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WTF Is an MG? - Managing Your Macros

So you have your caloric goal under control and you are exercising. Congratulations! But are you healthy? Is your body loving you? Do you look like Jillian Michaels or Amy Winehouse?

Macros are the nutrients that are tracked in your diary. It's not a complete list, but MFP does include the important ones: Calories, Carbs, Fat, Protein, Cholesterol, Sodium, Sugars and Fiber. You can customize your daily diary, but clicking the Full Report at the end of your Dairy will show everything.

MFP sets some limits for the day, but my nutritionist found them to be a tad unhealthy - but what the heck does she know - just another freakin' expert!

So let's take a look.

Calories - this is where it's at when it comes to weight loss. 2+2=4 Too many calories, too many inches on your derriere! My nutritionist claims that a calorie is a calorie. And scientifically she is correct. It is simply how much energy it takes to burn one. However; not all foods (calories) are treated the same by our bodies and it's unique chemistry. One study showed that people who ate 400 calories of salmon lost weight more quickly than those who ate 400 calories of beef. There was another study by a guy who ate Doritos and snack food at a prescribed caloric deficit and lost weight. Aren't you jealous?!?!

BTW - There is no easy way to measure caloric consumption even with the best HRM. Just be consistent about how you measure it!

Carbs - There are good carbs and bad carbs. And for me, those mother f*#&rs are a killers. Some folks don't respond to them like I do. MFP carbs are way too high for me. My nutritionist and I had a go around on that one. I won. And I like winning!

Good carbs come from fresh fruit and vegetables, as well as whole grains. BTW - not all whole wheat bread is whole grain. Read the label. It might just be an ethnic version of Wonder Bread.

Carbs are the bodies fuel, but be careful, too many get stored very easily. Also processed carbs such as white flour, crackers, and cookies - they suck.

Fat - There is good fat and bad fat. And the bad fat I am talking about is not just something that rolls over your belt! Good fat comes from nuts, avocados and fish. It is the Omega 3s you covet. They are good for your heart and your joints.

The worst fats are trans-fats and saturated fats. I suggest you read the label and skip those - yeah, no fast food!

Protein - Proteins are the building blocks of strong muscular tissue, hair and nails. Body builders eat a lot of protein. There are lots of sources of protein, but beware, most of them do not come along with fiber which is good for helping you run your fartleks (Google it - it's really a word!) and scale down for your weigh in.

Cholesterol - Again there is good and bad cholesterol. It is a waxy fat that can clog up your arteries even if you are an athlete! The body creates it own, and there is 200-300 grams of the stuff in the average American diet. An egg is about 200g.

If you want to get rid of a lot of it, watch out for processed meats! Go easy on the red meat and make sure you check it with your doc if you have a physical.

Some folks seem to grow the stuff like weeds, and then there is me. I average about 300g a day and my bad cholesterol is very low.

Sodium - There is no good sodium. It's a killer when there is too much. It does help maintain the right balance of fluids in your body, helps in the transmission of nerve impulses, and influences the contraction and relaxation of muscles.

The problem is that it is a popular ingredient in just about everything because it is cheap, and notable in taste. Again, some folks respond to it differently than others. I have too much, and I get high blood pressure. My wife empties the sea salt shaker on to her plate and is lucky to have blood pressure at all.

A lot MFP-ers claim that it helps retain water, but that is not exactly the case. Others say drink a lot of water to flush your body of it. Really, 8-10 glasses of water still only moves through at the same rate.

According to Mayo Clinic's web site: "Your kidneys naturally balance the amount of sodium stored in your body for optimal health. When your sodium levels are low, your kidneys essentially hold on to the sodium. When sodium levels are high, your kidneys excrete the excess in urine."

One teaspoon of table salt has 2,325 milligrams (mg) of sodium. Your average daily intake should be no more than 2000-2500 depending which expert you speak with on the MFP News Groups.

Sugars - There are a number of different types of sugar, but the processed ones seem to be the worst. Of course sugar is a natural nutrient in fruit and other foods.

According to WebMD "Researchers have found a link between sugar and unhealthy levels of blood fats. (Cholesterol)" The same site offered this information: "Research has shown an association between intake of sugar-sweetened beverages and diabetes."

Fiber - Makes you poop! According to the Mayo Clinic: "Dietary fiber - found mainly in fruits, vegetables, whole grains and legumes - is probably best known for its ability to prevent or relieve constipation. But fiber can provide other health benefits as well, such as lowering your risk of diabetes and heart disease.

Well, that is all I have. Thanks for the votes and comments (yes, you can do both!)

Have you checked your macros lately?

60 votes + -


Annette_rose wrote 68 months ago:
A "fartlek" huh, lol. That is a new term for me but interesting! You always have some good info for us with a kick of humor in it. Thanks :)
2Bgoddess wrote 68 months ago:
I log several different macros but i pay the most attention to carbs and sugar. The lower I keep them, the more successful my weight loss is. I used to be a carb-o-holic, and now and the i just want to eat copius amounts of toasted french stick with garlic butter....
Hoppymom wrote 68 months ago:
Great blog post! Again! Good basic understanding for beginners especially.
SixCatFaerie wrote 68 months ago:
Thank you so much! Very useful to see it all in one place like this. :-D
Denjo060 wrote 68 months ago:
Thanks for this information I cant believe how much I have learned and still have to learn on this sight Keep em coming!!
gaylynn35 wrote 68 months ago:
Thanks for the info.
kokaneesailor wrote 68 months ago:
Great nutritional info, thanks for posting this. :)
bllowry wrote 68 months ago:
Another great post David! And I have a new favourite word in fartlek!
Chou_In_Motion wrote 68 months ago:
Great post and very informative. I knew some of the information but learned more by reading this post! I am learning, more please =) New word for me too fartlek!!
Circa82 wrote 68 months ago:
thank you for this post!
DawnEH612 wrote 68 months ago:
Just a correction.. There are only three main macro- nutrients: carbohydrates, protein and fat... The other things like salt, potassium, magnesium are consider micro-nutrients.
In regards to sodium, too much sodium can indeed, make your cells retain water, thus increasing the risk of high blood pressure. When you eat too much salt your cells become "filled" with salt so water crosses into the cell to help dilute the sodum levels within the cell. The body has a balance system via a mechanism called the sodium-potassium pump which helps remove sodium from the cells by allowing potassium to enter forcing sodium to exit. Potassium helps balance out too much salt in the cells. It is one of the reasons why, if you have high blood pressure, the dr. may prescribe potassium pills or recommend eating foods high in potassium and also likely one of the reasons MFP sets potassium levels higher than sodium level goals as a default.
SteveB1965 wrote 68 months ago:
Good read. Enjoyed it.
michelleraber wrote 68 months ago:
I really enjoyed your blog;however, the in the opener where you put "Do you feel like Jillian Micheals or Amy Winehouse?" Is just bad ju ju. The whole point of this program is to get healthy. Not have the healthy sucked out of you. A lot of people try and push themselves to hard because they want to do exactly what these people do and then get discouraged and give up. I totally agree with your post where you go through and explain everything for people who might not understand. However, too much off America is focus on looking like the next model that they would do anything to accomplish it and in some cases end up dead. I personally believe that when Jillian Micheals and so on come on tv, roku or whatever what ever whatever way you get your television is should be monitored with warning labels that these individuals have been this way their whole life.
SusanDoesIt wrote 68 months ago:
I, too, have found that carbs are the enemy and adjusted my macros accordingly. MFP calculated it at twice the level I need to lose. I sure do love 'em but they don't love me back.

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