Friday, 12 July 2013

A Noob to Counting Macros

Hey, y'all. So in the last couple of weeks, I've made quite some interesting changes when it comes to my diet.

Throughout the past year, I've suffered digestive upsets. Those are now totally resolved. I know now those horrible upsets were mainly caused by aspartame from the gum I was chewing. I am so thrilled to say the pains are gone, and so is the nasty gum habit. Taking magnesium citrate helped a lot. I still take it, but not every day! Just when my tummy needs extra love.

Putting that whole stomach ache issue was huge for me. It was almost taking over my life. When I resolved it, I started to notice other little things about what I was eating... how did my food make my feel?

I would occasionally get brain fog. I'd be so tired and sluggish, and my workouts seemed to be in a permanent slump. I wondered why - I mean, I eat all whole foods, mostly organic, plenty of nutrients are coming into my body. What's going on?

Interestingly enough, my fitness goals also started to shift. My goals used to be "just be skinny". Ha, sounds so sad. No longer so. I've started doing real military style bootcamp, which is a challenging strength workout using some equipment and body weight exercises, and I'm feeling stronger than ever. I had never had such a consistent amount of strength training workouts. I've also been finding lots of girls on Instagram who are super into staying lean through strength training exercises, and not spending hours on the treadmill and zero time eating. I observed that a lot of them count their macros.

I realized I was a huge noob when it comes to this stuff. Yes, I am totally informed on essential nutrients for optimal health. But for fat loss and strength gains, I am actually kind of in the dark. I never understood what was so bad about carbs. I mean aren't fruits the all time healthiest snack? Fat free!

Well, apparently it's not that simple. I'm not saying this is true, because it's quite a heated topic among people of all camps, but basically I realized I was just having too many simple carbs, and worrying way too much about healthy fats, and not worrying enough about protein.

Protein builds muscle. Healthy fat helps with so many natural processes in your body, including to actually help mobilize stored fat. Carbs are most easily used as a source of fuel by the body. BUT, if they're not used, they're stored as fat. OK, I knew that. But I guess I didn't think that eating less carbs = fat will be the source of fuel used. Makes sense. And not to mention I also didn't think I was eating too many carbs.

I know that once I get sugar, I get addicted. I go nuts, just munching on anything sweet in sight. Of course I never have refined sugars, but even honey, dates, fruit, etc... I crave and crave and crave all night, and I usually end up eating honey by the spoonful nightly. Yep. My secret is revealed! Maybe I was addicted to simple carbs....

So I've taken a different approach. I've started using the My Fitness Pal app to track my protein, fat and carbs percentage distribution every day. I've basically cut the majority of my sugars down to just in the morning, keeping complex carbs all day, and upping the protein.

The result? I feel amazing! I have a lot of energy, my workouts are actually progressing, and I'm getting leaner already. I definitely want to keep this up. Honestly, now when I have a fruit I am truly satisfied, but I realize I am just fine with minimal sweetness. My smoothies are not as overly sweet, and truthfully just as delicious. I've been having green apples and berries mainly as my simple sugars.

I know so many vegans that are into 80/10/10 (carbs/fat/protein), and that kind of thing, who think 50% carbs is nuts. But at the same time, there are vegans and non vegans alike that follow this kind of macro outline to keep themselves as lean as they can, with a lower body fat percentage.

Is one healthier than the other? Again, I am certainly far from an expert. I'm totally new to all this. But I think it just depends on 1) your goals and 2) your body! And my body and goals are agreeing with these macros.

I'd love some opinions on counting macros - what works for you? Let me know!

Happy eating :)

xo Tijana

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