Canada Garden: Protein & Macros

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Protein & Macros

Hi everybody--I've had several questions about setting macros lately--especially for protein, so let's chat.  Macro is short for macronutrients.  There are three main macro categories:  carbs, protein, and fat.  There are some subcategories of each macro, but we won't go into those here.   Do you really need to think about how much protein you're eating?  Well, it depends.  If you're going strictly keto, then yes.  If you're eating low carb and are losing weight and experiencing health benefits that make you happy, then that's great!  If it's not broke, don't fix it :)

My first couple months on this way of eating, I ate lots of protein.  And I lost about 20 pounds.  Twenty pounds in two months!  Those were the days! :)

Then a funny thing happened.  Well, not funny ha-ha.  Funny as in strange, weird, and this is not supposed to happen, everybody-else-is-losing-tons-of-weight-every-single-day-and-I'm-just-sitting-here-stuck.  Ugh.  Well, turns out there was a logical reason getting stuck.  Protein.  As in too much of it.

When we eat more protein that our body needs, it turns to sugar.  Exactly the thing we're all working so hard to avoid, right?!?  Sheesh.  Okay, so that meant I needed to know how much protein my body needed. 
And of course, because all of life is a trial and error; I then went too far to the other end and wasn't getting enough protein.  Another sheesh!  I was tired and just didn't have a good energy level.  Mary, my coach at Ketovangelist, took a look at my protein intake and suggested that I refigure my protein macro goal.  Mary has been such a help to me.  She's awesome as the Ketovangelist would say.    A couple of weeks with increased protein and I felt much better.  Much better.

You can choose among several ways to find your macros.
  1. First, we can use a calculator which can be found several places online.  I have used both the ones at Maria Mind Body Health and at Ruled Me.  The latter gives a bit higher protein macro. 
  2. And then Dr. Nally gives us a formula for calculating which is the current method I'm using.  For a five-foot tall woman, we need 45.5 gms protein daily.  For every inch over 5 feet, we need an additional 2.3 gms of protein.  I calculated my protein needs at the 45.5 gms for my first five feet + 2.3 x 3 (I'm 5'3" now) = 52.4.   I use this as a general guideline, I seldom hit it exactly.
So after ten months and 63 pounds down, it seems like I've finally gotten the hang of the protein macro.  Not too much.  Not too little.  Just right.   I know this seems like a lot of info and it may seem too complicated.  And you know what?? If you're losing at a rate that makes you happy, if you feel good with plenty of energy--then absolutely there's no reason to get so detailed about all this.  Lots of people lose weight and gain all kinds of health benefits without ever calculating macros or tracking.  Mark only tracks carbs and he's had an amazing recovery from diabetes.  

But if you're weight loss is slowing or stalled for several weeks or if you are feeling tired with no energy, then maybe it's time to dig a little deeper.  We want to find that sweet spot that will help us feel our best while we're successfully losing weight and also maintaining as much of our muscle mass as possible. If you're following the Ketogenic Success facebook group, there are daily discussions about the topic.  If you need a coach to help you figure it out, then get one.  It's worth it!


1 comment:

Denise said...

I have a friend who works for Weight Watchers and we got into a discussion of getting enough protein in your diet. If you are on WW and eating lots of fruit and veggies, you tend to eat too much sugar - in the fruit- and not enough protein. Its enough to make one lose one's mind instead of weight.