My food journey is a bit of a roller coaster. Growing up my parents did most of the cooking. We ate out occasionally, but mostly for special events.
Sunday dinner has always been a weekly event for our family and outside of that it was whatever we could squeeze in between sports and childhood activities.
My food journey truly began in college, and I ate what I could afford on a student’s budget. This translated to a lot of low budget, quick to make foods that were loaded with salts and hidden sugars.
Luckily, I have never had a sweet tooth so candy/sweets have never appealed much to me. The only macro that was important to me during that period of my life was protein, because that’s what fuels muscle growth right?
To a degree yes – but much more factors muscle growth than an abundance of protein. It wasn’t until I started CrossFit that I got serious about my food consumption.
I remember finishing my first CrossFit workout and being pumped up. I was sick of the classic bro-splits that I’d been doing since high school and this was a fun new way to spend an hour at the gym.
It didn’t take me long to realize that in order to sustain those workouts, I would need to change up my diet. This is when it first occurred to me how much food actually affects performance and recovery. What you put in is the fuel that keeps you going!
Try eating an entire pizza for dinner and hitting a CrossFit WOD in the morning vs. eating some lean meat and veggies and doing the same workout. The difference in performance and the way you feel is quite surprising.
I first started out eating tons of veggies. I was eating 6-7 times a day but 3-4 of those meals were just plain veggies. I thought this was great and super healthy!
What I wasn’t accounting for at this point was proteins and fats though, and I was quickly losing weight. Veggies are great and extremely healthy but they are low calorie and for someone who was trying to sustain my weight, I needed more.
This led me to taking a look at what macros actually are. I learned that the three major macros are proteins, fats, and carbohydrates.
These three things need to be balanced in a certain way to fit your individual goals and it will look different for every person. I was extremely humbled when I saw that I was only taking in about 20 g of fat a day when I required closer to 100 g.
I spent about the next 8 months weighing all of my food and calculating to hit exact numbers day in and day out. It became a bit obsessive and started to really have a negative impact on myself mentally because I felt guilt and stress if I wasn’t perfect with those numbers.
That’s when I took a step back and realized that I am eating clean and healthy for the sole purpose of feeling good and fueling my body for the activities that I love to do.
That brought me to where I am today. After being so strict on myself for so long I have loosened up on my diet knowing that if I eat clean and healthy, I am going to feel good.
After counting macros for so long I have a good idea of what sort of things I need to recover and feel good.
I no longer count my food or worry about hitting certain numbers.
I don’t want to discourage anybody from doing these things if they are right for you, I just want you to make sure you don’t get lost in the bigger picture and remember your goal throughout the process.
Find what works and stick to it!
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