Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Counting Macros Update: Baby Steps


This quote seems about right.  I think about food.  A lot.  And it's been taking up a lot of my time lately as I try this "macro" thing.

The last two weeks I've been trying to count the macros in my food in hopes that I can stay in my "macro budget" each day.  It's definitely been a learning curve, but full of lots of good things.  I thought I'd share some of what I've learned and found helpful.  For those of you macro counters, feel free to share all you know with me!  You can read more about why I'm counting macros here.  

I'm definitely taking baby steps with counting macros.  Usually I make it to about 4:00 doing great, weighing every thing, making good choices and logging everything on myfitnesspal.  Then I my kids come home from school, I teach a piano lesson or two, then try to hurridly make/eat dinner before someone has to tbe out the door for their 5 pm practice.  The last thing I want to do is try to figure out macros.  I just want to eat or maybe sooth my stress with some crunchy tortiilla chips or a chocolately brownie (this is truth, sad but true).  
For the past two weeks I haven't tracked my dinner or after dinner food because I kind of gave up because I felt like I blew it.  But yesterday I decided to to toughen up and track everything, even my handfuls of chips and pre-dinner brownie(s).


I was actually really happy with what I discovered.  My very yummy and filling dinner had lots of great macros.  I had taco meat (lean ground turkey) with some brown rice, homemade salsa, tomatoes and a drizzle of Bolthouse Ranch dressing on a bed of lettuce.  

I studied my numbers and found that I should have cut out the unnecessary pre-dinner snacking and would have had room in my macro "budget" for a guilt-free brownie or a bowl of ice cream.  Looking at the numbers made me realize that my body had had enough food for the day and it didn't need anything else.  It curbed my pre-bedtime snacking cravings.  So, weird how that worked, but so great!  

So, here's what I've been doing:  

The Scale


I bought this Food Scale from Amazon.  It was pretty inexpensive and works great.  I use the "tare" button on the scale to zero the weight out so I can weigh each ingredient one by one as I add it.  I jot the measurements down in GRAMS and log it into My Fitness Pal on my phone or computer when I'm done.   It doesn't take as long as you think it would once you've done it a few times.


Breakfast

Pretty much every day I have a protein shake for breakfast.  I use 1/2 frozen banana, 2 scoops Orgain Chocolate Protein (from Costco) (46 g) , 8-10 oz almond milk, and a handful of spinach (33 g).  

I'm usually hungry still after the protein shake if I've exercised, so I have either a piece of lower carb bread with almond butter and honey,  a bowl of Multi-grain cheerios with almond milk or some oatmeal.  

Lunch

Lunch is more fun, some of my favorites are:

Low-carb, high fiber tortilla with turkey breast (from Costco -- the good stuff in the meat section), a little spread of either hummus or bolthouse dressing, tomato, spinach, avocado, etc.)

Egg scramble (since I'm horrible at making omelets):  pinch of crumbled bacon from Costco sauteed with mushrooms, peppers, onions, spinach  and egg whites.  I buy the liquid egg whites from Costco since they're cholesterol free.  

Leftover taco stuff in salad form.  We have Mexican food at least twice a week at my house.  

Snacks

I love hummus with veggies, but I have to limit myself to 2 Tbsp since I love it so much.  

I like to blend up non-fat cottage cheese and mix in a little ranch dressing (dry) mix.  I split it into /2 oz plastic cups and eat it with carrots.

Apple with almond butter and a tiny bit of honey.  (Fruit has a lot of carbs, so I try to eat a little and save my carbs for other things that I can eat more of.)

Protein bars -- I bought some from Costco, the kirkland brand.  I only eat one if I feel like I'm starving and I don't have time to eat a meal.  Or sometimes I just eat half.

Siggis yogurt.  It's pricey for a yogurt, but some of them have no carbs and no cholesterol!  I like the french vanilla kind and I crumble up a little granola on top.  I found by mistake that not all the yogurt are the same.  I just bought some and they have 10 g cholesterol and 11 g carbs.  So, look closely!  I've found it at Target, Winco and Albertson's, not Walmart.

Dinner

Dinner is my next hurdle to figure out.  I planned my menu this week so I can have plenty of time to think about what I'm making and what the macros might look like.  You can add recipes through My Fitness Pal and it will figure out the macros.  A great tip that I found is that if you weigh the finished product (the whole recipe) and enter those grams as the number of servings, then you can just weigh your portion and have a more accurate count.  

A Few Other Tidbits

It's been helpful for me to follow some Instagram accounts of other macro-counters.  I bookmark pictures of their food that I might like to eat or other macro counting tips.  Some that I follow are @laurenbhealth, @hellorachelclare, @ourbestbites_fitclub,  @thatmacromomlife, @biceps.after.babies and my friend @keepingrealmom is just starting out macro counting and I'm excited to follow her journey.

My sister has been counting macros for four months, so I've picked her brain for ideas and asked her lots of questions.  

Note that I'm trying to find low-cholesterol options so I can hopefully lower my cholesterol, but I know a lot of people eat a lot of eggs, but I stick to egg whites.  Pretty much everything that other people are eating I eat too.  

I love this...


I am trying to figure out how to eat enough that I don't feel hungry or deprived and enjoy eating yummy food.  I love healthy food.  I'm just trying not to be lazy and take the time to plan and prepare.

Baby steps.  One macro counting day at a time.  Hopefully I'll get to where I want to be soon and my heart (and cholesterol levels) will appreciate it!


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