This is the lazy girls guide because I honestly don’t want to be thinking about macros all damn day. Do you? Maybe you do, but for me I’d rather have an efficient way to keep myself on track without going crazy over the exact numbers, you know? I want the results without the side dose of anxiety that goes with it. Feel me? So I found a way to track my macros and calories simultaneously that really works for me…and I think it can work for you too.
Ok, a little admission here: I do count calories.
I know we aren’t supposed to and its all the rage to say that we don’t and that we don’t care about calories, and that we only care about the quality of foods etc. But I do. Not because I feel like I need to or because I am trying to restrict my eating…but because I am just VERY aware of how many calories are in different foods.
When I was in my late teenage years I became obsessed with knowing what was in the foods I was eating, what their ingredients were and what their calories were. During that time, I knew how much of everything was in most of the foods that I ate….and I kept a running tally of calories in my head. Wasn’t the healthiest way to live my life, but I was honestly fascinated by it all.
Fast forward to now when I am way LESS restrictive with my eating and far from the obsessed late teen I was then….but I still count most of my calories, and not even on purpose. It’s like I have a funny little calculator ticker in my brain that just won’t turn off. I sort of keep a loose running tally in my head through the day, and honestly, I don’t mind it. It keeps me on track with my fitness and health goals and keeps me focused on making sure I eat enough through the day and don’t OVER indulge on other days.
So back when I was that slightly obsessed teenager, I cared about macros a little bit, but not nearly as much as I cared about calories. I mostly cared about the calorie number of a food and didn’t invest in the healthiest foods that were the best for my body (hello sugar laden fat free dressings and fro-yo filled with chemicals). NOW, I live and eat very differently, even though that weird little calculator is still going in the back of my head through the day.
I am now super interested in macronutrients and the specifics of the nutrition stats on food packaging. I focus on the calorie to carb, fiber, sugar, fat and protein ratio. If the stats on a product don’t look well balanced, I usually won’t eat it….usually! (everyone makes an exception every now and then right?!)
I think it is a good thing to be aware of your calorie intake, but also your macro intake, because you can’t really succeed with one and not the other. Being aware of your calories and macros will help you be able to figure out what you need to nourish and fuel your body properly. If you know your calorie count and macro count for the day, you may think twice about an extra glass of wine at night or a second serving of pasta etc. I have to say- little habits like that eventually really do add up.
So, the teenage me thought she was being health conscious and good to myself…but one thing I didn’t really pay attention to is this:
Not all calories are created equal.
NO. NO. NO
Let’s just say you are trying to lose weight….and maybe you are sticking to somewhere around 1,400 calories a day, K? Well, that doesn’t mean you should eat those calories however you please.
I mean, you could eat a chocolate muffin for breakfast, fries and ice cream for lunch and wine and cheese for dinner and still hit your 1,400 calorie a day goal. But that would be terrible for your body internally. But, you could technically still lose weight this way- ever hear of the Twinkie Diet Guy?
Well, other than being totally gross…if you ate this way, you would feel terrible and it wouldn’t be a sustainable way to live. You wouldn’t be able to build muscle, and your body wouldn’t be functioning anywhere close to full capacity. You may lose weight, but you will probably look flabby and out of shape- saggy butt and soft stomach. Forget intense workouts. Forget a busy day where you need to be productive. Not going to happen if you eat junk. You would be on a sugar rush and crash roller coaster ride, which is the most NOT FUN roller coaster ride that can ever exist. Your energy levels would suffer, your hormones will go haywire and your skin will probably start to look horrible.
Sugar wreaks havoc on your body- I write about it here!
So…would you rather eat small portions of absolute junk every day or big nutritious meals that make your body look and feel better? I would definitely go for number 2, hands down! Plus, more volume of food is a better decision in my book.
Clean eating and balanced macronutrient consumption is the way to go. You can treat yourself every now and then for sure- you need to- but keeping it clean will keep you healthy, lean and strong for the long haul.
The basics of clean eating ensure that you are eating a ton of fresh veggies and a balanced amount of protein, complex carbs (whole grains), plenty of fiber and healthy fats. These are your macronutrients I keep talking about.
Those bomb abs you want so bad? Clean eating and macronutrient counting will get you those.
I started really counting my macros a couple of months ago to see exactly what I was putting into my body. I know roughly where I was coming in calorically on a typical day but I had no idea if I was eating too many carbs or fats etc. SO typing my meals in to a food diary really helped me realize I needed to make some shifts. I don’t go absolutely bonkers with it- I’m not one of those crazy macro people YET- but I just like to know that I am eating within the areas of where I want to be. When I started doing it, I noticed I was eating too much sugar, too many carbs and not enough fats….so I made some changes and guess what? I feel SO good after making those subtle swaps! And it was easy to do! Plus, I still can drink wine, which is amazing- I just make room for it in my macros.
So, how do I do it? I mean it does sound like a lot of work, I know. But it’s not, I swear. I enter my food choices into a food diary app and make sure I am hitting my targeted macro percentages….
I use the “My Fitness Pal” app and it is super easy to use and customize…and it basically counts your macronutrient percentages for you! In a separate tab, the app breaks down where you are regarding macros every day, so you can adjust accordingly and know where your diet is lacking. It’s an easy introduction into macro balancing and can be SUPER helpful.
This little app is the reason I am calling this the Lazy Girls Guide, because it really does the work for you- it will tell you what it suggests for your current size and your personal goals, because everyone is different. When I started being more curious about all of this, I read A LOT online about what I should macro numbers I should be hitting, what I shouldn’t blah blah blah and I came to the conclusion that there were too many opinions out there and none of them were tailored to me. And I haven’t (yet) decided to go to a nutritionist to get a full analysis, so for the time being I am totally fine with the lazy girl way. Because this way…it really gets it done and I am seeing major results.
Another little thing: I have COMPLETELY shifted the timing in which I consume my macros on a day to day basis. So the combination of macro counting and shifting them to benefit my goals is giving me those great results I keep talking about. The macro shifting guidelines where given to me when I signed up for John Bentons fitness program, which is amazing and super simple to do anywhere, by the way! I’m all about the changes I have made and am super surprised by how easy they are to fit into my lifestyle.
So keep it green, lean and clean. And if you want to tidy up shop a little bit like I did, I highly suggest dabbling in the world of macronutrients! I know I am so happy I finally starting paying closer attention to them. And the cool thing is that once you get a handle on it, you don’t have to obsess over it daily- it will just become second nature to you. You will inherently just KNOW what to eat and what you are missing.