No, I am not calling you a dummy BUT even though I have a Bachelor of Science in Nutrition, I still struggle with putting macros into my everyday daily routine. I understand the concept of MACROS and can break down the components with science BUT trying to put them into real life is MUCH HARDER!
Check out the Coffee Chat from Monday. Christina goes into more detail about MACROS. She is the Macro Queen and can help explain them more.
Macros Mean What?
“Macro” is an abbreviation for macronutrient — nutrients the body requires in large amounts, protein, carbohydrates, and fat. These macronutrients, along with the micronutrients (vitamins and minerals) and phytochemicals (plant chemicals) we get from food get broken down through the digestion process into small sub-units. These then travel through our bloodstream and interact with our cells in various metabolic processes.
All Calories Are Not Created Equal
For a long time, it was generally believed that “a calorie is a calorie” and that body composition was a factor of calories in vs. calories out. But things have changed. NOT all calories are created equal. I am sure you can understand that the calories in a chocolate bar are different than an apple. It makes logical sense. If you eat 1600 calories a day from a balanced mix of healthy protein, carbs, and fat, you will be healthier and achieve a better body composition than someone who eats 1600 calories of candy and cake. The MACROS of both eating types will be VERY different as well.
BUT How do I know how many calories and my MACRO numbers?
Determining Your Breakdown
The best way to learn your ideal macro numbers would be to meet with Christina (our bariatric nutrition coach). She can help you determine the BEST macro breakdown for you. We recommend MyFitnessPal, a free app that can help its members determine and track their caloric and macro goals based on their current and desired weight and goals.
Tracking Your Meals
If you’ve decided to work with a macro eating plan, it’s imperative to use an app to track each meal’s breakdown. People are generally bad at estimating. Research shows that when we attempt to eyeball or estimate our food, we overestimate the good stuff and underestimate the bad stuff — even when we are trying to be spot-on honest. So tracking gives us a sense of accountability and accuracy.
Your body does TAKE TIME to adjust anytime you make changes. So keep going for 4-6 weeks and see what the body tells you. If you see the results you want, maintain your split. And if not, then you may need to refine it (increase or decrease your calories, switch to a split for a different somatotype, tweak your carbs or fat percentage, etc.)
BUT How can I start?!
Once you have an idea of what your macros and calories should be at, START slow. Maybe write your food down in a food journal for 3 days. Get into the habit of tracking your food.
Next, commit to entering your food into MyFitnessPal 1-2 times per week.
Learn how to work your food into MFP.
Then commit to 3-4 times per week.
This gives you an accurate idea of WHAT you are eating instead of guesstimating the amount.
You can move into weighing and measuring your foods and build up to 7 days a week if you want. This is the key to success.
I am not going to lie – it takes time. I have resisted it for MANY years. I would just say “I cannot do it” or “I don’t want to” BUT after I said to a client, I will do it if you do it, we started just 3 days a week. Then moved into more. I recently moved and dropped off for 3 days BUT I got back into it as soon as I could. Now it is not as daunting or scary or hard. It is part of my day.
I still make mistakes. Some days I am struggling to eat my last protein snack in bed. Sometimes I’m low on calories. Sometimes I am low on fat. I work with balanced macros (35% carbs, 35% proteins, 30% fat) and have seen some great results as I get into it more and more.
You got this!!
To Your Success,