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January 4, 2008

A Food Plan to Energize Your Plate

Fine-tune your food plan so that you also maximize your energy, mental clarity, and muscle mass.


Photo Credit: S. Wisbauer/Getty Image

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Now that you know how many calories you need to lose weight every week (see marieclaire.com/powerup), you can fine-tune your food plan so that you also maximize your energy, mental clarity, and muscle mass.

The key is tuning in to your metabolic type, and learning how your body uses protein, carbohydrates, and fats. Most people fall into one of three groups when it comes to converting calories to energy (a.k.a., oxidizing your food): slow, medium and fast oxidizers. Feel your body soar when you find your type and follow your ideal balance of nutrients.

Find out how with this questionnaire.
Choose the letter that matches your response.

1. In the morning you:
A. Don't eat breakfast
B. Have something light, like fruit, toast, or cereal
C. Have something heavy, like eggs, bacon or steak, and hash browns

2. At a buffet, the foods you choose are:
A. Light meats like fish and chicken, vegetables and a salad, a sampling of different desserts
B. A mixture of A and C
C. Heavy, fatty foods like steak, ribs, pork chops, cheeses, and cream sauces

3. Your appetite at breakfast is:
A. Low
B. Normal
C. Strong

4. Your appetite at lunch is:
A. Low
B. Normal
C. Strong

5. Your appetite at dinner is:
A. Low
B. Normal
C. Strong

6. Caffeine makes you feel:
A. Great — it helps me focus
B. Neutral — I can take it or leave it
C. Jittery or nauseous

7. For dinner you prefer:
A. Chicken or fish, salad, and rice
B. No preference — choice varies daily
C. Heavier, fatty foods like pasta, steak, and potatoes

8. After dinner you:
A. Need to have something sweet
B. Could take dessert or leave it
C. Don't care for sweets and would rather have something salty, like popcorn

9. Each day, you eat:
A. Two or three meals with no snacks
B. Three meals and maybe one light snack
C. Three meals and a lot of snacks

10. Your attitude toward food is:
A. I often forget to eat
B. I enjoy food and rarely miss a meal
C. I love food — it's a central part of my life

11. When you skip meals, you feel:
A. Fine
B. Slightly off my game, but it doesn't really bother me
C. Shaky, irritable, weak, and tired

12. Your body type is:
A. Short and stocky
B. Average
C. Tall and thin

Count up the number of A, B, and C answers and enter them below. The highest number indicates your type. (If none of the letters is at least three numbers higher than the other two, you're a B.
A ____=Slow oxidizer
B ____=Balanced oxidizer
C ____=Fast oxidizer

Find out your optimal amounts of carbs, protein, and fat on the next page. Don't get hung up on exact percentages, but do use them as a guide to the best choices for your plate.

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