Okay, if you’re an avid Spin Syddy follower you already know that counting macros is something I DON’T talk about… like ever. I’ve always been an advocate for intuitively eating and that includes listening to your body. It’s taken me a few years to really hone in on what those terms actually mean and I can’t say I’ve 100% figured it out BUT I will say that I’m pretty darn good at it because of practicing just about everyday.
As a nutritionist, as a personal trainer, and being in the fitness industry, there are a crap ton of opinions out there and sometimes maybe too much information for people to wrap their brains around. Are you eating enough protein, are you eating too much protein, are you eating carbs before bed, do you take supplements, what kinds of supplements…? You get the idea right?
A lot of what I’ve learned through school and just good ol’ trial and error on myself is that everyone is different and requires different “programs” to succeed. This goes for both fitness and food of course, but we’re really just going to focus in on the food aspect because if you didn’t already guess it by the title, I tried counting my macros for the first time ever.
Macronutrients or “macros” are the 3 main components, Proteins, Fats, and Carbohydrates, that are essential for our bodies function. Different foods contain different types of ratios of these macros and hence make up our everyday diets. Unless you’re eating candy for every meal that is… in that case, message me for a nutrition consultation.
Personally, I eat a Paleo diet about 90% of the time and the other 10% is for me to live my life however I please. Knowing that a paleo diet is generally healthy and includes no processed anything, I find it’s easy for me to stick to and I never feel like I’m dieting.
On the fitness spectrum, when you’re wanting to “cut” or “bulk” or get ready for a competition of some sort, that’s where macros really come into play. The ratio of how much carbs, protein, or fat you’re in taking scientifically matters when you’re wanting a certain type of physique. For those who eat like that on the regular and don’t add flavor or flare to their meals… kudos to you because I tried counting my macros for 7 days and just about went CRAZY!
Having to track every single thing I ate or drank in this food tracker app made my days feel longer. Plus, I found myself really upset and frustrated because I wasn’t “hitting my macros” and wasn’t even close on some days. It made me start to question if my meals had been a joke leading up to this point, what I was doing wrong, pressure to be better since I’m supposed to be a professional at this stuff! By the end of the 7 days I was exhausted, annoyed, and so ready to be done.
That being said, there were some pros that came out of the situation. Yes, even after my horrible rant about macros, there’s a bright side.
- It made me more aware of the types of foods I was eating (which IS important aka snacking on celery instead of chips)
- Every time I went to reach for the easily accessible almond jar in my kitchen, which was quite often, I would stop myself because I didn’t want to add it to the app. So I realized how much mindless grazing I was doing.
- It helped me prep for meals ahead of time and reach for healthier options as opposed to quick fixes that ultimately don’t satisfy my meal cravings and have me eating more.
Things that I didn’t necessarily love and why I wouldn’t go back to macros unless I’m in competition mode, which isn’t happening anytime soon btw.
- Made me feel anxious about putting in every ounce of food to a tracker and if I went out to eat, anxious about what to order!
- When I didn’t hit my macros, I felt like a failure. I was eating what felt like so much but could NOT get the ratios right and again, made me anxious.
- My meals were bland and I despise bland. Food is fun and can be so delicious, and it’s my own personal goal to make all my healthy meals as delicious as possible.
Even though this wasn’t necessarily for me, it may be something you should try for yourself to see how you respond. The science doesn’t lie and when done correctly, you’ll see results for building muscle, losing weight, etc. Where it falls short for me is that it felt like a diet and not even one that promotes nutritious foods. The rule is “hit your macros” and that’s it. Not, “hit your macros by eating clean and wholesome ingredients with no processed anything”.
Lastly, if you have any tips on how you keep it clean and work with macros let me know by DMing me on Instagram but please reframe from any negative Nancy comments as we’re all different and these were simply my opinions!
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Photographer: Shelly Borga
Outfit: Free People Movement