The Macro: Why I’m Counting Macros

Obsession is written in my DNA. I overanalyze EVERYTHING.  I’ll check, double check, and triple check. There’s a backup plan for my backup plan. You get me.

So when you hear that, you probably don’t immediately think, woah that girl should be counting her macro nutrient grams. And to be honest, for a long time, I didn’t think so either and avoided it like the plague.iffym

But let’s back up a little bit.

One of the main ways I’ve obsessed over the last twenty-four years has been with food. I’ve compiled lists of good/bad foods. I’ve counted every calorie that went into my mouth (double, triple, quadruple checking). I memorized the calorie content of countless foods (Apple, 80. Balance Bar, 180, Sugar Snap Peas, 35).  I’ve tortured myself over whether I just ate 6 oz of steak or 8 oz.

There’s one memory that stands out in particular. I was in high school, and my family had just finished dinner. We were about to watch a movie, A Beautiful Mind, and have dessert. My brothers grabbed ice cream. My parents probably did too. But I walked into the kitchen and measured 1/4 cup of M&Ms because I could easily know it had 210 calories. I emptied the candy into a tiny bowl to make them feel like more, and sat on the couch, taking one M&M at a time into my mouth. As I watched John Nash slow Alicia the stars and the organization of the universe, I wasn’t overcome with love at the beautiful scene; I was counting how many M&Ms were left.

I created an exceptionally unhealthy relationship with food that I NEVER want to return to.

Avoiding a return to that obsession led me to completely disregard the idea of counting macros. Instead, I worked with my amazing trainer to count servings and had been doing that for about 5 months when I started to notice that my resting heart rate was declining (for me, this is a sign of nutritional stress).

Why macros?

At that point, I decided to log my macros for one day to see where I was at.  Throughout the day, I realized I was going to come up 500 calories short. HOLY SHIT. My body had be operating on too few calories for the amount of activity I was doing, slowing my metabolism, stressing my heart, and stalling my results.

I took action! Instead of looking at servings, I aimed to hit these macros 95% of the time. By having these goals, I have been able to hold myself accountable to eating a sufficient amount of food. I also found that I was not eating enough carbs, which are SUPER important for high intensity training.

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Within two weeks, I already was seeing results.

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My heart rate is back where it should be! And I cannot wait to see how my body continues to respond.

At this point, counting macros is helping me NOT obsess about food while ensuring I am eating for my goals. That may change. And if it does, I will shift my approach. This is what nutritional coaching is all about. Figure out what’s going on, adjust the plan, assess results, and move forward. I got this!

Remember that there are many ways to keep track of your intake. If you want to check out my exclusive method, enter your name and email below.

Do you (or have you) counted macros?