What the Heck are Macro-nutrients?


Fitness / Thursday, May 5th, 2016

what are macro nutrients?

The Fitness “Loop”

I’ve been out of the fitness loop since I got pregnant basically. I just stopped all activity because of severe morning sickness. I’m not proud of it. The not exercising for nearly 3 full years thing. Not the severe morning sickness.. oh no.  A woman earns her right to claim morning sickness as a triumph in the event of bringing a person into the world.

But the exercise. It took forever to drop the pregnancy weight. Forever. And when I did drop it I was skinny fat. Skinny, but fat. As in not having any muscle because I was on what you call the “Stress Diet.” Not one I recommend. You can’t go looking for that stress in life, it’ll find you and eat you up from the inside out. Le Sigh.

So I was skinny fat, and as my stress began to come under control and become manageable by me I started to eat. And eat. AND eat. I gained weight and became bloated and… you can scroll my instagram and see points where my weight drops and picks up. I hated the feeling, but I hadn’t exercised or felt good in so long I didn’t know what to do to fix that.

Well, flash forward to today and here we are, well on my fitness journey. And feeling great! I have energy, look forward to my workouts and spend tons of outdoor time with the Bean. My confidence is back and I am ready to jump back into the fitness world and not feel like a complete noob.

The Fitness World

The fitness world, a network of people who stay active, all around the world, and can find connection with other active people by way of fitness. In other words you can make friends and talk to strangers about getting fit and its okay to swap fitness tips and things we’ve learned about nutrition. Is anyone you talk to certified to give you information?

Probably not. I’m not…yet. But I’ll get there soon enough, as I said, I’m just getting back into the fitness world. And this world has this little “loop” that if you’re in you’re in. And if you’re out, you’re lost, like me.

So much information about the body, nutrition and how to take care of ourselves is put out there everyday. Thanks to the wonders of the internet it is easier to access this information than ever before. Whether its the latest super food, exercise program or fitness model making headlines, the fitness community will be talking about it. I am slowly but surely sneaking my way into the loop and the word Macro-nutrients had been thrown out there and I pulled a blank. What the heck are macro-nutrients?

 

Macro-Nutrients

After a little research I realized one thing. Everyone knows what a macro-nutrient is. We just didn’t know it had the name of macro-nutrient, or Macro(s). Drum roll please…..

Macros are Carbs, Proteins and Fats. Makes the whole thing seem less intimidating to learn about  now, doesn’t it?

Okay, it’s a bit more than just Carbs, proteins and fats. That is over simplifying it. But that is essentially what we are dealing with here. Macro-nutrients is all about Carbs, proteins and fats and how those nutrients provide energy for our body. Let’s break this down a bit.

Macro means large. Nutrients are the carbs, protein and fat. Together we got macro-nutrients. Cool, we’re on the same page? Moving forward.

Each nutrient provides a set amount of calories for you to thrive off of. Grabbing the closest food container to me…. Extra Virgin Olive Oil. The nutrition facts say there are 9 grams of fat. That means there is 81 calories. Checking the actual calorie listed on the label and it says 80 calories, so it’s a spot on method to calculate your calorie intake. And that is basically what you are doing.

Counting macro-nutrients, your large nutrients, to ensure your body is getting the proper proportion of fat, protein and carbs in your diet. As most people go on diets and fail because they are restricting access to certain foods, counting your macros means eating almost whatever you want. Even alcohol can be counted as a macro.

macro nutirents calories

So, you’re counting your macros now, now what? Now you pick your calorie intake plan. This is where things can go horribly wrong. Depending on your height, weight and physical activity level, the nutrition pyramid tells me I should eat between 1600-2000 calories a day.

If I were “dieting” I’d be eating anywhere between 1200-1600 calories a day. And If I was starving myself (as I have unfortunately dealt with those kinds of issues, so I would know) I’d eat anywhere between 0-1200 calories a day. That’s right, I’d consider less than 1200 calories as starving yourself as you ARE starving yourself.

— Did you know that you body literally burns calories just by living? Sleeping burns calories. Watching TV burns calories. Eating food burns calories. If you aren’t providing sufficient amounts of energy to your body to survive doing the most basic activities we mostly-sedentary humans have become accustomed to, then how do you expect to survive and live a long and happy life?

 

The Plans and What I Would Do

The plan is fairly simple for myself as I am transitioning to a vegetarian and am changing my diet to less protein based and more carbohydrate based. But for you, consider how much protein you need in your diet and adjust accordingly, same with fat.

 My percentage intake plan would be 40/50/10. Which means my diet would consist of 40% protein, 50% carbs, and 10% fat. You could also try 40/40/20 to start.

If I was going off a 2000 calorie diet plan combined with this percentage plan I’d be eating about 800 calories of protein, 900 calories of carbs and 300 calories of fat. That is a considerable amount of food in each category to keep you full. But I’m not that restrictive. I’ll eat until I’m full, which may mean more or less than 2000 calories a day.

Make it EASIER!!!

It can be easy to count your macros if you have your smartphone with you. Grab a Macro-counting app like My Macros + or My Fitness Pal. I’ve used My Fitness Pal in the past and recommend it to keep track of exercise and food intake. It’s pretty great, but I haven’t ever counted my macros. With these apps (and many others) you can monitor your macro intake easily.

It is extremely useful to track your macros to not only keep on top of it every day, but to be able to look back and modify your plan if you’re not seeing results you were wanting to see.

I suggest giving yourself a 10% rule I read about somewhere (lost the link, sorry). The 10% rule is where you allow yourself some leniency to adjust or diet percentage 10% on any given day. But, be aware, this could slow down any progress if you’re serious about tracking your macros.

 

In conclusion

So that is what I have learned about Macro-nutrients so far. I feel like it is a lot of information, but also it isn’t really that much. At least I got my foot in the loop again and I can hold a conversation (or at least look like I know what is going on) the next time I am talking fitness and the topic of macros gets brought up.

I might not be counting my macros yet, but I’m just not there yet on my fitness journey. At least now I am prepared for that step when I am ready. Let me know what macro counting plan you go with. There is so much more to learn, Le Sigh, we’ll get there. Macros, they’re what we’re talking about in our RAD house today. And hopefully I can learn more about them tomorrow.


http://www.mckinley.illinois.edu/handouts/macronutrients.htm

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