Monday, March 24, 2014

The Quest For The Right Calories

My Fitness Pal has become my new best friend.  I am tracking calories with reckless abandon.  For the last 2 weeks I have measured, calculated, and meticulously entered every morsel of fuel I have stuffed in my pie hole and it feels good to be accountable.  I feel good.  My energy is great.  My attitude, splendid.  Is it directly related to tracking calories?  Probably not.  Is it directly related to eating right and working out?  Absolutely.

Based on past experiences of dropping a few pounds, journaling works best for me.  When I can see what I'm cramming into my face (and at what times of the day or what events/stress have occurred) I become more aware of my emotional eating habits.  Why is it such a newsflash for me?  I come from a line of emotional eaters.  Uh, Hello in there- I am an emotional eater.  It seems like it should be so simple-- Food equals fuel.  I wish I could see it as that instead of that thing that may satisfy that little voice in my brain.  I know it will never fix what I want it to.  It will never make me feel better; in most cases I feel worse.  So, yes journaling works for me.

The trick seems to be finding the right combination of foods to actually drop weight.  How does one calculate the proper macros needed?  How do I know the ratio of protein to carbs to fat that I need?  Is there a magic calculator out there that can tell me based on my goals and my activity levels?  I have found some resources and tweaked here and there to find a lower carb plan that seems to cover the carbs I need for distance running, yet enough protein and healthy fats to recover and drop the excess fats.  The biggest shock to me while researching was that I'm not eating enough.  I'm sorry, what?  What about that whole calories in must be less than calories expended.  Yeah, well, not completely true.  Yes, calories do need to be less than what is needed to get through all of my activities.  Truth is I struggle to get them all in.  Now that I am more aware of what I need to get through the day I have trouble getting them all in.  So for the last year I've been putting my body into starvation mode, taking in moderate calories with various levels of activity, therefore storing fat in places it's not been stored before  (that's what it looks like anyway).  Wow. And here I was trying to blame my aging metabolism.  Maybe it was the cupcake... and the beer... but not the wine.  Never the wine.

I don't know that I have it completely figured out yet.  Hunger strikes often even though I'm eating what feels like a lot of protein.  My carbs are coming from fruits and veggies and the occasional complex carb like quinoa, whole oats, or whole wheat pasta.  These grains are super hearty and easy to flavor with proteins, veggies or fruits.  I fully expect to have to adjust my macros again to find a better balance or to see further results on the scale and measuring tape.  The goal is to be healthy.  This time a number on the scale won't define the results.  Maybe that's what will finally make that connection in my brain that food=fuel.

How do you calculate the best macro ratio?

It never works this way for me :(

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