I’m not a nutrition expert, personal trainer or macro expert. The following is MY experiences and thoughts thus far. For my meals check out MFP: Nikkijustgetfit
What are Macros?
Macros are macronutrients. They get broken down into: carbs, fats, and proteins.
Is it hard to calculate your Macros?
I avoided counting macros for weeks and months because I didn’t understand what it was about. It seemed hard. It seemed like a lot of work. A week and a half ago I decided I was ready for the challenge. I did some research. You can read my post about learning how to calculate my macros.
Why count macros?
Coming from someone who counted calories vs. macros I didn’t understand how it could be better. What I’ve come to learn is that not all calories are created equal. While weight loss or gain is simple mathematics, eat less/more than you burn, it’s not that simple if you’re trying to reach goals.
For example, before I went on vacation I tried to “cut carbs”. I stopped eating rice, pasta, bread for 4 weeks. However, I would eat up to 3 pieces of fruit a day. Little did I realize, an apple has approximately 22 grams of carbs, a banana 30 grams of carbs, a pear 25 grams of carbs, and so on. That’s already 77 grams of carbs (plus a ton of sugar) before I’ve eaten any real meals. This was probably my most devastating discovery because I could probably be a fruitarian!
So, while 3 pieces of fruit is less than 250 calories, the fact that they add up to 77 grams of carbs (my current daily goal is around 190g) I wasn’t really cutting out carbs as much as I thought. This isn’t to say don’t eat fruit. Fruit is wonderful! But, I think it’s valuable to know what you’re eating.
What does my carb consumption look like now?
These are only my main sources of carbs at meals, NOT my meals. For meals check out MFP: Nikkijustgetfit
1/2 cup uncooked oatmeal 27 C
1 cup steamed broccoli 12c
1/2 cup cooked brown rice 19c
12 asparagus spears 4c
240 g zucchini noodles 8.5c
1/2 cup uncooked oatmeal 27c
3 c boom chicka pop popcorn 14c
chocolate protein shake 5c
greek yogurt 20c
What am I eating?
Honestly, I’m eating everything. If I want something I see if it fits my macros. Two days ago I had a snack size vanilla haagen-danz bar covered in chocolate with almonds. I never had that without feeling guilty while counting calories. This doesn’t mean I’m going to eat ice cream every day!
What’s the biggest difference?
1. I’m eating more things I love (like froyo, ice cream, protein pancakes with low carb syrup and no added sugar jam).
2. I’m also eating a lot less fruit (sadness..but i’m okay with it).
3. It takes me longer to plan my meals. I think i’m going to repeat one meal every two weeks so i’m only adding one new things each week. (ie. I’m going to add one new recipe to My Fitness Pal every week instead of adding multiple ones)
1. Figure out what you want to eat, start with what you’re craving first (so you don’t feel deprived)
For instance, if I want to eat pulled chicken I find a recipe and copy and paste ALL the ingredients into My Fitness Pal (find the tab that says My Recipes & Foods). Then, after double checking the ingredients and measurements MFP does all the calculations for macros for you. It is literally magic.
I do this one meal at a time, saving each one under recipes..this way throughout the week I can just add the meal into my daily diary. Also, eating the same breakfast, lunch and dinner all week makes tracking macros incredibly easy.
Selecting what to eat takes a bit longer sometimes because I am basing things on macros, but I promise IT GETS EASIER! Before you know it you’ll have 15+ recipes you can rotate through without too much thought.
2. If you’re going out to eat…
Have a social life? Plan on having a glass of wine? A tasty appy? Add those things into your MFP first thing in the morning (a lot of restaurants have calories and nutrition information online). This way you’ve alloted your macros for things you enjoy. You may or may not go over, but at least you’ll be in the know.
3. Save some macros…
Don’t allot all your macros when you meal prep!!! I did this the first week which didn’t give me room for something I decided I wanted that day …unless I didn’t eat something else I planned to eat.
In my second meal prep counting macros I left myself with about: 30c/25f/20p and 450 calories (out of 1855) . This leave me lots of room to treat myself to things like a protein waffle which has 4c/6f/30p and 190 calories. Or have some froyo or chocolate. You can get as creative as you want finishing up your macros. This is the fun part!!!!
Later in the week I’ll write a post about what foods I reach for to help meet my macro goals.