Here’s the thing, before I started counting macros I thought I looked good. Ok, maybe I had 5ish pounds to lose, but I was confident in my skin. A year later, I still think I look good and am still confident in my own skin. The difference — I FEEL better and my strength/performance has improved tenfold among a number of other things such as better skin, sleep, inflammation, recovery etc. Before we dive into all things macros let’s look at some progress pictures because we all love a good before and after photo.
|Day 1(135) / 6 Months(116) / 1 Year (120)
If I thought I looked good and was confident in my skin why did I start counting Macros? Simple, I wanted to perform better in the gym and if it meant dropping a few pounds then I figured why not give it a try. I had a number of friends doing it too so I thought it would be easier to go through the process with others. Never in my wildest dreams did I think I would drop the weight I did.
EMBRACING THE PROCESS
In life, there are a lot of things that suck and you don’t want to do them, but you have too. That’s how I looked at the cutting phase. It straight up sucked, but I reminded myself I have to trust the process just like I approach my training. Sometimes it’s hard to trust the person you’re paying knows what they are doing, but I trusted him. We had an open line of communication and I felt like he never misled me. The cutting phase was 90% mental for me. I had to relearn how to eat all the foods I loved. I also cut out drinking (unless it’s a special occasion) because it wasn’t beneficial to my end goal.
THE 3 PHASES I EXPERIENCED COUNTING MACROS
When “cutting,” you are eating at a calorie deficit. Meaning you’re taking in less energy (aka food/fuel) than you’re expending. The cutting phase is also known as a deficit. It’s when you’re lowering (aka, cutting) the grams of macros you’re consuming. This usually happens on a weekly basis and can be anywhere from 2-5 grams of carbohydrates and/or fats a week.
Something that’s misunderstood about losing weight is that you have to lower your caloric intake by A LOT to see results. When in fact the SLOW AND STEADY approach will lead to the greatest long-term success. The goal of eating at a deficit should always be to eat as much as possible while still losing weight (i.e., all the veggies)!
We cut for nearly 15 weeks before I mentally couldn’t cut anymore. I was also happy with my results. At that point, we started to rebuild.
The opposite of cutting. You’re slowing adding in more food. You’re trying to reach the “maintenance phase.” You feel amazing because you’re able to add some fun food back in, but the key is to not go crazy with those fun foods.
The light at the end of the end of the tunnel! Eating at maintenance means you’re in ENERGY BALANCE. You’re matching calories in and calories out so that your weight remains the same!
Aside from eating more the best part about maintenance is just because you’re staying the same weight doesn’t mean your body composition isn’t changing. If you’re lifting those weights (building muscle) and being consistent with your nutrition (fueling muscle growth), you can see an incredible transformation in maintenance.
While the process might be slower when in maintenance it is happening — no doubt! The other plus to being in maintenance? Fueling for performance! To perform your best, you want to fuel your body with optimal energy. Being in a calorie deficit, while a necessary evil, might leave you feeling a tad more exhausted than usual after workouts or training. That’s why when in a cut, they say nutrition choice is important to help your body recovery better! Because food is fuel.
OVERALL THOUGHT ON COUNTING MACROS
While it was tedious, overwhelming and downright frustrating at times I freaking LOVE it. It’s the longest I’ve stuck with anything because it’s sustainable! Yes, it’s something you can work with for the rest of your life. Eventually, I’ll segway into intuitive eating, but macros gave me the foundation to do so. How? It showed me what food is actually made of and what I need to fuel my body without depriving myself of things I love. It taught me what moderation really is and that’s not a 1,200 calorie diet, meal replacements, juice cleanses, etc.
Honestly, I would recommend everyone count macros for at least a month. You would be so surprised at what you’re eating too much or little of. Knowledge is power and food is fuel.
Working with a StrongerU coach was key to being able to eventually count on my own, increase my numbers without fear, and find food freedom.
Counting macros will only work when you are ready. You have to be honest with yourself, your numbers and your coach. Until then you’re just spinning the diet wheel. Yes, we all have off days, but consistency is key.
Do you count macros?