Well.. aside from “have you ever thought about joining a side hustle where you can earn 6 figures from home because you’d be PERFECT to join my team” – that is. 😉 Every now and then I like to post the question sticker in my IG stories and see what sticks.. meaning, what resonates with my friends and what’s on everyone’s minds.
For the most part, I get a couple serious questions, a couple flirty ones (thanks, Chad), something from my mom, a message from someone telling me that God brought my profile to her life because I MUST be a great fit for her side hustle, spam, money offers from foreign diplomats.. I mean. It’s unreal.
But this week, I had GREAT feedback. And it honestly surprised me a little because a lot of the questions were really similar. So..I took that as a sign and decided to put together the top 5 most asked questions I was asked this past week in this nice, neat, little tidy blog for your reading pleasure. Cool? Beans.
Question # 1: How do I find the right balance of food and workouts, but also every day busy life?
So this question is actually really subjective, and there’s not a clear cut answer. If I’m reading it correctly, you want to figure out the correct balance for eating to fuel your workouts, achieve whatever aesthetic or athletic goals you have, but also do so in a way that keeps up with your naturally busy life? If that’s the case, then in my opinion you have a couple options:
Intuitive Eating: Learning to eat based on knowing and understanding your true hunger vs just eating to eat or because you’re craving something. That’s probably not the most scientific definition but it works. Eating intuitively takes the guess work out of things. You don’t have to measure food or track the amount that you’re eating, and it’s great because you can make it fit your busy lifestyle. You’re basically learning to eat when you’re hungry. The downfall of this is so many people are conditioned or programmed to eat when they THINK they’re hungry vs when they actually are. They misinterpret emotions for hunger, thirst for hunger, and often eat to a point where they’re so full it’s uncomfortable, causing them not to eat again for too many hours and totally messing up their metabolism. Intuitive eating can be great – but you have to really give your body time and attention to understand what it means and how it works for you.
Tracking Macros: Tracking macros can get pretty intense, so I don’t often suggest it unless you’ve tried other methods and you have a specific goal you’re working on. By calculating your macros for whatever your body type and goal may be, you’re going to be eating the amount that YOU need every single day. This can be a little time intensive in the beginning, but learning the process and then adding meal prep to your week can help with this tremendously.
Regardless of which method you prefer, these are some tips I recommend for almost anyone:
- Eating breakfast within an hour of waking up
- Eating a small meal every 3 hours for the rest of your day
- Avoiding heavy carbs at dinner time and as your pm snack if you have one (or if you do, only do this once or twice a week as opposed to every single day)
- Drink lots of water (at least 64-128 ounces of water daily)
- Don’t eat to the point where you’re so full, but instead, to a feeling of satisfaction
- Choose whole foods over processed as often as you can
- Learn how your body responds to different foods and styles of eating
- Veggies are always “free” – add them in as often as you can
Question #2: How do you figure out macros?
Figuring out macros is an artform. Haha not really, but there’s definitely more that goes into it besides plugging numbers into a calculator and calling it good. You can literally find hundreds of free macro calculators online, but the thing about an online calculator is it’s set to just work with numbers. It doesn’t take the person into consideration. Meaning – it doesn’t know your body type, how or where you carry weight. And the biggest thing is most people don’t have a true understanding of what their actual activity level is.
Someone may list that they’re “extremely active” because they go to the gym 5 days per week. And while I agree that’s amazing and definitely something to applaud, it doesn’t necessarily mean that this person is extremely active. Reasons being; they could have a desk job where they sit and stare at a screen for 12 hours every day. They might get less than a couple thousand steps every day, and their only activity comes from that one hour at the gym – but half of the time is spent talking or walking around, setting up, cleaning up, etc. A lot of times, calculators can give you misinformation because of these things, so your best bet is to find someone who knows how to take all these factors into consideration and calculate your specific macros by hand. (Hi, hello, it’s me. My hand is raised. I can do it).
When you’re calculating macros, you want to first find your BMR. This stands for Basal Metabolic Rate, and it’s the amount of calories you burn every day just by being alive. Next, you find your TDEE, which is your Total Daily Energy Expenditure, and it’s the amount of calories you burn every day once you add activity into the mix. Then, based on what your goal is – you would figure out how much you should be eating. If your goal is to lose weight, typically you would take away 20% of your TDEE. If you’re looking to build muscle, you would increase that number, slowly at first, and gradually over time. To figure out the amount of each macro you need, you would want to figure out how many carbs, proteins, and fats you would need for your body type, and then take that percentage of the overall calories and divide by the calorie/gram of each macro.
Question # 3: How do you know when it’s time to adjust your macros?
It can take your body 4-6 weeks to adjust to a new way of eating, so if you’ve recently started tracking or trying a new method of eating, give your body at least that amount of time before you readjust or try something different. If you haven’t seen ANY changes in that period of time, or if you’ve gone a few weeks without changes, it may be time to readjust.
In short, you should adjust your macros when your goals change, when your activity level changes, or when you’ve hit a true plateau. Keep in mind, however, that you should be monitoring more than just the scale when you’re looking for progress. There are a TON of factors that can influence the scale on any given day, and very few have anything to do with our true body fat. Instead, take measurements and keep an eye on your body fat percentage. If those continue to trend in your desired direction, but the scale isn’t moving – it means things are still working. It’s when both stop moving or start going in the opposite direction that it may be time to reassess.
Question # 4: Can I eat french fries every day?
You do you, boo. We have a motto in our house: no fry left behind. And we take it very seriously. So yes, while I think it’s perfectly fine if you eat some version of french fries every day, I would also encourage you to add plenty of protein, veggies, and healthy fats into your diet as well. But, also keep in mind it depends how you prepare those taters. If you’re adding tons of salt and oils to them – you’re going to diminish the overall benefits a potato can bring (like happiness).
Reasons why potatoes are generally good for us:
- 4 ounces of a potato has about 110 calories and carries 20g of carbs (give or take a couple)
- They don’t naturally contain fat, sodium, or cholesterol
- They’re packed full of potassium, vitamins, antioxidants, and FIBER
- They’re damn delicious. I said what I said.
- They’re natural and come from the ground – whole foods are our friends
Question # 5: What’s the difference between eating real sugar vs. no calorie sugar and which is better?
I have mixed feelings on sugar. Yep, you heard it here first. I’m definitely on the team that thinks sugar, in almost all forms, causes more harm than good. Eating a diet high in sugar can increase your risk of various health issues including heart disease, obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, and inflammation. I know none of ya’ll want that.
Eating a lot of simple sugars can increase your hunger and cravings which can lead to a resistance to leptin – which is a hormone that regulates our hunger and tells our body when it’s time to stop eating (I think I was born without leptin).
Having said that, if I had to choose – natural sugar (yep, even full of all it’s calories) is going to be better for you than artificial. Things like honey, agave.. those are the types of sugars that I’m referring to when I say “natural.” Artificial sugars are created in a lab, and I’m always against putting chemicals into your body. But.. if you’re trying to lose weight and watching your overall caloric intake, sometimes having that Diet Root Beer (it’s me, hi), is going to win out vs having the real thing, full of “real” yet fake sugar. Confused? Good.