The Skinny on Counting Macros
Now if you have tried counting macros and are still not seeing result, then I want you to listen up about Macros. You may have heard others talking about macros, and maybe wonder what the hype is all about. A few years ago, I know I was a bit frustrated with my own body makeup. I was a personal trainer, but didn’t look like a trainer. I asked my personal trainer how I could change my body and have that lean look. He immediately said “Macros”. Eat your macros and you will lean up. I didn’t have the motivation to follow through with his advice until now.
So, today I want to give a quick training on macros, what they are, why you might count them. I will also give you a few resources to make an easier way for counting macros.
What Are Macros?
Macros are simply put macro-nutrients, proteins, carbohydrates, and fats. These are the major nutrients required for the body to perform it’s functions in a healthy manner. You may ask, what are micro-nutrients. These are the other nutrients required by your body, such as minerals and vitamins.
By keeping count of the grams of macro-nutrients, you can estimate an energy balance in your body and whether you are in a state to lose weight, gain weight, or maintain your current weight. Think of food as an energy source for your body. Food in equals energy for your body. The wrong types of food in can equate to excess if the food can’t be burned for energy, but has to be stored in the form of fat.
This process of your body digesting food and converting it to energy or storage reserves can be very complicated and complex. If a body has certain hormone imbalances or hereditary issues, natural body processes get altered and don’t function as efficiently.
Why Would You Count Macros?
I know what your thinking, if I just go on a healthy eating plan and stick to it, I will get to my maintenance weight and not have to worry about it. I thought that way until I gained about 1-3 pounds a year after my 50th birthday. That may be well and good if you don’t mind that. I wanted to have more definition in my mucles, so I decided to give counting my macros a chance and follow my trainer’s recommendation.
The biggest reason for keeping track of your macros is to ensure your body is getting the calories and nutrients it needs to be healthy and maintain a healthy weight. I was surprised at my daily carbohydrates and fats count and you might be as well. This habit may not be providing the support our muscles, brain and bones need. Bodybuilders count their macro-nutrients to ensure they are muscles have what they need to keep growing. I, on the other hand, would like to crack this macro code and create definition in my legs and arms.
You will decide for yourself if you want to proceed with this process, and it is a bit of a process. I would define your health goal as you puruse the rest of this article. Are you looking to feel better? A small shift in a food item might accomplish that. Are you looking to loose 50 pound or more? Intermittentant fasting and consistent exercise may accomplish that goal. If you are at a plateau like me, and want to lean out a little bit for more definition, this may be just the thing for you.
How Do You Figure Out Your Macros?
First, you need to calculate your Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR). This is the amount of energy you expend in in a 24 hour period.
Click here for a calculator that will ask a few questions and write that number down on your journal on your goals page.
Second, you need to figure out how many calories you need to have to do what you would like to do, lose weight, maintain, gain weight. (And yes there are a lot of people who struggle with gaining weight and it can be more difficult than losing)
Click here for a macro calculator that will ask you specifics about your lifestyle and calculate an estimated amount of required calories your body needs.
Third, use an application on the computer or on your phone to log in what you eat. I use CarbManager. It has a huge library of foods with the nutrient information. I simply log on, weigh my food, and stick with in the Carbs, Proteins, and Fats calculated in Step 2. I purchased a small electronic scale Etekcity on Amazon. Where eating plans usually fail is portion control, weighing your food keeps you faithful to your intentions and goals.
Lastly, make a committment to do this for three months to really get new habits formed with your eating. Logging your food and drinks will really show you where you may be having too much fat or carbohydrates. I didn’t really mention much about calories, but keeping track of calories, which is your energy count. As well, keep on exercising constently. Log your type and exercise time into the application that you choose.
Balance And Nurture As You Continue
Making health changes can be difficult at first, especially if you are alone in this. Connecting to others and sharing your goals and struggles can help you get to the tough times when you don’t feel like counting and working out. Being in a group can make a huge difference as others get excited about your victories and accomplishments.
Keeping balance in your life is the other piece of the puzzle that can really help you succeed in your journey. Don’t overdo exercise when you start and don’t starve yourself when making adjustment in your eating plan. While counting macros can be tedious, you can pretty much eat what you want as long as you stay with counting your macros and keep within the recommendations.
What Can You Expect?
One of the first benefits I have noticed is that I feel empowered because I know exactly what I am eating and how it contributes to my energy count. I think of food differently now and look at food as energy, instead of a comfort to my mood. Before I started counting my macros, food was more of a reward or a comfort. Well, that had to shift when I started keeping track of what went into my mouth. I couldn’t just have 10 cookies or half a bag of salt and vinegar chips, because I had to log it in. Now, I grab a piece of fruit or almonds. I feel in control of my eating and it feels good.
Instead of focusing on weight loss, I suggest focusing on inches and how clothing fits. When the scale hit 100 at age 13, I look to the scale for my identity. It seemed like I spent my life focusing on what weight I was any different day, and I based whether it was a good day or bad day, depending on a number. So, I decided to work on my thinking and belief in this area and remind myself, food is only energy and weight is only a number and all that really matters is how I feel physically as I make healthy food and exercise choices.
I expect to reach my goal of wearing a certain size and looking a certain way. I showing grace to myself as I continue and encouraging myself to not give up. Try affimations and there are many phone apps that send them on a daily basis to keep the positive thinking and encouragement going. Add a little faith to the affirmations, believing that you will achieve your goals and intentions, and you have a formula for success.
Kathy Denise Hicks is a Personal Trainer/Corrective Exercise Specialist, and author. She currently inspires clients to incorporate habits which alleviate joint and muscular pain, increase energy, and attain their ideal weight. Kathy’s mantra “No Pain, More Gain” is truly exemplified through her coaching technique and expertise.
I am ready to help you if you want to get to the next level in your health journey. Give my Free 14 Day Workout a Try and you will notice the difference. Cardio/Strength, Pilates, Body Rolling and Brain Health. Full body attention to create a fit life.