And I thought I was done with that macro-counting lifestyle...
Back in the day, I was really into counting macros. I discovered that macro counting was the most effective way for me to achieve and maintain a very lean physique, and I was obsessed with it.
For reference, here are some of my old posts on the topic:
Honestly, I still think it's probably the most effective way to achieve physique goals, but I will also say that it's pretty high maintenance and can lead to an unhealthy relationship with food and control.
You guys know I have control issues. Macros empowered me with more control than I've ever had. I could lean out, I could bulk up and build muscle. It was such simple math.
But then life and NYC started massively kicking my butt. My anxiety was out of control, and per the recommendation of my therapist, I needed to try to learn to loosen my grip on things (something I'm still working on). At the time, the most obvious thing I could let go of was macros. I gave it up pretty cold turkey. And it felt both freeing and scary. I didn't want to lose my morning six pack, but I also didn't want to have panic attacks every day and was willing to try anything.
I also took up running, per the therapist's recommendation, to help with my anxiety. The amount of positive progress I saw through these two adjustments was too good to overlook, so I stuck with it. I gave up the bodybuilder life in favor of a much more relaxed running lifestyle.
I ran enough that I could eat as much carbs as I wanted without gaining. And that felt great. My speed continued to improve and that felt good. My anxiety continued to dissipate, and that was life changing.
I thought I'd be one of those people who would run until the day I gave birth. I didn't think I'd get gestational diabetes because, heck, I'm a marathon runner and I eat lots of veggies. But sometimes life throws weird stuff at you.
I do have gestational diabetes, and I'm managing it with diet/exercise. I've met with lots of doctors to talk through things and my dietitian suggested this complicated system of counting macros. I laughed.
To her surprise, I was very familiar with counting macros. She told me that I wasn't eating enough (I had been holding back on food because I was scared that anything I'd eat would make me end up with a 15lb baby), and that I should orient my calories to align with a 40% carb, 30% protein, 30% fat ratio. At 1800 calories.
I just started tracking in MFP again today, and it felt oddly safe and familiar. If I know how many carbs I can have at each meal, I can eat without fear. And that feels like freedom.
It's weird for me to be eating so high fat, but the dietitian wants me to pair nuts with fruit when I eat fruit. Apparently, nuts, which are high in fat and protein, help GDM patients better process sugars when paired with things like breads and fruits.
I just have a little under 4 weeks left until baby's due date, so I plan to track until then at least. But the fact that macros is making me feel more free than constrained right now makes me wonder if I'll end up using macros to work my way back towards my pre-pregnancy body after I get cleared for exercise again.
Who knows! I guess we will wait to find out.
I don't want to do it if it becomes too obsessive, but if it is helpful, why not try it again!
Have you ever tried counting macros/IIFYM? Thoughts?
Note: It's pretty weird looking back of photos of me jacked right now, when I'm 9 months pregnant. Though, it's encouraging to think that if I got there once, I could get back there again -- probably with some post-baby body changes.