I get REALLY hesitant and nervous sharing my macro numbers only because they are VERY INDIVIDUALIZED! What works for me is NOT guaranteed to work for you. I get SO many questions asking my specific macros and today I am sharing because I think the ultimate message is important: weight loss is slow and should be done steadily to ensure sustainable and maintainable loss to avoid cyclical patterning. Prior to tracking macros, I was stuck in a plateau for A WHOLE YEAR! Now that may seem a bit ridiculous and you may be thinking “how” or “why” so let me explain…
When I first started my journey, I completely cleaned up my diet (although this wasn’t perfect, but much better than eating whole pizzas and family sized bags of dill pickle chips (but seriously why are these so good!!) in one sitting haha) and added in exercise. At first, the change came fairly quickly (I mean I didn’t actually see results until about 8 weeks in, and nothing really noticeable until the 16-24 week marks!) but I thought change would keep coming. And it didn’t. It stalled for a long time.
Around month 10 or so (February 2016), I was tired of not seeing any more progress so I thought maybe it was my exercise routine that needed changing. So I stopped doing BBG (a program I LOVED and am forever grateful for) and started kind of doing my own thing, mostly plyo and adding in heavier weights. And I waited and waited and waited some more but still was not seeing any more results. At this time, I was definitely still very much results driven. I was very much still focused on progress and not quite at a place of self acceptance like I am today.
Around late April or early May of 2016, is when I began to question my diet and its factor in not seeing any more progress. I was a little over a month away from my year anniversary and I really wanted to push myself for that final month, so I enlisted the help of a macro coach. I didn’t know much about nutrition or macros and I thought that working with a coach would help me understand the nutrition aspect of weight loss. I cant say I learned much about nutrition or macros other than I hated it. I struggled a lot and had a hard time remaining compliant and I kept changing my goals. I later realized why I struggled so much but more on that a little later…
So my first time around with macros was not a success and I barely even lasted 8 weeks. My year anniversary arrived before I knew it and suddenly it was over and time to reassess my goals and what I wanted to accomplish. I still wanted to lose weight. I still was very much progress and “looks” focused. I also was in the midst of writing my book, so I was undergoing lots of emotional highs and lows. Old habits and emotional eating began to surface again and therefore, progress was still stalled, in fact, I believe I regressed a little bit. Between June and October, I kept floundering and changing dietary habits struggling to make a change. I tried going vegan. But I still found things to binge on and vegan did not work for me because I was still very much tied to emotional eating. I also was still over eating because vegan became a way to “restrict” from the foods I loved. I thought if I couldn’t have them, it wouldn’t be an issue, but the problem with that is it began to set a foundation for poor food relationships. I never believed in “good” or “bad” food but in a way when I tried vegan, food very much became good and bad because it was coming from a restriction mentaility.
Once I realized this wasn’t a healthy mindset to be in, I thought I needed a reset so I tried vegetarian whole 30 (which yet again was very restrictive). But my thoughts here were that maybe I just needed to “cleanse” my system and eat less processed foods. I only lasted about 12 or so days because Hurricane Matthew decided to make an appearance. Coincidentally, this was the same weekend I was supposed to go on a cruise with 100+ other girls I met via good ole Instagram! But the cruise was cancelled and we had to make a quick back up plan to have a weekend at the beach instead.
It was this weekend I met my friend, Emma (@em_wizzift)! She came allllll the way from Australia to go on the cruise that didn’t happen. She almost didn’t make it either due to travel delays, but thankfully she made it safely. I had been following her for awhile on Instagram and found her consistency with macros to be contagious! So I spent the weekend picking her brain and admiring how dedicated she was to remaining on track even while on vacation. I mean, talk about will power!! She could tell I was frustrated with my plateau and offered to help me with macros as a friend. After about a month of chatting and learning a bit more about macros and nutrition, I decided to give it another try!
We spent some time going through my history to understand why macros didn’t work for me earlier that year and how to set my macros with where I was at currently with dietary habits and patterns. I was still struggling with emotional eating and just not paying attention to my daily intake at all. With her guidance and knowledge, we concluded I was eating 2500-3500 (upper end was on a binge day) calories a day which was WAYYY above my daily caloric needs. This was my issue when I first attempted macros. I was still eating quite above maintenance and I had my macros set for me at about 1500 calories. So that drop alone would have seen changes because I was eating anywhere from 1000-2000 calories less, BUT I still kept binging and wasn’t compliant. WHY? Because it was TOO DRASTIC OF A CHANGE! Also, my macros were out of balance with too much fat and too little carbs, which I later realized just does not work for me!
So my first set of macros were set at 1980 calories, 140g protein, 220g carbs, 60 fat. Even eating close to 2000 calories I was losing about 2lbs a week! Which is pretty significant. Most people will NOT lose weight eating around 2000 calories. So why did this work for ME? Because I was cutting my calories anywhere from realistically 500-1000 calories. This is why it is so important to understand YOUR eating habits and what factors come into play. The goal of weight loss is to be able to eat as much as you can while still losing about .5-1 lb a week. Yes I know that sounds frustrating and is a tiny change to work towards each week, but believe me, it is what is most sustainable.
As my body adjusted to those macros (probably about 4-6ish weeks or so), I had to reassess and adjust accordingly. When your body plateaus at your current macros, it is very important to make small changes because anything too dramatic becomes difficult on your body. So my macros only changed by about 10-15g carbs and maybe 3-5g of fat. TO THIS DAY, I am still eating 140g of protein. That is the one macro that has not changed. And remember I am a vegetarian and hitting my protein goal is very easy!
My next change in macros was set to 1875 calories, 140g protein, 205g carbs, 55g fat. So it was a very small and minor decrease.
My next decrease was set to 1775 calories, 140g protein, 180g carbs, 55g fat. So the only thing that decreased here was my carbs. Around this time, I was beginning to lose my consistency and was a little less compliant and having some emotional eating episodes flair up. At this point, I had been in a deficit for about 4 months. My body and mind needed a break.
So I went on a 12ish day diet break and was eating back at maintenance. I then ate at 2115 calories, 130g protein, 230g carbs, 75g fat. And I still managed to lose 2lbs during this break!! How? I was way more compliant and consistent with tracking! Prior to this diet break, I had many slips ups and any and all extra snacking really adds up to more than you realize!
Once my diet break was over, I was back at the 1775 calorie macros. The break brought some much needed relief and I was able to be back on track and compliant again! It was during this break that I realized the importance of treating yo self. When I was struggling with compliancy, I was not allowing myself a daily treat! When I realized a treat was acceptable in moderation, the compliance became a breeze because I didn’t feel restricted or like I was depriving myself. One of the biggest challenges in this flexible dieting journey has been realizing that a calorie from cake is the same as a calorie from kale. Sure the kale has more nutritious properties, but a calorie is a calorie and so long as I was getting most of my calories from nutritious sources, saving a couple hundred calories for treats was totally acceptable and necessary for mental relief. This is my personal philosophy and approach. Take it or leave it as you wish 😉
After some time, my body adjusted once again so my macros were adjusted to 1730 calories, 140g protein, 180g carbs, 50g fat.
And then I had another diet break where I ate at maintenance again (this time it was lower because I had lost more weight so my maintenance would naturally change to accommodate to my current weight). I was at 1952 calories, 130g protein, 205g carbs, 68g fat.
So this now brings us to today – I am currently at 1690 calories, 140g protein, 170g carbs, 50g fat. Is this challenging? Absolutely not! Because it has been a very slow and steady transition. Losing about 10-15g carbs or 5g fat with each transition has been a very easy adjustment. And I have learned how to volume eat (for example, 100g white rice has 21g carbs OR 100g cauliflower rice has 7g carbs so you could eat three times as much (volume) for the same amount of carbs)!
The thing I want you to take away here is NOT the numbers themselves. Please do not use these macros as they are NOT guaranteed to work for you. I am sharing simply because I think it is important to understand how slow and steady this process has been. These changes have happened over about 10 months and I stay at a set of macros for several weeks at a time. It has not always been the easiest process and I have had my fair share of ups and downs. I have had weeks of success and weeks of failures. I have struggled with compliancy and I have had moments where I wanted to give up and thought it was not worth the effort. I still struggle at times. Even recently I had a few little snack-cidents. Nothing to be too worried about as it was not a full on binge, but the excess calories do add up and work against your goals (if you are in a deficit that is)! And I have come to a point where I am accepting of the weeks where I gain weight because I can be honest with myself and know and recognize where I struggled. Below is a chart that Emma has been kind enough to keep track of for me. You can see all the ups and downs, but the most important thing to recognize is I have been in a steady downward trend! This is in kgs not lbs, but I started macros at about 177lbs and I am currently at 161lbs. I did not start consistently weighing myself until I started tracking macros. The scale is simply a unit of measurement and a way to determine if your macros should remain the same or change.
I hope you take away that this isn’t a quick fix or temporary solution. It is a time consuming and ever evolving process. Small incremental decreases is the key which requires a lot of patience and understanding that this process takes time. There will be ups and downs and it is just part of the process. But remember that this is a lifestyle change, and in between goals is this thing called LIFE! I am not in any sort of rush to “get there” with my body compositions goals because wherever “there” is is always evolving 🙂 This process has definitely had its challenges, but it has been SO worth the effort because I have learned more about myself, my body, and my emotional needs. I would not say I have a perfect relationship with food just yet, but I definitely am in a much better place than when I began. I now know portion size and control. I now know how to fuel my body properly. And I now know how to better tune in with myself and recognize when I am eating to fill an emotional void instead of being compliant with my goals and how to better satisfy my emotional needs other than with food. As always, it isn’t so much the physical changes I am most proud of, it is the changes withIN that have made me a stronger, healthier, and happier individual!
Please feel free to leave comment below with any questions you may have. And be sure to check out my Macro FAQs blog post as well that may answer any of your macro specific questions <3