If you’re a regular reader of my blog, you know I’ve been on a macro counting/ intermittent fasting diet lifestyle for the past month. I’ve lost 9lbs with little effort and I feel healthier! It’s a great feeling to put on clothes from the closet that now fit again!
Of all the diets I’ve been on in my life, this one has been the easiest and the most sustainable for the future. In this post, I will go into more detail about what I’ve been doing to give you a little push if you’ve been thinking about getting healthy.
With any goal we set, the key to success is to enjoy the process. In dieting, the reason I fail is when I feel deprived! If I’m uncomfortable with hunger or having cravings for foods I want but can’t have, likely I’ll will cave and then give up.
The Main Reasons My Macro Life is Sustainable
1) My body has been trained to eat less carbs/sugar which has kept my hunger and cravings at bay.
2) Eating within an 8 hour window with most of my day’s food during dinnertime allows me to eat what I want (generally.)
3) Due to COVID, I am not tempted to eat out or eat socially so I’m more in control of my meals.
Of the points above, I’m most amazed at how my body (once trained to eat less carbs and sugar,) no longer craves it. Also, I now rarely get hungry before 1pm! And many days I don’t get hungry until after 3pm. It sounds crazy but this is what happened for me. It takes a few weeks for our bodies to adjust, but once it does, this diet is no big deal. It’s fascinating!
This is just a fancy term for your diet’s allocation of Carbs/Protein/Fat grams you will set yourself to eat each day.
In the past, when I’d limit my calories, I didn’t pay attention to the ratio of my macronutrients. Often times, I ate 80% carbs because that’s my favorite type of macronutrient! But this won’t work because our blood sugar will be off balance and tell us we want more. Also, dieting without factoring in our nutrients causes imbalance in the minerals and vitamins our bodies need to be healthy.
Per the NIH, typical macronutrient recommendations are as follows:
- Carbs: 45–65% of total calories
- Fats: 20–35% of total calories
- Proteins: 10–35% of total calories
These recommendations will vary based on our specific needs.
Track Your Macros and Calorie Intake
The most convenient way to track macros may be through an app like MyFitnessPal. The program will calculate your daily calorie goals based on your current and goal weight, your activity level, and your age. My daily calorie goal for my age (47) and with a goal of 2 lbs a week is 1200. Not a lot! I add calories on days I exercise. A note- 1lb loss a week will be easier to achieve because you’ll get about 500 more calories per day.
Here’s an example of how to calculate macronutrients for a 1200-calorie diet consisting of 35% carbs, 30% protein and 35% fat. I use My Fitness Pal premium (I am in no way affiliated with them) which allows me to set a Macro Diet based on the ratios I want. I picked these ratios by trial and error, aiming for a high protein diet.
- 4 calories per gram
- 35% of 1200 calories = 420 calories of carbs per day
- Total grams of carbs allowed per day = 420/4 = 105 grams
- 4 calories per gram
- 30% of 1200 calories = 360 calories of protein per day
- Total grams of protein allowed per day = 360/4 = 90 grams
- 9 calories per gram
- 35% of 2,000 calories = 420 calories of protein per day
- Total grams of fat allowed per day = 420/9 = 47 grams
My advice here: Start with your goal of protein grams each day and back into your carbs & fat afterwards. For many people, 20% of daily calories in protein is a good start. I am shooting to get leaner and I’m pretty active, so I need more protein in my diet to achieve my goals.
I have to say, it’s tough to consume 90 grams of protein a day! Many days I don’t hit my target, but just tracking it helps me shoot to meet my 30% protein goal.
This part isn’t necessary to combine with macro counting. But for me, it helps tremendously! After finding that when I ate through the whole day vs limiting myself within an 8 hour window, it was virtually impossible to keep within my 1200 calories, I tried intermittent fasting.
I have found that eating most of my day’s calories for dinner allows me more freedom in my choices and the ability to enjoy larger portions. Until you try intermittent fasting for at least 2-3 weeks, it won’t make sense because it seems like we’d be starving ourselves.
There’s a whole scientific explanation for why we aren’t hungry after we train our bodies due to hormones/blood sugar levels/ etc. which I am not qualified to write about in detail. But it works. Just try it and see for yourself!
I am still running 4-6 miles, three days a week. I’ve been doing this forever, even when I was gaining weight! Running is my therapy. It helps me clear my head, release anxiety, and ignites my creative ideas. Read my post if you’d like to start running.
And, we recently jumped on the Peloton wagon and will get our bike in September! My goal is to bike on the days I don’t run, but we shall see. My husband is excited to start biking for his cardio.
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Final note, my goal to drink less alcohol hasn’t been going well. But my goal to drink more water has! For now, I’m considering this a “wash.” Pun intended… Ha! Stay well, and keep living! We can always work to be better.