I have been tracking my macros for just over a year. This is what I have learned along my journey.
I ate more than I thought: When you are not tracking your food, you can convince yourself that the half of a toddler sandwich that you finished up while you are cleaning the kitchen table doesn’t count or it was just a couple of fries. The truth is those little nibbles and bites when added up over the course of a day, week or month make a big difference.
Proportion Distortion: What I thought a tablespoon of peanut butter was and what it actually is are two different things :( Same thing with cheese. A serving of cheese is actually a rather tiny amount. By weighing and measuring my food I was actually able to learn proper portions.
My diet was not as healthy as I thought: When you are just tracking calories you tend to fill those calories with whatever tastes the best or is the most convenient even if you are cutting down calories to lose weight. It wasn’t until I started tracking macros that I realized that my fat was off the charts, my diet was filled with little to no vegetables and very little carbs.
Carbs Carbs Carbs: When I started Crossfit years ago, I changed my diet to Paleo. I thought if I switched to Paleo I would become svelte and make it to the Crossfit games ;) I swore off bread, rice, pasta, oatmeal etc. Since I rarely ate vegetables I was essentially on a low carb diet. I have been on a low carb diet for so long it never crossed my mind that my lack of energy, endurance at Crossfit or general lethargy had anything to do with what I was eating. I attributed my general fatigue to my hectic schedule and two kids. It wasn't until I added a substantial number of carbs back into my diet that I realized this was the cause. I now drink half regular/half decaf coffee, no longer need naps through the day and my performance at Crossfit has exponentially increased.
Salad Schmalad: I thought the only way to lose weight was eating a salad. It turns out healthy eating can and should involve a variety of foods, meals and allow for treats. All of which offer more mealtime excitement and satiety than eating a salad everyday of your life.
Eat More, Move Less: We were always taught the key to weight loss is eat less, move more. But what if you do this and you don't lose weight. What if your idea of eating less is a 1,000 calories and your idea of moving more is an hour of cardio a day? What I learned is yes, to lose weight your body has to be in a deficit (burn more calories than you take in) and it certainly should be more than a 1,000 calories. I also learned losing weight and changing body composition doesn't require working out seven days a week or an hour of cardio. I learned the key to weight loss had to do with the ratio of proteins, carbs and fat for your lifestyle. That recovery and sleep are just as important as how much you work out. I learned that stress affects your ability to lose weight. I also learned the more lean muscle you have the more you get to eat. Bring on the weights! This last one makes me happy :)
Have your cake and eat it too!: Prior to macros my diet consisted of swearing off sweets, bread and desserts. I would manage this for a certain amount of time and then when I thought I deserved it I would let myself have a cookie. The problem was it was never just a cookie. Because I had restricted myself it was like six cookies. I would go through this cycle of restricting then over-indulging and feeling bad about it time and time again. With macros I learned I could have a cookie a day and still meet my goals. You know what happened, I stopped over-indulging. I have cookie a day and I am happy and satisfied. Because I stopped restricting and labeling foods as “good” or “bad” I stopped letting it consume me.
Accountability: I really think that this is where the magic happens. How many times have you said Monday I will start working out or stop eating candy. I know because that has been me so many times. I would eat a handful of M&M’s and convince myself that they didn't really count. When I committed to having a coach. I committed to results. I knew that if I didn't count those M&M’s and I didnt see results that I would have to explain myself. That idea of someone watching over my shoulder got me into the habit of preparing food when I otherwise wouldn’t. This is now a lifelong habit that will stick with me forever. Not only did a coach help to keep me honest, they helped motivate me, gave me ideas on how to make things easier or ways to reach my daily goals that I had not thought of. They also pushed me to be my best self. They pushed me to challenge myself in ways that I would not have if it was just up to me.
Eating macros has changed not only my relationship with food but my relationship with myself. Have questions about macros. Let me answer them. Contact me at Theresa.Worley@icloud.com