When I checked into the hospital to have my son I weighed 206 pounds. I made a promise to myself while pregnant to not worry one bit about losing the weight if I was able to breastfeed. I loved nursing! It was my priority the first (almost) 7 months of his life. I want to start by saying – MOMMAS, do NOT put pressure on yourself to lose the baby weight quickly. Those first precious moments you NEVER get back. Once I was ready to lose the baby weight, I fell in love with counting macros.
I would like to start off by saying that tracking macros (IMHO) is not a diet. It is a goal oriented way of eating to alter body composition. The reason I feel many people have great success with tracking macros or “flexible dieting” is because it allows you to incorporate all foods. It does not allow you to incorporate an oversized portion of that food but you are able to include the foods you love.
As someone who has a masters degree is mental health counseling it is my opinion (and I am sure many others) the absence of restriction equates to increased adherence and consistency which equals results. At the end of the day with many goals it is a matter of being able to be in a mindset that will bring success.
Calorie counting is geared more toward “weight loss” while macro counting is geared more toward FAT LOSS aka altering your body composition.
What are macros? Macros is the short term for macronutrients; the 3 components which make up the majority of all foods. They are:
Proteins (4.5 Calories PER GRAM)
Carbs (4.5 Calories PER GRAM)
Fats (9 Calories PER GRAM)
Where to begin:
Calculating your macros
I don’t want to get super nerdy on you but I am super nerdy. You will get a varying calculation of your target macros based on your NEAT score based on your height and weight and age combined with your TDEE (total day energy expenditure) score. There are a few macro calculators online. My personal preference is to work with a coach who has experience.
The macro calculator will give you an output of each macronutrient to hit as your goal everyday. REMEMBER: they will be DIFFERENT for everyone!!! My favorite numbers for starting out are:
160C – carbs are so important for energy and comes in all shapes and sizes. At the end of the day a sweet potato breaks down the same as Swedish Fish but the candy isn’t going to keep you satisfied as long or give you the fiber or micronutrients that are in sweet potatoes.
130P – THE HOLY GRAIL of hitting your goals. The protein number is THE MOST important. Protein helps you lean muscle mass and helps you feel fuller longer.
40F – fats play an important role in energy, cell growth, and absorbing nutrients. Fats are the highest in calories (twice as much as protein and carbs) and are hidden in everything (other than whole food sources). Use your FATS wisely.
Your numbers can CHANGE based on your GOAL. I enjoy experimenting with the numbers to see how it effects my results.
The Importance of Understanding Portions – Weighing Your Food
The only thing you will need to purchase (other than food) is a food scale. The only way to accurately know how much you are eating is to weigh and measure your food.
I prefer to weigh to the gram (just click the unit button on your scale) is because it is more precise. For example, if you measure out a cup of cereal we both know you could do a TRUE cup or a HEAPING cup. For accuracy, I weigh to the gram. If you are just starting out using measuring cups, weighing to oz, etc – will still TEACH you about how much is in a portion and what it is “costing” you in your macro budget.
The best thing you can do is download an app to do the work for you. The app I use in Fat Secret. Another popular app is MyFitnessPal. There are so many apps out there! Try a few and pick the one that works best for YOU.
Guys, macros is like a puzzle you get to figure out with food every day. Utilize technology before you even really start working toward your goals to plug in foods you enjoy to see how you can reach your target numbers. Another option is to, WITHOUT JUDGING YOURSELF, log a day’s worth of your current eating. At the end of the day compare the numbers with your goal numbers. This should paint a picture for you of how you need to alter your intake. Let’s make a $5 wager – I bet you will be low on protein and over on fats. 🙂 If I am right you can Venmo me $5 (@queenangeline) and we can work on what to eat to meet your numbers. LOL
Pre-logging is your new bestie:
If you are new to tracking macros my best recommendation is to pre-log your days ahead of time. This way you can be prepared with the foods you need to meet your goal and you can always accommodate foods you enjoy.
Perfect example: while I was pregnant with JJ I ate cereal every night. It is a habit I never had to give up when I lost the baby weight by tracking macros. I would recommend if there is something that you LOVE that you go ahead and start by plugging that into the tracking app and then work your way around it all day and that way you back into your goal because you have already accounted for it.
A word about MICROS – micronutrients:
Remember, I am not a trainer – I am just a regular person so I take shortcuts. Micronutrients a lot of times I do not track micros. Micros being things like: adding volume to my food with veggies, a side salad (I would track dressing, any meat, cheese, etc), or any fruit less than 100 grams (sorry, coach lol). It is because calorically these are minimal.
Whole food sources
You will have optimal results by choosing whole food sources. Can you meet your goal eating McDonalds? Absolutely, but not all day everyday. Like eating hot wings? Grill some chicken and put Frank’s Wing Sauce on it. Like the Campfire Shrimp Tacos from Pappasitos? Then air fry you up some scrimps and put it in a low carb tortilla with preshredded cabbage/coleslaw.
You will more than likely end up eating more whole food sources to be able to hit your goals!! Yes, there will be lots of grilled chicken and ground turkey. 😉
For the foods you love that have labels, you need to study them to understand how you will need to incorporate them into your day. If you think about your macros like a budget – some of your favorite foods are EXPENSIVE and cost a lot of macros. For me, that is Oreos. You will need to budget your macros accordingly to not only hit your goal but make sure you do not go over your goal.
Water is an essentially component to losing fat. Ideally (even when its awful) the gallon or even a gallon and a half could make a huge difference in getting to your goal. Hydration can curb hunger and on the opposite end when you are dehydrated it can mask as hunger. Your body can burn fat up to 30% more effectively with more water (Thank you, Jessie). DRINK THAT WATER!!
There is so much more I could say about learning to track macros. The best thing to do is START SMALL & START SOMEWHERE. If you made it to the end of this post then we are besties! Questions? Let’s chat about your goals. I am happy to help!
STAY TUNED to go through a day of eating with me and tracking macros! I hope this makes it easier to understand when we get there! I am feeling like a video will be in order, too.