Hello fellow readers! I wanted to talk today about a topic that I constantly have struggled with from day one. When I started researching what keto was and how you do it I started seeing this one word everywhere I turned MACRO. What was this and why was it so important?
Macro is a short way to say macronutrients. Macronutrients are by definition foods that are required in large amounts in our diet. The main macro nutrients are fat, protein, and carbohydrates. These three main items are the items when following keto you need to become aware of and possibly track.
Now why do I say possibly? Not everyone who follows a ketogenic way of eating tracks their macros. I personally recommend for people who are just starting to definitely track everything you are consuming. You need to learn what you are putting in your body so you can adjust to what fits into a keto diet.
So how do you know what fits into the macros. For a ketogenic diet macros are generally as follows: 70-75% fat, 20-25% protein and 10-5% carbohydrates. That basically means that 70-75% of your calories are coming from fat. That will seem like a lot to someone who is just starting out, but you need the fat to fuel your body in place of the sugar you are eliminating. Protein is the next essential item you need. Keto emphasizes moderate amount of proteins in your diet, and has so many useful vitamins and nutrients in it. The combination of fat and protein will optimize your body function and your energy levels. Carbohydrates are the smallest portion of your diet and with keto you need to learn that those carbohydrates are best if they come from dark leafy greens or other keto approved vegetables.
When I first started keto and started my tracking it took a couple weeks (more like a month) to figure out what I was doing and how to eat within my macro’s. First off let me assure you that my issue wasn’t overeating, the issue for me was not eating enough to meet my macros or eating too much of one and not another. One lesson I learned was that while cheese is allowed, too much of it will quickly make your protein macro go through the roof. As time goes and you track and see what the macros do you learn how to refine and make it work for you. The longer you do keto the easier it get’s because once your body is fueled correctly you will start to notice you don’t need snacks and many people over time start to automatically fast and only eat 1-2 meals a day.
Now that I have been keto for almost a year, I don’t really track much anymore. I do track occasionally just as a sanity check, but 90% of the time I know what I am putting in my body and I know when I am full. Also, if you ever reach a time that you stall or plateau I think tracking is a great tool to see what you may be doing wrong or what may need adjusted. For example I noticed that I benefited from a little higher fat % and was doing around 80% at one point. You have to learn what your body wants and what works best for you.
A golden rule for carbohydrates is don’t go over 20 grams in a day. Now that can be doing total carbs or net carbs. For those starting out I think it’s fine to focus on net carbs. Net carbs are basically total carbs minus any dietary fiber and any sugar alcohols. I started with net carbs and as my journey progressed I started thinking if I am eating it how is it that I can subtract it out. Does it just magically disappear? So in my opinion total carbs is the way to go. I ate it so I need to count it. In my opinion this also makes deciphering labels easier and not as much of a mathematical headache.
So macro as intimidating as it seems really are a necessary evil I think for many. I know for me it made me be able to know I was following the rules and being successful. It also helped me be able to to see if certain foods that are even keto approved were stalling me or affecting how I was feeling. It is a great resource for eliminating certain foods from your diet to see optimal benefits. I know it can be confusing as well. So if you want more information or to discuss more about macro’s feel free to reach out to me with all your questions, and until next time….Keep Ketoing On!