Should I track my macros when I’m sick? Will this antibiotic wreck my fat loss plan? I’m grieving and don’t know how to move forward. What do you recommend?
These are all questions our clients have approached us with over the years and we want to share our answers with you. Today’s culture is BUSY. Our schedules are full and our to-do lists are never ending. If you are a productivity queen, a “set back” for sickness of any kind can feel frustrating. Getting sick is never convenient, however sometimes it’s our body’s way of demanding rest and we suggest you adhere to your body’s not so subtle request. Below are our top tips for evaluating your nutrition while sick or grieving.
Your health is top priority.
Do prioritize rest and recovery.
Yes, long term tracking macros will not only help you fit those jeans, but also help you fight disease (read more about that HERE), but in the short term a pause for temporary sickness or grieving isn’t going to erase everything you’ve worked so hard for. If your doctor writes you a prescription and you need that prescription to get healthy, prioritize following through with that treatment. If you skip a few workouts this week due to sickness or grief, all is not lost. Focus on rest and recovery, first and foremost.
Emotional eating can wreak havoc on our bodies. Do NOT turn sickness and grief into an opportunity to binge at a buffet or wither away. While sickness and grief can slow you down temporarily, remember that it also should not be a free for all. Grieving or sickness should not be permission to binge on junk food. Many sicknesses and even grief can actually result in a lack of appetite. You should not be declaring losing a few pounds on account of sickness or loss a win. If you struggle with emotional eating click HERE for a list of healthy alternatives to combat stress.
Do drink a lot of fluids. In this case, your habits will serve you well! Drinking 100 oz of water a day will help you stay hydrated, which in turn will help you fight the illness so much better! If you need electrolytes, be cognizant of the carbohydrate intake just as you normally are.
Do NOT track your medicine. Yes, cough medicine and other over the counter medicines can have a high carb count. And YES, the macros still count, but getting your body on the road to recovery takes precedence. Feeling good enough to take care of your family takes precedence. If you’re not taking these medications regularly, do not overly stress about their macronutrient count.
Do keep hitting your macros if you can. If you’re capable, your body will recover that much faster when you’re eating macro balanced. Remember that our bodies thrive on routine. Maintain that routine, with your nutrition if you’re able. Take comfort in knowing that when life seems out of control, we control the controllables. Macro counting is something that we can control.
Everyone grieves differently. Do not bury your hurt. It’s important that you give yourself permission to grieve. While your life might not ever feel the same as before, it will get easier. This temporary season of extreme pain will ease. After I personally experienced sudden loss (my dad passed away in 2018), the last thing on my mind was how many carbs I had left to eat that day and that’s okay! People brought me food to comfort our family, and I ate it, and that was okay!! Accept the meals, accept the help, and accept being cared for during this unique time.
Macros are Macros whether we track them or not. Wouldn’t it be nice if our bodies would allow us a “time out” for tough seasons in our lives?
“She’s going through chemo, so let’s just not let these carbs count as much as they did before.”
As much as we give each other grace for extenuating circumstances, our bodies don’t know how to extend us that same grace. Macros are still macros even if we’ve been through the most horrendous of experiences. The macros consumed during the worst of times and the best of times still count the same. While we should give ourselves grace, we also must acknowledge the road ahead.
In the end, your habits win!! Even if you’re not able to vigilantly track due to illness or grief, your body will still respond well to the habits you have been adhering to! Water consumption, going for walks, and estimating a macro balanced plate will take you extremely far!
If you liked this post, check out Navigating Your Health During Stressful Times.