If you’re new to my blog, welcome! If you read my previous post or my 2017 Resolutions post you’ll know that I’m dedicating this year to being my best me yet. Until October of 2016 I had used the MyFitnessPal app sporadically as a food diary but I always hated having to take the time to enter things in, would get busy and forget a few things and then just stop doing it altogether. For the most part I had the exercise thing down but I just wasn’t getting the results I was hoping for. Of course I thought I was doing everything I possibly could and that I was eating “healthy” so why wasn’t I hitting my goals? Sound familiar?
Well there are a few reasons. First, there are so many different opinions and misconceptions on “healthy foods” that it’s easy to get overwhelmed when making decisions. Spend 3 minutes on Pinterest researching “healthy foods” and I guarantee you’ll be bombarded with beautiful infographics telling you to swap your Cheeto’s for baked cheese crackers or to swap your full fat yogurt for fat free Greek yogurt. And while yes, obviously these are better choices it doesn’t mean they are the best choices out there always. Depending on where you are in your fitness/nutrition journey some of these swaps may or may not even effect you. I read a fascinating article recently on nutrition that stated there is no such thing as “healthy” food. Food itself is neither healthy or unhealthy rather it has the ability to provide you health via micro and macronutrients. But I digress. Second, I wasn’t paying attention to ingredients or portion sizes. Third, I wasn’t paying attention to my macros.
This is when I discovered the “IIFYM” or “If It Fits Your Macros” approach, also referred to as “Flexible Dieting”. This isn’t a diet but rather a lifestyle to help keep you accountable. There are no food restrictions, you eat what you like and just make sure it fits your macros. That doesn’t mean to eat just anything though but it gives you flexibility to incorporate more treats and it’s a highly sustainable way of eating.
What are macros? Macros or macronutrients are protein, fats and carbohydrates. Protein and carbohydrates contain 4 calories per gram and fats contain 9 calories per gram. Micronutrients are your essential vitamins and minerals. There are several different apps you can use to track but for me personally, I prefer MyFitnessPal (free!).
Begrudgingly, I decided to give this whole tracking thing another shot and was astounded by the results. After a few days I started to get the hang of things and logging my meals became as easy as sending a text message. Within a week of using the app I was made shockingly aware of what I was putting into my body and began to modify my recipes and choices to better suit my macros. Within about a month I was starting to see a change in my body composition.
Why is calculating your macros so important? Because fitness and getting in shape is a lifestyle, and only focusing on exercise will not allow you to reach your fullest potential. Think of it like this, you will never be able to pay off credit card debt when you keep making charges. You must also stop or change your spending habits in addition to making the payments. Macros are almost more important than the actual calories eaten. Finding the exact types of fuel your body needs makes it the most efficient and will yield great results.
The bottom line is that nutrition doesn’t need to be difficult. You just need to add in more whole foods (meaning foods in their original state or as close to it as possible – for example: produce), minimally processed foods (less ingredients and less packaged foods) and use good judgement and common sense. Also this is meant to be a guide and a tool to help you self evaluate and see results, don’t get too obsessive over it nobody’s perfect.
Thanks for reading!