Today we will be going over what micros and macros are, and answering some common questions.
What is a micronutrient?
Micronutrients are vitamins and minerals found in your food. Things like vitamin C, zinc, iron, calcium, potassium etc. While these don't play a direct role in your weight loss, they do effect your hormones, and how you feel throughout each day. Ex: being deficient in iron may lead to anemia which would cause a whole array of problems on it's own.
Find your micronutrients in things like whole foods. When I say nutrient dense, I mean foods with nutrients: red meat, leafy veggies, beans, some dairy products, veggies, fruits.
What is a macronutrient?
There are 3 essential macronutrients: Protein, carbs and fat. You need each of these to just survive. Everything you eat is made up of one, or multiple of these.
Peanut butter: 14g of fat, 9g of carbs, 7g of protein. Meaning that while yes, PB does have protein, it's more so a source of fat! You wouldn't choose this as a main option for a protein or carb source.
Steak: 14g of fat, 23g of protein. So this would be an excellent option for your protein and fat intake in a balanced meal. You could make this a full meal by adding a cup or two veggies + a sweet potato.
So you see, everything you eat is made up of one or more macronutrients. Here are some common questions to macros:
What is counting macros?
Counting your macros means you have calculated the exact amount of protein, carbs and fat you need for the day. This number is either set a level to maintain your current weight, lose weight or gain weight. Essentially what happens is that you use an app like my fitness pal to track your macros. For example: If these were your macros (these are made up and should NOT be used, this an extreme example): 80g of fat//200g carbs//180g protein—each of your meals would be tracked in the app, making sure you don't exceed these numbers each day. THIS IS DIFFERENT THAN COUNTING CALORIES. With macros you are focused on the specific macronutrient, if you're hitting your macros—you are in turn hitting a specific daily amount of calories. But if you were only counting your calories, you could for example eat a mcflury and it may fit in your daily amount of calories, but it may exceed what the speicifc caluclation asks of your fat or carbs.
Does counting your macros work?
To a degree, yes. There is no 100% accurate calculation to determine ones macros, so each set of numbers you receive may be a bit off. Just because it works doesn't mean it's a sustainable way to reach goals though. Counting means that you have to be hyper aware of how much and what you're eating. It means you have to weigh everything that goes into your mouth. It is not easy, nor does it promote a sustainable approach to food freedom.
Can I eat junk and fill my macros?
Short answer, yes. Would you feel 100% and satisfied all of the time? NOPE. If a pop tart has 27g of carbs, 10g of fat and 8g of protein—it would "fit into your macros", so would a serving of oatmeal with PB being 27g of carbs, 7g protein and 14g fat. Your body knows simply that it's getting protein carbs and fat. However, because the pop tart is sugary, it'll be digesting quicker in the body leaving you hungrier much faster than the oatmeal.
The Pros and Cons:
- You learn about food, and can begin to identify how much a serving is.
- You learn how to manage portions
- You have to track everything, which some can find very annoying and very restrictive. Even with macro counting seemingly allowing you to eat whatever you want, being a slave to your phone is not only taking you away from life, it's not allowing you to make empowered decisions on your own when you're only focused about numbers.
- You begin to see food in numbers instead of fuel.
- You are more concerned with fitting into a set of numbers than making your own choices.
- You ARE dieting. Diets don't last long term, this is another bandaid.
Clearly you can tell by my answers that I am abasing counting macros. I have worked with dozens of women helping them learn how to count their macros, until I realized that it's just another glamorized approach to dieting. This approach is worse though because it truly does make it so you never want to not count because you aren't learning how to trust you body.
YES you should know what a protein/carb/fat is, but in order to obtain true food freedom–you must do the work to learn how to do that on your own.
I do not recommend any woman counting, I do recommend learning where your food comes from and learning what portions look like using your hand. Attached you'll find a document that lists what a protein, carb and fat are and where you can find them. DOWNLOAD HERE