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Macro Tracking: A Skill Set For Long Term Success

Macro Nutrition As A Skill Set

 

If you have been remotely dabbling in the nutritional world you know that macro nutrition is trending.  Has been and still is.  And there is a reason…it is effective.

 

Over the last few months I have had several clients that have joined my roster after dumping hundreds (even thousands) of dollars a month into weight loss clinics that offer a “get skinny quick” approach to nutrition.

 

These clinics offer a pill, a wrap or a shot paired with a hugely restricted calorie diet to provide clients with fast weight loss.

 

And many times…it works…for a hot second.  Then these clients head out into the real world, surrounded by food, family and friends and the weight comes right back on…in a hot second.

 

Why?

Because they never truly learned from the experience.  They didn’t invest in acquiring any skills to help them gain food awareness, learn balance or the use of a “food budget.”  They were never taught how to live around food and find balance in doing so.

 

Tracking your macros is not meant to be a “get skinny quick” approach to eating.  Instead it is the development of a skill set that helps you identify how to fuel your body and life among food.

 

Macro versus Micro-Nutrition

We all “do macros.”  No matter what nutritional lifestyle you live you eat food filled with carbohydrates, fats and proteins so thus, you eat macro nutrients.

 

The focus of identifying a macro nutrient ratio that works for you is the goal of tracking macros.  The body loves to maintain homeostasis.  When you provide it with the same consistent food stimulus and maintain a level caloric intake, it rewards you.  Consistency breeds progress.

 

In addition, micro nutrients are a large piece of the overall health component too.  It is often the forgotten piece of the health puzzle.  It’s one I’ve grown passionate about pushing because it is all too often overlooked.

Looking for some simple REAL FOOD recipes?

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Just because you can “slay” your macro counts doesn’t mean that you are slaying your micros.  Micro nutrients are things like vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients that maintain so much of the body’s overall health.  We get our micros from our macros.  Which implies that macro nutrient quality does matter.  Without a diet rich in whole foods, there will be micro nutrient deficiency.

 

You Can’t “Diet” Forever

There is a general misconception that tracking your macros means you will live with your head buried in your phone for the rest of your life.  That you will be “stuck” using the MyFitnessPal app for for-evaaa (PS-you can download my secret tipe for MyFitnessPal HERE).

WRONG! (insert buzzard noise here)

For some who thrive on accountability you just might.  And if that works for you I say “heck yes”.

 

But for others that isn’t sustainable.  What is sustainable is investing time in learning to understand macro nutrient value and portion size by weighing and measuring to acquire the skills necessary to begin to eyeball the portions your body needs to maintain your goals. Day-to-day practice becomes habit and may help you eat intuitively down the road.

 

Why It Works

When 2 out of every 3 adults are considered to be “obese” in the U.S. then clearly there is a misunderstanding in the energy balance needs of our bodies.

 

There is no “magic” behind tracking macros (although many of my clients would disagree…lol).  The “magic” is a scientific approach to fueling your body with the right quantity of fuel for your goals.  It is creating a caloric deficit or surplus, driven by goals, and having such great food awareness that you have the power to shift in whichever direction you want and need.   Beyond that, it is day-to-day consistency that yields progress.

 

Macro tracking is effective because there is not an “off limits” food list.  In fact the learning curve when you begin tracking macros is HUGE because most clients realize that junk food consumes a majority of their daily macro budget if they eat it.  The more whole, real foods you consume the more food you have to enjoy in a day.

 

Over Restriction Breeds Non-compliance

I’ve been there.  I followed a strict Paleo approach to eating for years after I discovered I had gluten sensitivity.  There was so much value in that experience, including the knowledge I gained in food quality and awareness.

 

The problem was that it restricted so many foods.  When I had a desperate craving for something that wasn’t  on the list of approved foods I would have a non-Paleo bender of tortilla chips, hummus, and gluten-free pizza.  My caloric intake quadrupled over a weekend and then I wondered why I was constantly starting over on Monday.

 

Once I discovered a balanced approach to eating I found myself consuming more real-foods, heavy on micro nutrients, than ever.

Why?

Because I wasn’t tempted by restriction and found a balanced way to have a small bit of something I really looked forward to each day and my cravings faded.

 

What’s even more amazing is I crave those foods less because they aren’t “off-limits” and I don’t feel the pressure to deny myself.  It’s kind of like when your parents tell you can’t date the “bad boy” when you are a teenager.  The more they say no the more desperate you become to find the “Danny Zuko” of your school and make it official. (shameless Grease plug…I was obsessed with that movie growing up.)

Goals For My Clients

I strive to teach my clients balance with a focus of three main goals I hope for them to achieve:

 

Goal #1: Adopt the 90/10 Rule

90% whole, read foods with that leftover 10% being something you love.  That 10% allows you maintain the other 90%.

 

Goal #2: Focus on longevity.  

Although you might have a short term goal you are head strong in achieving the end result is for client to fly solo in their nutritional journey when they are ready.  If they restrict themselves to no chocolate, no bread, no “insert your favorite guilty pleasure here” then there is no longevity.

 

Finding balance in being successful in social gatherings and eating out is part of longevity.  Learning to approach those situations with purpose and a plan is a lifelong skill with great value.

 

Goal #3: Practice makes progress, not perfection.

I know it’s a total cliché but it’s true.

 

Just like a sport you have to practice to become successful.  If you want to be a better 3-Point shooter you must practice shooting 3-pointers often.

 

Similarly, if you want to learn how to eat in the “real world” to achieve your goals you must practice and expose yourself to situations where those skills are put to the test.  You must prove to yourself you have the skill set necessary to move through life and maintain your goals.

 

Invest in learning about the tools that will make you successful for life.  No thirty day crash diet filled with complete restriction and appetite suppressants will teach you how to learn to eat real food.  Slow, steady progress is still that…PROGRESS.

 

It’s Not For Everybody

I get it 100%. Tracking macro nutrient intake may not be for you.

 

What is for you is learning the skills necessary to maneuver through life with balance.  Learning to fill your plate with a handful of lean protein and carbs and lots of veggies isn’t intuitive for everyone.  Invest in learning to make your health a priority in a way that is sustainable for you.

 

I did.  And it has made all the difference.

 

Looking for my more macro friendly recipes?

Click HERE to down load my Free Recipe book!

 

Work Hard Be Kind,

AWalk

“E” is for Effort

We’re all fighting a daily chaotic battle, like being a parent, spouse, employee, boss, athlete, a food prepper (is that even a thing?), a coach — you get the idea. Somewhere in there we are supposed to take time to take care of ourselves. It isn’t easy, but I notice that when I start to find time for myself, all the other roles I fill in life are richer for it. So can we just make changes to live healthier and give ourselves an e for effort?

E For Effort

“Success is the sum of small efforts, repeated day in and day out!” – Robert Collier

Successful people in life exist because they give effort day in and day out. Their effort is consistent. Being healthy, tracking your macros or whatever tool you use is no different. Don’t let time, money or others be that something that holds you back from giving the effort you need to give. Take time to self-reflect and hold yourself accountable for your effort. The moment you begin to results will follow you around.

(Want to learn how to fill your body with real food to look and feel your best? Check out my Feel Amazing Naked challenge by clicking here.)

Make Time

The number one excuse I hear from people who are not reaching their nutritional goals, or for that matter any goal, is because they don’t have the time to. The time to meal prep, the time to cook at home or the time to assure their intake each day is spot on. The gift of time isn’t always as giving as we’d like but I believe it’s important to make the time each and every single day to reach your goals. There are so many different ways you can make more time in your day and week, but there are three that have really helped me and my clients reach their goals.

Plan At Night

One of the biggest ways to get an e for effort is to spend 5 minutes at the end of every day and plan for the next day. The way I like to do it is to work backward and think about what I plan to make for dinner, but do what works best for you. Make sure you remember to take out and defrost your protein (if needed) and pack your lunch and stick it in the fridge. That way, if your morning is chaotic, you’ll still stay on track. It’s a simple game changer that is usually overlooked, but planning at night can save you so much time!

Reuse

Investing in glass reusable containers or even mason jars is a great choice to both help the environment and save time and money. You can portion out leftovers or meals into the containers, and then they are ready to go. Just reheat your leftovers and you have a yummy meal! Use a dry erase marker or a sticky note on the lids of those containers to write down the portions contained inside.

Portion Out Snacks

Along with meal prepping, spend some time portioning out your other food. On a non-work day, spend some time portioning out veggies, fruits, and other snacks. Put them in ready to go containers or bags and put them somewhere that is easily accessible. That way you can just grab them and go about your day.

Putting In Effort Works

My client roster ranges from those who have been tracking their food for over six months to those that have been for 6 days. No matter how long they’ve been doing this, they all share one similarity. And what’s that similarity you may ask? They get out what they put in! I’ve had clients this week surpass their goal weight and clients hit major PRs! The common thread is that they are committed and are putting in all they have. In turn, they are getting out all they possibly can. Talk about e for effort. It just proves that putting in a little work can equal amazing results.

I want you to celebrate that same success! There are 168 hours in a week. You deserve to devote at least one of those hours, that’s 8.6 minutes per day, to planning your nutrition. This week I hope you make time to regroup and find time for yourself…in nutrition, in health, and in whatever role you fill in life. “E” is for effort–make it the biggest “E” you possibly can in all aspects of life.

What is one thing you can change this week to boost your healthy living efforts?

Work Hard Be Kind,
AWalk

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Work Hard, Be Kind

This is it—my first big blog post. I have been  so nervous about this post.  For months I was in blog purgatory. Should I? What would people think? Would there even be interest? It was the encouragement of my client base, my friends and above all, my husband that led me this direction. Then, I had a moment, an epiphany if you will. You know the kind that feels life changing—like the planets aligned to send you a sign. I was listening to an Amy Porterfield podcast when she interviewed this amazingly spunky social media marketer. The person interviewed said…”isn’t it better to have 2 people who believe in you madly than to be followed by many, who barely believe?” It was in that moment I realized, who cares about anybody else. If I follow my passion, my heart and who I am, the rest will fall into place. So—here I am, vulnerable as ever, sharing my passion.

My Passion

I pondered how to begin my blog, what would be the most important to open up with? I realized that my audience needs to know where I came from and what led me to this point to truly understand the origin of my passion. Nutrition is personal. To some, like a religion. And just like religion, there are a million interpretations of what nutrition should look like. High fat, high carb, low fat , low carb…what is truly best? What I’ve come to realize…it’s all the best if it works for you. The act of bettering yourself is what truly matters at the end of the day. In a world of so much craziness and tearing each other down, the gift of kindness is one that we all have to give. The gift to support each other in our attempts to be better. Nutrition and living a healthier lifestyle is no different.

 

Work Hard Be Kind

”Work Hard, Be Kind…” It is our family’s motto. So much so that I whisper it to my kids as they head into school, so much so that it hangs on a banner in our kitchen and so much so that I had a shirt made to spread it to others. I feel like life can really be that simple.

So–it’s become my mission. To support people in their attempts to live a healthier lifestyle. To show people how to eat real food and find a healthy balance to enjoy something they love each day too. To spread nutritional love and support anybody and everybody who is trying each day to better themselves.

 

My Childhood

I grew up in a house where soda, Little Debbie’s and homemade noodles were a staple. It was no fault of my parents; honestly I think children of the 80s all had a similar experience. This health awareness revolution didn’t start until much later. Like most girls, I’ve always been self-conscience about my body but my parents never failed in making me feel beautiful. College became my true exposure to the importance of health. I was on my own, the controller of what I put in my body and the consequences it came with. I became obsessed, in an unhealthy way, with working out and eating. Part of it was being away from home and the other was the beginning of my desire to find a healthy, sustainable life.

After being Pre-Med and getting my degree in Life Science with a Physiology emphasis, I decided teaching was my path not doctoring (is that a word??). While completing my masters, I also became certified in group fitness. Along with teaching high school science and coaching basketball, I taught Spin, TBC, Step aerobics, etc. in order to help others find a fun way to be active. At that time, I had an unhealthy relationship with food. If I knew I was going to a social event I would jump on the treadmill for hours. If I indulged in Coldstone, I immediately had to go for a run. I joked and told people “I run to eat.” Little did they know—I really wasn’t joking. I punished myself for loving food—and I know many of you can relate.

 

When Nutrition Trumps Fitness

It wasn’t until after marriage and our second child that nutrition really began to trump fitness. I realized that my bad nutrition would never out due the calories I burned on that treadmill. I wasn’t cute and pregnant. I gained over 60 lbs with my daughter and dialed it back to 40lbs with our second. After two babies, my 20 something body was gone and I hated the new one I had acquired.

My body changed externally and internally. Through pregnancy I had acquired autoimmune changes that made me gluten intolerant. This diagnosis led me to the Paleo diet. I loved it, became obsessed with it and lost much of my baby weight with it. Then, I became the “Paleo Nazi.” I was the one at the party everybody thought they had to justify their eating habits to. I’ll be honest—I judged people for their food choices like I had an awakening they hadn’t yet experienced. I look back and hate myself for it. What I don’t apologize for is the knowledge that turning to a Paleo life gave me. It taught me food quality matters. That any “diet” should focus on whole foods made of mostly vegetables, fruits, lean meats and nuts and seeds. But what the Paleo diet is missing—is reality. I never let myself indulge and was truly miserable for it. I would watch friends enjoy chips and salsa and other treats at parties and be miserable. I was afraid to leave it for fear of weight gain and those dreaded “carbs.” I desperately needed freed. Freed from food guilt.

 

Much Needed Change

I was in need of a change. I had plateaued—I was unhappy with my health, my body, my athletic performance and my burden of not feeling honest about food. I began my own work with a nutrition coach, who later became my mentor, and it truly changed my life. Flexible dieting, or macro tracking, has been the most freeing food experience of my life. It is moderation to a tee. It has showed me, more than ever, that whole foods should be the bulk of your diet because they are truly the “biggest bang for your buck.” It has showed me that being on either extreme of the nutritional spectrum has no sustainability. Food is amazing. Food is meant to be enjoyed…in a way that meets your own personal goals that only you know. It has showed me that nutrient timing is critical to maximize your results. Most of all—it has showed me that I can enjoy the things I want because I am the driving force behind my own nutrition. Food is not WHO I am. Food is FUEL.

Here I am now: many clients coached, hundreds of pounds lost, personal records crushed and so many healthy relationships with food reestablished. I am only motivated more to continue to guide others in their journey. Watching my passion to support and encourage clients cultivate their success is gratification beyond words. What started as a small side hobby has turned into something that I truly feel inspired to do each day. Good nutrition and changing your food lifestyle is addictive. I can’t wait to continue to help others feel that same addiction.

So—here I am, “AWALK”…working hard, being kind and spreading nutritional love. Can’t wait for you to join me and take “AWALKmyway.”