Counting Macros 101

I saw this really neat picture online the other day. It was this beautiful plate of chicken with fresh summer vegetables and a side of fruit, with the caption 'No Carbs!'
That's not entirely accurate. I know what they were going for, which was actually 'No Grains/Starch!' but it led me to start thinking about how many times I've heard someone say 'I didn't know that was a carb! I didn't know that was a starch.' I haven't had a single carb in 7 days'
 (That's not a thing, you can't not ((is this a double negative?) eat carbs for 7 days and still be functioning properly.) 'Hot dogs have protein right? I heard peanut butter and popcorn have protein in them! That count's right?'

The more you think about your food and how it fuels your body, and striving towards the body you want, it's not a bad idea to learn a little more about what your body needs.

Let's start with basics, what are Macros? Macro is short for macro nutrient. Marco (meaning large-scale) means these are the nutrients your body needs in large amounts. Micro nutrients (Root word Micro meaning small) are nutrients that your body needs in smaller quantities. Macro and Micro Nutrients are also essential nutrients, nutrients that the body can't create on it's own. There are 6 essential nutrients. The 3 essential nutrients that we need in large amounts are your carbs, fat, and protein (your macros). The last 3 essential nutrients that we need in smaller amounts are vitamins, minerals, and water. (Healthy eating)

I won't talk too much more about essential nutrients but you can check out healthy eating for more information. The reason I tell you that their essential is because their important to your body! That's why not getting enough can wreck you diet, your body, and your health. Feed your body what it needs. There's no victory in skipping meals. Okay, off my soap box on that. (Eating disorders are very real. I suffered from a few on and off. Luckily, none of my poor & damaging habits lasted long, if you need help check out National Eating Disorders) With that said, sometimes numbers freak people out ESPECIALLY if you suffer from an eating disorder, check with your doctor if counting your macro nutrients is right for you. Sometimes I get overwhelmed by the numbers and have to take a break. This is completely normal. Please check with your doctor though or another health care professional who can help you decide if counting your macros is right for you.

I personally have been tracking my macros for about a year now. I haven't been super dedicated to the point where I'm weighing my food, but I eye-ball serving sizes to reach my goals. If counting your macros is something you might want to start thinking about doing, having a scale will make things easier and will keep you strictly dedicated to falling within your exact count. As well as help you reach your goals.

Tonight I'm going over counting your macro nutrients. Okay class, what are your macro nutrients again? (Don't worry, not actually testing you...TA-DAH! Answers!)

Protein, Carbohydrates, and Fat.

I count my macro nutrients in grams...okay, My Fitness Pal counts my nutrients in grams.  There's another website called Calorie King which helps you convert your ounces of food into grams. In order to find how many grams you would need to achieve your specific goal head over to the Body Building Website for your specific numbers.

You figure out the ounces/grams by either eye-balling serving sizes or weighing it for an exact count. This is sort of where calorie counting goes out the window. Calorie counting is great when you are trying to get a feel for how much you actually intake, aka helps you to find out if you are over or under eating. Mrs Fitness when she first figured out my macros informed me, if your reaching your macro count then more than likely you are reaching your calorie count. (I can't be for certain if this is accurate, but she is a personal trainer.) Counting your macro grams helps you lose fat, build muscle, or maintain your current body figure. (Remember, muscle weighs more than fat. Sometimes, you can weigh more, but be thinner due to muscle content of your body)

(My apologies for the half naked ladies, but I wanted you to get an accurate picture of how muscle vs fat looks on the body, And remember, just because you have fat, doesn't make you ugly. You are beautiful. You are handsome. You are whole and perfect. You are just deciding to be healthier.)

I count my macro nutrients for a few reasons but the most important reason is for my PCOS. Losing belly fat will result in better heart health for me and keep in the low risk factor for heart disease. To keep my insulin levels low, to balance my hormones, and keep the testosterone hormones low in my PCOS body.

Body Building does a great job of helping you figure out if you should or shouldn't count your macros. If you're looking for a place to start, keep a food journal. Keeping a food journal will help you be more aware of what you are and aren't eating.

If this is still sounding like a foreign language or if you might be interested to taking the dive into start counting, check back tomorrow will I will further break down exactly what your macros are!