JUST ASK JO: How do you figure out your macros?

QUESTION: 

Hey! I’ve been following you for awhile and I hear you talk about macros. How do you figure all of that out?
Thanks!

Thanks,

Emily

justaskjo_vol9.png

ANSWER:

Macros are defined by your goal, and they have to be calculated according to your lifestyle, weight, and some other info. That's why macros are different for every individual.

A macronutrient is a type of food (e.g., fat, protein, carbohydrate) required in large amounts in the human diet. 
— Webster Dictionary

Many people make the mistake of restricting their caloric intake to an extreme in order to achieve a specific goal. However, your body needs all the macronutrients not only to feed itself and fulfill certain biological processes but to have the necessary energy for your lifestyle and daily tasks. In addition, you can't forget about the energy you need to exercise and the nutrients you'll need to rebuild your muscles after you've trained. Especially if you're training hard!

I don't count my macros are strict as I used to like back in my competition days. But from time to time I do like to plug in my food intake into My Fitness Pal to see if my intuitive eating is aligned with science.

There are tons of Macro Calculators online, but the best one that I have found is through IIFYM (https://www.iifym.com/iifym-calculator/). It's really easy and walks you through all the steps. You'll first want to calculate your TDEE by inputting all the required information: age, height, weight, activity level, and goals. A lot of this is based upon your daily activities and the amount of exercise you can realistically commit to.

SO YOU'VE CALCULATED YOUR MACROS NOW WHAT...

Once you've calculated your macros, the fun begins. You can either have IIFYM create a meal plan for you or you can create your own meal plans that fit your macros using My Fitness Pal.  When I was competing I had coaches who would do all the calculations for me and adjustments. As you continue on your macro counting journey you'll want to check your progress every two weeks and adjust your macros accordingly. Your body will evolve as your exercise levels continue to progress, you'll want to make sure your macronutrient intake evolves with it. 

The other thing you can do is count your macros throughout the day while keeping your eating more flexible. So what I mean by that is: plug in the macros that were calculated for you into an app like My Fitness Pal, then start inputting your food and meals throughout the day. As you do this you'll notice that your tracker will tell you how many macros you have left to "spend" for that day. Personally, I don't like this method because I don't have the control to plan out my meals ahead of time and it would probably stress me out if I had XX amount of protein left to eat and it was already 8PM and close to my bedtime. Some people love this because it's more flexible than prepping meals. For some its stress inducing. 

A FEW THINGS TO KEEP IN MIND

What are macros?

 Processed with VSCO with n1 preset

Macros are short for macronutrients. By definition, a macronutrient is a type of food (e.g., fat, protein, carbohydrate) required in large amounts in the human diet. There are three main ones: proteins, carbohydrates, and fat. Alcohol is considered a macronutrient as well. You can learn how to calculate that into your meal plans here.

The one thing to keep in mind is that in the world of macros, a carb is carb whether it comes from sugar or starch. But that doesn't mean to go crazy and eat candy or baked goods to meet your target macros. So use trust your intuition and go for the foods you believe will fuel you properly. I mean is a pop tart going to fuel you the same as a sweet potato or brown rice? Probably not. The same goes for fats, but we all know that there are good fats and healthy fats. Stick to the good ones

Everyone's philosophy on food is different.

The reason why our society is so confused about nutrition and food is that everyone's food philosophy is different and every diet contradicts another. Macro counting is not a diet, but it is a form of understanding your body's needs on a level that can be calculated by macronutrients.

 Processed with VSCO with 4 preset

IN CONCLUSION

What I suggest is to test out macro counting for a few months to see if that works with your lifestyle, your goals, and keep a food-mood journal while you're counting your macros. Your food-mood journal is a tool for you to start learning how to listen to your body and it's messages. Jot down what you eat and how you feel, both right after the meal and two hours later. Try it for a week! Notice how your body feels and how the changes of certain macros affect your mood.

Hope this helps! I'd love to hear from you. Do you count your macros? Comment below!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Joanne E

I’m a mother of two beautiful daughters and married to a man who completes me. I started my fitness journey as a way to heal my soul and launched my blog in hopes to continue to inspire and empower women to use fitness as a tool to heal depression and find their self worth. I strongly believe that each woman deserves to be in love with herself just as much as her man does. I have an obsession with reusable water bottles, I enjoy action movies, and I’m in love with burpees.