Macro Tracking - How To
What are Macros?
Macros/ Macronutrients are Carbohydrates (Found in Wholegrain Rice, Fruit & Vegetables etc.), Fats (Found in Nut Butters, Dairy & Oil etc.) and Protein (Found in Meat, Tofu and Pulses etc.)
Calories are a measurement of energy, For every gram of Carbohydrates and Protein there are 4 calories and for every gram of Fat there are 9 calories.
First and foremost you need the correct energy balance to achieve your goal. A calorie deficit to loose weight, A calorie surplus to gain weigh and to maintain weight you need to balance energy in and energy out.
You also need to achieve the right Macro balance for your body, Calories in Vs Calories out (the energy balance) is the main goal but say you put all those calories in from carbs then your body would have no protein and fat which is obviously needed for your body to function properly.
By macro tracking you can make sure you get this correct balance.
To find out how many calories you need please check the Blog 'How much food do I need...'. If you are a Silver or Gold member you will find this information on you plan.
How Do I Macro Track?
The easiest way to Macro Track is Using a macro tracking app such as My Fitness Pal, this enables you to input foods through search and barcode scanning and you can see how your calories and macros change throughout the day as you input your food.
Macro tracking is a great tool, particularly for those following a Vegan/ Vegetarian diet as it gives you more freedom and choice of foods whilst still working towards your goals, instead of following a food plan. A lot of people eat whatever they want as long as it fits in their Macros, although you can do this it is not recommended to have high sugar foods as this can cause extreme peaks and troughs in blood sugar levels which is not what you want, the aim is to even out your blood sugar levels throughout the day to keep hunger and cravings at bay and keep your energy levels up. Always pick the healthiest most nutritious foods you can.
Finding the right calories for you is important, with the PHBP we can advise you on this and your Macro split. Apps tend to go in quite low which is often unattainable and unrealistic. They also don't take into consideration the type of exercise you are doing, different types of exercise effect the energy balance and your body differently.
If your Goal is fat loss with too few calories you will NOT loose fat, you will have low energy levels and unable to get the most out of your exercise. Hormones also play a really important part in Fat loss and dieting on too few calories over time can be damaging to your metabolism and your body. 1-2lbs a week loss is a healthy, realistic weight loss goal. There is also no magic macro split for Fat loss, it is a surplus of calories that makes you gain Fat and a deficit that makes you loose it. DO NOT CUT FOOD GROUPS.
Micronutrients (Vitamins & Minerals) & Fibre
50% of your Carbohydrates should be from Fruit and Vegetables, make sure you eat a rainbow of foods to cover your Micronutrient and Fibre needs.
You must track EVERYTHING, condiments, drinks, sugar and milk in drinks, alcohol, nibbles, cooking oils, fruit & vegetables, EVERYTHING.
Weigh Your Food
You should weigh ALL FOOD. DO NOT guess, its amazing how the calories from those extra few grams can add up. A small set of electronic scales should do the job.
Fat, Protein & Carbs
You also need to make sure you are inputting the correct information in your diary, that the food has the correct fat, protein and carbohydrate value, and the nutritional information is for the food cooked or raw (the weight of the food may change once cooked). Please be aware food plans and recipes are often cooked values and on tracking apps they will often show as uncooked values.
If you can't track a food find one that is similar, make sure when you click on it the carbs, fats and protein are listed. Preparing your own food is advised, only guess if it is completely unavoidable. Most restaurants now have nutritional information on their websites so you can plan ahead if you are eating out.
Ensure you are putting your food in your diary throughout the day to meet your macro goals. You can be under or over by 5g-10g for each macro and should be aiming to stay within 100 calories either side of your set calories. There might be a slightly bigger variation for those following a Vegetarian/ Vegan diet.
I would advise planning ahead, inputting the meals you know you are definitely having, like your evening meal and then you can work your other meals around this.
On your App at the bottom of your diary click on nutrition and you will see a pie chart, at the top click on Nutrients and follow this for your macros. This is to the gram, the goal is to hit your macro goals by the end of the day. The pie charts leave more room for error so please do not use these, use the sliding bars, the nutrients button.
I do not add exercise in to my app, not even my steps as these can change daily. I would recommend setting your calories and a training schedule that is realistic to you and give that a go for week or two, if you don't see any change either tweak your calories OR exercise and try that. Do not change both at the same time and give these things times to work. Being consistent with diet and exercise is KEY! One bad meal is not failing, do not feel guilty, do not let it snowball, just move on and get back on track. And don't just go by the scales, use pictures, measurments, and if your feeling better then great!
Eating regularly maintains blood sugar levels leaving hunger at bay. I would recommend three balanced meals a day and two snacks, this should be spaced out every few hours and in each meal and snack aim for them to have carbs, fats and protein.
You should NOT save all your calories for one or two meals, for alcohol, or starve through the week and binge on a weekend. You will not get results this way.
When feeding Macro tracking can be great to make sure your getting all the nutrients you need. Your energy needs will be slightly increased by anything from 100-500 calories. As each ladies body is different you will need to find the calories right for you, your body and your goals, this can be done through using the above advice, or the PHBP can help. Please be mindful that dieting when feeding could effect your milk supply so we would advise you to make small, healthy, realistic changes.