If you’re wanting to shed some pounds in preparation for the holidays, there are lots of different diet and exercise options out there. For example, you could choose a fast fix like strict detox. Or do something longer-term such as counting macros.
Macros refer to the main food groups you eat daily. Think – carbohydrates, protein, and fat. These three main substances all do different things in the body. And therefore you need different levels of them each day.
Many diet plans seek to severely limit a single one of the Macros. For instance, low-fat diets were huge in the 70s. And low-carbohydrate diets have been popular in the 2000s. But today, we’re not talking about excluding any type of food. This is about counting macros to find balance.
And here are the three groups and the level you should be eating each day.
Carbohydrates turn into glucose when digested. And glucose gives your muscles a boost of energy by producing a chemical known as ATP. This is used in the cells for movement and energy.
Carbohydrates should account for approximately 50% of your daily intake.. Anything like potato, bread, pasta, and rice are sources of carbohydrates. The healthiest source of carbohydrate are high-fiber vegetables, fruit (not juice) and whole, unprocessed grains.
Protein is a substance which is used to repair cells, make your bones strong and help you to recover after injuries. It’s integral in the formation of healthy, strong muscles. This is why many people who are working-out heavily take extra protein to repair.
This should make up 30% of your daily intake. Things like chicken, egg, and fish are high sources of protein. You can also get protein from vegetarian sources like lentils, beans, quinoa, avocado, and soy. But with vegetarian sources, you must eat varied sources to create a complete protein in the body.
Fat has gotten a bad rap over the years. But it’s important for so many reasons. Fat is essential for the proper absorption of many vitamins and minerals. It’s vital for building healthy cells and tissues. And it helps to make meals more filling and satisfying, so you don’t overeat.
Just make sure to go easy on saturated fats, fried fats, and trans fats. These fats actually prompt the body to build misshapen cells, among other things. Good sources of of healthy fat are nuts, coconut, grass fed ghee, and avocado. Fat should take up around 20% of your day.
Now that we know a little about macros and their uses, here are some of the pros and cons in counting them for weight loss.
Easy guidelines and restrictions
Counting macros means that you focus on nutritional balance in your diet as opposed to counting calories. But for it to be effective, you need to eat a low-sugar, low-processed food diet with mostly whole foods. However, this is the only restrictions.
And if you’re not getting the results you seek at first, you can adjust your diet accordingly. For instance, you can move your carbs to 40% percent, protein to 35%, and fat to 25%. Adjustments like this should likely eventually get you to your weight loss sweet spot.
This gives you a simple formula to frame your everyday routine. You just need something to help you stay on track. Think about using the macro feature on MyFitnessPal or another diet app to help keep you accountable to your daily goal.
No food is banned
The main issue with many diets is the restriction. Counting calories can leave you starving. Low-carb diets can leave you dreaming of bowls of pasta. But counting macros is more of a happy medium between the other two.
You can eat whatever you want with a bend towards whole foods. And you focus on creating balance. However, counting macros allows you to still eat what you enjoy as long as you can keep your calories and macros level.
New understanding of eating
Once you let go of the tight restrictions, you may be surprised at this new way of keeping yourself healthy. This is an opportunity to seek new inspiration. It’s wrong to think of healthy eating as deprivation. Now you can look at dieting with fresh eyes.
Seek our recipes for healthy versions of your favorite comfort foods. Check out some online macrobiotic diet courses to learn about the yin/yang influence of food. Read up on Ayurveda to understand why certain foods might be more specifically suited to your body type.
Let go of restriction to give yourself an opportunity to create new relationships with food. Embrace this opportunity. Enjoy the process of learning. You may be thrilled with what you learn and how it transforms your diet perspective.
Although counting macros can be easy most of the time, it can create problems if you have the tendency to obsess. It’s hard to get your macros balance 100% perfect. And it takes some diligence to stick with your plan.
Things can become more challenging when you eat out, or have less knowledge about what’s in your food. And it takes some self control. That extra piece of bread from the bread basket can throw off your balance from the day.
There are other ways of eating that take less thought. So while many people enjoy the ability to eat more foods than on other plans, others may dislike the thought that goes into macros balance. This isn’t for those who dislike putting thought into what they eat.
You focus more on macros than good food
The main issue if you start to count your macros every day is that you can focus more on your macros than the quality of the food. . If you know you need extra carbs for the day you might reach for a packet of chips when really you should be eating a sweet potato
Make sure you don’t get so caught up in the numbers that you forget what great food tastes like. Or look at this as just a nutritional free for all. While no food is off-limits, the focus still needs to be on nourishing whole foods. High levels of processed foods will lead to weight gain.
Final words on counting macros
Counting macros can be a great habit. Balancing the foods you eat helps make sure you get everything you need for a healthy body and mind. This may be a new way of looking at eating for you. But it’s a good one.
Just make sure to never compromise on the quality of your food. There are plenty of helpful tips and tricks online. At first, you may want to use some macro counting recipes to make the process easier. But with time, this will get easier.
And maybe this holiday season, you’ll have a healthy relationship with all the delicious food as well as with yourself.
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