A while ago I made a post on here about Macros. I talked about what they are, how to calculate them, and how to figure out how many you need. If you want to check that out, click here!
I won’t go into too much detail about them right now, but to do quick re-cap, macros refer the the three macro nutrients found in food that our bodies need: protein, carbs, and fat. We need a good balance of the three for a healthy diet.
Now, there are a lot of diets out there that tell you to severely restrict one of these macros, but unless you have some health issue or you’re doing a severe cut for something like a body building competition, there’s no need to restrict any of these. Even body builders don’t restrict their diet for too long because they know it’s not sustainable.
Anyway, when I first learned about macros and studied them, it was one of those things that made me stop and say “Of course! That makes perfect sense!” My goals revolve around building muscle and cutting fat, so I need to base my diet around what is going to help me do that in a healthy, sustainable way.
There are several ways to calculate your macros, from apps, online calculators, to long formulas. I use this one from bobybuilding.com as a base. I’ve also used some of the formulas, so my numbers vary a bit between what the formula says and what the online calculator says. If you use the formulas, it’s a little easier to tweak your ratios. For a while I was doing a 40:30:30 ratio where 40% of my daily calories came from carbs, 30% from protein, 30% from fat. Now I’m doing a 40:40:20 ratio, where I get 40% from carbs, 40% from protein, and 20% from fat. It makes the planning a little tricky. I have to consume a lot of lean protein so I don’t get too much fat in my diet. (I’m pretty sure I included a formula in my previous macro post, so if you’re interested in that, check out my earlier post!)
Right now, my targets look like this:
Total daily calories: 1650
Total daily fat: 37grams (330 calories)
Total daily carbs: 165grams (660 calories)
Total daily protein: 165 grams (660 calories)
Some days this feels like a lot of food while other days it doesn’t seem like enough! To make things easier for me, I came up with a few different days worth of plans that I can trade out for a while. I’m planning on cutting up a bit before summer so I’m a little more shredded (because we all want to look great in the summer, right?!) I took a few pictures of one of my day’s plans. I’m following this plan right now for a few days. I don’t do a ton of meal prep, but when I do, I usually just do a few days worth at a time. So like for this plan I’m on right now, I’m going to follow it for about 4 days, which is about how much I have prepped. When those 4 days are up and my “prepped” food is gone, I’m going to follow one of these other plans for a few days! It makes it easier to eat the same thing for a few days, but I still switch it up enough where I don’t get too bored and frustrated.
I’m not one of those that has to follow this plan exactly. I had the meals planned out just to make things easier, but if I feel like eating chicken, broccoli, and rice for breakfast instead, that’s totally fine! The snacks I have here are things I can eat/drink through out the day or tack onto another meal. If I didn’t eat something one meal, I may eat it for a snack later or add it to another meal! For example, this morning I just had my oatmeal with a scoop of protein powder. Then I dropped the kids off at school, worked out, and then had the eggs later! I’m pretty flexible with it, as long as I get close to my targets for the day.
It takes a lot of work in the planning phase, but it really is worth it. I wanted to print off my meal plans a while ago so I could use them more like a check list, but we were having issues with Excel. (My husband made an awesome template for us that makes it easier to just plug in the foods we want!) I followed my plan as well as I could from memory, but I knew I wasn’t getting it totally right. This weekend I was finally able to print them off, and it’s so much easier now!
Whether you follow a macro-based diet or not, meal planning is a great way to make sure you stay on target. I’ve been keeping a food journal too, so I can look back and make sure I’m eating everything I need to. It’s been really helpful! I’m excited about the progress I’ve already seen the past couple of weeks, and I’m excited about where I’ll be in a couple months!!
P.S. Summer is much closer this side of Spring Break, so if you’re working on a summer body, keep going! If you’ve been putting it off, get to work! The gym was busier than normal today, and I think part of it is because people realized that summer is coming up real soon!