I wanted to write a post about Macros because I know some people are not familiar with this subject. Macros (or macro-nutrients) are fats, protein, and carbs. Here is an article by Bodybuilding that explains macros pretty well: To Macro or Not. Whether you decide to Macro or not depends on your lifestyle. Many bodybuilders and fitness competitors use this approach frequently. I have counted macros in the past, but haven't done so for a while. There really isn't a one size fits all to the amount of each macro nutrient you need. It's basically trial and error to see what works best for you and what ratio your body responds best to. Personally, I find counting macros useful if you are trying to lose those couple stubborn pounds.
I like to challenge myself every once in awhile and see what I am actually consuming. For this reason, I have decided to start tracking my macros for a couple weeks starting next Monday. I like to use the app called "Lose It" to help me keep track. I am also going to try out calorie cycling while counting my macros. I like to try out different methods to keep you up to date and knowledgeable about different approached to eating. **This is by no means an approach to keep up long term. I think it is unhealthy to do so.
So now you are probably wondering what calorie cycling is? Well, I have researched the term for you. Here is another article by Bodybuilding: What you Need to Know About Calorie Cycling . To sum it up, calorie cycling is an approach to eating where you cycle higher calorie days with lower calorie days. When you only eat low calories, your body goes into starvation mode and you will hold onto everything you consume. Number one, this is not healthy because you are not getting all the nutrients your body needs. Number two, who the heck wants to eat low calories every single day? That would be so miserable and unhealthy. You would have no energy. So by cycling in high calorie days, you will jump your metabolism and keep your body guessing. No one wants a slow metabolism. Once again, I cannot state this enough... I do not suggest this for a long term approach to eating. It can be used for a short term approach to help someone lose those last few stubborn pounds, but use it with caution. The article by bodybuilding gives you suggestions to follow for calorie cycling. If I were to follow a plan like this, this is what my week would look like:
Monday- higher calorie
Thursday- lower calorie
Here is what a higher calorie day would look like FOR ME (everyone will be different):
Breakfast: 1 Apple, 1 egg, 2/3 c egg whites, 2 T green onion, 1/4 t coconut oil, 1 c homemade unsweetened but milk, cold brew coffee
Lunch: 1 1/2 c mashes cauliflower, 1/4 t coconut oil, 1 clove garlic, 2 T green onion, 4 oz grilled chicken breast
Dinner: 1/2 c sweet potatoes, 1/4 c jicama, 4 oz grilled chicken breast
Snack 1: banana pancakes ( 1 banana, 2 eggs, 1/4 t coconut oil
Snack 2: 4 T hemp protein powder, 1/2 banana, 1 serving spirulina (blend with water)
Snack 3: 1/3 c dry roasted edamame
Lower calorie day:
Breakfast: 1/2 Apple, 3/4 c egg whites, 2 T green onion, 1/4 t coconut oil
Lunch: 1 1/2 c mashed cauliflower, 1/4 t coconut oil, 4 oz grilled chicken breast, 1 clove garlic, 2 T green onion
Dinner: 4 oz grilled chicken breast, 1/2 c sweet potatoes, 1/4 c jicama
Snack 1: banana pancakes ( 2 eggs, 1 banana, 1/4 t coconut oil)
Snack 2: 4 T hemp protein powder, 1 serving spirulina, 1/4 banana, blended with water
The bodybuilding article suggests 2 weeks lower calorie, followed by 2 weeks higher calorie days. I believe I could not stick to a plan like this because I like to have energy during the days. It all goes back to what works best for you and your lifestyle. While calorie cycling, you are still suppose to keep track of macros.
Basically, my take away message from this article is there is not a one size fits all approach to eating. I love the paleo lifestyle and whole30 approach to eating, but not everyone may like that. Some like calorie cycling and tracking macros. I like to try everything so I know what works best for me!
Has anyone tried either of these approaches? Have they worked for you? Do you have any suggestions for readers? Comment below and let me know what you think!
An update on my personal progress: I like to track my progress by using pictures. I think that scale isn't a great measure of progress because it's just a number. I care more about how I feel in my body. My legs are starting to make some gains and my abs are starting to show through a little more. I'm hoping my abs peak through a little more by tracking my macros for a few weeks.
What's your favorite way to track your progress?
P.S. I always feel vulnerable when I post pictures of my stomach, but I also think it helps keep me accountable. This little community I have is awesome because it helps me stay motivated and has helped me develop a healthier body image.
Let me know if you have any questions or suggestions about things I should post about!