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Counting Macros FAQ

About two months ago I let you all know that I would be embarking on a new challenge – counting my macros. I wrote about what macros are and why I am counting them in this post

While I certainly haven’t been perfect with my counting, I have learned quite a bit, and more importantly, have been asked tons of questions about the process. I decided to compile a list of questions I’ve been asked the most but before I answer them, here is a little update on my macro journey.

I wish I can say that I have been super consistent but that would just be a lie. I would say I go through phases, where some days I count everything and other days absolutely nothing. The reason for this is if I am not eating all my meals at home, I find it extremely difficult to count – and I will touch on this more in the FAQ.

In the weeks that I do count, I can say right away that I feel leaner and I also see more muscle definition. My macro coach told me this is due to the “honeymoon” phase of macro counting where you drop water weight so your muscles look more sculpted. 

Although I have taken breaks from counting, I do eventually get back to it and that is one of the things I love the most about this concept. If it were a diet and I fell off the bandwagon, I probably wouldn’t get back on. But because this is more of a lifestyle, I find it so much easier to get back on track with counting, even if it’s been days or weeks since I last logged. I find I don’t have an all or nothing attitude with counting.  

Lastly, I have found the more you log, the easier it gets and that is because MyFitnessPal (which I will also touch on in the FAQ) remembers your foods. So it can definitely be daunting at the beginning to measure and count everything but I can attest firsthand that it will get easier.

Now that you have my update, read on for some of the questions that I have been getting the most. Just remember that these answers are based on my own personal experience

What does “counting macros” mean?

Counting ‘macros’ means eating a certain number of macronutrients (carbs, fats + proteins) each day. Read this post for more information.

How do I know how many macros to eat?

Your number of macros depends on so many different factors including your age, weight, sex and every day activity level. While there are calculators you can find online, I highly recommend working with a certified macro coach who will use a lot of personal information including body measurements and a week-long log of everything you eat to analyze and calculate your number. I worked with @yourmacrocoach. There are lots of resources online to find a coach or you can reach out to your local gym and find out if any trainers there are certified in providing this information. 

What are your macros?

I have chosen not to disclose this information as I do not want anyone to go off what I’m eating as a guide. It really should be customized to you. 

How do I track my macros?

I use the app MyFitnessPal on my iPhone to log all my food. I pay for the premium version which gives me a breakdown of the macros in the app. Sometimes I have to weigh my food or sometimes I simply scan a label using the app which is a lot easier. I really like MyFitnessPal and highly recommend it if you are choosing to track your food. 

How do I measure my food?

Measuring food is probably the most difficult (and annoying) part of counting macros. I measure my food with a food scale, (I purchased this food scale off amazon) or measuring cups/spoons. When it comes to deciding how you should weigh, I chose to look at MyFitnessPal (MFP) as a point of reference. Almost all foods in MFP that have been tracked the most will become verified with a little green checkmark next to them which means they are the likely to have the most accurate nutrition breakdown. So when I am eating chicken, for example, I will search chicken in MFP, look for the type (e.g. baked boneless skinless breast) and choose the option with the green checkmark. Then I will see the unit of measure the chicken is in (grams, ounces, cups, etc). Whatever unit of measure shows up, that is how I will measure my own serving on my scale. 

How do I count my macros while eating out at a restaurant?

I wish I had a better answer for this but based on my own personal experience, I will say you can’t. I may get in trouble for saying this but for the most part all you can do is guess. In the US, if you use MyFitnessPal, they do have a setting where you can search some restaurants’ menus and add the food from there. This option does not exist in Canada. In addition, foods such as sushi have so many ingredients and sauces that it really is impossible to know exactly how much fish without weighing, how much rice without measuring and what ingredients are in the sauce. 

If you decide you want to count without deviating at all, there are a few options. You can order the simplest item (as few ingredients as possible) off the menu and eyeball the portion size to log it. Or you can bring a scale with you to the restaurant. You can also look at a menu before you go and try and log all the ingredients you think are in the dish beforehand so you are not on your phone at the meal. 

No judgement to whatever you want to do when you eat out but for me, I have chosen to either guess the macros if the meal is simple enough or, more often then not, not to log. 

Another strategy that has worked well for me is “banking” some of my macros when I know I am going out to eat. This doesn’t mean starving myself during the day but if I know I’m going for Italian, for example, I will hold off on my high-carb foods for the day as best as possible. Based on my experience, I find it only really works for me if I’m going out to eat for dinner. I have found it hard to eat out at brunch or lunch and then try and accommodate the rest of the day.

Will I lose weight?

I believe your macro program should be targeted towards a specific goal, so depending on the goal, either wight loss or weight gain may occur. Personally my goal is to increase strength and focus on fat loss, which means upping my protein and hopefully gaining muscle. I have put on approximately 2-3 pounds.

Will I be hungry?

Once again, this depends on your goal and will also have something to do with what you were eating before starting this new lifestyle. If you are used to consuming more calories and are trying to create a caloric deficit, you may experience hunger. I increased my protein intake dramatically once I was given my protein macro goal so, while I am actually eating less calories than I used to, I am more satiated due to the higher amount of protein.

Can I drink alcohol?

You can eat and drink anything you want and see how they fit into your macro breakdown. Ideally you fulfill your numbers with a nutritious and balanced diet as best as possible.

Do you recommend counting macros?

I would only recommend counting macros if you feel it is safe for you to do so. Counting macros, keeping food journals or any other type of food-tracking system can be triggering for people and may lead to disordered eating patterns. 

Favourite ‘macro’ Instagram accounts?

Your Macro Coach

I Heart Macros

Butter Your Macros

 

 

 

 

 

Veggie Burgers

I have to say my meal prep game has been strong and consistent for a few years now. I’ve mastered the act of big batch cooking and it typically sets me up for a successful week.  However, while my prep work does allow me to throw together easy meals, I still do wish I was better at making recipes.

The problem with making recipes for me is that it changes my whole grocery shop and cooking routine. Right now I can mindlessly shop a grocery store getting exactly what I need for the week. But if I am shopping for a specific recipe, for some reason I will be in the grocery store for twice as long, looking for ingredients I don’t normally cook with. 

Therefore, any type of home cooking for me always means the same thing: baked chicken, roasted veggies, cooked grains and hard boiled eggs. Throw them altogether in a bowl and that’s as close to a recipe as I’ll get.

Yet now that I work from home, I feel like my beautiful, dust-covered cookbooks are just staring at me, begging me to open them and try a recipe. So the other day I picked up the Oh She Glows cookbook by vegan master chef Angela Liddon and browsed the picture perfect pages for a recipe that didn’t require me buying a whole new pantry.  

I decided to go for her veggie burgers and changed up the recipe to incorporate what I already had at home. This meant substituting breadcrumbs with my all time favourite snack, Mary’s Organic Crackers. A long with a few other tweaks, the recipe turned out delicious and at the end of the day, it wasn’t too much of a hassle to change up my grocery shopping routine. 

Veggie Burgers
Serves 8
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Prep Time
25 min
Prep Time
25 min
Ingredients
  1. 3 tablespoons ground flaxseed
  2. 1 cup chickpeas
  3. 1 cup red kidney beans
  4. 1 cup grated carrots
  5. 1/3 cup finely chopped parsley
  6. 2 garlic cloves
  7. 1/2 cup sunflower seeds
  8. 3/4 cups gluten free rolled oats processed into flour
  9. 3/4 cups Mary's Organic Crackers (or other crackers of choice) processed into "bread crumbs"
  10. 2 tablespoons tamari
  11. 1 teaspoon chili powder
  12. 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  13. 1 teaspoon cumin
  14. Salt & pepper to taste
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees fahrenheit and line baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. In a small bowl, combine flaxseed with 1/3 cup warm water and set aside until thickened.
  3. In large bowl combine all ingredients with flaxseed mixture and mix until well combined.
  4. Form 8 patties out of the mixture with wet hands to avoid stickiness.
  5. Bake for 15 minutes or until golden brown, flip and bake for another 15 to 20 minutes.
Adapted from Oh She Glows "Our Perfect Veggie Burger"
Kale & Krunches http://kaleandkrunches.com/

 

January Favourites

I’m back with a new installment of my monthly favourites and I’m so excited to share more about the products that I picked for January! 

I always feel compelled to reiterate that I am not paid to write any of this and I would never promote a product that I don’t actually love or use. Every now and then some of the products are gifted but I will point out which ones and I just want to say I am so grateful to be able to try out new things and share them with you. 

This month has been all about lifestyle changes for me, as I transitioned from working corporate, to traveling for a month, to becoming self-employed. I’ve now somewhat settled into a new routine – or at least I have a better idea of what I want that routine to look like – and I’ve come to rely on some of the products below.

Favourite On-The-Go Snack

Genuine Health Fermented Vegan Proteins+ Bar 

    

When I pictured myself working from home, I always got excited about the idea of having more time to whip up delicious meals in my kitchen however that is just not the reality of my new situation. I am always on the go, traveling from the studio, to a client’s home, to a lunch meeting. Often times this means my next meal or snack is usually eaten in the car. I’ve come to rely on Genuine Health‘s fermented protein bars, which I had the opportunity to first try at a fitness class they hosted in November. I find them extremely filling which is my number one criteria for an on-the-go snack plus they are GMO free and the fermented protein supports digestive health. They are also delicious and do not have that dense, chalky protein taste to them. I would highly recommend if you are looking to change up your snack bar game.

Favourite Health Food Beauty Hack

Nutiva Organic Virgin Coconut Oil

I have two jars of coconut oil at home. One in my pantry, one in my bathroom and I definitely use the one in the bathroom way more often. Let’s forget cooking and just focus on the reason this jar takes up prime real estate in the ensuite. First of all, it is the only product that properly takes off my eye makeup. Until I started using coconut oil as makeup remover, I found my eyeliner and mascara would never properly come off and I would still get black streaks after washing my face the second time that day or night. Just dip a Q-tip in the jar –  you don’t need very much to get every last bit of black off your eyes. I also use my coconut oil for my cuticles. Coming back to this freezing winter after 4 weeks in a hot climate didn’t exactly do wonders for my skin or nails so I have been lathering the oil on my cuticles before bed every night. It has been making such a difference and I’m getting less and less of those annoying and painful little cuts around the nail beds.

Favourite Read 

Breaking Vegan by Jordan Younger 

I had been following “The Blonde Vegan” and then subsequently “The Balanced Blonde,” Jordan Younger’s handle,  on Instagram for a while when I saw this book came out. I felt compelled to buy it not because I was ever a vegan or even a vegetarian but because the concept of Orthorexia fascinated me. Orthorexia is defined as “an obsession with eating foods that are healthy.” It is essentially a disordered way of eating when an individual becomes so obsessed with only eating things they consider healthy, that they become afraid to eat most foods. This is what happened to Jordan who realized veganism was not only controlling her  life but causing her to develop a negative relationship to food. Her struggle and successful overcoming of orthorexia was interesting but what really drew me into the book was how she found a balanced approach to eating. Balance is something I struggle with every day and I know will continue to be a challenge for me. Jordan also goes into great detail about how she started her website and pursued blogging full time so this was definitely the perfect book for me.

Favourite Winter Workout Gear

Lululemon Swiftly Tech Long Sleeve Crew

Probably my favourite part of pursuing fitness full time is I get to dress in activewear all day. Seriously, nothing makes me happier! I normally teach my spin classes in a sports bra and tights but when I am personal training, or doing my own workouts, I thankfully don’t get nearly as sweaty and can cover up a bit more.  This Lululemon long sleeve has been perfect for training clients in the winter as it keeps me warm but is still tight enough to show my muscles and proper form in exercises. I have one in grey and one in black and I always feel chic pairing it with long running tights and sneakers. And now that I am doing this full time I think I have an excuse to buy a third colour, right?

Favourite Clean Beauty Product 

Bamboo Makeup Remover Wipes

As I mentioned I have been so lucky to receive new and exciting products from some amazing companies. Prior to my month-long trip, Boo Bamboo, a Toronto-based company that sells all natural, personal care products reached out to me about sending me off with some of their items to try while I was away. Strapped for space and in need of a good travel face cleanser, I opted to take a few packs of their makeup remover wipes with me. To be completely honest I did not wear makeup while I was away so I cannot fully speak to their makeup removing abilities, however I used the wipes daily to cleanse my face. Whether I was on the beach or in an airport, I felt so good knowing I was using an all natural product that contained vitamin E antioxidants. I was super impressed with how the packaging held up –  the reusable container actually kept the wipes moist the entire time. Since I have been home, I continue to use the face wipes after I teach spin classes, to quickly get rid of the sweat. I have also started using their all natural shower gel and am happy with it so far. 

Since I love supporting local brands, especially one’s who promote a clean and healthy lifestyle, I have partnered up with Boo Bamboo for the chance to give one lucky Instagram follower a package of their best products, including: Shampoo, Conditioner, Revitalizing Hair Treatment, Face Wash, Face Lotion, & Makeup Remover Wipes. All you have to do is head on over to my Instagram, follow @kale_and_krunches and @boobambooproducts and tag 3 friends in the comments. All of these products could be yours! Giveaway closes Friday.