Should you Count Calories?
I have gone back and forth on this topic my whole life. On the one hand it seems unnatural and kind of obsessive to track every little thing you eat and every calorie you burn. On the other hand its what I have discovered the easiest way for me to stay on point when I am trying to drop some lbs in a short amount of time. It goes both ways, if you eat too few calories you are causing harm to your body and if you eat too much, you gain weight. There have been days where I thought I hardly ate ANYTHING only to find out when I logged it that I was over my calorie goal.
I think it all depends on personality. I LOVE to graze and snack and find myself sticking my dirty little paw in the snack cabinet all the time out of boredom or when I am feeling emotional. Those snacks add up! When I know that Im going to have to "count" out the number of scoops of almond butter I am going to eat I am MUCH less likely to over indulge.
Do I track calories every day?
No freaking way! Only when I am on a short time frame to lean out. I LOVE the free app MyFitness Pal to log my "calories in" (food) and "calories out" (workouts). It reminds me of playing a video game! Takes 20 seconds each time to enter what you eat throughout the day (to the best of your ability) and it'll keep you in check when your days comes to an end. Which, for me sometimes brings me to the answer to my "can I have a glass of wine"? question.
How Many Calories?
Without doing a full assessment I can only give you a general guideline. According to countless studies, the general consensus is that for an average woman, (trying to lose weight) a great target is 1200 calories/day and 1600+ (to maintain weight). You should never eat LESS than 1200 calories a day, it will cause more harm then good by jeopardizing your health plus you'll be losing muscle mass. You have heard of the term 'skinny fat' right?. Not what we are going for! You also need to make sure to include the amount of calories you burned during your workout and add that onto your calories for the day. A typical calorie goal for me on a day that I exercise is roughly 1700 calories.
What About Macros?
There are tons of controversial debates about macros out there. In my opinion it is because every ones body responds differently. I like to follow Ayurveda and find out what specific imbalances my body has and cater my macros to that. Some imbalances call for more fat, others more protein etc. MyFitness Pal has an option on the free app with generic 'macro guidelines' that you can look at as a simple way to see if you are dominant in a specific category. Ill betcha its carbs! Here is an example of what one of my days looks like. Since I dont have the upgraded 'premium' option I am unable to change my macros therefor you'll see that I do more protein and less carbs than they recommend.
I will write a more detailed article about macros on a different day. Until then, get tracking ladies! It may boggle your mind to see what "healthy foods" you may be eating actually look like in terms of numbers!! If you want a personal assessment with me, then send me a message and we will get you set up via skype or phone date.