To Macro, Or Not To Macro?

For some of us, calculating macronutrients comes naturally. For others, it’s rocket science. If you’re on the fence, here are both sides of the case!

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I get a lot of nutrition questions from clients; Do I carb cycle? Do I count my macros? How often do I eat? What do I eat?

First things first- It’s great to ask questions to be more informed, but you should never copy someone’s diet exactly. We are all built in different shapes, sizes, strengths, etc! There is no one-size-fits-all diet. I REPEAT, there is no one-size-fits-all diet! 

Your diet should be custom-tailored to fit your caloric intake needs, activity level, allergy needs, muscle building needs, fat loss needs, the list goes on. If you have questions about any of these needs or others, please do not hesitate to ask! Email: Kate@FitBodiesByKate.com. But I digress…

To Macro, or Not To Macro? That is the question.

To “macro” means to track the number of grams of protein, carbohydrates, and fats you consume each day. Athletes, avid exercisers, and bodybuilders seem to have no problem with macro tracking. For others, well like I said before, it’s rocket science!

There are both benefits and drawbacks to counting your macros. After reading this you should have a better understanding about macros and whether or not counting them is right for you. You should note that with any nutrition program you need to be consistent. Results do not appear in the first days or sometimes weeks even. It takes time to change your physiology. Patience is key.

To Macro

Situation 1: You’re Lean, But You Want To Be Leaner

If you find yourself in situation 1, you have probably noticed small variations in your nutrition can be the difference between shedding those last few pounds of fat or staying right where you are. (One of my favorite quotes applies here: Tiny tweaks equal big changes!)

If this is you, it’s best to keep a tight reign on those macros and get yourself to that end goal! You can do it!

Situation 2: You Have No Concept Of What “Enough Protein” Means

You can google “How much protein should I consume daily” and you will see this:

“The DRI (Dietary Reference Intake) is 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight, or 0.36 grams per pound. This amounts to: 56 grams per day for the average sedentary man. 46 grams per day for the average sedentary woman.”

Great! After reading this you fully understand where you fall on the spectrum and have no further questions, right?! WRONG. Even I can barely decode this and I majored in Molecular Chemistry and know ALL the conversion factors.

You might be that person that thinks to yourself “peanut butter is full of protein, right?” No. Not enough. Not even close. And sorry to add insult to injury but peanut butter is a fat source.

As a general rule, you should aim to consume 1 gram of protein per pound of your bodyweight. Of course there are variables to this number but I am keeping it simple. If you need more information, please ask!

Situation 3: You Have An Insatiable Appetite When The Clock Strikes Midnight

Did I just describe you, or did I just describe you?! We’ve all been there.

Paying attention to these hunger signals can get you in some serious caloric trouble and almost always leads to unwanted inches around your midsection. It’s unfortunate, but some people may need to conscientiously regulate their food intake by tracking their macronutrients to avoid becoming the midnight food vacuum.

Not To Macro

Situation 1: You Are A Macronutrient Pro

Some people can just look at a piece of chicken and tell you exactly how many grams it is, and give you the macronutrient breakdown on the spot. Good for you, buddy! Live much?

Don’t get me wrong, it takes great dedication to be a macronutrient pro and most often these are the people we are all trying to look like. But the truth is, most just want to be healthy and don’t care to be freaskishly shredded. Both are great! Follow your own path, light your own way. Be a leader, not a follower, and all that jazz.

If you are the macronutrient pro, obviously I wouldn’t spend the time. You’re doing just fine as you are and we’re all really impressed. No, really, I’m a fan!

Situation 2: You’re Neurotic And Getting Nowhere

Too many times I come across someone who asks all the questions, wants all the answers, makes all the changes, but doesn’t ever change. They do a complete 180 with their diet and let it play out for about a week. Then they are on to something else before giving their original diet plan a chance to let any real progress occur. I said it earlier, I’ll say it again. Patience is key! 

Constantly changing your diet to the newest, next best thing wastes a lot of energy and effort, and you will never see results. If this is you, you should abandon the macro counting and take the time to educate yourself on proper nutrition.

Learn what “whole foods” are. Learn how the body uses, stores, metabolizes carbs, fats, and proteins. Build a base layer of education so you can discern between what diets are worth your time and which are total crap.

Situation 3: You’re Just Getting Your Feet Wet In This Whole Fitness Thing

A. You are mostly sedentary and your idea of a healthy dinner is lettuce on your cheeseburger.

B. You do cardio for 3 hours per day, you now have “pancake butt”, you don’t weight train, nothing’s working so you just eat carrots.

C. “Is butter a carb?”

If scenario A, B, or C sounds like you, you’re not ready to make the leap just yet. This is OK! You are still in the contemplation, maybe even preparation phase and you’re making progress- to a point.

You need to focus on the basics. Are you getting enough sleep? Do you have negative stressors under control? Are you drinking water consistently? Are you able to look at two different food items and know the healthier choice?

Until you have the basics under control, there is no need to jump ahead and start counting macros.

I hope I have answered some of those burning “To Macro, Or Not To Macro” questions and you are on your way to achieving that body you have always dreamed of! And just in case you read this whole article wishing and hoping for that lettuce-wrapped burger recipe, I GOT YOU!

Ingredients:

  • Trader Joe’s Chile Lime Chicken Burger (3g carb/6g fat/19g protein)
  • Iceburg Lettuce Wrap
  • Sliced Tomato
  • Sauteed Bell Peppers (in 0 calorie coconut oil spray)
  • Microgreens
  • Broccolini (on the side)

 

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“Snack Attack” for Chia Seed Pudding

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Chia seed pudding is a simple and delicious way to get the health benefits of chia seeds. It takes minutes to make and has enough protein and nutrients to be a quick, on-the-go breakfast option. When I prep my chia seed pudding I use small mason jars. You can also reuse baby food jars.

Chia seeds are a “whole grain” food and are non-GMO and naturally free of gluten. They are one of the most nutritious foods on the planet. Chia seeds are loaded with fiber, protein, Omega-3 fatty acids, various micronutrients and antioxidants.

You can add variety to your chia seed pudding by adding shaved almonds (pictured above), assorted nuts, blueberries for breakfast or chocolate shavings for a low-sugar dessert.

Chia Seed Pudding Recipe

Prep: 5 minutes, Total Time: 5 minutes, Yield: 4 servings

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups coconut milk
  • 1/2 cup chia seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup (or less) pure maple syrup or agave

Instructions:

  1. For blended/smooth version: Place all ingredients in blender (I use my Nutribullet) and blend for 1-2 minutes until completely smooth.
  2. For whole chia seed version: Blend all ingredients except chia seeds in a blended or Nutribullet until smooth (including any added flavors, fruits or chocolate). Whisk in chia seeds.
  3. Pour mixture into mason jar or glass container and place in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours or overnight to gel. I usually prepare my chia seed pudding at night to have ready for breakfast the next day. It is also great to make in the morning for a delicious pre-made dessert at night.
  4. Add shaved almonds, nuts and/or fresh fruit and enjoy!

 

Guilt Free Cookie Dough

And you can eat it raw!

Worry no more about getting sick from raw cookie dough or over indulging your sweet tooth. This cookie dough recipe is raw, vegan and gluten-free (no eggs, no flour, grain-free, refined-sugar-free, GUILT FREE!)

You can satisfy that late night sweet tooth with a couple spoonfuls of this cookie dough that will not break your calorie bank.

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Raw Cookie Dough Recipe

Total Time: 10 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1 can (or 1 1/2 cups cooked) white beans or chickpeas
  • 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup almond butter (or allergy friendly sub)
  • 1/2 cup pure maple syrup, honey or agave
  • 1/4 cup quick oats of flaxmeal
  • scant 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/8 tsp baking soda (this gives a cookie dough flavor)
  • 1/3 cup to 1/2 cup chocolate chips

Instructions:

Drain beans, rinse extremely well and pat dry. Process all ingredients (except chocolate chips) in a food processor until completely smooth (I use my Nutribullet and it works extremely well). Stir in chocolate chips. This cookie dough tastes best served chilled. Cover leftovers and store in the fridge.

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