The Macro Diaries // How it Works…

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Hey guys,

I’ve had many of you ask me how exactly this whole Macro or macro-nutrient counting thing works. So before I get into my weekly experiences, let me explain.

Working Against Gravity is a group of coaches whose purpose is to coach you and encourage you through your new nutritional quest. They ask you a series of questions to find out a little bit about your goals, body composition and overall fitness level and lifestyle. They also have you send in photos of your body [yes, these are usually the ‘before’ photos] and your measurements. They then take all of this into account and give you an amount of proteins, carbohydrates and fats in grams that you need to ingest daily to best fulfill your body’s needs. You do this by measuring your food and calculating the amount of macros you’re eating and try to hit your goals each day. [Yes, it is a little bit a lot of work!] You need to plan your meals out to fit them into your daily goals and each one requires a bit of research on the nutrition facts [thankfully, there’s an app for that.] However, I’ve been told that once you have a good idea of it all, it becomes second nature and, therefore, much easier… let’s hope.

So last week, F and I submitted our questionnaires and [horrible] before photos to Working Against Gravity and we have now each been assigned a coach, a start date and our Macro-nutrient and workout goals for our first week [we signed up for 8 weeks total]. Here’s my summary:


My Goals:

  1. Lose the last 11 pounds to get to my pre-baby weight.
  2. Pay attention to not just WHAT I put in my body, but HOW MUCH of it all.
  3. Look like I didn’t have a baby 11 weeks ago…

My Current Weight: 131.4 lbs.
My Goal Weight: 120 lbs

My Current Lifestyle:

  1. Completely gluten-free, mostly Paleo. Fairly active with 3 workouts/week.
  2. Preferred Method of Exercise: Cross-training

Daily Macro-Nutrient Goals:   130g Proteins // 140g Carbohydrates* // 45g Fats
*On training days, I get 170g

Recommended additions to my current lifestyle: 20 minutes/week of High-Intensity Interval Training [I can do 20 extra minutes of cardio a week, right?]


Now, on top of the meal and exercise goals, I will be weighing myself every day. I will then send in a weekly email of my progress [along with photos…UGH!], measurements and any concerns I have. They will then read over my experiences and tweak my numbers or give encouragement and tips as needed.

Here’s how it works. Let’s take a typical day for me and add the meal-logging aspect.

IMG_1726My morning:

  • Iced coffee with 1/4c almond milk: .5p // 4c // .625f
  • 2 Egg whites and all-natural sausage muffins [recipe coming]: 26p // 2c // 4.6f

Lunchtime:

  • 4oz Bison patty with 140g sweet potatoes: 29 // 62 // 11f

OH NO!!! 3:00PM HITS AND I HAVE CARAMEL POPCORN LEFTOVER FROM EASTER WEEKEND:

  • 1/2 Bag of caramel popcorn [with the nutrition facts listed on the back, SCORE!!]: 0p // 23c // 2f

Now I’m home from work and here’s where I go ahead and add up all my nutrients so far.

  • I NEED: 75 grams of PROTEIN // 49 grams of CARBS // 26 grams of FAT

So… I add a protein shake in before my workout* at 12p // 10c // 1.25f
**This means that today is a training day, so my CARBS go up to 170 grams! YES!**

Dinner

  • 4oz Chicken and rice [with some butter to complete more of my fats]: 37p // 57c // 22f

Best part–DESSERT!

  • Homemade protein ‘ice cream’ [a glorified, extra thick protein shake made with almond milk that I eat with a spoon]: 25p // 15c // 2f

HERE’S MY TOTAL: 129.5 grams PROTEIN // 173 grams CARBS // 43.5 grams FAT


The goal is to reach your macros and not go over your daily amount [if you do go over the amount, you shouldn’t be more than 5 grams over in proteins and carbs and 2 grams over in fats].

IMG_1736How do I know how many macros are in my meals? I look up the macro-nutrients for each thing I eat. If I make it, I include the macros for each ingredient, including any oils I used. This means I read the labels or use the MyFitnessPal app, but it also requires that I weigh my food to correctly calculate my intake. This, my friends, requires a food scale and math and, well… I need to be better at math.

The Bad News: It’s quite a bit of work and takes some planning, basic math skills and getting used to.

The Good News: They don’t care how you get to your macro goals, so long as you stay within them. If you have enough carbs and fats at the end of the day to eat 3 Oreos and that’s what you want, eat ’em! ***Now, I’m not saying they want you to just eat whatever. Obviously processed foods aren’t ideal and they will fill up your carbs and fats quickly without a lot of food. I will be doing this with my typical, Paleo-ish diet, as to continue my all-natural lifestyle goals.

The OTHER Good News: You can drink alcohol on this! You just have to log it! There’s a system for calculating wine, beer and liquor so alcohol is not off the table, if you have the macros left to have a glass at the end of the day! WAHOO!!

So… there’s the gist of it. Yes, I’ll be busy. Yes, I know I’m crazy. Yes, I am CHOOSING to do this. Hopefully the results will be worth it. [From what I’ve seen in my friends and all the before/after photos shown on Working Against Gravity’s website, I know it will!]

Want more information? Here’s a Comprehensive Guide to Counting your Macros.

I hope this gives you a better idea of what will be going on behind the scenes as I embark on this CRAZY journey!

May the odds be EVER in my favor with this one.

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7 Comments
  • Shery Vielle
    Posted at 12:00h, 21 May

    Good read. You ok if i add this info to my blog ?

    • chandler.hatchett@gmail.com

      Posted at 13:29h, 21 May

      Sure!

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    Posted at 04:04h, 27 June

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  • Jv

    Posted at 16:10h, 25 July

    Are your macros focused on meal timing too? Or as long as you hit those macros at the end of day they don’t care when or where you spread out your carbs etc?

    • chandler.hatchett@gmail.com

      Posted at 07:40h, 26 July

      They didn’t care about the timing in this program. I’m sure that if i was training for something specific, that would have come into play. I had a horrible habit of getting almost all of my macros in at the end of the day because, as a teacher, I was so busy that I wouldn’t have eaten much by the end of the school day, so I know that, ideally, it would be done better than that.

      • Jv

        Posted at 09:39h, 26 July

        I am a teacher as well! :)I’m trying to figure out if this will be ideal for me!
        So during your training days they didn’t put majority of the carbs during your pre and post? I know with the RP they do that and focus a lot on meal/macro timing. You basically don’t have carbs until you’re about to workout and after you work out. Which has always been hard for me because I am always super hungry through out the work day since I don’t train until 6pm! Wanted to see if WAG spreads out the macros evenly throughout the day.

        • chandler.hatchett@gmail.com

          Posted at 18:45h, 27 July

          Oh! Yeah, no… I could eat whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted… so long as I could fit it in my macros for the day, so it was definitely conducive to a teacher’s schedule!