Why Macros?

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Hey beautiful people!

If you caught my most recent post, I gave what I thought was kind of an introduction to macros; some macro Q&A–so hopefully that was helpful in terms of clarifying any of the basics.

So, to give some background regarding my eating habits/diet. Side note, I hate the word “diet.” It always makes me think of someone very restrictive and eating outside their normal habits. In this case I just mean what I would eat on a regular basis. ANYWAY.  Before I started counting macros, I wasn’t tracking anything; no calories, nothing. The few times I did count though, I was eating around 2000-2200 calories per day; however I had no idea what percentage of this was from carbs, fats, or proteins. I mean, I had no concept of what a typical person ate per day regarding grams of each. So, no tracking or counting per say, but I was very conscious of what I was eating. I would limit myself to two “cheat” meals per week (and usually no more than 3 alcoholic drinks). I found that with this diet plus working out six days a week, I was seeing physical changes/results.

With that said, I initially started counting macros though because I felt like my physical progress had plateaued. Yes, I had been seeing physical changes with that eating regimen and was happy with how far I had come, but I felt like I had the ability to make more progress with the right tools: cue macros (and including more weightlifting in my routine…more on this in a different post).

I will be honest with you guys. I was very hesitant to start counting. I had heard mixed thoughts about it. I’m sure you’ve heard some people say it gives you complete freedom to eat whatever, and others that say it’s very restrictive because you’re just eating with the only mentality to “fit your macros.” I think that these are extreme views on both ends, but I think you get what I’m saying. In general, I was more concerned that it would be both time consuming, and yes, mentally unhealthy. I was like, am I really going to take the time to track everything in MFP (I didn’t even know about actually weighing food at this point!), and, do I want to think about every single thing I’m putting into my body and arrange it around “my macros”? I told myself though that I would count for 2 months and then make a decision whether to stick to it. I felt like this was enough time for me to make my own judgements on if it was a good fit for me.

So, here we are, 7 months later, and I’m still counting macros. My thoughts…the first couple weeks were hard AF. Not only was I not accustomed to accounting for everything, but I started off doing a cut (again, more on that in the next macro post). Since I was cutting, my carbs were not only lower than normal (maintenance), but they were way lower than what I was naturally eating (let’s just say about 100g lower..yes I was eating too many carbs beforehand!). AND GUYS. I was HANGRY. LIKE ALL THE TIME. The first day of counting, I texted Paola  at dinnertime. I said, Paola, I can’t do this. These carbs are way too low. I remember she responded and said, “If you want, I can increase them BUT I really want to encourage you to stick to these numbers; your body will adjust, I promise.” And you know what, she was right! Within a week I could already tell that my body was adjusting to the new amounts/percentages of carbs, protein, and fat I was feeding it. Overall though, I was never hungry and I started seeing physical changes more quickly than ever before.

But to wrap up this post. Let me say why I’ve stuck with macros. Yes, the physical changes have been evident but it’s more than that. With counting macros, I know that without a doubt, my body is getting exactly what it needs. I know that I am getting enough (no more, no less) carbs, proteins, and fats to achieve my goals. Not only that, I feel like I have way more flexibility. Before counting, I was so focused on clean eating that sometimes being social, or enjoying going out became difficult. With macros, I overall eat clean but I am also able to go out to eat with friends, or have treats at home, and not question whether what I’m eating is deterring my goals. At night if I want a bowl of ice cream, I just account for it in my macros and that’s that; I dont feel restricted. Overall, counting macros gives me a peace of mind that I am nourishing my body appropriately while simultaneously being able to enjoy certain foods more often that I wouldn’t previously otherwise. For me, these benefits outweigh the time it takes to weigh/track what I’m eating (it’s really not that time consuming once you get in the routine of it)!

Alright, I tried to cover as much as possible without being super lengthy (I think I failed at the length part though haha). But leave any comments/questions and I’m happy to answer them! Next macros post I will more so focus on my physical progress that I’ve seen from counting 🙂

Leggings by Strut This; Sports bra & sneakers by Nike

 

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  1. August 14, 2016 / 1:49 pm

    Hi, Claire;) thanks for sharing! The question is.. What kind of “hunger” is ok (so as not end up binging)? How do you tell the difference between the “healthy hunger” and “unhealthy” one?))

    • August 14, 2016 / 9:08 pm

      During the first week of my cut, I was hungry because my body wasn’t accustomed to the decreased calories. However, if my body continued to feel that way beyond a week or two, I would have increased them. I think there is a difference though between feeling satisfied vs. full. I would say that after each meal you want to feel satisfied for the time being. If you have a snack again in a couple hours–totally normal. But you don’t want to finish a meal and still feel like your body is craving more food.

  2. Jessica
    August 14, 2016 / 3:11 pm

    Hi Claire,
    I have just started counting macros this week. I always weighed or measured food but never counted.
    I used the corifit macro calculator to find out what suits my body and have found that, just like you I wasn’t eating nearly enough carbs!!
    The only problem I seem to be having is that I sometimes use myfitnesspal app to work out macros of food or else I google things and every site or even on the app, always has different macros for different foods so it makes it incredibly tough because if you are trying to stick to exact macros how is it possible when there are always different results?
    Also I find because I have a lot of carbs left over (even though I’m eating so many more) I am sometimes too full to have more after supper but on other nights I think of having a bowl of oats for example and then worry that I shouldn’t just before going to sleep.
    I am the type of person who never ate fruit at night or after 4pm. I also didn’t eat ANY healthy carbs at all a few years ago (I know, shocking) and have seen the huge changes it has had on my body positivitely.
    So basically I’m trying to ask if it’s okay to eat a bowl of oats just before going to bed?
    Also what if I am too full to eat anything else but haven’t hit my macros?
    Sorry for the long message, would appreciate your feedback.

    • August 14, 2016 / 9:20 pm

      Hey Jessica!

      So I know what you’re saying with all the different results that come up when searching for foods. This is one reason why I really like using myfitnesspal (MFP) for everything. The app has a barcode scanner so I usually scan everything that I am eating. Also, like you said, the database is great and usually has the brand you’re looking for. Since I am usually eating at home, it works out well; otherwise, I just have to estimate/choose a random brand.

      In terms of eating at night, I personally don’t think this has any bearing on your progress! As a nurse, I eat dinner at 10pm several nights out of the week; and its all carb heavy food since its after my workout. So yes, if you need to hit your carbs (or any macros) for the day, don’t worry about eating before bed; make sure you’re hitting your numbers (eat the oatmeal)! Also, I would say either eat more (carb heavy) snacks throughout the day so you aren’t stuck having a lot left after dinner when you’re already full. Plus, there are lots of easy ways to increase your carbs without increasing the volume of what you’re eating. For example, some yogurts and breads have 20g of carbs per container/slice, while others are only 8-10g! So just look at labels when buying food and go for the higher carb options.

  3. August 14, 2016 / 8:20 pm

    Curious what your macros were for fat loss? Or at least when you were cutting carbs at the beginning. Really feel like that is what I need to do. Thanks in advance.

    • August 14, 2016 / 9:23 pm

      So, everyone’s macros are going to be different so knowing mine wouldn’t really help! I have Paola (IG: @paosfitworld) calculate my macros though. In general she calculates for people so if you’re interested in getting numbers that would work for you then I would contact her! Her email is info@paosfitworld.com if you’re interested.

  4. kaylin
    August 14, 2016 / 8:43 pm

    what are your exact macros? I’m the same height as you and just wanted to gage where
    I should set my macros and calorie intake at. I love tracking my food and I just got a food scale. I’m going through a plateau and just wanted to see if I could adjust like your trainer had you do with cutting down on carbs.

    thank you.

    • August 14, 2016 / 9:25 pm

      Hey Kaylin,

      So even being the same height, you still need other components to calculate macros so knowing mine wouldn’t necessarily work best for you! The trainer who calculates mine does calculate for others as well so if you’re interested you can just shoot her an email and say I gave you her name. Her name is Paola, her email is info@paosfitworld.com xx

  5. Maddie Butzer
    August 14, 2016 / 10:06 pm

    Claire,

    Would you recommend counting macros for someone who is new to a healthy lifestyle? I recently downloaded BBG yesterday and I am going to started week 1 tomorrow!!! I am a senior in college and I’ve definitely gained more than the “freshman 15” throughout the last couple of years. I’m trying to find a way to eat healthy but also have fun and be social with friends without having to say “oh that’s not in my diet.” I am loving your IG and blog!!!

    Thanks!

    • August 15, 2016 / 6:38 pm

      Hey girl! So I have a few thoughts on this. For me personally, when I first started making working out and my health a priority, the thought of counting anything overwhelmed me a little. With that said, I didn’t start counting macros until working out and what not just became a part of my normal routine–I felt like I was ready to add on another challenge so to speak. However, I think part of that was due to lack of knowledge about what macros entailed. Knowing what I know now though, I think macros could be great for someone in your shoes because it will still allow you that flexibility on being social and going out with friends! You can make healthy choices when you can, but when you cant, you wont be deterring your progress. My overall suggestion would be to give it a try for at least a month and see if you like it. In the beginning it can be more challenging before you get the hang ofit, so that’s why I say stick to it for at least a month before making a judgment on whether it works for your lifestyle.

  6. Chelsea
    August 14, 2016 / 10:20 pm

    Hi Claire!
    Love your gram and snap. Your recipes and positivity are the best. My question is if you’re making a recipe for two people, how do you calculate exact macros when you take your portion? Like if you make a sauce with certain amounts of each ingredient once it’s all mixed together how would you calculate? I’m often making dinner for two and this is the main reason I haven’t been able to stick to macro counting even though I’ve had mine calculated and sticking to it is my biggest fitness goal I’ve yet to reach. Hope that question made sense! Thanks 🙂

    • August 15, 2016 / 6:46 pm

      Hey! Thanks so much =) so I get what you’re saying and it definitely can be tricky! If you’re making something homemade and are adding a bunch of ingredients together, I normally calculate how many servings the whole thing makes. For example, if I’m making pancakes, and I know the total recipes makes 4 cups; I put that entire recipe into my fitness pal and save it. Then when I go to make those pancakes, if I only use 2 cups of batter, I just enter the serving size as “.5” Same thing with sauce; measure out how many ounces, cups (whatever) the sauce is, and then just save the total recipe and just put in the percentage you had from that one meal.

      In general, if the recipe you’re following doesn’t give you the total amount that it makes, I pour everything into a bowl and measure it with my scale (or you could put in into a large measuring cup and see the total that way).

      Does that make sense? Let me know if not! xx

  7. Aubrey
    August 15, 2016 / 1:04 am

    Thank you for the post! I’m really excited to learn more about how you chose whether to cut or to gain. I wasn’t sure which I should be doing, so I’m really interested to hear your experience on that!

    • August 20, 2016 / 8:42 pm

      Sorry, I replied to this earlier but apparently just wote it as a comment instead of a reply. Anyway! Thanks for reading!! Yep, ill definitely be touching on that soon. But really, its up to whatever your goal is! Plus, you don’t have to do either for long periods of time; you can do mini cuts or bulks. There really are so many different ways to approach it which is why I think someone who is certified in it/a coach is a great resource; gives you that 1:1 experience!

  8. Susan
    August 16, 2016 / 1:29 am

    Hi! Love following your posts on IG and now following your blog. Lots of good stuff! And as a result of following you, I, too, starting counting macros with Paola. Day 1 done and was surprised by how much I was under eating so really looking forward to seeing results. Thanks for sharing ?

    • August 17, 2016 / 1:35 am

      thanks so much! xx and yeah, under eating can be just as detrimental to your progress as overeating. plus, more food is always good 😉 good luck!!

  9. Anonymous
    August 26, 2016 / 6:22 pm

    Hi there- thanks for this post! It’s exactly the way I feel about my lifestyle. I’m currently trying to eat a “clean”
    Diet and with the summer season, it’s been really hard and had my craving treats such as ice cream. I’ve recently been considering counting macros and this might give me the final push to try it out!

    • August 30, 2016 / 1:41 pm

      Yeah, it is definitely a good option to consider during periods where your diet needs more flexibility! good luck! xx

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