i've never really been one to count calories. to be honest it always seemed like a chore. sigh. i could never commit to journaling it all. id start strong for a few days, then lose interest. who wants to see how much they "can't" eat! 😝⠀
BUT recently i've changed my perspective in how i see fitness & health. for me these days, it isn't about being skinny. that trend for me is so exhausting. & it's terribly hard on my mental state which quite frankly doesn't deserve to be run through the gutter attempting to understand just exactly what "skinny" even means. ⠀
i'm all about being fit. & this actually does require a little bit of work getting to know & understand my body's needs. ⠀
so recently i changed my lifestyle to include counting macros- still getting used to it but much more fun these days with apps like myfitnesspal- to help ensure i'm eating ENOUGH of the right foods to efficiently energize and fuel my body.
so lets talk MACROS...⠀ ⠀
WHAT ARE MACROS?
Also known as macronutrients, macros are molecules our body uses to create energy. Basically, macros are what make up the caloric content of our food- subdivided into three categories that we all know as proteins, carbohydrates and fats. This is important information as macros provide our body with the calories it needs to function- aka our fuel, our energy, our power. So calorie counting is important for a bottom number, but macros are important in telling you just what kind of calories you should be intaking to reach optimal health and/or attain your fitness goals.
CALORIES VS MACROS
So this is the part that I was never really very good at, and because i didnt give it much attention while also being active, i not only was falling short of my fitness goals, i was actually hindering my forward progress. Here's why. Although Im positive i was outputting more calories than i was intaking, I was still having issues with strength training. Attention to calories can only get you so far because if you are intaking, lets say for example, 1800 calories and those calories are nutrient dense, the body is going to have a hard time responding to an active exercise schedule resulting in, sure, weight loss, but also, muscle loss. GASP!
Lets take an example of an avocado. It has 100 calories and is high in (good) fat compared to a doughnut that is also 100 calories but nutrient dense and filled with bad fats and carbs. The avocado is providing fuel from the good fats to energize and nourish while the doughnut is not only providing zero energy, it also is making your body burn muscle to make up for the nutrients it didnt receive.
So heres the breakdown of MACROS.
FITNESS GOALS + MACROS
What are your fitness goals? Get myfitnesspal to help not only track your macros but also to help you find what your macro percentage goals should be based on your individualized fitness goals.
Do you want to boost your metabolism?
Do you want to lose fat?
Do you want to gain muscle?
Are you interested in losing weight? (its just a number!)
Here is an example of macro percentages for these particular fitness goals. Once you hit your goals, you will then probably tailor accordingly to maintain where you are and input that new goal into myfitnesspal and it will give you macro percentages to maintain your current state, provided you consistently eat as you have been and keep your exercise program the same.
WHY MACROS ARE A WIN!
Tracking macros gives you freedom. And that right there is empowering. I can eat what i want without feeling guilty. I dont feel like when i have a chocolate square with peanut butter, or add butter to my toast im cheating or doing something "naughty." I simply add it into my macro tracker and it tells me my percentages so i know how to adjust the rest of my day by in-taking something high in protein to balance my nutrients. This is HUGE. Food guilt and withdraw are two of the main reasons people dont end up sticking to a fitness plan. They become unmotivated or feel deprived and eventually cave. Its no wonder I lacked motivation and drive to keep a consistant "diet" or fitness plan. I always felt hungry or craved something i wasnt "supposed" to have and that was just detrimental to my mental state and my fitness progress.
Counting Macros gives you freedom to eat a variety of foods. You dont have to eat the same boring, plain food day after day. You can switch it up and try new things that have tons of flavor and pizzaz. You can have a chocolate square or popcicle and rest easy that you havent just thrown an entire day down the drain. Think of how much weight off your shoulders this is!
MY RECENT CHANGES
I sat down to figure out what my ultimate fitness end goals were. What was important to me and what did i hope to accomplish? Optimal Health. Increased Energy. Boost in mood. More muscle mass. Knowing these things helped me determine which macro percentage count to use- the one above calculated to gain muscle and boost metabolism. I want to build muscle and work on strength training which means I got rid of cardio. i still take hard AF yoga classes to sweat it up strategically & more importantly, strengthen my mind. I combine strength training & hypertrophy superset workouts all from the comfort of my home. I am slowly adding in strength training days at a gym, schedule of MOMlife provided, but Im not hard on myself if I miss a day or have to rearrange my workout schedule. I typically try to workout in the morning because Im a morning lark (early riser) but I do what I can and the rest I let go.
I more than doubled my calories from 800 to 1800 and Im slowing working towards 2100. I try to get the majority of my calories and hit my macor percentages by 10am. This means im eating a large breakfast, consuming superfood adaptogen smoothies and getting a protein shake in.
I also added fats. YUP. I eat nut butters, hemp seeds, avocados, hummus, & coconut products like a BOSS. I eat GF carbs and enjoy every bite. mmmm. I upped my protein intake to fuel my muscles so i can continue building muscle not burning it. Thank heavens I figured this part out because I was simply perplexed as to why I seemed to just be losing definition rather than gaining mass. phewwww.⠀
I eat homemade choc 🌻seed butter cups & savor every bite GUILT FREE.⠀
I don't eat any sugar or carbs 4 hours before bed. Only veggies or proteins since I want to slim down on my waist. This is the first place fat goes so I do try to avoid eating anything that needs extra energy to digest before bed since thats when my metabolism is preparing for sleep mode.
Las but not least, a tip for eating. Meal plan. It doesnt have to be a straight out of Real Simple magazine meal prep but try to plan your next days eating ahead of time. I found this to be most helpful in staying on track with my macros and not scurrying to figure out what to eat.
i'm training with @madalingiorgetta and love it. ⠀
i now after 2.5 weeks have noticed a HUGE change in my energy, sleep, mood & body shape.
so heres to MACROS!⠀
Stay tuned for more recipes, workouts (fitness & yoga), wellness guidance , sleep tips and daily doses of inspiration. xx