If you have been on this planet the last few years you probably heard about IIFYM (If It Fits Your Macro), macro nutrients, macro counting, flexible dieting etc.
When done right I think Macronutrient Counting the best way of eating after Intuitive eating. Intuitive eating is what I practice but to be able to master it you need to really understand what you are eating and how your body works.
I struggled with finding a balance with food most of my life and flexible dieting seriously saved me. I tried forever to be someone I wasn’t. Having all my meals ready, following a strict meal plan and limiting “bad food”
The only thing it did to me was create a bad relationship with food and years of yo-yo dieting. Since I stopped trying to be perfect I now enjoy social events, treats here and there and can live without focusing on food.
Flexible dieting and intuitive dieting allow me to eat on the go, limit the meal prep required, save time and most important allow me to enjoy life to the fullest.
All the food around can be divided into macro nutrients and micro nutrients. Macro are carbs, fat protein and micro are all the vitamin and mineral.
When you count your macro you mainly focus on your carbs/fat/protein ratio. All foods are not created equal; this is why you need to follow your recommend macro recommendation within a 20% treat /80% unprocessed food to make sure you stay balanced. If you are trying to lose weight I would go closer to 90%/10%.
What Is A Macronutrient?
First you need to understand what’s included in the carbs category. It’s obvious that bred is a carb but many people don’t realize that fruits and vegetables are also carbs!
Fat, like oil, butter, cheese is more obvious but many people don’t realize that avocado, nuts are also considered in the fat category.
Protein are the little builders in your body. Meat is the winner but you can find protein in dairy and plant base food. Food like quinoa, nuts are higher in protein than other fat or carb foods but they don’t consist principally of protein. A lot of people mix groups.
How To Calculate Your Macros
I’ve been a nutritionist for the past 14 years so I know a lot of those number in my head but for most of the people out there, there are better tools than memory!
My fitness pal is one of my favorite; you can search & scan all your favorite food and they will give you a breakdown of what’s in it.
Everyone is so different that it’s really hard to give an exact number. But I can tell you how I start all my clients.
I usually start by how many calories they should have. Theirs calorie calculators out there but I usually take the lifestyle, activity level, age, height, weight, goals and come up with a number. You weight in lbs x by 11 to 14 (depending of your activity level and goal) can give you a good idea.
Carbs: To calculate carbs I always look at the activity level. The more active, the more carbs you should have. They are the fuel of your body. Between 40% and 50%) is a good ratio.
Protein: When I have a client, who wants to lose weight I like to go around 1g for every 1lbs of body weight. Depending if they want to gain muscle, loose fat, maintain Ill adjust the number. Protein help reduce your appetite. I usually go higher when people have a lower calories diet.
I like to have close to an equal amount of protein for each meal. Usually that’s where my clients struggle. Having a small amount more often usually helps. There’s no point of eating more than 40g of protein per meal. Your body can’t process more than that.
Carbs. I like to eat my carbs around my workouts, or early in my day when I need more energy.
Fat. I like using most of my fat between my meals, that’s when they can sustain better. They take longer to digest. I also love fat before bed. They regulate your sleep. Fat are essential for brain and organ protection!!
Always tried to have more than one macro nutrient at a time. By example don’t just eat an apple. Have some nut butter with it.
The key is consistency over timing. Whatever you do; be consistent with it. If 3 meals and 3 snacks is too much for you; don’t do it. Have bigger meals less often. But find consistency.
Your body want to be healthy. Not skinny. When you start having your meals all over the place it stresses your body and it will get the signal that food might be hard to find and will start holding in to it and making fat reserve. If you want to lose fat you need to eat regularly so your body doesn’t go into storage mode.
How I Calculate My Macro Nutrients
I’ve been doing this for long enough I don’t need to count everything anymore. I just open the fridge and look for what my body needs.
For example, in the morning I know I need a portion of complex carbs, one fruit, I fat and 1 protein. Then I’ll pick one of each to create my breakfast. Ex. I’ll eat my apple and get a tea spoon of BEND while I’m mixing my oatmeal and my egg white in the micro wave. Ta Da! breakfast in less than 2 minutes.
The next morning, I might just take my blender, throw ½ cup oatmeal, 1 banana, my bend, almond milk and 1 scoop protein powder or greek yogurt. Add water for the perfect texture and that’s it.
Same for my snack. I need a protein and 1 fat. My go too is usually 2 boiled eggs. I boiled like 12 at the time.
For a meal I need 1 fat, 1 protein, 1 carbs and 1 vegetables. I might crab 4 slices of turkey, 1tbsp mayo add lettuce and tomatoes and slap everything between two slice of silver hills bread.
I just described how I do. I don’t cook, I don’t prep. Many people need more prep and I can understand.
Doing meal planning for 5 days. Do a chilli. Add 5 x .5 cup of beans, 5 portion of ground beef for turkey and tons of vegetables and you go yourself 5 meals done in less t55han 5 minutes.
You Can’t Be Perfect
Macro counting can make your life so much easier. Don’t over complicate it.
The first 2 weeks of this program I suggest doing it this way then every few days. Punch everything you are having into my fitness pal. This tool will tell you how far off or how perfect you are doing, then you adjust.
This is a lifestyle change, not a race. You won’t be perfect the first day. Just get better each time and you will get there.
If you are really comfortable with macro counting you need to be more discipline or be more exactly on your number. If you come from drinking pop every day with daily meal at the restaurant simply choosing a meal that fits your macro groups at the restaurant is already a big step.
I Suggest Staying Between 5% And 10% Of Your Daily Macros
If you want to be 90% perfect, you are allowed 1 cheat meal every week. 80% represents 2 cheat meal every week.
How I Do My Cheat Meals
Cheat meals should still fall under your macro requirement.
I usually decide what I’ll have in advance and reverse engineer my day or my week. Example I know I’ll be eating sour patch kids in my car on my way to Halifax once a week and ill drink few glass of wine. That’s what I do and I enjoy it. So, I plan my meal around it. In my case I’ll go lower carbs all week to allow myself a bigger carbs budget weekend. Or ill skip my portion of rice for supper in exchange of wine.
That’s bring me to alcohol and macro. Alcohol slow down your metabolism. I don’t suggest dinking if you want to lose weight. But if you want to maintain for an special occasion each 4oz of wine equal 1 portion of carbs or fat. 1oz or vodka or gin count for 1 portion of fat or carbs.
I recommend staying away from beer and liquor., They should not be in any weight loss plan or even healthy lifestyle. Sorry! No! lol