My Decision to Start Counting Macros

This is probably one of the most revealing posts I have done to date so lets just dive right into it, shall we?

In June of 2013, I competed in my very first NPC Bikini competition. Now that I look back on my decision to compete, I did it for all the wrong reasons. I competed for the sole purpose of winning. I realize now that that was probably the worst reason to do that kind of competition. 

My training and diet were intense and lasted 12 very long weeks. At one point I was doing two hours of cardio a day and I was on a very, very strict diet. I started prepping at around 135lbs and stepped on stage weighing around 115lbs and took progress pictures as I went. 

My Decision to Start Counting Macros

I took this next photo prior to pre-juding and carb loading. Teenie-tiny Melissa! 

I ended up walking away with a 2nd place finish and was content and had plans to compete again in the near future. However the only thing on my mind was eating after my photo shoot the following morning.

While I looked good and felt great at the time, I rebounded horribly after my competition because I did not properly educate myself on post-show reverse dieting and training. After my photo shoot I ate and drank everything

My body retained so much water following my competition I could barely squat down to pick something up off of the floor. I easily gained 20lbs and felt absolutely horrible. 

I immediately went into panic mode and started to restrict my diet again as if I were back on competition prep. I would beat myself up for not looking the way I did when I was doing hours upon hours of cardio and eating only 25g of carbs a day. I would restrict what I ate during the week and then binge like crazy on the weekends. I was constantly comparing myself to other bikini competitors I followed on Instagram and hated myself for not looking more like them. Needless to say, I did not have a healthy relationship with my body image or with food. 

Before I go into the next part, let me give you all a brief insight into what IIFYM is...

IIFYM stands for 'if it fits your macros'. Macronutrients (macros) are the nutrients that provide calories from food and consist of proteins, fats and carbs. 

The premise behind IIFYM is that a carb is a carb, a protein is a protein and a fat is a fat regardless of the source it comes from. So you basically set your macros (for example 1500 calories (150g Protein, 130g Carbs, 42g Fat) a day) according to your personal goals and as long as the food you eat fits into your allotted macros for each day, you can eat it, regardless of what it is. 

I heard about IIFYM about a year and a half ago and honestly thought it was silly. I thought that the way I had been training and dieting was the best way to do it and continued doing tons of cardio and training on a very restricted meal plan (mind you, bingeing on the weekends and some week nights). I continued this charade up until this month when I had a come to Jesus with myself when I had just ate a pan of brownies and wanted to go make myself throw them up. 

I realized that I needed to adopt a flexible dieting approach that allows me to eat healthy, whole foods but also indulge in sweet treats from time to time without completely wrecking all the hard work I put in at the gym week in and week out. Enter IIFYM. 

I've done a ton of research on IIFYM and after visiting a few websites I was able to calculate macros for myself to follow. Because I am new to flexible dieting, I will most likely need to tweak my numbers after I see how my body responds to them. But only after one week, I can honestly say that I love this approach to dieting and will continue to follow it. 

IIFYM gets a lot of flack because people often use this approach to simply get away with eating a bunch of junk food. While some can eat solely junk food, hit their macros and achieve their personal fitness goals, I'm not an advocate, nor will I ever be, of eating junk food all the time. I enjoy healthy, whole foods because I feel better when I eat them. But I also enjoy cookies and ice cream from time to time. This is what is so great about flexible dieting. You can have the best of both worlds, all while achieving whatever your fitness goals may be. 

As I mentioned before, I am a FitFluential Ambassador, and I will be posting a roundup of posts from fellow Ambassadors about IIFYM for beginners later this week. Stay tuned! 

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