Okay, I have put it off long enough... time to talk about macros again.
Before I get started, HERE is my previous blog about macros. It has a macro cheat sheet, places and people you can get your macros from, and some helpful websites you can read up more about macros.
One more little blurb... I hate explaining things to people. I am not good at it and I rather just do it for you then have to explain. This is why I am not a teacher (this and kids drive me bonkers, shout out to all the teachers out there). So bare with me and if you get lost, I am sorry!
Why do I love macros so much?
To be honest it is because there is so much flexibility and less guilt. When I was a clean eater, if I had anything processed at all, the guilt would consume me. Maybe this doesn't happen to you, but it was horrible for me. With macros, if I want cake, I can just fit it into my numbers and make it work. Now, I don't have cake every single day... for the most part, about 90% of the time, I am eating healthy (fresh meats, whole grains, veggies and fruits) and drinking my water. The flexibility comes in that other 10% of the times.
What are some key things that helped you get the hang of macros?
I wont lie to you and tell you that it is easy and you will get the hang of it quickly... you wont. It will take time and it will take patience. I think they thing that really helped me was having an account on MFP (myfitnesspal.com) and logging my food daily. Every Friday, I would sit down with my note pad and write out a menu and a grocery list for the next week. I would start with breakfast, then figure out my lunch and dinner (they are usually always the same) and then fill out my snacks. I would try and have a carb, protein and fat at each meal. I knew that around 3pm (my 2nd snack of the day) my sweet tooth would start to "ache" so I would try and come up with something to fill that "need" (maybe like a chocolate rice cake with peanut butter or an all natural fruit popsicle).
How do you read the labels?
Since my macros were 40/40/20 (carbs/protein/fats) when I would buy something and read the label I would make sure that the proteins and carbs would balance each other out and make sure the fats were half of what the carbs and proteins were. You end goal is to use all of your macros for the day (or get within 5/-5 of each number), maybe making it into a game would be easier for you... This is when logging my food on MFP helped me a lot. I would log in different brands of the item I am looking at and see how the numbers would end up. Yes, it takes time and you might look crazy at the grocery store but once you put in this work, you will know for the future and it does get easier and more a way of life instead of a chore.
This is a bad example of making sure the carbs and proteins balanced... haha! This is one of my proteins I drink if I am slacking on getting my protein in for the day. It is low fat, low carbs, high proteins.
Another thing to look at on the nutrition label, Sodium and Sugars! You really don't want to go over 2,500 mg of sodium a day... it isn't good for your heart or your bloat. Sodium is salt... and you will find it more and more in frozen or pre-packaged foods. If you look at the restaurants nutrition menu, you will see that almost everything is chalked full of sodium... salt makes food taste better and so they use it on everything. Watching your sodium intake, you will start to see a BIG difference and I promise you, if you are bloated at all... this bloat will start to go away. JUST BY WATCHING SODIUM!!!
Sugars are very important too. I try and stay under 50g of sugar a day, without counting the sugars in fruit because that is natural sugars which breaks down differently than process sugars. The less processed foods you eat, the less you will have to worry about sodium and sugars... it is more so when you are trying to fit in a piece of cake!
What is one thing you HAVE to have to do macros?
Having MyFitnessPal is very helpful but you don't HAVE to have it. You can figure your daily intake up using paper and pencil. I don't say pen because you will want to erase... but the one thing you HAVE to have, it is a MUST... a food scale!
You don't have to have anything crazy fancy... just something that can weigh in grams and pounds. I believe this one is from Wal-Mart for under $20.00. I use it all the time and I swear I clean it... haha! I weigh 95% of the stuff I eat. Sure, you are "supposed" to weigh EVERYTHING you eat but dude, I don't have time for that. Like for an example, I am not weighing my rice cakes. I just grab one and say I had one. Instead of weighing it and saying it is 0.976th of a rice cake... you need to be within 5/-5 of your macros so it is all good. You don't have to be anal about it. Now, the peanut butter I put on my rice cake... you better believe I weigh that. It is so easy to stick a spoon in and say "yep this is 2 tbsp." when it is really 6 tbsp. #truestory.
To weigh something in a jar, sit the jar on the scale, clear the scale (zero it out) and then use a spoon to dig out what is inside (like the peanut butter). If the serving is 32 grams, then when you get to -32 grams, you have your serving... make sense? Trust me, this is the easiest way to get a serving out of a container.
Can I be honest?! I have been horrible with macros this summer. I have been ho-humming it. So many things have happened (excuses) and I have been enjoying the summer with my family and friends and trying to not feel guilty about it. I am always so black and white and finding a gray balance has always been hard for me. I am working on that now.
I have told all my friends and family though that after my birthday (less than 2 weeks, yay) I am going back HARDCORE and to not mess with me or give me a hard time when I turn them down. This fall I am going to really step it up a notch with my macros, tracking my foods and hitting the gym harder.
I hope this blog helps someone... like I said, I am not the best at explaining things but I am here to help if anyone has any more questions.