Well hello there 2016. It’s the first Monday of the year and the perfect time to make some lifestyle changes. One thing I’m regularly asked is about IIFYM (if it fits your macros), macro counting in general and how I plan my food. There are lots of ways to track your food when you first embark on a lifestyle change. You can keep a hand written food diary, fill in a food table on your computer or use a phone app. I personally prefer the latter as it’s so convenient and easy to stick with. Tracking your food isn’t a necessity, but I find it really helps to keep you focused. MyFitnessPal is an app that’s tailored to your body and goals and has weigh in options, a food and exercise diary and progress charts. The app is free so there’s no excuse not to at least download it and give it a try. I’m quite OCD when it comes to note-taking and I worried it would be another unnecessary addition to my workload and task I would have to maintain but it’s so easy to keep on top of. There’s a bar code scanner that remembers your favourite foods and their nutritional values or you can manually enter them yourself. You can compile regularly eaten meals and recipes which means adding your daily food intake is a breeze. The app manually subtracts the calories burned when you enter exercise that you have done, but I prefer to just note the training I do and keep track of my macros manually.
When I went on diets in the past I always looked at the caloric value of food instead of the broken down nutrition. Put simply, there are three macronutrients: proteins, fats and carbs. Protein helps to build and repair muscle, preventing loss if you’re taking in fewer calories than usual. Meat such as chicken as well as eggs, some nuts, dairy and protein shakes are all great sources of protein. Fat is required for brain functionality, hormone regulation and much more. Good fats include oily fish like smoked salmon, tuna and peanut butter. Carbs are our main energy source and the most commonly cut macro in most ill-informed diets. An essential part of any meal plan, you’ll find carbs in fruit, veg, bread, rice and pasta.
After entering your information, MyFitnessPal will advise you on what macros you should be hitting everyday and help you track them. A nutritionist or personal trainer can also take into account your weight, height, age, goals and fitness regime in order to devise a macro plan specifically tailored to suit you. Instead of worrying about calories or cutting certain food groups, counting macros means you can eat more or less what you want once you’re staying within your advised grams and eating good food in moderation. Also known as ‘If It Fits Your Macros’, this is an increasingly popular way to ‘diet’ in a positive and pleasurable way.