Counting Macros

What is a macro?? Macronutrients (macros) are the proteins, carbs, and fats that we eat.  By tracking them, we are able to manipulate the amounts and ratios that we consume.  This is where the magic happens.  For example, some days I eat 228 grams of Carbohydrates, 160 grams of Protein, and 35 grams of Fat.  Think of it like money, I get to “spend” it any way I want throughout the day.  Sure, I can eat 2 cups of ice cream, but I will probably be pretty hungry for the rest of the day.  Nibbling on celery all day won’t get me there either, so balance is key.  Nothing is off limits, but portion sizes and moderation are key.
It is my recommendation that you use an app or website to do this.  Any of these on this list are great: http://dailyburn.com/life/tech/food-diary-app-tracking-macros/.  However you can also see how much Protein, Fat, and Carbohydrate are in a food by looking at the nutrition label or doing a quick google search.
Here are some tips for logging your food and staying within your prescribed macros:
  1. Weight and measure.  A kitchen scale, measuring cups, and measuring spoons are your friend here.  To get the portions right, you have to know what and how much you are eating.  It seems tedious at first, but trust me it gets easier.
  2. Plan ahead.  Know what you want to be eating and plan ahead for it. Precook food when possible and create a grocery list before you shop.  Looking ahead can help you stay within your macro plan.  Pizza with the kids tonight?  Better keep those carbs low throughout the day.
  3. Protein at every meal.  To meet your protein requirements and keep your insulin levels healthy, you should consume some sort of protein at every meal, preferably lean, but a steak won’t kill you either.  (Everything in moderation, right?)  Vegans, I strongly recommend you supplement with Protein Powder- either rice or hemp, not Soy!
  4. Beverages count too.  Love your tall, nonfat latte?  Me too.  You don’t need to give it up, but you do need to log it.  Any beverages besides black coffee, tea, and water should be accounted for in your food log.
  5. Vegetables are filling.  Try to eat a vegetable at most, if not all, meals.  They are light on macros and filling.  Staying full on foods like these will help prevent bingeing.  This is imperative for reaching weight loss goals.
  6. Listen to your body.  If you have a food sensitivity or allergy, you should probably omit these kinds of foods from your diet as much as you can.  It can be very frustrating to think you are going backwards when what you are really experiencing is simply digestive abdominal bloat.  Full fat dairy, wheat, and artificial sweeteners tend get a lot of people.  If you eat something and feel and look like crap after, then you may want to consider why and what you should do going forward.
  7. Don’t worry.  This is a learning process.  It takes time to develop new skills, even this one.  So, forgive yourself.  Some days you may go a bit over and some days you may be a bit over.  Just do the best you can and know that it will even out.  Don’t stress about it.  Learn, plan, and move on.  It’s just food; and if you’re eating well then it’s not a big deal.
If you follow these guidelines and log everything, then it will become second nature to you.  Each meal is a new opportunity to figure it out.    aa1b89726865d038f2146f1ea0ae9f3c
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