The 411 on Counting Macros

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Mental FREEDOM from food and body obsessing!

If you’ve read about my Before & After journey, then you know that I yo-yo-ed a lot between being restrictive with my diet and over-indulging. Mentally, I was in a constant state of obsessing over what I ate and how my body looked from my teens until I was about 30 years old. As a small business owner that caters to women and just chatting with a lot of my friends, I think diet and body image is something many young women struggle with.

Once I started my Pilates and Barre certifications, I realized I was learning so much about the body and fitness, and I wanted to take control of my diet. Why spend all this time and money on fitness and not pay attention to what’s actually going IN my body? I was exercising more than ever but still not seeing the results I wanted. At this point I was in shape from all my training, but not exactly where I wanted to be. I wanted to lose about 5 lbs, have a tighter stomach (don’t we all?) and free myself of the constant mental struggle. I reached out to my girlfriend Kris, who had a ton of experience working with fitness, health coaching and nutritionist experts, and she told me about Counting Macros.

I loved that there was science behind this method and after a week of sticking to this method, I dropped 5 lbs! BUT, the catch was that if I didn’t stick to it, my weight would go back up. Ultimately, Counting Macros taught me how to eat a balanced diet and I learned key take-aways that have lasted ever since. For example, I wasn’t eating enough protein and I was reaching for foods that aren’t nutrient-dense, such as spoonfuls of peanut butter, which are heavy in calories in fat but not filling enough like a big salad or chicken breast to keep my body fueled for a couple of hours.

I stuck to Counting Macros for about 2-3 months, and honestly, I was hungry at times in the beginning (cucumbers are “free foods”! Take note for moments of starvation). BUT if you’re goal is to lose weight, then you need to expend more than you consume, so going a little hungry is the reality. Ultimately, Counting Macros taught me how to eat a balanced diet without depriving myself. This is key. Every morning, I would add my glass of red wine and dark chocolate into my calculator as the last meal of my day. Yes, I would measure out 6 ounces of my nightly red wine. But hey, I worked for those 6 ounces every day as I calculated all of my meals. This end-of-night treat was like my daily reward at the finish line. I wasn’t eating chicken breasts and broccoli for every meal, but I did have to make smart choices and stick to them, and indulge a little less.

Ok, so enough of the novel on My Macros Journey. Let’s get down to business. Here’s What You Need to Know:

What is Counting Macros? Counting Macros means counting the macro-nutrients of foods and drinks - the proteins, fats and carbs - to optimize your diet.

How to Calculate Macros? You can calculate the macro-nutrients that your body specifically needs based on your age, weight, body fat, gender, height, and how active you are. I purchased a scale that read body fat percentage. You can use this calculator here without knowing your body fat. I compared the results to my own from the past and it’s close enough, so it should work for you.

Tools that Helped Me:

  1. I downloaded the My Macros+ app and used that to track EVERY item that I consumed. Yes, it is tedious at first, but you can save items and meals to make input later easier.

  2. I purchased a food scale. Yep, I went there, but I was dedicated to making a lifestyle change. I mostly used the scale to measure meats. I quickly learned tha my body needed about 4 ounces of meat per meal, which is approixmately a handful for me. I STILL to this day use the handful rule to measure my meat for meals.

  3. I got my husband on board to support me and cheer me on. It’s hard to stick to a major change when others around you aren’t supportive. Chat with your friends and family and share your goals with them.

  4. I learned to cook with a lot of spices and ditch calorie-heavy dressings.

  5. I sought out food recipes that were healthy AND delicious so I didn’t feel deprived. I like skinnytaste.

  6. I limited beverages to ONLY coffee (I use coconut or almond milk creamer, no sugar), tea, water, seltzer water, wine or champagne. Occasionally I might have a margarita, but for the most part frappuccinos, lattes, and mixed cocktails just aren’t how I want to enjoy my calories.

Any time anyone I know is struggling with their diet, I recommend Counting Macros. Yes, it takes work, but there are no short-cuts to weight loss and a lifetime of being content with your body.

Natalie Strahorn