Nutrition trends change as often as fashion trends; it can be hard to keep up! The current buzz in the fitness world is Macros. Many people are claiming that you can eat whatever you want if it fits within your macros. Although it is a little more complex than that, diet doesn’t have to be as complicated as some make it out to be. While proper nutrition is enormously important, it doesn’t need to require so much of us. Ellyn Satter said it best, “Nutrition should take up some of your time and attention, but keep its place as only one important area of your life.”
If you don’t know what Macros are, here’s a little explanation. Macronutrients or “macros” are the three main sources of energy: carbohydrate (4 calories per gram), protein (4 calories per gram), and fat (9 calories per gram). Contrary to popular belief, you need to know how many calories your body requires to meet your goals whether it’s fat loss, muscle build, or both. I hear people say all the time say, “I’m not counting calories. I’m counting macros.” But, you are. Those macros are coming from somewhere or they are totaling a certain number of calories. The first step is to figure out how much protein you need. Typically, one gram per pound of body weight is recommended. From there, you figure out how many grams of carbohydrate and fat. Once you know your allotted grams of each macronutrient, you weigh and track your food.
Three Things You Need to Know About Macros:
- It is not a new concept. But, it is the cool “craze” to call it that. Your diet should be a good ratio of carbohydrate, protein, and fat. Balancing macronutrients has always been the center of building a meal plan. Protein is essential for muscle build and repair, and takes much more planning to get enough of it in than carbohydrate or fat. Carbohydrates are also important for muscle build and energy to preform intense workouts. While fat is included, sometimes it doesn’t seem high enough. To lean out, fat must be less. For those trying to build muscle, fat has less importance. Some individuals need more fat in their diet. Enough fat is essential for our brains, hair, skin, nails and hormone regulation. Every single cell in our body is lined with fat. I strongly feel that at least 30% of your caloric needs should come from fat.
2. You do not need to weigh your food. Certainly, we tend to overestimate how much we are eating. Portion control is the number one factor when it comes to losing weight (ever heard of Brian Wansink? Love him). However, we do not need to put every single item of food on a scale. Brecke and I both feel strongly that our young daughters do not need to see us weighing our food. I have experience with disordered eating and I am deeply passionate about this subject. Weighing your food can affect your relationship with food and brain chemistry. Plus, it takes so much time. I know it’s important to set goals and achieve them. But, I also know without a doubt that you can still reach a healthy weight, get stronger, get leaner, and build muscle without weighing your food. Each of our meal plans use our Portion Size guide and we have helped countless people achieve their goals without ever weighing honey. How does that work anyway? For example, a serving of fruit is the size of your fist. You can tell just by looking at a Honeycrisp Apple that it is twice the size of your fist. Therefore, that would equal two servings of fruit (roughly 30 grams of carbohydrate).
3. It still takes a lot of work. Many macro’s enthusiasts claim that they have all this freedom. I believe that stems from the freedom that no food is off limits. I am so happy for them. But, it is still taking up a good portion of their time and attention. To plan, measure, weigh, calculate, and track day in and day out is a lot of work! Sure, it may become a habit. But, could it also be true that it has become so encompassing that normal eating has been forgotten? Is there guilt or anxiety when macro goals aren’t hit? When is the body you have right now good enough?
You cannot overestimate portion sizes and tracking your food can be very eye-opening. I am not against that. For a lot of people, macros are very daunting and I just want people to understand that balanced eating doesn’t have to be so complicated or time consuming. Every nutrition trend has pros and cons. We can take away something beneficial from each. In the end, people should do what makes them happy. These are just three things to consider and hopefully provide a little perspective.
Much Love, Dev