12 weeks of tracking macros
12 weeks of tracking my macros is over. Can't believe how fast time has gone. I have thought about tracking for several years due to my love for training. It kinda goes hand in hand. But I have never wanted it enough. I love food and sweets. When I eat I don't want boundaries. I have always felt that tracking is just too hardcore. And I'm not "that person". Well not until 12 weeks ago. One of my biggest inspirations on instagram is Michaela North (@hungryfitness). I have followed her for a long time. She's a strong bad ass CrossFit athlete and a mother of four. She is beautiful and sweet and her eyes are like the ocean. She is someone I look up to not only in training, but also as a mother and a person. A short time prior to 12 weeks ago she mentioned that she had some available spots for nutrition clients. One of those spots were mine, I just felt it. We live in the States now, as Michaela. Penelope is no longer a breastfeeding baby and I am ready to take my own passion for training and nutrition to the next level. I had decided that the time spent in Boston (Wellesley) is gonna be about growth, education and self-care for me to build something, not only for me, but for my family as well. I have chosen different paths in life when it comes to work and now it's time again. Nutrition coach is my new direction. And what kinda nutrition coach would I be if I have never done it myself? It felt like the obvious choice for both body and mind. I initiated contact with Michaela and our journey began.
The goals can be many when tracking your macros/micros. For me the goal was and still is to build muscle and at the same time get leaner so the muscle I build won't hide under too much fat. I want to get the most out of my hard work in the gym. Michaela told me to focus on proteins, fiber, water and sleep. And of course stay in my range of calories. It felt like she really had seen me when setting the target towards my goal. I was hyped to get going. Bought a food scale, downloaded MyFitnessPal and started practice weighing and tracking in the app a couple days prior to our official start.
12 weeks later I have not had any bad emotions, I have not had any huge fuck ups and everything has felt so much easier than I would have thought. Why is this? It's a combination of several things, but the most important is that I was very clear with Michaela of what my goals were so that she had a fair chance of getting the initial plan spot on. I have not been in any rush of change. I have done this mainly to learn, no pressure on myself. And I have never had any "disorder" of emotional eating or not eating for that matter. If you reach out to a nutrition coach and this is something you have had issues with in life, no matter when, it's very important you inform your coach. Communication is key, as in all aspects in life. There is nothing called To Much Information when it comes to a coach/client relationship. Michaela and I have emailed every week and she has made changes appropriate to keep us up to date on current goals. Keep in mind, it can change as time pass. I experienced a lower back issue in December that would not give in easily. That made me decrease load on weights for several weeks and the need to change up my workouts. Frustrating fore sure! During this time we decided to focus on leaning out while keeping muscle mass. Building muscle would have to wait. Building muscle means more food. My back has been back to normal for some weeks now and for the last four weeks of tracking we have increased my calories every week. I am still leaner today than I was 4 weeks ago. At the same time I have lifted heavier than ever before. I truly believe sky is the limit as long as I continue to reach for my goal of stronger. One thing I experienced tracking is my need to feel safe, feel like it's doable and that it won't create stress. It has been more important for me to keep it simple and not to challenging. This is something I can relate to in other aspects in life, so probably not weird that I also feel that with tracking. I addressed this with Michaela so that she would know how my mind works. Very important information for her to know. The fact that we have kept it simple and that we've been in no rush has been key for my positive experience and feeling of success, together with Michaelas knowledge of course. I'm sure of it.
I say that it has been easier then I thought, but what has been the biggest changes? When it comes to food it's being aware of fiber. Fiber is mainly found in vegetables, fruit, whole grains and legumes. It can help you feel fuller, keep your bowel movements going and in good health, lower your cholesterol levels and help control blood sugar levels. If you focus on getting right amount of fiber in your diet you will automatically go for healthier choices. It's a win-win for your body in and out. 10-15g per 1000 calories is the right amount of fiber each day. I have always been very focused on protein, so that was nothing new to me. Carbs and fat has not been something I have focused on more then for me to not go over my calorie goal. That can be different for someone else with other specific goals.
Water. I thought I drank a lot of water, but I was clearly mistaking. 3 liters a day is my goal. That took me several weeks to manage. Probably the hardest thing in this whole tracking experience. Drinking enough water can make you maximize your workouts and keep your body and brain energized. It helps you feel fuller, relieves constipation and drinking enough water can boost your metabolic rate. That means your daily energy expenditure increases. In plain words, it makes you burn more calories. Just by drinking water. You know you are drinking enough water if your pee is very light yellow. Darker then that? Drink more water! Any other drink does not count.
Sleep has not been a priority of mine, ever. I manage with less sleep and having three kids I have spent my share of time with the mindset "I'll sleep when I'm dead". 7 hours of sleep per night has been the goal and it has actually made me prioritize going to bed earlier at night. It has slowly, but surely erased my mindset of needing to stay up so I can enjoy some kid free time during the nights. Even tho I have been crazy tired I have stayed up. Just to have the time. Silly. Now I get at least 7 hours of sleep most nights. Having in mind that Penelope still wakes up (almost always) ones during those 7 hours. But she is also on a good way of sleeping thru the nights. She's getting older and wiser..Thank God.
Something this whole experience have lead me to as well is a daily stretch with a mental approach. More specific a daily romwod. Look it up at romwod.com and download the app. Something I highly recommend everyone no matter what kinda life you live. This was something Michaela recommended to me when my back was a mess. I started right away. About 20 minutes of stretch, a new routine everyday with soothing music and a comfortable voice that guides you thru the movements and emotions that follow the possible discomfort. It often focus on breathing technic, something I suck at even tho it has guided me thru three births. I'm getting better at it and it truly is a big help in total relaxation. I see this not only as a stretch my body needs, but also therapy for my mind. And believe me, this is something that is so "not me". But sometimes in life, the things that are outside our comfort zone is exactly the thing we need.
If you have read this far you understand that the biggest changes for me with tracking has not been what I eat or how much I eat. It has been a lot of other aspects that are directly connected to good health. This is something that I didn't expect and that has made a huge positive impact on my life. I believe that is why a diet will never work in the long run, because the focus is all wrong. If your focus is being the best you and about feeling as good as you possibly can you will have results that's gonna stick with you forever. Cause that is a life worth sticking too. And a life you will wanna keep, always.
More specifically about food. I have eaten more or less like before. I would say I'm a person that has always eaten healthy overall and I have always had the necessary knowledge of what is good for me and not. On the other hand I have also been a person that eats until I'm full and then some, because it's so damn good. I would eat a whole bucket of Ben&Jerry's on a Friday night without problems or guilt. A bag of candy? Get in my tummy! I haven't excluded many things from my diet while tracking, but I have always asked myself if it's worth it? And most important, is it possible for me to reach my daily protein and fiber goal if I choose to eat the calorie high food/sweets? In the answer to that question lays my action. Very simple and most times the decision is not a hard one to make. If there has been a night out coming up I have saved some calories every day prior that week to use. That leaves me with an stress-free night were I won't "suffer" for my choice of tracking. I have been out to dinner, had friends over or been invited to friends several times during these 12 weeks and if I see to my whole week-goal of calories I have never been extremely over because of it. Yes, I have exceeded my weekly goal once or twice, but not by much and you know what? Then comes a new week, with new possibilities and life is long. Don't let that one week or one day or one month for that sake make your spirit burst. It's not a big deal. You are doing great and you are only human. Look forward and keep your eyes on your goal. The reason you have chosen to track. The big picture is all that counts here. And believe me, I never go hungry!
I'm taking three weeks off tracking with a check-in. I'm still gonna track some tho, cause I think it will be hard not to, but I'm gonna try and go at least one week with no tracking at all just to get a feel of my eye measurement and my natural instincts. That feels healthy. I'm not planning on tracking every little single thing that goes down my throat for the rest of my life. The last week of these three we are going on a family vacation to Mexico. Hello sunbed! I can't wait. That will be so so Amazing. For us all. When I come back I'm ready to tackle 12 new weeks with Michaela as my coach. We will continue our goal to get me stronger. And after that. Who knows what will happen. I will be done with my own nutrition coach certification and I will have learned so much more. My journey will continue and I will be able to help others like Michaela has helped me. She still is! I truly recommend everyone who would like guidance from a crazy experienced nutrition coach to check her out. She is a Star! And you know what, so am I for nailing 12 weeks of tracking with results I couldn't be happier about! This was just another proof that thinking about it is a NO GO and DOING IT is a BIG HELL YES! What ever that thing is for YOU.
The first picture in this post is from last spring when I had just stopped breastfeeding Penelope. I had much less muscle then normal and some excess fat of what I normally have, when not being post partum baby birth. The second picture is from before I got pregnant with Penelope and when I was in the shape of my life, so far. Were I'm holding Penelope is from our last couple days in England before heading to Scandinavia for the summer 2019. We moved to USA in the beginning of August that same summer. All the other pictures are while tracking. As you can see on my before pictures I was a lot leaner then earlier that same spring and summer. This has been a natural happening coming from a post partum body. I put on 33 pounds (15kg) during my pregnancy. Today I am 11 pounds (5kg) lighter then I was before getting pregnant with Penelope. In 12 weeks tracking I have lost 6 pounds (2,7kg). That is not very much on the scale, but it's a huge difference in how my clothes fit and how I feel. I have also during these 12 weeks gotten stronger, so muscle has been built. Continuing my goal of getting stronger I will probably gain some weight. The scale is nothing I care about. I care about how I look, how my clothes fit and how strong I feel.
I hope that this post can inspire to go for what you want and don't be afraid to try something new. Maybe it will be the choice that inspire you on a new exciting path in life, maybe it will make you happier or maybe you will find out that it wasn't for you. No matter what, you will learn something. And that is never wrong. It's just a whole lot of right!