Earlier this week I mentioned that I'd been spending a lot of time learning about tracking macros and using My Fitness Pal and that I'd be sharing more this week. Well, here we are. I've been gathering thoughts and notes and what I wanted to share, this is going to be a long-er post so if you're interested, stick with me here. I want to be as informative as I can. I am NOT a professional- these are solely my thoughts and opinions and are 100% based on me, my experience and my personal goals. I'm not going to share my macros, they are designed for me after a consultation, but I will tell you I'm eating 1550 calories a day. I'm not hungry y'all.
What are macros?
What does tracking macros mean?
You're tracking your daily food intake, but focusing on the macronutrients (macros) your body needs. It's basically a form of calorie counting, but you're essentially tracking those calories based on a makeup of carbs, protein and fats. Yes, your body needs carbs. You want to get this mostly from nutrient dense foods, the healthy carbs, fats & proteins but you can fit in the others too when you want, 80/20 or 90/10 is what I mostly like to do. Your tracking numbers are based on your body, your goals and your activity level (I workout almost everyday) though so you truly have to figure out what is best for YOU. After a recommendation from Lauren, I consulted with Leah and received a personal plan specific for me and my goals.
Example: 1550 calories made up of 40% protein/35% carb/25% fat, using My Fitness Pal to track those numbers. (And no- you don't have to drink 50 protein shakes a day to get a ton of protein. More on that below)
What it is not.
This is not a diet, it's YOUR diet. The way you eat, your lifestyle. It's not an excuse to eat all the junk foods, but it's very popular because it's a way to eat what's right for you & your body and your goals, BUT you can still have foods you like & enjoy. You don't have to stop eating breads & pasta and cookies and ice cream, you just have to fit them in. Which isn't always easy, but you don't want to fit them in all the time anyway. For example- if someone wants to lose weight and they completely cut out something for a while then yeah they'll lose, but it's not sustainable. They'll eventually go back to eating those things and gain that weight right back plus some. Also, when you completely cut things out like carbs or sweets you only want it more then you over indulge when you get it. The IIFYM way of eating sometimes has a bad reputation, even I was turned off at first, because so many like to promote it as the "eat anything you want diet and still be ripped". They go overboard on sharing that you can eat Oreos, ice cream, tons of peanut butter and cookies and have a totally ripped body. Just because you can eat pop tarts every day and look like that, doesn't mean it's good for you... They aren't sharing enough of the eating good & healthy high volume foods, then fit in a treat here and there when you want it. Bottom line- eat mostly nutritious foods, we all know it's best for you but you can still eat other treats too!
Things that are PROS for me?
-I'm not so focused on food, seems backwards huh? Before, I cared so much about what meals and recipes I was making & eating. I watched the clock each day counting down to my next meal. Now, I really feel like I'm simply eating to fuel my body and give it the nutrients it needs, that's it. I'm more focused than ever on the "eat to live, don't live to eat" motto that my dad always tried to instill in me.
-I am breaking up with an unhealthy relationship I've had with food for so long. I have a sweet tooth, that's just me. Tell me if this cycle sounds familiar? Craving sweets -> not allowing yourself to have any for a week or so -> finally getting some ice cream -> eating most of the container in one sitting, plus cool whip, cookies & caramel -> hanging your head in shame, beating yourself up and feeling physically sick. I got a lot better about this over the last couple years, but I've still struggled with overindulging & guilt here and there. Now, I can fit a 1/2 cup of real ice cream or a brownie or a piece of cake into my week and not beat myself up over it. I know what I've consumed in the day and I know it's FINE. I like a treat 1-2 times a week, or you may want a piece of chocolate every day. Point is, it's ok to treat yourself.
-I'm eating healthier and trying new foods. I'm in a "fat burner" stage but I'm actually eating more food than I was previously, just healthier higher volume foods. More salads, veggies and lean high protein meats and lower carbs. Not no carbs, just less and better carbs. (more on that below too)
-My digestive system loves me. I'm not going to spend much time here, but 3 weeks in and I can 100% tell that my body is now getting the right foods. After years of struggling with digestive issues, the last 3 weeks have been wonderful.
-It's time consuming and can be a little overwhelming at first, but I swear that it gets easier. I spent weeks leading up to starting reading about macros, pinning "good macro" foods & recipes and watching YouTube videos. I spent the week before I started really getting familiar with My Fitness Pal. Not going to lie, the first week was intense. Each day was a hard puzzle trying to figure out the right foods to eat to equal what I needed and to stretch throughout my entire day. But now, I'm in week 3 and it's so much easier. I've learned what nutrients are in all our favorite foods and if I'm low or high on something, I can quickly delete and replace with exactly what I need. You quickly learn what breads, cheeses, ice cream, Greek yogurts and other foods have the best macros.
-Some people might think it's obsessive, and honestly it might not be for you. That is totally ok. I know I wanted a change with my body and nothing was working and this is working for me. I feel like my body is responding in a great way, I'm learning more about foods and nutrition and I'm able to lose body fat but still eat foods that are so often "off limits".
3 weeks in, my current thoughts and goals?
When I really started to research this more, it made so much sense to me. I had lost a bunch of weight, but my body wasn't changing anymore and I knew I still wasn't where I wanted to be. For almost 2 years, I worked out all the time and thought I was eating good, but I'd hit a plateau. What I learned through this is I actually wasn't eating enough and I was consuming way too much fat & carbs but I had no idea because I never tracked anything. Yes, you want fruits and veggies, but you still need to watch your intake. They are still calories & carbs. You want change, you have to make a change. So here I am, and guess what? 3 weeks in, I already see a change in my stomach. I'm seeing fat disappear and muscle start to peek through, finally! My goal is to continue this for the rest of my life, but learn enough to where I'm actually not having to track everything on MFP. It's already getting so much easier for me so trust me when I say, it's not as overwhelming or obsessive as it may seem at first.
Most common foods I've been eating lately?
- High protein -
99% fat free ground turkey
Individual beef Jerky
Egg white scrambles (with spinach & meat)
Low fat cheese
Black beans & Chickpeas
Whey protein powder (I have 1 shake after we lift)
- Fats -
Almond or peanut butters
- Carbs -
brown rice or quinoa
Whole grain bread or tortillas
Carrots or broccoli with Laughing Cow cheese
Plus ice cream, it's my favorite treat of choice :) The Edy's Slow Churned 1/2 the fat is where it's at! I have a Macros board on Pinterest if you want to see what I've pinned so far. Also, Dustin and I like to splurge once a week. It's what we've always liked to do and it's the right balance for us. We're currently having 1 non-tracked meal a week, a cheat meal if you will... We normally go out to dinner once a weekend, so it's been that night for us.
Here are a couple of other reads if you're curious, I enjoyed and learned a little from these.
I am thinking about doing a couple of posts sharing typical daily/weekly foods and workouts, let me know if you'd be interested in that...
Are you familiar with tracking macros?
Monthly Faves link up will be next Wednesday 3/4/15
Don't forget about Joey's book that's on sale this week!