For a very long time I’ve been trying to eat mostly Paleo. It’s been working well, but after several months of plateaus, I needed to change things up. Enter, Macros!
You remember Macros from High School… Macronutrients, otherwise known as Carbs, Protein, and Fat. Apparently, following a mostly Paleo diet throws them all out of whack… and while I’m fairly comfortable eating 50% of my diet as fat (because… FAT!!!), it seems to throw nutritionists into catatonic states. But what really got my attention was that my own coaches were starting to talk to me about refining my diet even more, switching from trying to go Mostly Paleo and learning how to balance my macros in a way that better meets my goals.
After sitting down and figuring out my TDEE (Total Daily Energy Expenditure) with one of my awesome coaches, my daily calorie intake came out to be 3042 calories… which promptly freaked me out. I’ve completely gotten over the fact that I can’t eat 1500 calories a day because my metabolism will start to shut down. I’ve even mostly gotten over the fact that I really can’t eat 1800 calories either. On workout days, it’s simply too low. However, jumping up to 3000 calories… faint! That’s asking a lot and I haven’t quite been able to do it. I can’t imagine trying to explain to my Mother that I need to eat 3000 calories a day when the prevailing opinion is that I should be eating half of that. Considering that I have lots of weight left to lose, I thought creating a moderate deficit would be okay, so on workout days, I routinely eat around 2500 or so. On non-workout days, I try to eat around 2200. A non-workout day breaks down as follows:
220g Carbs (880 calories)
165g Protein (660 calories)
73b Fat (657 calories)
It totals about 40% Carbs, 30% Protein, and 30% fat. I still find it very hard to hit my percentages. Fat always seems to be higher, routinely around 35-38%. I’m working on it. I’ve also noticed that I am still very uncomfortable eating carbs after a long time of trying to keep them low. It might be in my head, but I swear that I struggle with cravings when my carbs aren’t exceptionally clean. There’s a phrase, “If It Fits Your Macros” then you can eat it… but I have to tell you, after experimenting with that, it doesn’t work for me. The Great Taco Experiment was a failure, after two Taco Tuesdays and not being able to stop eating taco shells… yeah, it fit my macros and didn’t throw my balance out of whack, but my body chemistry didn’t like it one bit! The carb cravings were awful that day and the next. So, the goal is to balance my macros with clean food, which hasn’t actually happened yet… but I’ve gotten close a time or two. I’m a work in progress.
The result of switching things up… I feel better. I have more energy. I feel more satisfied. My weightlifting numbers are going up again. And the scale began to finally move! Hallelujah! I’m sure I’ll hit more plateaus. Every other month seems like a plateau. I may have to change more things up as I go… and that’s okay. Yep… it’s all a work in progress. 🙂