#IIFYM: Fad Or Smart Food Choice? Here’s What Happened When I Tracked My Macros For A Week
Every fit blogger and Instagrammer seems to be doing it. Digital editor Victoria put it to the test.
Let me begin by explaining that I’ve always been fairly anti-macros. I’ve seen it as a slightly obsessive and unnecessary way of tracking your food intake (I’m more of an eat-when-you’re-hungry and chuck-everything-in-the-pan kinda girl) but with six weeks to go before a sunny vaycay in LA, I needed to take action.
And so I signed up to an online program with personal training duo Recalibrated Bodies. The plan included a full training guide consisting of five high-intensity, mostly strength-based workouts and a food plan which, as I had expected, included a full macro breakdown for each meal of the day.
For the uninitiated, macros, or macronutrients to give them their full title, are protein, fat and carbohydrate, and tracking them simply involves figuring out how much you need of those every single day and aiming to hit a certain number of grams of each during every meal.
A typical day might look a little something like this…
Macro fans claim that tracking in this way offers a more flexible approach to watching what you eat. Basically, there are no ‘banned’ foods. As long as you eat your macronutrient requirements you can eat what you like, hence the hashtag #IIFYM (If it fits your macros.)
The guys at Recalibrated Bodies recommended that I download the My Fitness Pal app to accurately track what I was eating, and I also invested in a pair of kitchen scales to measure everything out.
A whole lot of meal planning, grocery shopping and food prep later, I was ready to go. Here’s how I got on.
I dropped two kilos
I also lost four centimetres overall. To put that into perspective, I’ve been eating well and training consistently over the past six months and I’ve lost a grand total of 3.5 kilos in that time. In a week, I achieved just over half of that. To say I was impressed? Understatement.
I felt like I was eating more food
In fact, I never felt hungry and occasionally struggled to finish my meals, something which (trust me on this) I rarely have any problem doing. Yes, ensuring each meal met the correct macro requirements did take a little extra time, but never feeling like a slave to my cravings was a serious upshot.
I struggled with all the calculating
Look, I’m a writer, not a mathematician so I initially found it very difficult adding up my exact macros for each meal and trying to make everything fit. This did however make me a whole lot more creative about the food I eat (who knew a big bowl of chicken, egg, broccoli and chorizo could be so tasty?) By day three, I was able to figure out my macros with scientific accuracy. Quite an achievement for a numbers dummy like me.
I became a whole lot more conscious of what I was eating
It came as a major surprise to me that a lot of the foods I’d been eating because of their high protein content, weren’t actually as high in protein as I’d imagined. Somehow, despite being fairly food conscious, I hadn’t realised that foods like nuts and greek yoghurt were actually nearly as high in fat as they were in protein, and that fruit racks up a fairly hefty carb content.
Keeping my macros in check certainly meant I was more clued in about what exactly I was putting into my body, which can’t be a bad thing, right?
I still indulged a little
The flexible dieting approach was a big winner with me. Yes, I stuck with healthy, whole foods for most of the week, but come the weekend I let myself off the hook a little with a slice of cheesecake (Nutella flavoured, since you ask) and a glass of wine. The best bit? As I’d been giving my body exactly what it needed all week, it didn’t derail my results.
My body felt like a finely tuned machine
It might sound lame and all, but there was something about feeding my body its exact requirements that felt seriously good. I had bags loads more energy too. Not just physically but mentally and thanks to all the extra carbs in my plan, I was killing it at the gym as well.
I became more, um, regular
Sorry for the TMI, but about five days in I noticed I was taking an extra trip or two to the bathroom each day, which I can only assume is a good thing. I was also feeling a lot less bloated, which I know for certain is a good thing.
The final verdict
If there’s a down shot of counting macros, then it’s definitely the time aspect of all the prepping and planning it requires, something which macro fans have assured me becomes less of an issue once you get used to it. On the flip side, there really is something to be said for figuring out the exact fuel your body needs to be able to function at its best.
That said, will I be tracking my macros 10 years from now? Honestly, probably not, but I reckon I’ll be a lot more conscious of eating different types of foods in the most beneficial quantities.
One thing’s for sure though: if #IIFYM continues to give me the results that I’ve achieved in the first seven days then I’ll be a new woman in five week’s time when I board that plane to LA.
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