As with most girls, I looked to my mother for advice on healthy eating. Her main advice was to eat vegetables and eat in moderation. If you feel that you put on a few pounds, cut back on food intake until you lose the weight. This seemed to work well for her, but not for me...
Okay, so to be honest, the popularity of a 'macro' diet is what drew me to it. For the last few years, I have seen advertisements on 'how to get shredded' with macros, high protein intake and occasional 'refeed' days. Concurrently, at the gym, my coach was stressing the importance of nutrition in changing one's body composition. Why do I want to change my body composition? For sport performance...? No, really because I thought my butt was slowly starting to sag. The old adage of consistent exercise and traditional healthy eating to limit the effects of body aging may not be effective for everyone.
Use my Fitness Pal to track, weigh food, and setting macro goals (protein, fat, carbohydrates).
After much research (okay an impulse inquiry late one night), I had a phone consultation with a nutritionist and fitness trainer, Lisa Franz at Boom Boom Performance & Nutrition. Since my family and I were planning to move across the country and I wouldn't be able to consistently get into a gym for a couple of months during the transition, I wanted to speak to her about a diet and an at-home training regimen. She convinced me to try nutrition coaching and had me sign up for My Fitness Pal. Within the App, I added her as a friend so she can see everything I logged and hold me accountable. I sent her a "before" picture in a sports bra. She set my diet parameters and I started weighing my food.
My baseline macros were 1750 calories, 145 grams protein, 170 grams carbohydrates, and 50 grams of fat. Although my days were constantly changing, I tried to have a very healthy breakfast and lunch followed by a small "treat" for a snack or dinner. Typical meals with the macros are listed below. We will post this on Instagram. Please feel free to ask questions or comment:
Breakfast (412 calories with 37 g protein, 34 g carbs, and 10 g fat) - 56 grams of oatmeal with1 teaspoon of honey / Coffee with 2 T of milk and 1/2 teaspoon of sugar / 5 egg whites and 1 egg with spinach and salsa
Lunch (484 calories with 47 g protein, 50 g carbs, and 13 g fat) - 1 cup of Quinoa / 7 oz of quinoa / 1 cup of roasted brussel sprouts
Snacks (280 calories with 18 g protein, 32 g carbs, and 8 g fat) - Siggis non fat yogurt and 1/2 cup icecream
Dinner (516 calories with 50 g protein, 55 g carbs, and 12 g fat) - 7 oz Chicken breast / 1 cup quinoa / Salad with bell peppers and cucumbers and salad dressing)
Total - 1682 calories with 148 g protein, 173 g carbs, and 42 g fat
Sometimes it is hard to have lean protein for every meal so my snack sometimes is a protein shake or something healthier. The meal portions are huge, however, so you definitely feel very satisfied!
It was exciting to try something new. And I feel like I actually had some results. Month 1 was fun to try out new foods and recipes, and I was so full from overall food quantity that it was relatively easy to stay consistent. Then we moved, and my husband stayed behind to finish work so I was in new places alone with two kids. It was difficult to feed them much less myself some days. To still stay on track, I would often get a roasted chicken and raw vegetables for lunch and then let dinner be flexible. To hit the protein diet, sometimes I would just have a protein shake or collagen powder at night after the kids went to bed. After two months, I had some promising results (lost ~8 lbs body weight without losing much muscle mass). After the two months, I became less motivated to weigh and track my food. Therefore it was not too surprising when I didn't see much progress after the third month.
Great way to control eating in a very healthy yet flexible way!
My life is still crazy with the move and starting a business and I will probably take a break from macros until I have a more predictable routine again. Perhaps this is just a convenient excuse...? Regardless I have learned much from trying this new way of thinking about my nutrition. I should be eating more protein, drinking more water, and eating more healthy carbs in my normal diet. This alone makes the three months well worth it. I also definitely made gains during a particularly stressful time in my life when I would have normally packed on fat and weight to cope with the stress.
Bikini models, body builders, and most athletes track macros in some way or another to ensure they are getting the nutrition needed to fuel their bodies and sports activities. In Crossfit, it s fairly common among athletes to "Eat to Perform." If you aren't eating carbs or low on protein for extended periods, it is difficult to maximize power output. It is a great way to build muscle mass, and lose fat.
It definitely worked for me when I was being diligent weighing and tracking food. It also helped set me on the right path to more intuitive eating. Online there are many success stories over a longer time period. I think it is a great technique to assist in body composition changes and weight loss.
Besides the inconvenience of weighing food, I ended up eating fewer vegetables than I normally would because I was so focused on eating protein. This was still within healthy guidelines, but I did notice my bowel habits were not as regular without the fiber. Once I realized this, I have started making sure to eat vegetables and oatmeal!