"To count macros or not to count macros?" That is the question I get the most from my fitfam. Let's first start by explaining what it actually means to "count macros".
Counting macros refers to tracking the number of protein, carbs ,and fats you consume on a daily basis. For some people, this is a crucial part of their fitness training, but for others tracking macros may not even come to mind. Tracking macros has many benefits, but in my own opinion there are a few negatives just as there is with most things in life...am I right?!
One major benefit to counting macros is knowing exactly what you are consuming down to the exact measurement and calculation each day. For some individuals, this will help when being strict with a diet and calorie intake. One major negative to counting macros is... knowing exactly what you are consuming to the exact measurement each day. In my own personal experience with counting macros, I had the tendency to become obsessive and it became very time consuming. Becoming obsessed with every little thing you put into your body could be hindering and more of a setback for some individuals. This can really affect your mindset, activities, and overall physical feeling each day. For me, it was stressful and caused me a great deal of anxiety. (Not everyone suffers from anxiety or being self-conscious, so they may enjoy counting macros. I just want to make it clear that this is my own opinion due to my experience with counting maros for only a few days.) I stopped enjoying foods I loved and became nervous that they would ruin everything I had just done in the gym. (I never had thoughts about food in this way prior to counting macros.) Not to mention I was stressing about food all the time, which led to more arguing with my boyfriend because I was taking my stress out on him, which wasn't cool at all. (He is seriously the best for dealing with my sassy mood swings. If you're a girl, you get what I mean!)
I just want to be clear that I am not saying one is better than the other at all. I believe that everyone is different and different things work for different people. Our bodies and mindsets are not the same, so what we engage in on a daily basis will determine our attitudes, outlooks, and training overall. I would also like to make it clear that just because something doesn't work for one person doesn't mean that it won't work for you. I believe in sharing personal experiences because I always look for some opinions before I try new things. I mean who doesn't???
That being said, I do not count macros on a daily basis, BUT I do try to keep tract of how much protein vs. sugar is in a product, as well as the ingredients. In my own opinion, we owe it to ourselves to be as healthy as possible.
Counting macros is not the only way to achieve this goal. Counting macros can help many individuals stay on track with what they eat during the day and monitor nutritional intake, but it is important not to stress about it. I believe in clean eating and finding a balance that works for you. I have found that "clean eating" makes me feel better both physically and mentally. For someone who works two job (including a full-time job) and attends graduate school it is crucial to be full of energy, positive, and healthy.
Now, you might be thinking what exactly is clean eating. At its simplest, clean eating is about eating whole foods, also known as "real foods". This includes food that is un-processed or minimally processed, refined, and handled, making them as close to their natural form as possible. I also make sure most of my food intake is organic, especially my fruits and vegetable intake. I cook most of my meals now, which allows for portion control and the security of knowing that healthy and fresh ingredients are going into my meals. I have had health problems in the past with my stomach and digestion. (Find MY FITNESS STORY info about that on the blog post WOLFE FIT did back in April, 2017 on their main page!!) I won't get into that too much now because it can be found on the other pages within this blog, but clean eating and changing my diet has really been a life saver for me. I used to be the Queen of Eating Out and having eyes that were bigger than my stomach. Cooking my own meals has helped actually helped me SAVE money because I am not ordering too much and having to worry about tipping the delivery guy. I am not left feeling bloated and in pain from all the grease and processed food I was giving my body.
Through cooking my own meals, I also found a way to escape from my anxiety and stress! I love cooking now and find it so calming, yet exciting at the same time. Experimenting with new ingredients and flavors is so much fun when it is successful! Not to mention that it has also turned me from the "world's pickiest eater" into a new and adventurous foodie that leaves my family questioning who I am. No really... each time I tell them a new food I tried they reply with "Who are you?" and "I don't even know you anymore!" It's funny what happens when you start to actually live and indulge in life.
Food is what fuels us, so we owe it to ourselves to fuel our bodies with the foods it craves in order to be at the top of our game. Some of the benefits to clean eating is; being more alert, feeling upbeat throughout the day, more energy, a better and more positive outlook on life, and just feeling refreshed each day. Do I still crave pizza, bagels, and burgers with fries?? You bet I do and you can bet that I still DO eat ALL of that, in moderation. Balance is key to living a healthy and happy life. It is just as important to indulge in life just as important as it is to fuel our bodies with healthy choices. Moderation and balance are key in living a healthy life, but it is important to still enjoy the little treasures in life. Don't deprive yourself of things you love. Just learn to find the right balance that works for you.
So, after this whole little rant on counting macros and clean eating the most important thing to remember is to find what works for you. Counting macros, eating healthy, or none of the above. Do what makes you happy and what makes you feel. Don't worry about the opinions of others. It is your life, LIVE IT HOW YOU WANT.