I just wanted to check in with you all and speak up a little about my diet. I mentioned in my latest YouTube video (go watch!) that I have started counting macros again.
To be honest, before the holidays hit I was on a binge fest. I always feel it's best to be honest with you guys, as I have always tried to be. I strive for balance as much as I can, but it's still a learning process. I just wasn't feeling motivated to eat anything healthy, although I was still working out. I craved all the goodness of pizza, greasy Mexican food, and cocktails. I indulged in those cravings almost every day. I'm sooo not perfect. As much as I try to motivated others and inspire them to kickstart a healthier lifestyle, I still have my own struggles.
Anyways, all that food caught up with me. I'm the type of person who can gain weight quickly and lose it quickly, which is a negative and positive thing. It's not fun packing on the pounds in a matter of a week or two, but it's comforting to know I can drop the pounds fast. I didn't want to continue the yo-yoing anymore, which is why I felt like my diet needed structure again.
When I was counting macros last year, my body saw insane results. I never felt deprived because it's a flexible way of eating. Unfortunately at that time, I was very obsessed with the numbers and counting and planning. I moved away from it and adapted to intuitive eating. There isn't any structure to it. You just eat when you are hungry and stop eating when you are satisfied. As much as I wish this type of "diet" was working for me right now, it's not.
I'm usually the type of person who needs structure. I need to know the plan at all times. I need to know what time and where, what I need to wear, what I need to bring. It stresses me out when plans are thrown at me, although I'm pretty spontaneous on my own. I'll jump up and go get a tattoo or take a random road trip, but if plans are thrown at me, then it's all over. It's a strange thing.
Right now, I'm craving structure in my diet. I need to have a plan, or I'll just continue bingeing. Weight gain or fluctuation are the last things I need right now because...
I'm getting married! So with that and all the events surrounding my big day, I want to look and feel my best.
A lot of you wonder what "counting macros" is. It's also referred to as IIFYM, or "if it fits your macros." I learned about it through Instagram around two years ago. I was seeing "IIFYM" literally everywhere on fitness accounts, and I had to know what it was all about. I studied up on it and researched it, and realized it could fit into my life. I thought I would try to answer some questions about it in the simplest of terms.
What are macros?
Macros are short for macronutrients, which are these three:
Protein: Helps build muscle and maintain muscle. It helps control your appetite because it keeps you full longer.
Fat: An essential nutrient to our bodies. It assists in many of our bodies' processes, including hormone regulation and brain function.
Carbs: These are our main source of energy!
Why do you count them?
It's a more advanced way of counting calories. Rather than counting calories, you are counting macros.
Macros = calories. Each macro has a different calorie count.
1 gram of protein = 4 calories
1 gram of carbs = 4 calories
1 gram of fat = 9 calories
Every person is different and requires a certain amount of protein, fat, carbs based on their lifestyle and body type. This makes counting macros a lot more personalized than simply counting calories. Also, counting macros assures we are getting the right amount of macronutrients.
For example, if you are solely counting calories, you can have a Big Mac and a carton of of fries, and be done for the day. Obviously this is not healthy. You are only having one meal for the day, and you aren't getting adequate amounts of each macronutrient. Sure, you hit your calorie max right on the head, but this isn't good for your body because you are lacking protein, and consuming too much fat. I hope that makes sense.
Since counting macros is so personalized, it's easier to see results. Rather than following a diet that may work for someone else, you are following a diet that is specifically tailored to you.
How do you count them?
You read nutrition labels, measure your food out, and you plan out what you will eat for the day.
I use My Fitness Pal to help me plan and to calculate my macros. As you enter the food you plan to consume for the day (ie: a cup of oatmeal), MFP will add the macro count to the "nutrition" part of your food diary. How easy is that?
How do I find out my macro count?
I use IIFYM. The calculator allows you to input your age, height, weight, sex, and activity level. Then it calculates the appropriate macro count for you. It will tell you how many grams of protein, carbs, and fat to consume daily. I use the "IIFYM recommended" plan. It's really as simple as that.
What I love about IIFYM is that you can still go out to dinner, if you plan ahead. You can still have a bowl of ice cream if it fits in your macro plan for the day. It's a much more flexible approach to dieting, while still maintaining structure, and it gives you results.
I really hope this helped you understand a little bit more about counting macros, and why I've decided to go back to this diet for the next two months. My goal is to keep my head level and non-obsessive in the process because I feel like I have come so far. I think I can handle it much better than I did last year.