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!
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.
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!
- 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)
- Broccolini (on the side)