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Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Taking the "macro" leap of faith

So I saw some good changes on the scale when I started to seriously track my food intake again. But I'm still wondering if I'm on the right track.

I have this ingrained paranoia that I have to keep my calorie intake around 1300, or less, even on days I exercise hard. But with everything I've ever read or learned about nutrition and fitness, I've been told that I'm actually setting myself up for failure with this approach. I also have personal experience with increasing my calories and seeing a weight loss after a plateau so I should know better.

I'm at the point right now where I've been on a plateau for 4 months. Some of it is definitely because of time off from exercising and too many calories but I'm beginning to think that some is from not enough, or at least not the right kind of, calories.

As I think about what I'm going to do next, I know that I want to incorporate more weights into my routines. I've done well this semester with increasing my strength training but I can do more. While I'm not going to go leap into Cross Fit or anything I would like to be more systematic with my routines. Also, on the diet front, I know counting macros is really big for those who weight train.

Recently, I found a website: (liftingmyspirits) and was reading through some of her posts. I found this one particularly interesting: How to Set Your Macros. Within it there's a link to (Edit: a site I no longer recommend - see future posts) which has a free calculator to help determine calorie needs and macro percentages. Now, MyFoodDiary.com also gives me these calculations but I was curious to see how closely they matched up to other recommendations. The new site asked for a decent amount of information and gave me the following recommendations (based on my age, current weight/height, body fat %, daily activity level, and exercise).
  • Overall Calorie Intake: 1872
  • Macros: Fat = 22%, Protein = 23%, and Carbs = 55% (this of course, ending up being absurd)
  • Fiber: 29-39 grams
In comparison, MyFoodDiary.com recommends the following:

  • Overall Calorie Intake: 1200 minimum (any exercise allows more calories)
  • Macros: Fat = 20-35%, Protein = 10-35%, and Carbs = 45-65%
  • Fiber: 14 grams per 1000 calories
So, while I already have these recommendations and can plan my food accordingly, I usually focus more on just the carbs and calories than anything else. 

So kind of starting today (but really tomorrow) I'm going to do 14 days of the new macro plan. If I can lose 1-2 pounds during this time I'll call it a success and continue. If I'm still stalling I'll probably give it more time. If I gain, then we know this plan won't work.

But upcoming changes won't just be weights and diet. I'm still contemplating the 10-mile run in June and have set up a running/cross training plan for the next 10 weeks. I'm going to give it a couple of weeks and see how I feel and then make the final decision about the race. In any case, I was really happy that the macro plan allows a decent amount of carbs because I'm going to need them.

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