Sunday, June 1, 2014

What the Heck are Macros?

I remember sitting on my computer in June of 2013, thinking to myself, "What the heck are Macros?" At that point in my life, I was at my heaviest. I was 240.2 pounds, and hearing people talk about macros, and IIFYM, and percentages freaked me out. I've been there, but I swear to you that it really isnt as scary as it seems.

Your Macros are basically just categories. All of the food you eat, fits into these categories. Protein, Carbohydrates, Fats, Sodium, etc, are all Macros. A slice of cheese has about 5 grams of fat, 1 gram of carbs, and maybe 5 grams of protein. See how one food has individual categories?  Your body needs a healthy balance of all of these macros. How can you lose weight and be healthy if you eat 1500 calories of pure sugar? That's pretty silly, right? This is why people track their macros.

Each body type has its own needs. My body for example, (in a weight loss state, not a maintenance state) functions best with 1500 calories a day. (I am a woman and need less calories than a man does naturally, and these numbers depend on your workout intensity as well.) So out of 1500 calories, 35% of those calories are carbohydrates. That is the sweet spot for my body, but some people need more. These are your percentages. I have 40% of my daily calories reserved for protein. this leaves 25% left for fats.

My Fitness Pal and Macros: If you have an account with myfitnesspal, you can track your macros! This is the app I use daily to make sure I am on track. If you are on the mobile app, you can click menu in the top left corner and click on "goals." (if you are on a computer, goals is under the button that says "my home"). From goals, you want to scroll down to where you see the calories that MFP has set for you. You should adjust your calories first, (I recommend staying around 1500 for women and 1800 for men.) You are welcome to use my percentages and numbers above as you enter the percentages below the calories and adjust them as you see progress if needed. Save the changes and restart the app to refresh it. The app will automatically convert your percentages into grams for you. All you have to do now from our phone to track your macros, is click on the left menu icon, and click "nutrition" (if youre on the computer click on "food"). You will see where your macros are listed on the left, and on the top it will show you your goal for the day in each category, and how many you have used, and how many you have left. This is a great tool!! Pre-plan your day, and then check to see where your macros are! :)

Tracking Macros definitely takes commitment, but I can assure you, it is not time consuming though it sounds like it. It took about a week to get used to it, and then it was second nature to do it. It takes me 5 minutes in the morning to plan out what I will eat for the day and make sure it fits into my macros. From there, I dont have to worry about food. I eat what I planned out, and I lose weight. If I start to stall out on weight loss, I look over my macro percentages and make minor adjustments as needed. When you're ready, youre ready. I hope this helps to alleviate some confusion or questions. This is to my knowledge, the HEALTHIEST way to lose weight, because you actually focus on each nutrient individually before looking at calories as a whole.

My Grocery List For Fat Loss!

So I get asked all the time what sorts of foods I eat to have lost so much weight. I decided it was time I posted a HUGE list of everything I have bought so that you all can pick through it and decide if these work for you! These foods are all able to be bought in person, and none require special ordering online. I have not listed certain products that require online ordering.

Fats: (though some of these are also protein)
Extra Light Flavor Olive Oil (you can do regular too, I just like the lighter flavor)
Provolone Cheese
Swiss Cheese
Cheese sticks
Mozzarella Cheese (I really like cheese, ok?)
Butter (Sounds too good to be true right? Trust me!)
Heavy Whipping Cream

Protein: (Natural meats and my FAVORITE protein powders included)
Ground turkey
Chicken thighs
Chicken Breasts
Pork Chops
Cottage Cheese (dont worry about the fat percentage, you NEED fats to survive.)
Canned Tuna
Salmon Fillets Frozen or Fresh
Tilapia Fillets Frozen or Fresh
Natures Purest ZERO Carb Isopure protein powder (GNC) in banana creme, mint chocolate, etc
QUEST Bars, Cookie dough flavor and cookies and cream flavor ( or GNC or Commissary)
Pure Protein ready to drink cans, banana creme flavor (Possibly GNC, I bought at the commissary)
Adkins dark chocolate Royale protein shakes, ready to drink
EAS Carb Smart Ready to Drink shakes (there is also a 100 calorie sugar free version)
Beef Jerky (Doesn't this rock?)
Imitation crab meat, flaky style
Morning Star Veggie Patties - Grillers original flavor
PB2 (If you're unsure what this is, google it. it's peanut butter, but pressed into powder form. amazing)
Egg whites in the carton

Carbs: (only 20% of my entire daily calorie intake is carbs, so I may eat 1 or 2 of these a day.)
Mission Whole Grain tortillas (the ones that say 3 grams net carbs)
Plain instant oatmeal (it gets flavored later, no worries)
Brown Rice (which I'll be honest, I dont eat often.)
Cream of Wheat (the plain kind, not the chocolate kind haha)
Black Beans (also a protein, lots of foods provide dual nutrients like that)

Carbs come from veggies too, so load up on ANY AND ALL veggies you want. I eat a ton of Cauliflower, Broccoli, and even certain canned stuff like Rotel (chili's and tomatoes all diced up in a can).

Misc stuff that is hard to categorize:
Almond milk - UNSWEETENED vanilla flavor
Seasonings and Flavor Extracts (But choose ones without added sugars, those carbs will haunt you!)
Buffalo Sauce (choose a carb-free sauce, you are already getting carbs elsewhere)
Stevia packets (the sweetener that helps with those plain oatmeal packets)
Food Scale (like $20, and trust me, its way easier than guessing! Accuracy is key right?)

I'm sure I'm forgetting lots of things that I have used in this process successfully, but this is a start. Remember, this is not a one-time shopping list, this is foods I have bought and used over the last YEAR that I can recommend when youre unsure where to start. Keep an eye out for the coming blog on how to USE these foods to shed your pounds. :) Happy shopping my friends!!