what I learned from tracking my macros week 1

Just casually sitting here an injured girl.  I finally got my ankle checked out by a podiatrist and my suspicions of tendonitis were confirmed, but so was something else.  Turns out I have Haglund’s Deformity in my ankle, which sounds gross but apparently is relatively normal.  It’s genetic and it involves extra bone build up in the back of my ankle, which leads to extra pulling on my Achilles.  So I’m off running for four weeks and heading to physical therapy to learn how to deal with this.  It’s actually really interesting to look back at my half pictures and notice my foot turning in because my tendon is too short.  The more you know.

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So what’s a poor, injured girl to do while she’s side lined?  Focus on building some muscle and working on nutrition.

Enter counting macros.

Nutrition had always kind of been my downfall.  I have trouble eating for my goals and some times that means eating too much or too little.  That’s why I decided to hire a nutrition coach for a couple months.  We started this week focusing on macros.

So, what are macros?
There are three major macronutrients that make up all food: carbohydrates, fat, and protein.  When you count macros, you’re focusing on just counting the amount of each you are getting.  Calories don’t matter because technically, your macros should line up.  A gram of carbs and a gram of protein both have 4 calories each.  A gram of fat has 9.  This all gets factored in to your counting in the long run.

What did I learn week 1?

I had tried counting macros on my own in the past using what MyFitnessPal recommended, using what IIFYM.com recommended, and literally just trying whatever I could find to give me a number to count, but it never really worked out and I never felt any different.  This time around, I was given numbers that involved a little bit less carbs than I had been eating before and more protein and fat.  It’s about a 40:30:35 split between carbs, fat, and protein (I am aware this doesn’t equal 100%, I said around haha).  Before, it was closer to 50:15:35 for reference.

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Less carbs and more fat meant I had to start getting creative.  I introduced peanut butter back into my diet, which had been something I steered clear of because I was always weak in the face of the jar.  No will power.  But now, because I want to be exact with the grams I’m consuming, I know I can split the 32g serving size into 4 smaller portions, which means more peanut butter for me in a controlled amount.  But that’s not the only thing I’ve learned.  Here we go:

  • Measuring things is shocking.  Turns out what I was using to measure a half cup of oatmeal was WAYYY off.  Like painfully off.  Like I was probably eating 2 plus servings every time off.  The more you know.  Also, two tablespoons of peanut butter can go really far if you split up the grams.  4 8g servings is a lot more than you’d think.
  • Sure you can eat anything you want as long as it fits, but that’s not always your best option.  One of the greatest things about counting macros and IIFYM (If It Fits Your Macros) is the flexibility it allows you.  My boyfriend and I went out to sushi yesterday and I was able to plan a feast for myself as long as I worked out some of my other meals for the day.  And you’ll see people posting things on instagram about epic amounts of donuts and cake they fit in to your macros, which is awesome, but you quickly learn the value of those tiny grams.  If you blow 30g of carbs on a donut with a high glycemic index (basically how long something will last in your stomach until your blood sugar dips), you’re going to regret it 20 minutes later when you’re ravenous and out of macros.  You live and you learn.
  • Volume, volume, volume.  The egg scramble I’ve been eating religiously for lunch is amazing.  It’s 5 egg whites (I don’t like yolks, don’t ask), 150g broccoli, 117g onions, and 1/5 cup of sliced mushrooms.  Top it with salsa and it’s this overflowing bowl of goodness for 21c, 1f, and 23p.  To put it in perspective, one pack of gum has 30g of carbs…would you rather eat 21g of carbs overflowing out of a huge bowl or chew on some sticks of nothing.  You know my answer.  I’ve been adding in more veggies to my meals because they just boost everything up and make it seem like you’re eating wayyy more than you actually are and it’s like magic.  Highly recommended.
  • Fail to plan, plan to fail.  I’m a planner.  Always have been, always will be.  So, every night, I’ve opened up my MyFitnessPal app and mathed my way into trying to hit 0g of carbs, protein, and fat left.  So far, it’s gone pretty well.  But there have been a couple days (I’m looking at you, weekend) where I’ve really struggled and wanted to just throw it all away because I ate something I didn’t track.
  • You don’t live or die by your macros. Nope.  You don’t.  In fact, I freaked out for like 10 seconds earlier today when I started mindlessly snacking on something I hadn’t planned.  I was like OH NO THIS RUINS EVERYTHING.  Spoiler alert: it did not.  In fact, I realized I could just move around some of my dinner macros and I was good to go.  Non-crisis averted.
  • Many meals is everything.  Since I have to eat a lot of food (specifically protein and fats) I eat often.  I have breakfast, second breakfast, lunch, second lunch, snack, dinner, and dessert.  All spread out throughout the day, which I’m loving because it never feels like that long until I eat again and I’m not ravenous.  In fact, I’ve somehow magically been able to kick my gum habit I’ve had for 5+ years because I don’t feel the need to be mindlessly chewing on nothing.  Seriously, it’s been over a week and I don’t know who I am anymore.

Here’s a sample of my dinner 10c/7f/35p:
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  •  And so is dessert.  I used to avoid dessert because it’s not the greatest for you and I’d feel guilty eating it.  But, you know what, if I can end the day with something to look forward to, it’s awesome.  Just a little sweet treat and I’m good to go for the rest of the night.  Lately, I’ve been OBSESSED with Enlightened’s Ice Cream.  It’s 100 cals in a half cup 18c/3f/7p and it’s delicious.  The Oatmeal Caramel Crunch flavor is my go to.

Results so far?  It’s odd to think I’d see results from just one week, but I am.  My clothes are fitting a little looser and my abs and arms and showing more definition than they have in awhile.  Most of all, I’m just excited that even though I’m sidelined from working out, I am still making progress in other areas.  When one door closes, another opens.

 

-sj

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