More transformation stories from our #REB3LNation… Eat Like a REB3L!
Melanie’s Experience with Macros:
By Melanie Darling – REB3L Instructor (Colorado)
“Just so you all are aware, I am not a professional nutritionist by any means. I have grown up my whole life active and working out but I was never at a body shape that I was happy with for the amount of time I spent in the gym. I figured it had to be my food, but wasn’t sure where to start. A few years ago, I became friends with a student of mine who was doing a bikini competition. I asked her about her nutrition and she pointed me towards a lady who ended up showing me how to eat better and ultimately showed me how to count my macros. I got them more dialed in with another coach at my gym and was able to see immediate results. I was hooked on how well it worked and how easy it ended up being. I know macro counting sounds intimidating and annoying to record EVERYTHING you eat but believe me it gets easier and easier as the days go on. Plus the results that you’ll see make it so worth it.
For those that aren’t familiar with what macro counting is, I’ll break it down really simple. It’s keeping track of your three main categories of nutrition: fats, proteins & carbohydrates. It’s also very important to remember calories when counting macros. You essentially figure out the amount of calories your body will need to maintain and then figure out what it needs to lose weight. The macros then get calculated for what your body will need and sometimes it’s not always accurate. You can always change those numbers a little bit to see what works for your body. That may seem daunting but there are good sources online to figure these out or nutrition coaches to help you.
Once you have it dialed in, you essentially are eating what your body needs for that day with the fats, protein and carbs. The kicker ?!! It’s making you EXTREMELY aware of what you’re fueling your body with! This was my ah-ha moment! I had to learn what good carbs to eat so I could eat more later. If I put a donut in there, I’d use up most of my fat and a ton of my carb allowances for the day and I knew I’d be hungry later. Therefore I’d over-eat! So I either learned to say no to the donut or portion control. I really want to taste that damn donut, so I’ll have 1/4 of it. It satisfies that sweet tooth, but also allows me to get better results from my workouts. That was my ultimate goal. In just a month, I dropped 10 lbs! It was mind blowing. But also, you can cheat! Have that cheat meal! Eat that donut! Have a cheat day if you need! Don’t feel bad. Enjoy life a little! Don’t ever think you won’t have it again because you’ll set your self up for failure. It’s all about control. Make yourself that person who has it. Don’t feel like you have to give up foods you love!
Through macro counting you’ll learn what foods you can still eat a lot of such as veggies, complex carbs and lean proteins, but to be careful on the high fat foods, high calories and high sugar. I love that it just makes me hyper aware of what I’m fueling my body with. For me, I eat a lot of protein but because I’m so active, I consume more carbs. That’s when I learned complex carbs are definitely my friend, not foe. But also… If I want that damn ice cream, I’ll eat the damn icecream! I’ll add it into my app that morning (I’ll eat it that night) but that way it’s calculated in already. That way I’m not in trouble and out of allowances that night which would cause me to be either super sad, crying in the corner, or binge eating the ice cream anyways! Let’s be real, I’m a mom of 4! I need the freaking ice cream!
I use the my fitness pal app, mainly because it’s free and super easy to use. It has a scanner so I can scan barcodes of food to input immediately or I can also look up foods. It has a huge library to tell you all the macros of mostly any type of food. It even has tons of different restaurants and fast food places too in the food data library. You can also create your own recipes to store so next time you eat it you can go back in and click your recipe or your meal. If you’re lazy like me and you eat a lot of the same stuff, it remembers all your meals so you can go back in and find the day before and it will just automatically enter it for you.
A good trick that I have learned is to meal prep. However my meal prep consists of me browning ground turkey and storing that for the whole week to add to salads or tacos or whatever I want. I’ll air fry a few chicken breasts and store them in the fridge as well that way when I need more protein I can eat it like that or add it to a salad or serve it with a side of broccoli and rice. Unlike Iggy, I am by no means fancy. I like to keep it super simple. Sometimes I’ll add fun things like barbecue sauce or pineapple. We live in a day where there are so many healthy, protein-rich recipes available at our fingertips so it’s hard to not have an excuse! Even if you’re a vegan vegetarian. Plus with appliances like air fryers and pressure cookers, we can get delicious food even easier and faster. When telling people about macro counting, I like to include some easy, “go-to” foods I use regularly: chicken, brown rice, broccoli, green leaf lettuce salads with spinach, lean ground turkey, egg whites, rice cakes, protein pancakes, fruits such as cuties or bananas, plus protein shakes! I can only eat meats so long. My favorite is the chocolate high protein shake by Fairlife . It doesn’t hurt my belly like others can. In case you’re wondering, I don’t do coffee or too much caffeine, I don’t do a lot of supplements but I do love me a pre-workout before I teach! And make sure you’re hydrated as well! That’s another huge step people forget to do!! Women daily need 91 oz and men 128 oz (gallon). Flavor some of it after or before a workout with something delicious (low to no sugar of course) with BCAA’s and EEA’s (ie: Amino acids, these help with recovery and hydration).
Side note: after you do it long enough, you get the hang of it. You don’t have to forever feel like you have to enter your food daily, you start getting the bigger picture. You’ll learn how to eat better and make smarter choices. You can always go back to it if you need to! Also if you don’t enter everything, it’s not the end of the world!!! This is all for you! You know yourself better than anyone, so you can make wise decisions from there. So, in the end, it really just comes down to choice. Do you want to take the time to learn how to eat better? Easiest decision I ever made! And PS, it’s what the body competitors use, so you know macro counting works. Just saying…”
(Melanie – REB3L instructor, Colorado)