Well, I've read and bookmarked several reads on IIFYM (if it fits your macros) that claim to be all you need to start a macros plan. Not the case, in my opinion. I was as confused as ever and felt like my head was about to explode, ya know?
There is SO much information out there and it's freaking overwhelming! So, I decided to get help from Lily of Le Fit Plan. She has been tracking her macros for a while and really knows the process.
What are Macros?
For those who are like 'Uh, what the heck is counting macros?!', the easiest way to explain it is instead of counting daily calories, you count the total amount of protein/fat/carbs (aka macros or macronutrients) each day.
It's a very flexible way to eat, and you can switch up your daily foods by substituting something that has the same amount of protein, fats or carbs in order to meet your goal. Even oreos, if it fits!
Why do I want to count Macros?
A few reasons:
As I get deeper into the fitness lifestyle, I'm obsessed with learning more about how the human body works. Something so simple (yet, also complex) as what we eat can really help reach specific goals. Sometimes it can even speed up the process.
I also still have a lot to learn about my body. Everyone's body is unique and responds differently to an eating plan. (i.e. The 21 Day Fix may work great for you to lose weight, but that's not my goal so I'm exploring options.) It's all about finding an eating plan that aligns with your goals but also makes every workout more effective.
Not going to lie: I like the idea of being able to eat Oreos, chocolate... heck even Poptarts if they fit in my plan. *Cue heart-eyed emoji. That's how flexible the macros lifestyle is!
What I'm learning
In preparation, I used this calculator to figure out how much of everything I need based on factors like my weight, lifestyle and how many meals I want to eat in a day.
Using that calculation, Lily came up with a daily meal plan which even includes dark chocolate and red wine. Currently, I'm trying to hit my goal of 123g protein/182g carbs/43g fat each day.
The first day I started, I took notes and I'm SO glad I did. I've been keeping a journal of literally everything: from questions to ask Lily, to how I feel (physically and mentally) and certain foods that I always need to keep on hand - especially to hit my vegetable goal each day.
Below are some important points I learned right away when I started counting my macros. Hopefully they'll help anyone who is thinking about joining the macros fun, or those in the beginning stages like me:
- If you don't have My Fitness Pal, download it. Now. (I use the free version.) It is the easiest way to record each meal and see your macros & calorie breakdown each day. I also love that you can save the food you eat a lot under 'My Foods' and easily add them to a meal. (You can also copy an entire meal to another day.) There's also a function where you can record daily exercise and the amount of water you drink.
- You will go through a lot of food. Just to give you an idea: 200grams of blueberries doesn't sound like a lot. But HOLY COW, it's nearly the entire small plastic container you find at the grocery store. And that is only 1 serving for me. (My breakfast also includes 1/4 cup of blueberries.) So needless to say: you'll be buying more food, and probably going back to the grocery store like me to restock more than once a week.
- Get ready to measure everything... down to the gram or ounce. A food scale is your BFF and I'm so glad I invested in one a long time ago. (I use this one.) Since counting macros means measuring every single piece of food down to the smallest bit, the meal prep process does take a bit longer to do. I measure everything, bag it or put it in storage containers then mark down the specific measurement and what meal it is.
- Two words: volume eating. My plan includes 6 meals with lunch and dinner being the biggest volume-wise. The first day, I barely ate all my lunch because it was such a high volume of veggies and chicken. I didn't even want to eat dinner because I still felt full. Luckily, since then I'm able to eat every meal no problem. It does take me a bit longer to eat, but at least I finish everything! (I'm also working on eating slower instead of going all cave man on my meal.)
Hopefully this helps you guys at least a little bit to see why I started counting macros, and what I've learned already.
I'm still in the very early stages (aka still feeling pretty scatter brained), so there will definitely be a follow up post down the road on how things are going since I plan to stick with it and see how my body responds.
You can always follow along on my journey via Snapchat (kelllybelllly)!
Have any macro advice, or other posts you'd like to see on Naturally Me? I'd love to hear - leave a comment or Tweet me!