A funny thing has been happening to me for the past year and a half: I’ve been putting on weight little by little, despite super clean eating habits and daily exercise. For months and months I have attributed this slow creep to my injuries — sure, I’ve been working out a lot, but no running or high impact workouts means a little weight gain is inevitable, right?
Now that the 2016 racing season is over, my hip is more or less healed and I am easing back into running, and a crazy month of travel is over, I finally felt ready to dive a little deeper into my nutrition to shine a light on what might need some tweaking. So, I re-downloaded MyFitnessPal onto my phone and tracked a normal day of eating for a baseline measurement, then used a macro calculator to help compare it to what I should be eating.
My mindset before Day 1 tracking macros:
- I eat lots of vegetables and a bit of fruit
- I can’t remember the last time I ate something that would count as a processed food
- My alcohol intake averages out to about 1 serving per week
- With all of the chicken, eggs, and seafood I eat, I definitely get enough protein
- Maybe I don’t eat enough fat?
- My serving sizes might be way off – am I underestimating the calories I’m consuming?
My thought process after Day 1 of tracking macros:
- It’s 5pm and I’ve only consumed 800 calories..this is not good
- But I don’t feel hungry and this is about what I always eat…not good at all
- Maybe this is why I’m hungriest at 9:30pm – because I haven’t eaten enough earlier in the day
- Yup, definitely not getting enough fat in my diet
- Hmm, I’m also teetering on the edge of not enough protein
- “Having” to drink a protein smoothie – with peanut butter – before bed? Maybe this isn’t all bad
So, yes — I am that cliché woman who gains weight by consuming too few calories. My healthy diet backfired! Luckily, since I already eat well, hitting my macro goals isn’t going to take a major overhaul.
It seems to be something that’s easily fixable with just a few tweaks:
- More calories in the AM! I’d gotten out of the habit of consuming a snack immediately after working out, so I am back on that train which will help ensure that I don’t consume a majority of my calories in the evening hours.
- Increasing my fat intake: adding some nuts and seeds to my morning meal.
- Ditching my veggie/fruit-only snacks. It’s so easy to grab an apple or sliced cucumber as a snack, but that’s just not going to cut it. Bring on the protein and fat!
It is kind of hilarious, kind of embarrassing to me that my issues were so glaring that it only took one day for me to figure them out — but hey, you live and you learn, and I definitely don’t have it all figured out just yet. I am planning to continue to track my macros for a bit to establish a better routine, then will probably stop tracking so closely once I have a handle on things.
Onwards and downwards (on the scale)!