I really don’t like the term “diet”. As someone who has struggled with my weight at different points in my life, I find that term to sometimes do more harm than good. When people ask me how to eat, I always tell them that every body is different and you have to figure out what’s right for you. There are pros and cons to every “diet” out there – and as I mentioned, I’m not a huge fan of diets anyway! I’m also not a nutritionist, so any advice I give is purely based on my own experiences. For me, it’s all about eating real whole foods, avoiding processed foods as much as I can, reading labels, and trying to get as many veggies on my plate as I can.
That being said, it can be really hard to figure out how to lose weight without some kind of parameters. I completely understand how frustrating it can be to hear “just eat intuitively” when those extra pounds just won’t come off. In those cases, it can actually be helpful to have some guidelines set for yourself so you know how to stay on track.
Enter: Macros. I’ve been hearing more about this buzzword recently, so I finally turned to my friend MaryKate to help break it down for us. Some of you may already know MaryKate as the founder of Froyo To Fitness, an amazing workout program that I’ve personally been using a ton recently. Her circuits are perfect for after your cardio at the gym, and I love that they include more weights than other programs like BBG. She’s also super motivating and inspiring over on Instagram – giving sneak peeks of her workouts and a look at how she eats throughout the day.
I personally love that her approach is all about living a balanced life. It’s not about eliminating things you love forever, but more about being mindful of how your choices throughout the day fit together. Keep reading to hear more about counting macros and why it’s worked for her…
LSL: What are macros?
FTF: When I first started working out, I heard the word macros all the time. I saw these girls eating pancakes with abs and didn’t understand how they were doing it! I thought you had to starve to look like that! So after seeing the hashtag #IIFYM, I said ok I need to learn more about this.
How I explain macros is essentially a budget for your body. Macros is a shortened name for macronutrients, which are the three key food groups our bodies require to function properly: protein, carbs, and fats. Protein helps us build and repair muscles. Carbs give us energy. And fats keep us full, amongst many more benefits. When you get the correct amount of grams from each category, your body can maximize it’s ability to build muscle, burn fat, and all that good stuff.
In order to get enough protein, carbs, and fat, the goal is to hit specific numbers in each category. For instance, say I am aiming for 175g of carbs/day. I could eat a banana, sweet potato, oatmeal, brown rice, and granola. Or I can have a bagel, pasta, or pizza if that’s what I really want that day. You are the driver and can pick what foods will get you to your target number. Obviously, healthier choices are encouraged, but you are ultimately in control and free to make your own choices. No need to shame yourself for having a fun weekend with friends.
LSL: What makes this way of eating different from other trendy health “diets” like paleo, Whole30, keto, etc?
FTF: There are so many trendy diets out there, so it’s hard to know what is right for you! The biggest difference I’ve noticed with macros is that it doesn’t feel restrictive, forced, or even like I’m on a diet. It honestly feels natural. With macros, no foods are off limits – unlike paleo, Whole30, and keto that all have pretty specific guidelines.
LSL: How do you determine how much of each macro you need?
FTF: This is where it gets tricky because, as much as there is science behind numbers, everyone’s body is soooo different! I took a NASM certification in 2018 and follow their guidelines when it comes to this. I aim for at least 1 gram per lb that I weigh in protein (145g), .3-.5 grams per lb that I weigh in fat (40-50g), and 1-1.5 gram per lb that I weigh in carbs (145-215g).
There really are no “perfect” macros, so don’t worry if you don’t hit your numbers exactly. You just want to aim to be within 5-10 grams for each category. Also, everyone’s body responds differently. You might need to do some trial and error to figure out what works best for you and your body!
LSL: How do you track macros, especially when eating out or something with a lot of ingredients?
FTF: Most people who do macros weigh their food, but I honestly don’t have time for that! I use MyFitnessPal, which is an amazing FREE food tracker. You can scan products with the app using the barcode, or you can manually input it in. Also, the app remembers your frequent foods, so it gets easier the more you use it.
For years, I thought I was eating “healthy” but I never really knew what to look for on a label. This forces you to read every label and pay attention to protein, carbs, fat, and sugar. It’s very eye opening!
LSL: How has this way of eating helped you?
FTF: Personally, I have always struggled with YOYO dieting. Restricting, bingeing, feeling terrible about myself and so on. This is an easy way for me to understand what I am truly eating without suffering. I tend to eat clean regardless, but I still like that nothing is off limits because it’s more about how each food choice fits into my day. If I want to have Halo Top or pizza, I’ll figure out a way to work it in!
Also, I never knew how much protein you needed to gain muscle. Once I started macros, I really saw a huge shift in my body. And lastly, macros have helped me find balance. I think struggling with food is very common, and macros have helped me have a better understanding of food in general, and what works for my body!
LSL: Where can my followers learn more about this?
Big thanks to Mary Kate!
Also, if you haven’t tried her Workout Guide, get on it! It’s so affordable and the workouts are amazing. Also, feel free to comment with any questions about macros or her guide!
PS. You might also like my FREE 2019 Workout & Wellness Planner!