Remember a few weeks ago when I blogged about all my fitness goals for 2016? Turns out, lifting heavy shit requires big muscles, so I’ve been looking into various nutrition plans to help me build muscle mass/lose body fat.
I decided I wanted to try a macro-based approach, which is something I was initially apprehensive about because have you ever searched the IIFYM (“If It Fits Your Macros”) hashtag on Instagram? It’s almost all photos of people stuffing their faces with pizza/pop tarts/doughnuts and being all BUT IT FITS MY MACROS. Apparently there’s this whole rivalry between IIFYM-ers and “clean eaters,” with the IIFYM group being all “I EAT PIZZA EVERY DAY AND STILL LOOK GOOD,” and the clean eaters being like, “awesome dudebro, enjoy your upcoming quadruple bypass.” I think I fall somewhere in the middle – I want to eat mostly healthy, minimally-processed foods but still have the flexibility to house the occasional wedge of brie.
Anyway, I asked my CrossFit coach to calculate my macros (ideal grams of protein/fat/carbs I should be eating every day) and make me a plan. In addition to involving much more food than I’m used to eating, it requires eating a gram of protein per pound of body weight every day. I feel like I’m singlehandedly eating my way through the nation’s livestock in order to get enough protein.
My usual routine is to take a few minutes in the evening and enter the next day’s food into MyFitnessPal, which helps me to stay on track and not have to think too much about what/when to eat. Thursday night was the first night I tried to make my food hit my new macro goals, and it went like this:
“OK, I need 30 more grams of protein, so I’ll add another egg to my breakfast. Shit, now I’m over my fat. OK, I’ll do a ½ cup of cottage cheese instead. Now I’m under on my protein, and I still need carbs. OK I’ve got canned tuna and corn tortillas, I’ll make tuna tacos for lunch. Are tuna tacos a thing? Probably not. Better Google it. Oh look, cat gifs!”
I have a feeling it’ll go better this week now that I’ve had a chance to stock my fridge with a small farm’s worth of poultry and plan my meals for the week. I’ve pre-portioned as much as I can to avoid having to constantly pull out the scale and/or eat weird combinations to make sure everything adds up at the end of the day (ahem, canned tuna tacos).
As for what I’ll be eating, it’s not much different than how I normally eat, I’m mostly just eating the same stuff in different quantities: eggs, chicken breast, turkey, sweet potatoes, avocado, salmon, fruit, veggies, almond butter, cottage cheese, oatmeal, pasta, rice, quinoa, etc. Plus some maybe not-as-great stuff that I love too much to give up: coffee creamer, tortillas, Laughing Cow cheese, pretzels. Sorry not sorry.
I’m excited to see whether this makes a big difference in my body composition and performance, although I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t a little anxious about how many calories I’m eating. My coach warned me that I’ll probably gain weight in the next few weeks while my body adjusts, and even though I know it’s temporary, it’s still kind of tough to put a ton of effort into eating healthy and watch yourself blow up like the Stay-Puft man. I don’t have a specific weight goal in mind – I actually don’t really care if I wind up gaining weight in the long term – as long as my body fat decreases, my strength increases, and I like what I’m seeing in the mirror.