Ok to start, my weekend was a bust when it came to calories, so I didn’t even look at my macros. Between a Roller Derby party and my husband’s birthday, it was just not happening. I figure the week starts on Monday anyways, right?
Since I have been way off on hitting my protein, I figured I would focus on that one first. And it turns out that this is really the number you should calculate first and the others will follow from that. At least I got something right!
As I worked through a bunch of online calculators, one thing became apparent. MyFitnessPal had given me way too much protein . Over 200g a day! No wonder I wasn’t able to get that amount every day. I think if I was body building I would need to hit that many, but in my current exercise regime, this is too much.
So let’s talk a bit about protein.
What is protein and why is it important?
The short answer is that protein is the building blocks of cells. Protein supports growth and maintenance and also provides energy, making them an important part, if not the most important part, of a healthy diet.
One thing I learned this week was that proteins are not stored, they are used up by the body and constantly have to be replaced. This makes getting enough protein daily very important.
How much protein do I need?
The answer to this question is not always clear. There are a number of ways to calculate protein based on body weight, lean body weight, percentage of calorie intake etc. So you have to pick the method that works best for you.
Here are a few methods that appealed to me the most. This was mainly because they didn’t make my calorie goal super low and seemed to give me a reasonable amount of protein to eat in a day.
One constant among all the calculators was that the more active you are the more protein you need, so I based my calculation on this.
I took my lean body mass (115lbs) and multiplied it by 1.2. This gave me a protein goal of 137g a day or about 550 calories from protein.
What foods are high in protein?
Another thing I learnt this week was that some foods that I thought were high in protein actually belonged in another category. Nuts, for example, have protein but they actually belong more in the fat category because you gain
Here is a little cheat sheet of what foods fit in what category. But basically most meats will be high in protein (but may also be high in fat)
My Week in Review:
Well we already know that my weekend was a bust, but Monday I was at it full force. I went through a bunch of calculators online and finally settle on the one from flexible dieting http://healthyeater.com/flexible-dieting-calculator It set my macros up as follows. I used this one as it seemed to give me both a decent calorie goal and a decent amount of protein to eat. `
Here is a breakdown of how week 1 of focusing on my macros turned out.
Monday – donuts in the office. Could fit them in my calorie goal, but would obliterate my carbs and fat goals… no donut for me! I still need 31g of protein today, so looking for high protein snacks that will not kill my other two macro categories. Ended up having protein powder and then blew it at the end of the night when there was leftover popcorn after practice.
Tuesday – Was over on my protein and just under on everything else, so I call this day a success. I didn’t alter my food much either, except for adding in protein powder in the afternoon.
Wednesday – A vendor brought us lunch, which made it hard to calculate. I ended up over on all categories. That being said my macro ratio was still pretty good and I wasn’t over board on any one category
Thursday – I felt really good about today. I was over in my protein, just right in my fat and under in my carbs. I even had to eat straight carbs in the evening to make up that I was also a good 150 calories under my calorie goal and did not feel the munchies, so that is good news.
Friday – So far so good today, but the challenge will come this evening as we usually are a bit more relaxed in our eating on Friday and Saturday night. I hope I can stay within my Macro goals.
Generally speaking, I found it easy to hit my macro goals without changing what I was eating too much. I was just more cognizant of what I was eating. Hopefully that will continue as I focus more on the other macros.
Stay tuned for next week when I take a look at fats.