From the feedback I'm getting, I know that it can be hard to imagine a life where you are constantly sticking to eating rules, I can understand that. Yes while I 'count' my macros every day, I probably stick to them around 80-90% of the time..... some times I'm trying to gain muscle so the aim is to eat my maximum macros and a little more, sometimes I'm trying to lose body fat so I have to be well behaved. It might sound extreme but it is VERY manageable if you resistance train, and let's be fair, this is pretty similar to someone who is 'on a diet' or following Weight Watcher's or Slimming World - the main difference there is that counting macros is made for people who exercise and is based on an almost exact science. We are all monitoring what we eat to find a level of equilibrium at which we are content with the physical appearance (and in my case, performance) of our bodies.
So, back to the beginning.... what are macros? They are macronutrients... the big food groups.... carbs, protein and fats. I'm not going to write a massive technical article on these... you can find info and the base formulas for calculating your macros on almost any fitness site in the history of the world. What I am going to say is, it's basically healthy eating but with precision. I wouldn't recommend counting macros to every person who comes to talk to me about their nutrition, I think it's unnecessary for some people. Healthy eating shouldn't be that much of a big deal. But for some people it is. Some people don't understand how much is too much, they don't know what the food groups really are, they blindly follow the recommendations of diets and slimming groups but they don't understand WHY they are eating what they eat.
That's is when I think counting macros can be very helpful. Monitoring what you eat for a short period and understanding exactly how much your body needs to feel good can change someone's life. It doesn't need to be done every day, week in week out, if you can comprehend and digest (no pun intended) what your body needs in order to look/feel how you want it to.
I count almost every day because I like it. I'm also working on one of my life ambitions and so it's a necessary part of getting there. If I stick to them every day is a whole other question. And the answer to that would be no. I hit my macros exactly 5-6 days a week. 1 day is a cheat day and the other day I 'losely' hit them depending on my social plans. I am NOT missing out on fun shit with my friends and family because I might put weight on. I don't count because I'm paranoid about gaining weight. I count because I want a huge ass, with huger legs and a gun show like we're in Texas. End of.
In summary, healthy eating shouldn't be hard. We all know what foods we shouldn't be eating.... but if you educate yourself on what you should be eating. then it will make it easier to understand WHY and WHAT you need to put into your body and indeed why some of the information you may be given only works at a certain part of your journey. Any diet/support group that let's you eat as much as you want of any one food group (unless it's vegetables lol) is smoking crack #justsayin
So I'm going to stop blathering on but the main reason I wrote this was to give you an example of my food diary because some people have asked for it. I use My Fitness Pal to monitor my food intake if that's any help and I generally eat between 2500-3200 kcals a day which is a lot for a girl... but that is because I have proportionately high muscle mass and my metabolism is on over drive what with the years of healthy eating and exercise. I am sharing this because every time I open a magazine there is some article about someone eating 1500 kcals a day of broccoli and air. I'd physically die. For people like me who what to look muscley and fit that sounds so unachievable we wouldn't even bother trying and it would put us off completely. So I just wanted to share with you guys as a more 'normal' source of food ideas, plus I can't cook for shit..... don't forget that everyone's macros are COMPLETELY different and I am pretty high carb so this is fairly extreme carb wise.
Example of Food Diary
Meal 1 - Oats, Stevia sweetened whey protein, dark chocolate almond milk & berries
Snack 1 - post workout..... protein shake made with dark chocolate almond milk
Meal 2 - tinned tuna, Eat Lean protein cheese, salad cream, BFree sweet potato wraps, salad (lots of salad inc spinach, tomatoes, carrot, beetroot)
Snack 2, 3 & 4 ha ha
Oat cakes/corn cakes with Philadelphia Light
Snackers Oat Cake crisp things
More corn cakes with Philadelphia light
Tenzing energy drinks while I teach 1 or 2 - I know..... naughty but these are low sugar and have no artificial shit in them
Meal 3 - Salmon, potatoes/rice/pasta and asparagus, green beans and broccoli. hot sauce & Philadelphia Light
Snack 5 - jelly & light custard.....I'm not even joking. This gets me thru the day and keeps me away from the Reese's sitting I my fridge until my cheat day
Don't just eat this blindly... that's not what it's for. I'm just putting it out there that there's a mid point between eating air with a lettuce side versus burgers with a topping of kebab and chips that DOESN'T have to come in the form of someone else telling you what to eat. It is my opinion that if you know and understand what you are putting in your body, it makes it much easier in the long run. We can't go through life with our head in the sand, we need to understand what it is that makes our body tick and the answer to that comes from reading the odd article about nutrition. From FITNESS sources because I hate to say it but they are ALWAYS ahead of the game. The decent stuff that makes it onto the TV/into the press has been well known in the fitness industry for decades.
If you know what you want then stick both hands out and grab it. You can do whatever you set your mind to regardless of the fitness saboteurs and any self doubt niggling away. Read some articles, get some advice (from someone who knows their shit) and get stuck in. My food has been adjusted about 10 times to get me to where I know the levels work... and even then it changes depending on my lifestyle and my cycle and my muscle mass. Also, when I have PMT I still eat chocolate. My ovaries want it. Fact.