Macros! Macros may be confusing to some, but no worries, I will explain them to you so you can understand and realize why this might help you to reach your body goals better than just counting calories alone!
Macros, short for macro nutrients, are made up of fat, carbohydrates, and protein. These 3 things are what make up calories.
1 Gram of Protein = 4 Calories
1 Gram of Carbohydrate = 4 Calories
1 Gram of Fat = 9 Calories
This has been the trend of flexible dieting. To put it simply, instead of just counting the calories in each food you are looking at the nutrients in each food, the amount of fat, carbs, and protein, to help you achieve your goals. Everyone has a different goal and different body.
These are some of helpful calculators:
For example, according to MFP (myfitnesspal), you should be eating 1200 calories a day. You eat a well balanced diet and yet at 1200 calories you are still not meeting your body goals. So what are you doing wrong? Most people are so busy nowadays, working multiple jobs, going to school, taking care of a family, that they don’t have time to “cook healthy”. They live their life on-the-go. This leads to a lot of prepared or prepackaged snacks and foods. Now I am not saying that these are horrible for you and they need to be avoided altogether, but you do need to be an educated consumer. I was there once too. If it was fat free or sugar free you bet it was in my cart. You are starting out this new diet, you go to the grocery store and you buy stuff for salads. Then you walk down any aisle and you see things like 100 calorie packs of Oreos for the occasional treat. I mean after all 100 calorie pack of Oreos is better than an entire box of Oreos right? (Been there too) When you feel calorie restricted you keep trying to find things with the lowest calorie count possible so you can eat more. Yet you are still SO HUNGRY! Is this making sense? In general I find that when most people are counting calories alone they have relatively low protein intake, and most of their calories are from carbs and fats.
I have recently began taking on some clients for nutrition and training and I find that there are a lot of common themes. Most of their goals are to lose fat and get down to a healthy body fat percentage and weight. Those same people have also been dieting for a LONG time. When you constantly are restricting yourself and continuously lowering your calorie intake, your body is going to adapt and therefore conserve energy to burn less calories. This is NOT what we want to do! The body is smart and it is very adaptive. With these clients I am trying a different approach where we alternate higher calorie days and lower calorie days to “wake up” the metabolism in hopes that it will begin to increase again.
What I want to emphasize, and it took a long time for me to come to terms with it too, was if you want to change your body you NEED TO EAT! It kills me that MFP tells everyone that you need to eat 1200 calories a day or less to lose weight! So why do I like macros? It forces you to actually LOOK at what you are eating and see how nutritionally dense it is. Those 90 calorie fiber one bars are good, but they really don’t help you fill your macros. You want to eat foods that will nourish and fuel your body, these will help you feel fuller longer and start seeing results. When you eat all of these low calorie snacks, they are empty calories and your body isn’t getting the nutrition it needs.
With all of my clients I am trying to create meal plans that are full of nutrient rich foods like various fruits, vegetables, and healthy fat and carbohydrates. I want to also EDUCATE my clients and try to encourage them to get creative with their food choices in hopes that they can take what they learn and how they eat and apply it on their own.
So what does a full day of eating look like for me? You can follow me on MFP to see what I am eating every day! You will see that my diet consists of Eggs, egg whites, chicken, turkey, salmon, sweet potato, red potato, rice, veggies and fruits. I choose to be dairy free and try to avoid gluten when I can because I feel better doing so.
As my family and friends can attest to, I eat a lot! So being on a “diet” does not have to be restrictive! I hope this helps to understand! Leave your questions or comments below!
If you are interested in nutrition or coaching services, click the services link at the top of the page and fill out the inquiry form. I would love to work with you!
Until Next Time,