Macro counting may be a foreign term to some of you, and for some it may not. However it is a way of “dieting” (this word makes me cringe) that I want to shed light on because it is the only reason I have been able to maintain a healthy lifestyle, as far as eating goes, for as long as I have. I’m going to warn you by saying this might be one of the longer blog posts I write, but I truly believe it’s an important subject, and something that I think is key to maintaining a healthy diet long term. Even if you’re happy with your current diet, I encourage you to read. I truly thought I was happy with my diet too, until I learned about macros. This will be a series, because there are just so many topics encompassed under the umbrella of “macros”, so if you’re still interested after this article, hang tight! More will be up this week.
What the heck are “macros”? Macros are proteins, carbs, and fats; also referred to as macronutrients. What I like to refer to as, the trifecta of all things needed to fuel your body the right way. All three are essential to your caloric intake, but the amount of protein, carbs, and fats each person should consume on a daily basis, is different.
Why do I need to know about macros? Macros are important because manipulating your macros is what will help you lose, gain, or maintain weight.
Why is macro counting better than counting calories? This is where it gets tricky, but I’m going to do my best to simplify it for you! Sidenote: I am not the end all be all of the health industry and I am not telling you this is the end all be all way to diet. I am also not shaming you for counting calories if that is what you choose to do – I am simply explaining why I believe one is more effective than the other.
First of all, think of it this way – if you are told you should be eating 1800 calories a day, and you strictly count calories, you could technically figure out a way to eat 1800 calories of Reeses peanut butter cups (I wish) every single day for six months and still consider yourself “calorie counting”. Are you within your 1800 calorie limit? Yes. And as far as calorie counting goes, that’s the only restriction. Now, if you’re calorie counting in the first place I don’t truly think that’s what you’re going to be eating, but for the purpose of a dramatic example, it works. But that’s the whole point, you can eat all the nutrient lacking food you want as long as you stay within your calorie range. In this case, you’re diet is completely made up of carbs and fat, no protein in sight.
On the same token, you could eat 1800 calories worth of spinach every day for six months, and while that’s obviously a much healthier option, is it actually healthy? No, good luck doing physical activity of any kind or even getting out of bed for that matter. In this scenario too, you’re lacking the essential fats, proteins, and carbs your body needs. Now the question is, will you see results from calorie counting? Yes, but is it long term? No.
And on the other hand, as far as macro counting goes, you’re given a set number of grams of protein, carbs, and fats you’ll need to consume each day to fuel your body in order for you to achieve your goals, whether it’s fat loss, to maintain your weigh, or to gain weight. That way your body gets the adequate fuel it needs to run properly from all three macro categories. It’s not based on calories, it’s based on your macro numbers. Is this long term? Yes.
How is it more effective long term? Macro counting is extremely effective long term for a few reasons. When you’re dieting, people typically deprive themselves from the things they normally enjoey, or deem them “cheat foods” and only eat them once a week. This is exactly why low carb diets and diets in general usually fail within weeks. You miss the foods you enjoy and you get sick of the lack of variety in the healthy foods you’re forced to eat. Or you eat a little bit of something you enjoy and it ends up leading to binge eating.
With macros, it’s different. You are allowed to eat the foods deemed “cheat foods”, as long as they fit into your set macros for the day. That being said, I’m not saying you can eat chicken minis and brownies every single day (again, I wish) but you can fit these foods into your daily intake every once in a while and still see results.
How do I count macros? You can calculate your macros a couple of different ways, and there are a few different websites that I trust and have used for calculating my own macros over the years. I will post those at the end of this post. But each website is virtually the same. You plug in your sex, age, height, weight, activity level, and goal (fat loss, maintain, gain) and it will spit out the three magic numbers, your macros!
I have my macros, now what? I’m going to leave you with a cliff hanger there, because I have surely lost half of you by now, and if not, you’d be sitting here for another 20 mintues if I continued. Once you have your macro numbers, you will need to know how to start determining what you can eat based on those macros, and that is an entire blog post in and of itself that will be up later this week! So be on the look out!
Macro Caluclators –
Outfit Details –
- Leggings (mine are last year’s version, but these are similar!)
- Shoes (Nike doesn’t make the version I’m wearing anymore, these are similar!)
Thanks for reading, XOXO, A!