I wanted to jot down a couple more thoughts about the macro tracking stuff!
1) Eating the same foods frequently makes macro tracking much easier. (I think I said this already recently.)
2) The hardest part isn’t actually getting in all that protein, it’s getting in all that protein without going over on carbs or fats (and therefore calories). I don’t actually mind eating a lot of protein, but I don’t want to eat ONLY protein. My macros feel quite generous compared to other times I’ve “dieted”, however. I can have 160 carbs and 65 fats. This is quite a lot. It’s not that I run out of carbs and fats, exactly, it’s that sometimes I may be short on protein, which = calories! So by the time I add in those additional protein sources to hit my calorie/ protein goal, I sometimes then start to run out of space for more carb/fat calories.
Emma from this program has said though that she actually finds people can really be just as successful without worrying about the specific carbs/fats too much. She says it’s really fine to: primarily a) stay under your calorie goal and b) hit your protein goal, and then let carbs and fats fall where they may. I still try to hit the C/F split the best I can, but I don’t worry too much about it so long as calories and protein are in check.
3) A note about food volume and “dieting without losing weight”:
I have said before that I feel like I’m “eating so much more than before”, but there’s a good point here to consider about that that Emma often makes. If I were actually eating less than this before, I would have been losing weight- and I wasn’t.
So, while I may be eating more VOLUME now than before, my calorie intake must, by laws of thermogenics, now be at least equal or less than it was before. (Since I am not gaining weight while “eating more”.)
What was really probably happening is that I felt like I was “eating less”- but many foods were higher calorie (e.g. eating several Christmas cookies- they go down fast, so they don’t “feel” like a lot of food…but they are very dense in calories).
Also, I maybe did eat less during the week (and I certainly was eating less protein), but on our meals out (which are pretty frequent for us), I likely was WAY overshooting my “normal” calorie range.
I think this likely happens for a lot of people.
Here’s an example of how this can look. (I’ll attempt to be concise. I will probably fail.)
- Woman wants to lose weight.
- So, she goes on a “diet”. She tries to eat like a bird all week. She packs a salad for lunch, or just doesn’t eat a lot in general. No extra snacks.
- She manages to eat in a caloric deficit all week! Go woman! (Let’s say she cuts 400 calories a day from what her body normally needs to maintain its weight.)
- At the end of the week, she has now “restricted” a total of 2,000 calories (400 calories x 5 days= 2,000.) Not bad! This should equal over ~1/2 lb. of fat loss!
- Then Saturday comes. She has been doing so well! She stuck to her diet all week. She deserves a TREAT!
- So Woman goes out with her family. She eats 2 baskets of chips and salsa, and a big plate of nachos and has a few drinks. It doesn’t really feel like that much food, though, and besides, it’s just this one meal.
- The next day, it’s still the weekend, so Woman has brunch with friends and eats some 1,000 calorie pancakes for breakfast. It’s ok though, because she was “good” all week- this is just a little blip on the radar.
- Without realizing it, Woman surpassed her maintenance calorie range (let’s say 2,000 calories), and ate 3,000 calories each day Saturday and Sunday. Over the course of the weekend, she essentially ate back those same 2,000 calories that she had so diligently cut from Monday to Friday. 😫
- Monday rolls around again, and Woman returns to her diet again all week. Repeat the same story the next weekend.
- Woman then weighs herself after 2 weeks on her diet and wonders why she is not losing weight!!! She is on a diet! She actually feels quite restricted all week, because she is eating lower calorie/ in a deficit most days. Boo.
- Poor Woman does not realize that she isn’t actually on a diet, because our bodies do not really care what we do ONE day. Our bodies care what we do on average. Her body is smart, and it adds up all the calorie totals from all the days and takes the average to see how many calories she really consumed in the week. As far as Body is concerned, Woman ate 2,000 calories a day (because this was her average: she ate 1,600 each day Monday- Friday, but 3,000 on Saturday and Sunday –> average = 2,000.) As we saw above, 2,000 calories is her maintenance calorie level! So, she’s not actually losing any weight- she just continues to maintain where she was.
- It’s a vicious cycle. Unfortunately, it is super easy to eat back 1,000 calories in a restaurant or on drinks, etc.
Anyway! I am tracking my macros, so this issue is not currently happening to me, because I know exactly how much I’m eating each day (well, within the margin of error for my tracking). But I just wanted to mention it, because it is a very interesting, and I think very common, phenomenon. I know for a fact that my calorie intake “normally” (when not tracking) likely has some big spikes and valleys in it, too. So, I’m usually in the same boat, but it’s still interesting to think about.
4) Tracking is so helpful to notice how many BLTs I normally eat! (BLT= Bites, Licks, Tastes)
Since I have to track everything that goes in my mouth, it causes me to pause. But I can’t tell you how many times I have “almost” popped a handful of crackers in my mouth, or swiped a couple Sour Patch Kids from one of the boys, or even grabbed a few grapes from the bag. Those all add up! Tracking is definitely making me “catch” myself in the act and realize just how much random mindless eating I really must normally do.
Finally, Asher made dinner last night!! Another 2023 goal (well, it was a 2022 goal but didn’t happen) is to have the boys more involved with cooking.
He made a chicken alfredo pasta, which turned out sort of only okay. Shhh. Don’t tell him. Honestly, it was the sauce. We went with a jarred sauce just to keep it simple for him, but it wasn’t that good. Next time I’ll have him make my Alfredo sauce from scratch which is soooo much better!!!
I am grateful for shampoo and conditioner.
2 thoughts on “Couple more misc. macros thoughts”
Way to go Asher! I think it is great that you are getting your boys involved in cooking at a young age. I embarrassingly graduated from college without really knowing how to cook. I like I’d never scrambled an egg before! But my mom was kind of, um, a control freak. She taught us how to bake because we were in 4-H and I had a segment on baking. But I think she was so busy that it was easier to just do all the cooking herself versus taking more time to show us how to do things. And then in college I was in a sorority and we had meals provided as we had a cook. So I just never really learned how to cook much. I don’t know what I ate when I was studying abroad, though! I had to make my own meals but I apparently never made eggs! Anyways, good for you for teaching your boys at a young age.
Regarding macros, I’m back on WW again. I tried to rein things in on my own but I do better when I actually have to track it somewhere. Otherwise I can get a bit fuzzy about things. Like, I’ll eat a handful of chocolate covered almonds. We have sooo many sweets in our house right now as we do a dice game with my MIL and most of the gifts are sweets. And I’m reminded over and over again that I am NOT a moderator. It’s best to just abstain. WW is different from what you are doing, but the point system is based on macros, so higher protein foods have fewer points, higher carb foods have more points, etc. I like that nothing is off limit – you just have to make trade offs. Like if I am going to have wine at happy hour, then I’m not going to have enough points to have dessert at some point during the week. I’m so envious of my husband because he is a total moderator and never gains weight. He has trouble keeping weight on at times, especially in the summer when he runs more/lifts less. He will get down to 148 lbs. Lucky guy.
I love when you talk about macros and this stuff. I am not trying to lose any weight, but I’ve been paying more attention to protein intake (because women 40+ should be paying attention to that) and I definitely make a more concerted effort to hit that protein goal (and let carbs/fats fall where they want ;)).
I am not so much concerned about calories, as I am not trying to be in a deficit and I am ok with fluctuating during the week…. but you’re so true that many women who try to lose weight eat likes birds (like, really, NOT ENOUGH FOOD!) and either “starve their metabolism” or treat themselves on the weekend. It’s a true mindset change to 1) make sure you eat enough and 2) nourish your body the right way.