Holiday ‘Dieting’: Myth Busting ‘Memories Over Macros’

If you hadn’t  gathered by now, I love Christmas. It is absolutely my favourite time of year. The elaborate decorations, the buzz that is everywhere you go and the fact everyone makes an effort to think about others – from dedicating time to choosing gifts…what’s not to love?! I also love the family traditions that differ between families; pulling Christmas crackers, eating scrambled egg and smoked salmon for breakfast and getting all dressed up just to hang about on the sofa all day are some of my personal favourites.

As much as I love Christmas, it can be a period of time that is difficult. If family are absent and money is tight, it can be a very overwhelming and stressful time. Coupled with cold weather in most places (maybe not Florida), it can leave you feeling despondent, lonely and ill. For lots of people, there is also the added strain of nutrition. It is a time where lots of parties are organised, lots of food is consumed and lots of alcohol is drunk. Many people feel like they have to battle more so than normal with what is ‘healthy’ and what they are craving, or what they are expected to consume. More this year than ever before have I seen numerous ‘fitness’ social media accounts advocating ‘memories over macros’, alluding to the idea that you should be indulging and creating memories with friends and family rather than concerning yourself with macros.

I think there has been a great shift with females I ‘follow’ online this year – away from competing in bodybuilding competitions and being really lean and towards more self-love and carrying a little extra fat. I think a lot of this shift is due to age, maturity and life experience. Just like I feel like I have ‘grown out of’ getting drunk at the weekend in night clubs, I think a lot of the people I follow online have ‘grown out of’ living life purely for the aesthetics. I don’t think there is anything wrong with either, you constantly change as situations change. What I do think is wrong is constant reinforcement of this phrase ‘memories over macros’ which has plagued social media this season.

All too often in the world of health and fitness, there is the idea of extremes, either portraying that you are 100% focused on getting shredded or you are fully supportive of intuitive eating and loving yourself. In truth, there are very few people who wholly live either extreme. Everyone carries insecurities and it is how you deal with those insecurities that determine your happiness and your progress; both inside the gym and out. The phrase ‘memories over macros’ suggests the two concepts are mutually exclusive and that you must indulge in order to create memories. This is simply not true. What you need to create memories that you will treasure is self-acceptance and contentment. How can you create positive memories if you are so caught up in portraying that you are ‘balanced’ by eating an entire box of chocolates and secretly plagued with guilt at doing so? Equally, how can you enjoy this festive period if you are eating chicken and broccoli and wistfully dreaming of having a slice of cake?

Whether you over-indulge, count your macros religiously or do something in-between should be a personal choice. A choice that you make where you feel happiest. Because happiness will make you nice to be around, which, in turn, will lead to memories. You don’t need to choose between memories or macros. I find it really sad to see some of these ‘fitspo’ accounts videoing themselves eating chocolates one day and then eating egg whites and drinking diet coke the next. Just because they are saying ‘memories over macros’ doesn’t mean that they believe it or that they are content with it.

Living a ‘balanced life’ is very difficult, don’t make the job any harder by being sucked into trying to live the latest social media catchphrase. For me, I choose memories and macros.

-Benchpressingbaubles, x

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5 Weeks Out: Not Seeking Abs

Eeek, 5 WEEKS! Can’t quite believe it! I was lucky enough to be contacted by a personal trainer who works at an elite sports and performance center and got to work out with her this week! Made up for the fact that I am not at the Arnolds – it looks so motivating! I love being surrounded by like-minded people; something I have social media to thank!
Weight loss: 1.3lbs. Wahoo! My clothes are definitely not fitting as much as they used to. Waistbands on shorts/skirts are pretty much useless! I feel leaner this week although my stomach holds onto fat as do my legs. It’s funny because when I first started working out, all I wanted was abs. Now, I do wish my lower stomach ‘lay flat’ (it definitely bulges out), but abs…meh! What I love on other women is well-defined hamstrings and back muscles. They are what I think looks amazing on women. I think it is because anyone can ‘get abs’ from a quick diet, but it takes time and effort to build hamstrings and back muscles. So it is more the actual manifestation of hard work that I admire so much, plus it looks damn good!

Cardio: 2 x 9 HIIT intervals. I used the rower and have developed a sort of like for it?! It is actually quite satisfying to see progression and I never realised how technique driven this was!

Calories: 2 x refeed days a week (carbohydrates increase to 210g, fats have decreased and protein remain the same). Regular days my carbohydrates have been reduced and are at 145g.

Dieting approach: flexible dieting. Check out my Instagram to see what I have been eating.

Training: 6 workouts a week.

How I am feeling: Feeling great!! I went out for lunch once last week and then went out for a celebratory family dinner last night. Yes, I had to calorie count (as I always do!) but I was able to eat full plates of food and enjoy the company on both occasions. Funnily enough, I actually think I have eaten out more during prep than I have in my off-season! I don’t typically go out for food much as I am often left disappointed, I think my food is more tasty!!

My nutrition and workouts are programmed by New York Muscle Radio go check these guys out and search for their Podcast on iTunes or YouTube.

-Benchpressingbaubles, x