Every year, the most popular New Year’s Resolution choice for Americans is to lose weight, either via dieting, exercising, or a combination of both. I include myself as one of these millions of individuals hoping to change their body for the better. However, I believe my goal will be more achievable than most due to my approach to nutrition. My resolution is to start counting my daily macronutrient intake in a serious effort to drop body fat and maintain strength and overall health.
Although I have been working out consistently for the last three years and have maintained a healthy diet, limiting both simple sugars and bad fats, I never thought to actually stop and count what I was putting into my body. Since I was working out almost everyday and expending a lot of calories, I rationalized that I should always be eating until I was full. However, as I learned recently, eating like this can lead to you consume more calories than you think.
As I have become more serious in my endeavors to build my body, I thought it would be a good idea to speak with the Colby dietician, Caroline Mathes, and get her thoughts on my diet. After analyzing everything I ate for three days, Caroline had several comments that have changed the way I go about eating. While she said the types of food I was eating were all great, she was concerned with my high intake of protein (about 300 grams daily), the relatively lower carbohydrate intake, and the amount of food consumed in each sitting. I was a little surprised at my daily intake of each of the three macronutrients, which was significantly different from what I thought I had been getting. After taking some of Caroline’s advice, I reduced my protein consumption, increased my carbohydrate intake, and divided my 3 large meals into 5 smaller ones. Most importantly though, this consultation got me in the mindset of tracking what I ate.
Although it can be a pain to initially start counting macronutrients in what you eat, you quickly get a feeling for approximately what foods contain. There are also tons of websites that can calculate your daily intake for you if you just input the foods you eat (I found myfitnesspal.com to be the most comprehensive). Learning about the nutritional content of many types of foods has surprised me a great deal and went against a lot of my preconceived notions that I had developed from listening to the media or popular diets. It makes sense now that if you want a diet to succeed, you should know exactly how many calories you are consuming and the breakdown of macronutrients. Although I started my macronutrient counting back in mid-December, I have already seen great results, finally dropping my body fat percentage into the single digits while still increasing my strength in the weight room. I urge anyone that is serious about dieting while maintaining athletic performance to give macro counting a shot.
Additionally, the link below is a 13 minute video of Greg Plitt, the world’s #1 fitness model, who talks about how to go about figuring out your own daily needs and offers some explanation behind why it’s important to do so.
*I couldn’t post the individual video but the one I reference is the fifth one down on this page and titled “How do you add lean mass without adding body fat?”