weight on that number, slowly lower it down.
2) Macros.  So you have successfully kept yourself within your calorie budget and know you would like to know what you are supposed to be eating.  Identifying targets for macronutrients will be a crucial next step.  You will want to have a percentage and grams for protein, carbohydrates and fat.  This can vary a little bit for people depending on what your goal is.  My opinion is that it is best to start with a protein goal and I believe that the RDA for protein is a little absurd.  I would recommend anywhere from 30%-50% of your calories coming from protein depending on how low your calories go.  This will be the most important macronutrient as you embark on your journey and you will need a higher percentage of it as your calories get lower.  Next comes fat.  Fat should take up 20-30% of your total calories.  How you specifically identify your fat need is really personal preference.  Some people prefer to have more carbohydrates and some people prefer the fat.  Just remember, at the end of the day number 1 on the list is still most important and you may just be splitting hairs here. And finally, we are left with carbohydrates.  Carbs are important and you will want to fill what percentage is left with this macronutrient.
3) Fiber.  This little guy is extremely important!   When it comes to making sure that we have regular digestion, fiber is a rock star. When you are consuming a high protein diet, fiber becomes even more important.  Load up on veggies to help hit this number.  Your goal on this may vary and you definitely want to increase slowly.  Most females will be around 25-27 grams per day where men might want to finish around 35-40 grams per day.  Also, fiber is has been shown to be thermogenic as the body needs to work harder to process it!
4) Meal timing.  How our body responds to food is determined in some by when we choose to feed our bodies.  You would not want to accomplish the first 3 rules in a single sitting as you wouldn't be able to take full advantage of the food that you are eating.  The latest research shows that you don't need to eat every 2-3 hours like we used to think however, making sure that you split your meals up into 4-6 sittings seems to be ideal for endocrine response and overall satiety.
5) Food type. This comes as a surprise to many people that I have this as #5 on my list.  Truth is, if you can accomplish the first 4 rules, this one just down right isn't as important.  I don't care if you choose to have processed food or if your food isn't GMO free as long as you keep to the first 4 rules.  By abiding by these rules you will consequently narrow down your food choices anyways and it allows you the freedom to be creative and flexible with your food choices.  When you start restricting foods and food groups out of your nutrition plan, adherence to the plan goes way down.  I agree, eating 100% clean and organic can be good for you however, if it is not maintainable and you don't stick with it, I don't see the point.