Macros 101

If macros still seem like French to you, let me break it down simply in our macronutrient blog series…the word “macronutrient” means any nutrient that we need in large quantities. We have three essential macronutrients (carbohydrates, fat, and protein) and three essential micronutrients (vitamins, minerals, and water).

But, before we get into each macro, let’s backtrack. What is it that CCN teaches? In our non-dieting approach, we believe the body works best together with the proper macronutrient breakdown. So here’s our method and it’s so simple!

We teach you all:

  1. To combine macros at every meal. Our suggestion is roughly 50% calories should come from carbs, 20% from protein, and 30% from fat. 
  2. To eat within an hour of waking up and every 3-4 hours after that. The goal is to hit four hours on the dot, but we know that isn’t always realistic and we never want you feeling overly hungry. 

So not only is quantity important, but frequency is as well. You see? These two factors are vital for you to understand the CCN way of life. You may be surprised about our take on carbs… but let us explain. Many dieting approaches are reducing your carb intake to get the body to drop weight and decrease hunger. Unfortunately, our bodies are not calculators, otherwise this approach would work great. It only solves a very small portion of anyone’s issues. Many diets are teaching you to fast in the mornings or they are saying no carbs with dinner. But here’s what I see happening… it’s not sustainable and some negative (potentially long term) effects occur. 

Carbs are a water-bound molecule. So when people cut out or drastically reduce carbs, they tend to lose water weight (read: NOT fat). Since carbs are water-bound molecules, cutting carbs is essentially dehydrating the body. People see the scale go down so they think that it is working, and in a way it is, but as soon as they start eating carbs again, all the water comes back on. So the low carb strategy is more or less a gimmick. 

I see our bodies being depleted of necessary glucose to fuel our energy cycles, power our muscles and brains, and support our natural detoxification systems. When we go long enough with too little carbs, we also reduce our bodies’ capacity for insulin sensitivity, which can lead to insulin resistance down the road. Same goes for abusing carbs! Too much and not enough can cause some of the same long term problems. Crazy, huh? 

If you’ve come from a dieting or restrictive eating past, you are well aware of the systemic harm diets have been long causing which has only worsened in the social media day and age. Food is meant to fuel our bodies, so we want you to understand that through some basic science, but more importantly, we want you to FEEL the difference. How long does that take you may wonder? As quick as five days and as long as 14 days! (And potentially as long as 3-6 months with a history of hormonal or metabolic damage.) What happens is people get to feeling better and then they go back to their old ways, disrupting the changes that were only just beginning to take place. Our bodies are not robots and we can’t reprogram them automatically, we have to do this manually and consistently over time. 

Our cells are constantly in a cycle of cell proliferation, repair, death, replenishment etc. and we are literally built and repaired on the cellular level from nutrients we absorb from the food we eat. Do you want a house built of sticks and mud or steel bricks and mortar? You have the profound opportunity to make those changes with every food choice you make!

In addition to eating your macronutrients combined together, we encourage you to utilize real food sources, eating as many colors in fruits and vegetables as possible. We ask you to get a minimum of five a day, but more is even better! As a basic rule of thumb, it’s helpful to utilize both complex and simple carbs in each meal. We’ll explain more on this too in the coming days!

As you start adding in more colors and eating proper combinations of macronutrients, many other things fall into place from a dietary standpoint: fiber, omega-3, and antioxidant intake, improved digestion and absorption and more. While our bodies work to get back to a place of optimal functioning, it prioritizes healing what’s most important first. Your fat cells will eventually begin decreasing and your weight loss will come, but it may be slower as your body recovers and repairs long term damage. You will become a better version of yourself instead of just shrinking down. Be patient with yourself. Trust the system. You’re allowed to succeed! 

Ready for more? Check out part two of our series – Carbohydrates

Meet Cara Clark

I began my career as a way to heal my own body and give me the energy to seek the life I was called to live.

Now, as an integrative nutritionist and wellness educator, I help people nurture their bodies through a non-dieting approach to food and the beautiful connections between physical wellness, mental and emotional health, and spirituality that have taken my own life to the next level.

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