Putting Together the Pieces

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One of my favorite video games growing up was Tetris. Remember Tetris? That game where you had to clear boards by rotating various shaped pieces into cohesive rows? Remember Tetris?! I loved that damn game. Played it whenever I could. On my Gameboy, of course. Remember Gameboys?! Do kids still play Tetris?! I’m SURE they don’t have Gameboys. I wonder how much my Gameboy would be worth now...

Anyways...

I was reminded of old-school Tetris the other day, in kind of a roundabout way. My friend, Katie Yarnell, and I sat down and chatted about fitness competitions live on my Facebook page last Friday. If you haven’t watched it yet, you can check it out here. It’s not just about competing. I loved sitting down with Katie because she is so knowledgeable and VERY inspiring. She made it to Nationals for heaven’s sake. But what I am going to talk about today has nothing to do with being a bikini fitness model and has everything to do with mindset which, as we all know, has become my new “thing.”

Early in the interview, I asked Katie if she counted macros while she trained for her competitions. I really loved how she described why she did indeed track macros during her training. She said that focusing on hitting her macros gave her a goal to work towards everyday. Specifically, she said that counting macros was helpful to her because it was all about what she “could put in” to her body and said that tracking helped her focus on her nutrition in a positive light. I love this because I think of it in comparison to restricting calories or eliminating certain foods. This type of limitation focuses on lack. Which makes most every person I know think about what they CAN’T have.

Katie described that her macros gave her “targets to hit.” And I just LOVE this perspective. She kept referring to tracking as “macro balance.” In other words, tracking helped her to create balance in a time of extreme training. And it is this balance found in macro tracking that exemplifies a critical mental shift in the way Katie, myself and my clients view nutrition. Hitting your macros is all about taking, say, 160 grams a protein and trying to figure out how you are going to eat that amount in a given day. When I look at that number, I think “Okay, I get to have yogurt, eggs, a grilled chicken breast, a protein shake and some cottage cheese. Looking at a goal of 60 grams of fat turns into avocado, nuts, cheese and olive oil. And carbs go from taboo (as most diet fads would have you believe) to sprouted grain bread, rice, veggies, an apple, etc. Nicole used the example of how having a certain fiber goal made her focus on fiber-rich nutrient dense foods. This is the beauty in macro-tracking. It kind of becomes a game!

Nowhere in the line of thinking that I just described does someone tell themselves, “I can’t have XYZ.” Because I, for one, know that when I am told I “can’t” have something, that is the ONLY thing I want. I know I am not alone in this! Tracking macros shifts your mind from thinking of all the things you can’t have to how you are going to hit your goals. You are no longer focusing on what you are missing, you are taking three pieces of the diet puzzle (protein, fats and carbs) and figuring out how they can be put together to create the most optimal way to fuel your workouts and your life.

So, back to Tetris...

Remember how I wrote a post about “leveling up” a few weeks ago? Well, Katie’s insight made me think of tracking as a game of fitting together pieces of a puzzle in order to get to the next level of health and wellness. I thought of the little pixelated shapes that used to float across my screen as a *slightly awkward only child* young girl and how I used to work to fit them together just right. As I said in the video, I am never going to give you an outlined nutrition plan. But what I do give you is how many pieces of the nutrition puzzle you need on a daily basis. It’s up to you how they fit together best for YOU and your own personal Tetris game...er, personal life.