Macros, hm? A topic that is constantly present in my life yet not. Not in that I don’t care about my macro split in the least yet present still because macro talk is an everyday given in the media and on all social media platforms, particularly blogs and Instagram.
The other day, I saw a girl, no, woman state her insecurity about eating at work. Knowing her colleagues might comment on her choices [plenty of grain-based meals aka ‘carbs’] like they had in the past. So for fear of comments this grown-up woman and mum of a little one went through her work day not eating a single bite until she got home in the afternoon. Luckily, in her post she was opening up about these struggles and making the resolution to start bringing food to work again – a small success . What is making me very sad, though, is knowing she’s no exception.
Just a short time browsing blogs, not only WIAW posts, is enough to spy a lot of macronutrient-embracing language or ‘excuses’ for cosuming ‘too much’ of a particular macros..
“I love carbs!”
“Give me alllll the carbs!” vs. “Give me allll the fats!”
and on the guilty side
“Wow, I ate a lot of carbs today. Not enough protein in there.”
“Carbs on carbs on carbs – at least I had some vegetables on the side!”
*Protein never seems to require any further explanations because it’s the one ‘good guy’ everyone seems to agree on. Which is funny as it’s the one macronutrient that – when consumed in excess – may potentially lead to kidney diseases of some individuals so it’s not a one-fits-all recommendation.
Onto the first category: Macro-embracing so: what’s wrong with that you ask? Nothing in general and I want to stress that I am not judging you or anybody who’s using this language. What I’m curious about is the reasoning behind these statements. Why do we feel the need to enthusiastically show our fondness of certain macronutrients? What I assume is that we – collectively as a generation; our grandparents sure didn’t count macros – want to shout from the rooftops how unafraid of the ‘big bad’ carbs/fat we are. In some cases there’s what seems to be an added justification [“eating all the carbs because: leg day!”]. Actually a sad fact. We should not be afraid because for heaven’s sake it’s all just food. Carbohydrates. Fats. Protein. Food. We do not need to earn food or explain our choices to anybody. Period.
Yes, by now the example is way overused but: look at the way children eat. Have you ever seen a toddler call for ‘more protein, hold the bread, please!”? Carefully shove aside the rice on his plate, eating only vegetables and protein? We’re not much different from toddlers when it comes to food. Grown-up, yes. Yet our minds have been manipulated by food companies, magazines and the likes to return to an almost infant-like state. Absorbing information that more confuses than empowers us or strengthens our intuitive knowledge of what’s good for us. The more often we’re told protein was key for saturation and carbs made us sluggish, the more likely we are to accept these statements as truths; no matter if they actually are for us personally.
A car isn’t proud to tout the fact it’s slurping up allll the gas. We know the fact of the latter being its prime [or in the machine’s case: only] source of fuel much like ours/our brain’s are carbohydrates [side note: yes, I’ve heard of the keto diet but don’t agree with its idea of ‘forcing’ our organism to use fat as its main fuel]. No need to explain, much less defend a natural inclination to eat these wonderful nutrients and plenty of them.
The average healthy person should give a flying fudge* about macronutrient amounts. Especially since no day is different – and no, this is not related to whatever kind of workout we do or don’t do – needs for certain macros vary. Trying to preplan and manage macros is a waste of time and revelry against our bodies’ intuitive wisdom. Whether you are keen on carbs, fancying fat or partial to protein: it doesn’t change my view or opinion of you in the very least. In fact, an inclination to eat more of one macronutrient might very well be genetically predisposed. Trying to modify our genetic preferences a) doesn’t work, no matter how much we try to convince ourselves and b) ultimately leaves us constantly feeling unsatisifed. Athletes altering their macro intake for perfomance are an entirely different topic that would justify a post on its own so I didn’t include it here.
I’m not saying we shouldn’t talk about food. Please, I’m a blogger after all, too. But I wish we would change the way we talk about food. Not seeing it as its macronutrients but: Colours. Visual appeal. Taste! We as a society are [mostly] in the lucky situation – different from our grandparents’ generation or the populations of other countries – to see food as far more than fuel [aka: macros or energy]. We eat for taste, pleasure, fun and all these require no explanation, no defenses. Just appreciation for good food.
*purty expression borrowed from a British friend of mine
Happiness-inducing today: A client bringing in a little food gift for me specifically in addition to cake for the whole team [which has become a regular whenever she visits]. It wasn’t so much about the food but the thoughtfulness and unexpected appreciation.
It might not surprise you when I say I could have gone on and on about the topic. Yet this post is long enough as is already and I only spontaneously decided to join Amanda’s Thursday thinking party so I’ll hand the mic over to you. Let me know your thoughts in the comments! If you have talked about macros in similar ways as mentoned here: was there a reason? I might be wrong with my assumptions on the ‘why’ and would happily find out people’s reasons.