Calories in calories out?
If you are eating a clean eating diet, the calories tend to take care of themselves. Clean eating is about eating as close to nature as possible, so there's no need to count calories.
Most "diets" make you watch your total caloric intake in some form or another and you will be told continually that the determining factor of your weight is calories eaten in direct proportion to calories expended. (Calories in calories out.) This is true. Calories do count and most importantly so are the quality of those calories. Your weight and body composition is also determined in part by the thermic effect of food.
In Clean Eating meal frequency is key because you increase your metabolism by eating. Eating meals is like putting logs on a fire. By eating frequently you maintain blood sugar levels so that something called glucagon can be released from the liver in order to burn fat. At any point if you let your blood sugar dip too low, or too high, you are compromising glucagon release.
Think of glucagon as the key to releasing the fat into the bloodstream. Fat release is crucial to getting rid of it. It must first be released into the bloodstream before it can travel to your muscles in order to be burned.
Fat burning is a 2 step process: It must first be released, then burned. Eating less frequently (or not at all) trains your body to store fat and is crippling to the metabolism.
The thermic effect (TE) of food is simply the rate at which you body burns through food. Some food has more of a TE than others. The 3 main macronutients all give your body a metabolic boost when you eat them which means they also require energy to digest. Therefore, is important to know that:
Hopefully, it is becoming abundantly clear why it's important to ingest a CHO and PRO for every meal/snack. Besides helping to boost your metabolism and burn fat, the CHO/PRO combination has a restorative effect for both your energy and your muscles, which is why it also makes a good post workout snack.
With this in mind, you need to ingest:
Let appetite be your guide and trust your appetite. If you would like specific portions to start with until you develop your appetite, please refer to Clean Eating part 3 of this article series.