I hope this comes as no surprise, but there are no miracle weight loss solutions out there—if you’re looking for a quick fix, a Macro Diet isn’t for you.
You can crash diet your butt off (literally) but I can almost guarantee that as fast as you lost that weight, it will come back just as quickly (and with a vengeance).
If you’re like me, you’re here because you want to learn how to sustain a healthy diet and still be able to eat the foods you love. I mean, c’mon, who doesn’t want to look good naked WHILE eating a donut.
The key to a Macro dieting lifestyle is knowing what foods you’re eating and how they fit into your macros. The hardest (and it’s really not hard) is tracking what you eat. I know, I know, but Breeeee, “I don’t have the time to track what I eat”.
Well, I call bullshit.
You have the time, you just don’t have the desire. If you don’t have three minutes to input your food BEFORE you eat it, then you should probably stop reading now.
Nothing good in life will come served on a silver platter…unless it’s those little weenies. Those little guys are delicious.
0. because no matter what, you need this
If you want to get to know the app, check out our blog post on MyFitnessPal 101.
1. Learn what macros are
It’s no surprise that protein is going to play a crucial role in your diet. After all, humans are mostly protein (true story) . Protein is used by the body to build, well, ALL THE GOOD THINGS: better skin, stronger hair, sturdier bones, and bigger muscles.
“It’s not me, it’s you.”
Ditching the carbs is one of the most common weight-loss tactics out there, but I hate to tell you, you’re doing it wrong. The same way eating only lean protein won’t instantly give you a toned body, eating carbs will not turn you into a loaf of bread—all thick and fluffy-like. When you completely remove nutrients from your diet the chances are you will see quick (body shocking) results, but once you introduce them back, you’ll do a 190º. Yeah, a 190. It’s where you turn so far around you actually end up worse than you started.
The issue a lot of us struggle with is that modern day Americans eat far too many carbs in one meal, and the wrong kind at that. Good carbs are ones that our bodies absorb slowly and avoid spikes in blood sugar—whole grains, veggies, fruits, etc. Bad carbs that spike our blood sugar and cause us to crash are typically seen as processed or refined goods—white bread, white rice, and sour patch kids (though I still indulge here and there, flexible dieting for the win). All that sugar you’re eating—because there is sugar in most American-made foods—that’s also breaking down to the worse kind of sugar for your system.
Our brain only functions on glucose, and carbs break down into glucose. Learn which carbs are good, and which are bad. Don’t be a dummy.
Listen, we need fats to live. No, but really, you need fat in your diet. Good Fat is a source of energy—it transports vitamins through your body, and is needed for maintaining healthy skin. Everything in your diet is about balance, and finding the right balance of fat is no different.
The issue many of us face is that we don’t know exactly how much fat we’re actually taking in, and since fats contain the most calories per gram, you can overeat quickly. Once we start paying closer attention to the amount we’re taking in, we can make changes in our eating habits to take in the right kinds of fats, and avoid the bad ones.
Quick tip: stay (far) away from trans fat. IN FACT, the FDA determined that partially hydrogenated oils aren’t recognized as safe in human food.
Check out this one page cheat sheet we put together!
You are not fat,
you have fat.
You also have fingernails,
you are not a fingernail.
2. Calculate your macros
When it comes down to it, macro dieting IS, in fact, counting calories. Those calories are just broken down into your three macronutrients so it becomes easier to track and you can monitor the balance between the three.
- Carbs = 4 calories/gram
- Protein = 4 calories/gram
- Fat = 9 calories/gram
Many people think that figuring out how many grams of each macro they need to eat per day is some elaborate scientific formula that has to be done for them, but it’s really easy to figure out your macros in under 5 minutes. You can use IIFYM to calculate yours easily. (Hint: make sure you’re being very honest about your level of exercise and days/duration, if you’re in our Humankind program, these should be active/5/difficult).
Once you know the amount of each macro you should be eating per day, the next step is entering those goals into MyFitnessPal so you can hit your numbers each day. At first, this is going to feel like eating a lot more than you might be accustom to, but you have to trust the process and listen to your body.
By looking at the label on any food and checking the Carbs, Protein and Fat, you can quickly see if they fit in your numbers for the day:
Knowing when to recalculate based on your results is the trickier part. Macro dieting is different for everyone. Some will excel by eating more of one thing than another, others will need to adjust their numbers based on how their body reacts. A basic rule of thumb is the 40/35/25 rule. Your diet should consist of (roughly) 40% carbs, 35% protein, and 25% fats, and you should get 60% of all your macros from clean foods (aka most things on the outer ring of the grocery store).
Tracking what you eat is KEY ? to lasting success.
3. Eat your macros
The hardest part of any dieting lifestyle isn’t learning about it. Anyone with an internet connection and a phone these days can figure out what a macro diet IS, but knowing HOW to eat is the toughest part.
If you’re the type that likes things done for you, there are a lot of trainers and coaches out there who will help you build an entire meal plan that is catered to your macros. But if you’re the go-getter type and want to learn for yourself, I have a free e-book you can download that gives you a look at my grocery list of clean and cleanish food to help you get started.
Having an idea of what you’re going to get at the store is the first step, the next is turning it into an Insta-worthy meal. Here are a few of my favorite meals (keep an eye out for the full recipes coming soon):
- Turkey burgers with a whole wheat thin bun, avocado, tomato, spinach, and mustard
- Overnight oats
- Ground turkey meat (browned on the stove), a small amount of low sodium taco seasoning, egg whites, topped with fresh pico salsa
- Whole grain french toast made with egg whites, stevia, and chia seeds
Tips + Tricks
- Make sure to hit your RDA of fiber for the day
- Track everything
- Give yourself time to adjust and get into a flow
- Adjust your macros when necessary
- Listen to your body
- Eat often
- Limit alcohol
This lifestyle is about balance and not thinking of food as a reward or punishment. Think of what you eat as fuel, and hitting your macros each day is the finish line.
Now that you have the basics down, you should read about 10 tips I learned while being a Flexible Dieter.