The Beginner’s Guide to Macros

Disclaimer: the advice in this post is not intended as a substitute for medical advice. Before beginning and exercise regimen or diet, seek counsel from your healthcare practitioner.

There are lots of dieting fads out there, so many that it can be overwhelming to try to balance nutrition for the average healthy person who just needs a basic guideline to help them figure out the amount of nutrients they need on a daily basis. They say there is no magic formula, but there is a simple way to manage nutrient intake, and that’s where macronutrients come in. Macronutrients are divided into 3 groups: protein, carbohydrates, and fats. The USDA recommends the following ranges for macronutrients, based on your activity levels:Protein: 10 – 35%, Carbohydrates: 45-65%, Fat: 20-35%.You need all 3 of these categories in order for your body to function at it’s best. And the word macro means big, so think of tracking macros as looking at the big picture of your overall nutrition. Still wondering “why these categories”? We’ll tell you.

Protein

Proteins are the building blocks of cells and muscles. The 8 essential amino acids found in many animal proteins and even a few plant proteins can help you build muscle and repair tissues in the body. Lean protein is necessary to refuel after a workout. Protein also keeps your metabolism functioning in a healthy way. Several lean sources of protein are chicken, lean beef, quinoa, whey, greek yogurt, lentils, and fish.

Macros

Carbohydrates

The carbohydrate category probably contains the largest variety of foods. When counting macros, carbohydrates include, fruits, vegetables, and starches. Although many look at macros as simply energy in vs. energy out, I encourage you to remember that the quality of the fuel you put in your body does count for something. Carbohydrates help preserve muscle and low glycemic carbs, such as sweet potatoes, help stabilize blood sugar levels. Carbohydrates also restore energy levels. Examples of nutritious carbohydrates are strawberries, broccoli, and brown rice.

Fats

In the 90’s, fat was a dirty word in the nutritional sense. People were obsessed with everything being low-fat. However, the human body needs healthy, unprocessed fats in order to store energy and transport nutrients effectively. Imagine trying to have a healthy metabolism without your body being able to transport the nutrients you receive from other foods, pointless, isn’t it? Fats make this happen for vitamins A, E, and K.  Healthy sources of fat are nuts, avocado, coconut oil, and extra-virgin olive oil, as well as small portions of real butter.

If you have trouble making sense of nutrition and and figuring out what you need and in what portions, tracking your macros can make keeping up with your food intake much simpler. Just remember to get your nutrients from healthy foods, and you will be well on your way to eating a better diet in no time!

Sources

https://www.acefitness.org/blog/5904/how-to-determine-macronutrient-needs-based-on

https://www.nationalacademies.org/hmd/~/media/Files/Activity%20Files/Nutrition/DRIs/DRI_Macronutrients.pdf

 

How To Spring Clean Your Diet

Hi everyone!

I hope you’re enjoying the beautiful weather if you’re in NC! It is a gorgeous day today, and Micah and I (and Erin) have already taken a relaxing Sunday afternoon walk.

With this amazing weather, everyone wants to look and feel their best, but it’s so easy to hang on to those old habits of junk food and unhealthy cravings…trust me, being pregnant, I would know a thing or two about cravings.The reality is, what better time to start eating a healthy diet? With the rise in popularity of farmer’s markets and gardening, healthy choices are more accessible  and affordable than ever. If you’re still not sure where to start, don’t worry, I’ve got some tips for you on how to spring clean your diet. These tips are so simple, that even if you’ve never tried to eat healthier foods, you’ll still be able to get on the right track to a balanced diet.

(Disclaimer: the following information is intended as suggestions for healthy eating. Before you begin any diet or exercise regimen, consult your physician or healthcare provider.)


Are you ready to spring clean your diet?

How To (1)

1.  Look for local on the label. Local produce is based on what’s in season and readily available in your area. This makes it cheaper, and usually, local farms are very careful about the quality of their produce. I find great deals at a local flea market in my area, where I can find pretty much any kind of produce that’s in season for a great price.

2. The fewer (ingredients), the better. This is a great general rule of thumb when grocery shopping. I mean, look at the back of a doritos bag….Think about how long that list of ingredients is….a much healthier alternative would be those sweet potato chips that only have about 5 ingredients, or better yet, and cheaper, just roast a can of chickpeas in the oven until they’re crunchy…I love to sprinkle chili powder and garlic powder on them…Delicious!

3. Buy foods with ingredients you can pronounce. Okay, with the exception of that exotic fruit or veggie whose name we have no idea how to spell, this is one of the best rules for cleaning up your diet. This is especially true of pre-packaged foods. Don’t buy it unless you understand what’s in it…if in doubt… make a healthy freezer meal instead of buying the ready-made alternative. (That’s what a slow cooker is for.)

4. Drink more water. Micah and I do not keep 2 liter sodas in our house. Ever. We drink water, tea and coffee, and I’m sure not too long after little Erin arrives, we’ll be adding quality fruit juice to that mix. It’s actually saved us a lot of money on our grocery bill over the years…I’m not sure how much, but if you were to add up what you spend on soft drinks each month, I’m sure you’d see how that money is better spent on fruits and veggies….it’s all about your priorities.

5. Pack your lunch for work. A homemade lasagna with chopped up veggies added in is way better for you than ordering out pizza or Chinese. Once again, I add, remember to use your slow cooker. You will also save a lot of money. Your body and your wallet will thank you.

6. Say “no” to fried and breaded foods. I’m from the south, where we love our breaded chicken tenders, but they’re just not that good for us. A healthier alternative is to roll chicken tenders in egg and oat flour and then bake them in the oven.

7. Be accountable. Keep a food journal. When you see what exactly what you’re putting in your body, it’s far easier to realize how much good or harm you’re doing to your body. Part of health journaling is about how that healthy meal made you feel versus how that fast food meal made you feel. I’ve coached a lot of clients through the years, and those that keep a food and exercise journal have more lasting results and reach their goals much sooner than those that don’t.

Cleaning up your food intake is easy, and can really be done without a lot of expense or a lot of extra effort. What is your favorite tip for staying on track with eating healthy? Comment below!

–  Julie

3 Reasons You’re Not Reaching Your Goals

We’re all human, trust me, I’m not superwoman by any stretch of the imagination. And some days, and weeks…and for some of us, months, we throw in the towel, refusing to face what is preventing us from reaching our goals, whether it’s health and fitness, or other areas of our lives. Let’s talk about 3 common obstacles, and how to overcome them. Remember, the book of James says, “To him who lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all freely and without reproach. Together, we can examine the 3 Reasons You’re not Reaching Your Goals.

Challenge #1: You don’t have time. Okay, I get it…you’re a busy mom, you have PTA, work a job, and your family gives you lots of social obligations.
Let me ask you the question, “How bad do you want to have more energy, lose weight, or feel stronger?
I believe that if a goal really matters to an individual, they will make time for it. Pack your lunch the night before. Work out during your favorite tv show. You don’t have to go to the gym for over an hour. Start out working out for just 10 minutes. Prep healthy foods while the kiddos are napping. The worst mistake that people make is that they think they have to work out for hours at a time to get results or create extravagant meals…it’s just not so.

Challenge #2: You don’t have money….I also believe that if something matters to you, then you’ll invest in it, even if it’s just $5. Cheap is not always good. Invest in a few high quality workout bands, and pay a personal trainer to teach you correct form and technique. A small investment now can save you lots of time and injury. And eating healthy, is not as expensive as you might claim.

Solution: Make your health a priority in your budget…honestly, fitness takes priority over eating out for us, and I can buy much more fruits and veggies than I can meals out with the same amount of money. Try a body-weight exercise routine at home until you save up some money. Many canned goods come with reduced sodium now. Eggs, lentils, and protein powder are great inexpensive sources of protein…and water is cheap.There are lots of ways to add veggies to meals, just chop up cucumbers and green onions and add them to salads. Make your own healthy salad dressings – we rarely buy salad dressing, maybe once or twice a year. Most importantly, make it a priority to eat healthy. Tell me, what should take priority in your families grocery budget – foods like potato chips and fried chicken tenders, or foods like, mini sweet peppers and hummus? Try one new healthy food a week. That way if you don’t like it, then you’re not wasting as much.

Reason #3: You don’t know where to begin. Knowledge is power, but make sure you’re using reliable resources. Don’t throw yourself under the squat rack….seriously. This is the easiest fix of all…but make yourself teachable – swallow your pride and ask a professional. If you wanted to add on to your house.wouldn’t you consult a professional if you didn’t have experience? You get my point.

Solution: AceFit has a great exercise library, where you can learn to perform most basic strength exercises and ranks them in order of difficulty. Book a couple of sessions with a personal trainer. They can help you learn how to set up your workouts in a way that prevents you from injuring yourself, while challenging you and giving you a specific game plan that will help you reverse engineer your goal(s). The operative word is specific. Write down your goals, break them up into little chunks, and then find a way to track your progress, whether it’s fitness printables, or an app. Make a list of resources pertinent to your specific goals, and do some research. Make yourself accountable to someone who has knowledge of this process. Changing habits isn’t easy, but the way you will look and feel is worth it.

What stops you from reaching your goals? What are some tools you’ve found along the way that worked for you and have kept you going strong? Stuck in a rut? Then find someone to be accountable to today! Reach out to me via my contact box. I’d love to help!

Julie

How to Be An Example to a Spouse Who’s Unsupportive of a Healthy Lifestyle

Today, I will pull no punches… This is a topic I get asked about a lot, I think primarily because my husband and I both strive to look/feel healthy. Unfortunately, we know a lot of couples who struggle with getting on the same page. After all, I would think that physical health would be a concern for a spouse. I will be preaching to both teams, guys and girls today, and it may be a little uncomfortable…

 “She gained all that weight; on our wedding day, she looked amazing, but man, everything has gone downhill. Here I am, trying to eat right and exercise, and she’s ordering from Papa John’s again.” I have heard this from a lot of men…they like to blame it on their wife. I mean, hello, we’re in the south, and many women still take care of the cooking in their homes. Well, listen up dudes, why not lead by example. Pack your own lunch everyday.Pack your own breakfast. Invite, don’t demand, that she join your workout. Sit down and have a conversation – it shouldn’t begin with, “So, I noticed you’ve been eating a lot hear lately” or, “Hey, don’t eat that it’ll make you fat”…Let her know you’re concerned about her energy levels, and how she feels. Basically, throw your ego to the curb. Let her know you have some goals, and you’d love for her support in this…then carry on. Focus on the positives. If you set an example, then she will follow….maybe not immediately, but it will happen.

 “Every time I ask about a gym membership/workout program”, he says, “You can’t spend anymore money.Our budget is tight.” Whoo boy…if I have heard this once, I’ve heard it a thousand times…OK…maybe it’s time for you to re-budget..I respect my hubby’s words, but I also know that if my health is important to me, then I will come up with that money. Do I really need 15 sweaters in my closet? 10 Pairs of boots? Do I really need that Starbucks frappe every day? Do we really need to eat out 2x a week as a family? Spending is all about your priorities. Do you really need a pedicure 1x a month – that’s the cost of a Beachbody Club or gym membership right there! If he’s still unsupportive, then look on pinterest for some fitness ideas, but make sure your understand how to properly perform workouts first…simply, use common sense. Who’s excuse is this anyway?

“Sweetheart, you never eat healthy foods. You’re always eating junk food….wah, wah, wah…” Ok, I think your spouse knows that what they’re doing is unhealthy, but nagging is no help. Instead, break down barriers that let them know how much it means to you that they want to take care of themselves. Get to the root of the “why” they keep procrastinating….Ask the question, then let them talk. Be a sincere listener. Hey, your love life might improve a little… There is something to be said for being attracted to your spouse…That goes for both of you.

“Look at this as an adventure. We can do this together.” Micah and I are doing 21 Day Fix Extreme right now, and it is awesome! We look forward to no hassle meals and our sweat dates.  To parents….stop the whole North American parenting syndrome. If your children are old enough, they should be able to let mom and dad workout in peace for 30 minutes. Ladies…give them a book to read…it’s good for their brains. Or turn it into a family affair. It takes a team to be accountable.

“Let them pick out recipes and workouts that interest them too.” You are both unique…bring those unique tastes together and have fun on your fitness journey

I hope this helps, but remember, you are the example, but be a loving one, your consistency will be the biggest impact on whether or not they join you on your journey.

1 Corinthians 13:7 Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

Until next time! 

Julie