top challenges and solutions: insights from my practice

top challenges, macros approach, low energy, building muscle, hormone imbalances, consistency in nutrition habits, calorie intake, macronutrients, protein, fat, carbohydrates, blood sugar levels, high-intensity exercise, energy slump, balanced meal, morning workouts, meal intervals, strength training, progressive overload, muscle mass, body composition, calorie intake, hormone disturbances, alcohol consumption, chronic stress, perimenopause, thyroid health, balanced meals, lifestyle factors, emotional tie to goals, mindfulness, stress management, consistency, imperfect action

Emily Field (00:00:03) – Welcome to Macros Made Easy, the podcast that takes the confusion out of tracking macros. I’m your host, Emily Field, a registered dietitian that specializes in a macros approach. In each episode, I help you learn how to eat in a way that supports your health, body composition, and athletic performance goals. We’ll cover the basics of macronutrients, how to track for various goals, the role of macros in your health, and how to make sustainable changes to your habits. I’ve helped hundreds of people experience more food freedom and flexibility while navigating their nutrition. So whether you’ve tried macros and it just didn’t stick or you just heard the word macros yesterday, I can’t wait to help you too. Welcome to episode 16 of the Macros Made Easy podcast. In today’s episode, we’re diving into the top four concerns I often see in my practice. We’ll chat about energy slumps, the why am I not building muscle mystery, hormone ups and downs, and the ever relatable struggle with staying consistent for each problem. I’m going to color in the details of that problem by describing what it sounds like, and then share with you reasons for that problem.


Emily Field (00:01:09) – And then lastly, solutions for that problem. I want to be clear that, you know, sharing a problem without a solution is super unhelpful. And I completely understand that. So I want you to be able to walk away from this episode having real, tangible action steps. So if you feel like you resonate with any of the problems I share on this episode, you know where to go next and start feeling some relief for that. The first common problem that I see in practice is low energy. So citing a problem with energy specifically in the afternoon, that’s really, really common. And it sounds like this. Somebody might say, I feel great in the morning, but I just start to feel like I need to pick-me-up between 1 and 3 every day, or I never have enough energy after lunch. I’m pretty tired. Most afternoons. I can barely stay awake in the evenings. Maybe they might say I have low energy before dinner, or when the sun starts to go down. Very, very common.


Emily Field (00:02:04) – Okay, so if this is you, listen up. Now when somebody cites low energy or having an energy slump in the afternoon, my brain immediately goes towards calories. I want to make sure that they’re not under-eating their calorie needs, whether that’s intentionally or unintentionally. It’s just so common for people to not meet their calorie needs, and that’s going to naturally make you more tired. Okay, but I also see it’s fairly common for people to eat unbalanced meals. Maybe they’re eating two high carbohydrate or two low protein in their meals, and that’s sending their blood sugar on a roller coaster all day long. So if you’re not pairing protein, fat, and carbohydrate together in sizable meals and eating them every 3 to 4 hours, it’s possible that your blood sugar highs, and blood sugar lows are making for your energy to feel pretty wonky. All right, so again, we’ve done previous episodes on this. I have a lot of support materials on eating macro balanced meals, but I would make sure that that is something that you’re doing in order to combat that low energy or energy slump in the afternoon.


Emily Field (00:03:10) – Another common reason for an energy slump in the afternoon is that you’re engaging in high intensity exercise in the morning and not eating enough food to support that activity. So I see this a lot where you know you’re a busy working parent, you are a busy professional, and the only time you have to work out is in the wee hours of the morning. I love that for you. I want you to be active. I’d rather see you be active than not, but if you are engaging in super high intensity exercise in those wee morning hours and not eating after that workout, really delaying that first meal for several hours, you could be feeling energized and happy and like your adrenaline’s up after that workout, but then that’s going to catch up with you later, especially in the afternoon. It’s also pretty common to see energy slumps in the afternoon. If you’re somebody who saves their calories. This might be intentional or unintentional. Perhaps you’re so busy throughout the day you don’t have time to eat. You don’t even feel those hunger pains at all.


Emily Field (00:04:11) – You’re really running on adrenaline or you’re running on cortisol. You’re busy, busy lifestyle kind of masks that hunger, but towards the end of the day, that’s all going to catch up with you and you will eat everything in sight. You’ll hit the drive thru, you’ll late night snack, whatever it might be. You’re going to be consuming most of your calories in the evening. So I would say that’s unintentional, but maybe you’re also doing this intentionally. You have set out for a goal for weight loss, and you eat a very low calorie breakfast, a very sensible lunch. You know, you’re going longer periods of time without eating because you simply think you don’t need it. And that might catch up with you in a few days or in a few weeks. That rigidity and that discipline and under eating is not going to work for long, and your body will win, and that might result in a weekend binge or something like that. You’re breaking your dietary rules, those restrictions that you set up for yourself.


Emily Field (00:05:06) – So to summarize, the reasons that we see most common in practice for that energy slump, especially in the afternoon, kind of comes down to number one consistently under-eating your needs. And that can lead to increased fatigue over time. Number two, consuming meals that are unbalanced with excessive carbohydrates or inadequate protein, which can cause erratic blood sugar levels leading to fluctuating energy levels, especially post-meal, especially after that lunch. If you’re feeling that, I would look at the balance of macros in your meal number three, we talked about exercising intensely in the morning without sufficient nutrition that can initially be masked by the cortisol surge from the workout, but the consequent hunger can become more pronounced later on. And then lastly, I talked about intentionally or unintentionally saving up calories for a substantial evening or weekend meal that can disrupt overall daily calorie balance and lead to low energy, especially in the afternoons. So what do we do about it? What do we do about the energy slump? If this is you, I would say try to eat within 30 to 60 minutes of waking.


Emily Field (00:06:10) – If you can. You’re going to kick start your metabolism by consuming a balanced meal within those first 30 to 60 minutes of waking up. That’s going to help set your blood sugar and your cortisol, your circadian rhythm, out on the right foot, which will in turn lead to better energy in the afternoon. I’d say if you’re somebody who likes to work out in the morning, try to eat before or after that workout, it’s best if you have something small, really with some carbs and protein before or after that workout. That can be super, super helpful. Try to avoid going very long periods of time without eating, especially if you’re somebody that works out in the morning. I know it’s very difficult to eat before a very early morning workout, and that’s fine, but if that’s you, you want to work out fasted, try to eat something within 30 or 60 minutes of finishing that workout, and avoid going hours and hours after that workout before you eat your first meal. That should definitely make a difference.


Emily Field (00:07:05) – Next, I would say that eating in regular intervals, especially around like that 3 to 4 hour mark that’s going to best support your blood sugar stability and blood sugar stability is definitely related to your energy balance. So if you’re somebody that’s finding themselves with low energy in the afternoon, I would really look at those morning meals, make sure that they’re balanced, like we’ve been talking about protein, fat and carved together. And you’re having something substantial in the morning and then you’re eating every 3 to 4 hours after that. Usually with clients, they’re really breaking up their macro targets into 3 to 4 meals per day. And that means that they have to be fairly sizable in order to hit your macro targets by the end of the day. Most commonly, I’m seeing four meals a day kind of equally spaced throughout the day a morning, a breakfast, a lunch and afternoon snack. And a dinner is the most common thing that I see. But again, there’s no right answer for this. You can have as many or as few meals that you want in the day, but for blood sugar stability, I’d say going every 3 to 4 hours to support that rise and fall in blood sugar and therefore your.


Emily Field (00:08:09) – Energy is best. Lastly, if you want a solution to this energy slump problem, I’d say that ensure that you’re eating enough calories. So eat at maintenance or slightly less than maintenance calories. Make sure that you’re eating enough protein on a regular basis. So this kind of goes without saying. And obviously threading this into all of the things I’ve been talking about so far. But if you aren’t getting regular, predictable energy slumps, you really struggle with fatigue. We want to make sure that you’re eating enough, period. So if you need help with that, I would definitely recommend downloading the DIY macros guide and figuring out your macro targets and ensuring that you’re eating enough, maybe even slightly less than your maintenance calories. We’re not talking drastically less, because if you’re trouble, you’re having trouble with energy. My brain first goes towards are you eating enough? And are you eating enough protein? All right. So the next common problem that I see is when somebody says I work out regularly, but I do not look like I do or I lack muscle mass despite working out on a regular basis.


Emily Field (00:09:13) – I know how frustrating this can be. This is something that I actually struggled with too early on in my journey. Maybe you sound like you know the person that says I love to be active, but you wouldn’t know it because of how I look. I’m an active person, but I’m carrying a lot of extra body fat. No matter what I do for exercise, my body composition doesn’t seem to change. Super super common. Okay, so we’re going to talk about that problem now. So what’s going on here? What are the reasons for this problem? Number one I’d say lack of structured strength training. So you lack a structured strength training routine. Maybe you’re active but you’re not really doing the activity that it takes to build muscle and therefore change your body composition and your physique. Maybe you’re following a strength training program, but it doesn’t have any progressive overload. You can’t really be sure that you’re actually making progress. So if you’re following a template from a trainer or you’re working with a trainer, you’re going to classes and you can’t confidently say, I am stronger than I was weeks ago or months ago.


Emily Field (00:10:18) – It’s probable that that program is lacking structure or it’s lacking progressive overload. We’ll talk about that a little bit more in a minute. Next I’d say that, you know, again, like last reason’s, if you’re not eating enough calories to support your challenging workouts and recover from them, or if you’re not eating enough protein to build and repair muscle, those are absolutely required in order for you to change your body. If you want to look like you workout, that usually means that you need to add more muscle mass on your frame. You’re going to be leaner, stronger, more toned, and that comes from eating enough total calories and eating enough protein. In order to do that, you have to have the building blocks in order to make that muscle mass. Okay, so I think you know where this is going. If you want to be somebody who gets out what they put in for their workouts. Want to make sure that you’re eating at maintenance or slightly less than maintenance calories, and ensure that you’re eating enough protein on a regular basis? Check, check.


Emily Field (00:11:16) – But the next thing I want you to do is audit your current exercise routine to ensure that it’s actually meeting your needs to build muscle mass. The most effective and efficient way for you to build muscle mass is to engage in strength training, not elements of strength training, straight up strength training. So we get into this a lot with coaching clients. You know, there’s no way that I can know every single program, plan or trainer out there, but I can certainly ask my clients a series of questions to help them audit if their current program meets their needs to build muscle. So what I love to see is repeated movements week to week. I love to see bigger, more compound movements that involve multiple muscle groups followed by some accessory movements. And maybe that workout is totaling around 30 to 60 minutes per session. It’s impossible for me to know, like buy time if that’s an effective workout for you. But if it’s challenging you, if you’re able to measure progress over time, you’ve got, you know, bigger compound movements that involve multiple muscle groups at a time.


Emily Field (00:12:21) – These are things that would lead me to believe that you are following something that is structured and is going to actually work, it’s actually going to change your body. And I’d say if you’re doing that 3 to 4 times per week, that’s probably enough stimulus. Okay. I’d also say that a great program probably has the ability to record your movements so you can add challenge or you can adapt in the future. So what that might look like is, you know, you’re doing push presses at three by eight at a certain number, like a certain pound of weight, and later you’re able to do three by 10 or 3 by 12 at that same weight. You’re demonstrating that you are getting stronger and that you’re progressing with that program. But if you’re following programs at random where you’re piecing together things that you’ve done in the past or that your trainer is doing, or you know, a class that you’re taking, it’s pretty much impossible to effectively ensure that you’re progressing because you might be doing push presses one week and you might be doing deadlifts the next week.


Emily Field (00:13:15) – You might not revisit push presses in that same interval for months on end. That is not an effective way to change your body composition. So again, I’ll say we already talked about eating at maintenance or slightly below maintenance calories. Make sure you’re getting enough calories to build that muscle mass. Eat enough protein to make sure that you’re building that muscle mass and recovering from your challenging workouts, but then audit your current exercise routine. Number one, make sure it’s structured strength training. It’s not elements of strength training. It’s not Pilates or yoga or bar that has elements of strength training. You can get stronger, but you’re going to cap out very, very easily. You are lifting weights. You are moving your body in a way that you’re pushing against. Space. Resistance training of some sort, maybe 3 to 4 times per week is a great stimulus. You’re repeating movements week to week, and you’re encouraged to track your weights or to track your movements to ensure that you can say, yes, I am progressing.


Emily Field (00:14:13) – Yes, I am doing more than I did last week or last month. You know, involves bigger muscle groups followed by smaller muscle groups. There is some rhyme or reason to what you’re doing. The third thing that I see most often in practice is a complaint about hormones. People like to say that their hormones are impacting their progress. And what this sounds like in a custom macro calculation or a health assessment that might come my way for coaching is someone might say I have an underactive thyroid or I’m on medication for thyroid issues. I feel like I have a slow metabolism, I have gut issues. Food feels like it just weighs in my stomach. I have a slow GI system. Maybe someone says I’m in perimenopause or I suspect that I’m in perimenopause. My hormones feel out of whack, my sex drive has changed, my skin has issues, I’ve got unexplained weight gain, I’ve got body fat gain in different areas that I’m used to, etc., etc. this is like the umbrella of what it sounds like when you say that you have hormone issues.


Emily Field (00:15:17) – Okay, so let’s talk about what some reasons for those hormone issues might be. Number one reason, and I think you knew this was coming is that you might not be eating enough calories or not enough protein. You might be eating imbalanced macro meals. That could be enough to cause, quote, hormone issues. And I’m talking about the umbrella statement because obviously there’s a ton of hormones, and some people may have an understanding of those hormones being out of whack, and some people might just suspect or feel that they’re out of whack. So I’m just using this as a blanket statement that many people come to me saying that they have. The first thing I’m going to want to check off is, are you eating enough calories or are you eating enough protein? Are you aiming for balanced macro meals kind of eaten in a regular interval? Okay, we’ve already talked about that several times. Number two is that your activity level doesn’t match your calories consumed or vice versa. So there’s a mismatch here. We gotta strike a balance between energy expenditure and energy intake.


Emily Field (00:16:20) – And that is absolutely crucial. Many times I see people over exercising for the amount of calories that they take in. So my suggestion would be to match that, whether that’s add more rest. So you’re working out less or with less intensity to match the calorie intake that you’re willing to have, or you are increasing your calories, you’re eating more to match the activity that you want to do. Okay, so there’s a mismatch. That’s usually a reason for a hormone issue. The last thing I’ll say is that, you know, certain lifestyle factors can absolutely impact your hormones. And what I see for a lot of people that come through my doors is excessive alcohol consumption and chronic stress. They both can throw hormones totally off kilter. If you’re neglecting self-care, you’re overburdening yourself with responsibilities. You’re not allocating time for relaxation or hobbies or play that can absolutely contribute to hormone disturbances. For a lot of women who are approaching perimenopause or in the throes of perimenopause, you have to understand that the responsibility of the ovaries is now shifting to the adrenal glands.


Emily Field (00:17:28) – And if you are overstressed and coping inappropriately by using alcohol to mask that stress, you’re driving a lot more responsibility and a lot more work onto the adrenal gland. So not number one, you have a shift in your hormones moving the production and the balance being managed by your ovaries to your adrenal glands, which already have enough to do in your body. Now you’re adding more responsibility to those adrenals that are already stressed, and they’re already overworked. And failing to manage that stress or to use alcohol and appropriate ways will just make for hormone disaster. So what’s a girl to do? What are some solutions to this umbrella hormone issues problem that we see pop up a lot? Number one is going to be matching your calorie intake with your calorie needs. So that either might mean that you work out less or with less intensity so that you can match how many calories you are eating, or you need to eat more in order to match the ideal amount of exercise that you want to do. We have to get those aligned.


Emily Field (00:18:36) – If I hear about hormone issues, if I hear about fatigue, I’m inclined to work with a client to include more rest days or decrease the intensity of their workouts, at least temporarily, while we get their calories up and they are feeling much better. And then when they are used to eating a lot more food and they’re feeling really confident about the process, we can add more activity in this. It’s not a permanent solution. We don’t have to ditch activity. We don’t have to be less active or less intense about activity forever. Sometimes it’s just a temporary period of time where we’re really trying to match that activity with enough calories, but we can’t keep doing the same thing. We can’t keep doing the same thing and expect different results. If you’re somebody that struggles with hormone issues, I’d say that eating in regular intervals, especially within 30 to 60 minutes of waking. Making sure that you have fancy at every single meal. It could be a great first defense against hormone issues, because our balance in blood sugar impacts our insulin levels.


Emily Field (00:19:37) – That’s our master hormone. We can really consider that insulin hormone a master hormone. And it’s action can turn on and turn off a lot of other hormones downstream. That includes your cortisol, your estrogen and progesterone, testosterone, things like that. So rather than get so caught up with, you know, whatever you might see online or from different practitioners about supporting estrogen, supporting progesterone, really trying to have healthy hormone balance, you could really tune out that noise and focus on the basics of eating regularly spaced, macro, balanced meals to ensure great blood sugar balance, because that will impact all the other downstream sex hormones and stress hormones as well. For the people that know that they have thyroid issues or are worried about their thyroid health, I definitely am going to be looking at their carbohydrate intake. We know that eating enough total carbs and having enough carbohydrates spread throughout the day can really be super helpful for promoting thyroid health. And between the low carb craze and not really matching enough carbs for the amount of activity that people are, do I see a lot of hypothyroid in my practice? So for women, I really want to make sure that they’re getting around the range of 150 to 200g of carbs per day.


Emily Field (00:20:58) – Of course, there’s going to be variance in this depending on your age, your height, your weight, your activity level. But most of the time, I’d say the bell curve. Most of the women I’m working with are falling in that range of 150 to 200g of carbs per day, and I’m really asking them to emphasize mineral rich carbohydrates like pineapple and mango, bananas, leafy green vegetables, things like that, but also coconut products, salmon, red meat these can all be really great sources of sodium, potassium, magnesium, calcium. These are the minerals that are going to have the biggest impact on our hormonal health. Lastly, if you’re somebody that struggles with this umbrella like hormone issues, I really want you to start engaging in some mindfulness or mind body practices. If your hormone issues are not responding to changes in your nutrition and changes in your training, you cannot out eat or out supplement or out exercise a poorly cared for nervous system. So it sounds like a wash for some people. Some people are going to totally ignore me on this, but I really do think that it’s worth your while to integrate some deep breathing exercises into your daily routine.


Emily Field (00:22:10) – Embrace mindfulness meditation, cultivate a gratitude practice, make more time for play, etc., etc. there are so many different ways that we can improve stress management and build resiliency to take care of our nervous system, and it’s so worth your while. If you are somebody who is doing all the right things, making all the right changes, and not really seeing any improvement in their hormone issues. Okay. We’re going to talk about the last problem that I see most commonly in my practice. And that is when somebody says they have a problem with consistency, the person usually says something like, I used to be so good, but now I can’t seem to find the motivation. I know what to do, but I just don’t do it. I’m in a rut and I just need a swift kick in the butt to get started. You know, something like that. And it’s so, so common. I think I attract these people. I love working with these people because they tend to be people who really thrive with data.


Emily Field (00:23:11) – They like to see the outcomes of their actions. They’re very goal oriented, and all of those great qualities can have a flip side. They can have a negative side. And that’s what I think the reason for that lack of consistency is. So the problem is I feel like I have a lack of consistency. The reason for that is oftentimes an all or nothing attitude, and you may not realize you have this, but essentially what you’re saying to yourself is, if I can’t be perfect, it’s not worth trying to do at all. Oftentimes, I will see people with this kind of attitude have a history of being able to commit themselves towards a goal. They might even reflect back on a time where things were going super well. Their nutrition was on point, their training was on point. They felt awesome about all of that. And so they want to recreate that so badly that they won’t even try to be imperfect in their steps. They won’t even try to do some of that until they’re in a place where they can adopt all of those same habits and execute in the same way, the same time that they did before.


Emily Field (00:24:16) – And I mean, there are tons of reasons why you might not be able to execute in the same way that you did before, or do the same actions that you did before. Your life is different. You are a different person. You’re in a different environment, you have different responsibilities. And so you should be able to move past this. But people who struggle with an all or nothing attitude sometimes don’t even realize that they’re doing this. But again, this is what I would say is one of the main reasons for lack of consistency is that all or nothing attitude. Another reason that you might struggle with consistency or feel like your problem is being consistent might be related to overwhelm around over commitment. If you’re trying to overhaul multiple areas of your life simultaneously, that can lead to burnout and indifference. If you have too many priorities, nothing is going to be a priority. So I would look at are you trying to achieve too much in your career goals and your personal goals? Your relationship goals? Are you really in a period of high stress? Are you in a period where you’re really extending yourself too much and it’s just simply too much to put, you know, nutrition actions and training goals? On top of that, it might not be that you have a problem with consistency.


Emily Field (00:25:25) – It might be that you’re just burned out. Next, I will say that if your actions are not aligned with your goals or you feel like you don’t have an emotional tie to your goals, you don’t feel lit up by your goals. That can also lead to inconsistency or a lack of consistency. If the goal isn’t deeply connected to your personal values or it fails to evoke passion, staying committed to those actions is going to become really, really challenging. If you have ambiguous goals or you can’t really measure success, it’s going to make it really hard to gauge progress, and that’s going to exacerbate the issue as well. I have a couple of examples here. So number one, I’d say it’s fairly common in my work for someone to come in and say they want weight loss, but upon really doing some deeper work, we come to the conclusion that I actually don’t really care about the number on the scale at all. I just want to feel confident in my skin. So if your actions are leading you towards weight loss, but you don’t actually care about weight loss and it’s not really aligning with your values anymore, it’s going to be very hard to be consistent on those actions.


Emily Field (00:26:29) – So I see that a lot. Another thing I see is, you know, somebody engages in a fat loss phase or a calorie deficit to lose fat, but then they realize somewhere along the line that they actually care about being stronger. They actually care about gaining muscle. You know, they really aren’t lit up anymore about losing weight, losing fat and being in this deficit. They actually much prefer being more energized and building muscle and being as strong as they can. So we need to make sure if we find that you’re being inconsistent, maybe with tracking macros or you’re not really participating in your workouts, you’re going over your macros pretty frequently. We want to do a little bit of deeper digging on why that might be, and it could be simply that you’re just not passionate about what you set out to do. And it’s okay to change directions. It’s okay to kind of shift things as you evolved and mature. Lastly here, if you can’t measure progress, it’s going to be really hard to be consistent as well.


Emily Field (00:27:23) – So this is kind of like wrapped up in the same sort of bit. You know why I see people lack consistency is if you don’t see that you’re making progress towards your goals in a measurable way. Another really common example is when people say they want to be. Leaner and stronger, but they’re using this scale to tell them if they’re being successful at that, they’re looking at their body weight scale. A decrease in that number in their mind means that they’re getting leaner and stronger. But those two things are not the same. Getting leaner and stronger is not best measured by what your weight is. You can be leaner and stronger and have a higher or lower weight than you are right now. You could actually be the same weight that you are right now. So we want to make sure that we are measuring the things that actually are meaningful to our goals. And if you’re not, it can make it easy to give up and make it really hard to be consistent. Because when the going gets tough, you’re not going to participate in the actions that are challenging to you.


Emily Field (00:28:19) – You’re not going to really, really dig your feet in and try to execute on the actions that you want to. If you’re not really dedicated to the process, you’re not lit up by that goal. You don’t feel passionate about it. There’s no emotion behind it. And if you don’t think that the actions that you’re doing are leading to the end point that you’re looking for. So your wheels might already be turning about how to solve this problem. Solve the problem of having lack of consistency. But I would say the main solutions for this problem are really to get deeper on your why behind your goals. And I know you’ve heard this before. It’s so lame when people say dig deeper, ask yourself why five times? But no, I really want you to feel very emotional about the goals that you’re trying to accomplish. Do you actually care about weight loss, for example, or do you care about having more energy, being more capable, becoming more confident in yourself? If this is really what you’re chasing, your actions can align on those, and they may or may not include a focus on nutrition or training.


Emily Field (00:29:18) – So while you may be looking for me to give you some guidance, perhaps it’s not me that you need help from. Maybe it’s some completely different profession, or completely different set of skills that you need to put your time and energy into. So for the person who is really struggling with all or nothing thinking, and maybe just now realize that that’s your problem, I want to be clear that, you know, the way to move past this is to be okay with imperfect action, to lead with grace and empathy for yourself. Recognize that progress is just a journey filled with ups and downs, which is normal. It’s a normal part of human experience. So rather than aiming for flawless ness, prioritize sustainable and compassionate action, celebrate small victories and extend, like I said, grace to yourself during those setbacks because it’s not about if they’ll happen, it’s about when they’ll happen and the people that can move past them quickly. They’re the ones that seem to have the secret. So you may be comparing yourself to a previous version of yourself, or maybe even comparing yourself to somebody else who is in the same boat as you.


Emily Field (00:30:22) – But the reason why they are able to be more consistent, and probably what you’re not seeing, is that they are just taking imperfect action more days than you are. They’re not waiting for the perfect set of circumstances in order to execute action. And lastly, if you’re one of those people who is finding it hard to get started or stay consistent, want to make sure that you are looking at metrics that actually matter? Are you looking at metrics that are actually accurately measuring your progress? So, you know, we use this example a lot. If your goal is to enhance strength and muscle mass, you’re gonna want to track relevant indicators like strength gains or body composition changes, because that can provide tangible evidence that you’re succeeding, that you’re making progress. And in turn, that’s going to feed motivation and kind of keep up your actions. It’s going to keep you more consistent. So number one, get better. Get deeper on your why. Make sure it really lights you up and makes you very emotional. You feel very passionate about it.


Emily Field (00:31:21) – It aligns with your values. Number two, be very okay with imperfect action. Give yourself grace. Lead with empathy. That’s going to take you way farther than somebody who’s waiting for the perfect set of circumstances. And then lastly, make sure you’re measuring progress effectively. Make sure that what you’re looking at, you know, it’s actually measuring success or failure towards your goal. Today’s episode was all about the common issues that I see in my practice, people complaining about some very common things when they come through for a custom macro calculation, they are engaging with macros made easy course or they are starting to begin coaching. What are the things that they say that they need some help and support with? We first started with that afternoon slump. You’re feeling fatigue in the afternoon. Talked about some reasons for that and some solutions as well. Next we talked about that idea that you don’t really look the part for the amount of activity that you’re doing. You know, you’re active, but you don’t really have the physique to show for it.


Emily Field (00:32:20) – So what are some of the reasons for that? And then again, what are some solutions later? We moved into hormones, some really common hormone issues that I see that umbrella term that a lot of people use. I struggle with, quote, hormone issues. So what are some common reasons why that might be. And then solutions for each. And then lastly, one of my favorite topics to talk about is consistency. We talked about the people who commonly complain that they just don’t have consistency in their routine. If I could only have consistency, I would be able to achieve everything or anything. So we talked about some of the reasons why that might be, and some solutions for moving past that lack of consistency problem. If any of these very common problems resonated with you, and you were intrigued by the solutions that I provided for each, please check out the show. Notes are going to be rich with resources, whether that’s my DIY macros guide to make sure that you’re eating enough blog posts that detail how to audit your exercise routine, tips to move past all or nothing thinking or perfectionist thinking.


Emily Field (00:33:26) – We’ve got it all in the show notes, so make sure that you check that out. Thank you so much for listening to the Macros Made Easy podcast. If you enjoyed this episode, take a screenshot of the one you’re listening to right now to share it on your Instagram Stories, and tag me at Emily Fields so that more people can find this podcast and learn how to use a macros approach in a stress free way. If you love the podcast, head over to iTunes and leave me a rating and a review. Remember, you can always find more free health and nutrition content on Instagram and on my website at Thanks for listening and I’ll catch you on the next episode.

Have you ever wondered how tweaking your diet could help combat low energy, build muscle, and balance your hormones? 

In today’s episode, we’re diving into the top challenges I often see my clients struggle with when it comes to their health and nutrition. We’ll chat about energy slumps, the “why am I not building muscle?” mystery, hormone ups and downs, and the ever-relatable struggle with staying consistent. 

Also, because no one likes to hear about a problem with no solution, I’ll share actionable steps you can take to combat these common concerns. 

Here are the four top challenges I tackle in this episode:

challenge #1: low energy or my energy slumps in the afternoon

Do you usually feel fantastic in the morning only to hit a wall by midday? You’re not alone. I frequently encounter clients who say they struggle with low energy, especially in the afternoon. Whether it’s the fatigue settling in before dinner or feeling drained when the sun sets, these energy slumps are more than just inconvenient—they signal something in your routine isn’t quite in sync.

One of the culprits behind these energy slumps could be consistently undereating your caloric needs. Or, unbalanced meals, particularly those with high carbohydrate content and inadequate protein, can throw your blood sugar on a rollercoaster, resulting in erratic energy levels—especially noticeable after meals. Also, morning workouts without proper nutrition can initially give you an energy rush due to cortisol effects but may lead to a significant energy crash later. 

tackling the slump:

To counter these energy slumps, kickstart your day with timely nutrition within the first 30-60 minutes of waking up. If you’re an early workout warrior, sandwich your sessions with a mix of carbs and protein to sustain your energy levels. Establish consistent eating intervals every 3-4 hours to maintain stable blood sugar throughout the day. Also, ensure that your daily caloric intake matches your energy output, ideally consulting a nutritionist for guidance. Prioritize protein intake to support muscle maintenance and enhance overall energy production.

challenge #2: lacking muscle mass, despite working out regularly

You’re killing it with your workouts, so you probably want to look like you workout, right? One top challenge that my clients come to me with is that despite staying active, their visible muscle development seems to be lagging behind.

One possible reason for the lack of muscle gain could be the absence of a structured strength training routine. Engaging in sporadic or random workouts lacking essential components like progressive overload, specificity, and measurability might be limiting your growth. Also, insufficient nutrition, particularly not consuming enough calories or protein, can impede the body’s ability to repair and build muscle tissues.

addressing the lack of muscle gain:

To overcome these challenges, it’s crucial to ensure your diet supports muscle growth by consuming adequate calories and prioritizing protein intake. Revise your workout routine by focusing on 3-4 structured strength training sessions weekly, emphasizing compound movements that engage multiple muscle groups. Finally, don’t forget to document your workouts and track progress to gauge improvements in weight lifted or repetitions achieved, making sure your body is continuing to grow and adapt.

challenge #3: hormones are impacting your progress

Hormonal imbalances can manifest in various ways—whether it’s an underactive thyroid, concerns in perimenopause, or experiencing digestive issues that seem to affect your energy levels. These symptoms could be signs of a larger hormonal puzzle affecting your progress.

There are various reasons behind these hormonal issues. Often, inadequate nutrition can disrupt hormonal balance. Not consuming enough calories or lacking essential nutrients can throw hormones out of sync. Similarly, an imbalance in macronutrients may exacerbate these concerns. Over-exercising without sufficient caloric replenishment can strain the body, leading to hormonal fluctuations. Or, lifestyle factors such as excessive alcohol consumption, chronic stress, and neglecting self-care can also significantly impact your hormones.

strategies for hormonal health:

To combat hormonal imbalances, it’s crucial to ensure that your caloric intake aligns with your energy needs. If over-exercising or under-eating are contributing factors, you might want to consider adjusting your activity levels or incorporating more restorative practices. Prioritize balanced nutrition, focusing on real, whole-food carbohydrates to support thyroid health. 

Integrate mindfulness practices like deep breathing exercises and meditation into your routine to promote relaxation, and foster emotional well-being. These practices can facilitate digestive motility and support the autonomic nervous system, potentially alleviating hormonal disturbances.

challenge #4: lack of consistency following your nutrition and workout plan

Feeling like you keep losing your stride in staying consistent with your nutrition and workout routines? 

Too often, I see clients adopting an all-or-nothing mindset, where anything less than perfect feels insufficient and this seriously paralyzes their progress. Or, they attempt to juggle too many changes simultaneously, leading to overwhelm and disinterest. Or maybe, their goals lack a strong emotional connection or aren’t clearly defined, so they lose sight of the journey’s purpose and feel disconnected from their pursuits.

overcoming inconsistency:

Dive deeper into the ‘why’ behind your health goals. Reflect on whether your goals align with your intrinsic values and desires—whether it’s about increased energy, improved capabilities, or enhanced self-confidence. 

Embrace imperfection and understand that progress isn’t a linear path to liberate yourself from the cycle of self-criticism. Celebrate the small wins and be compassionate towards yourself during setbacks. 

Finally, ensure that your metrics for measuring progress align with your objectives. For instance, if strength and lean muscle are your goals, track indicators like strength gains or changes in body composition to tangibly witness your progress and stay motivated.

If any of these very common problems resonate with you, you won’t want to miss this episode. Remember, your journey to health is personal, and by understanding the “why” behind the challenges you’re facing, you can make significant strides towards your wellness goals.


  • Custom Macro Calculation – No more second guessing those macro numbers or being confused by online calculators. Get personalized macro targets that you can trust. We’ll create your protein, fat, and carbohydrate targets, calorie goals, and give you bigger picture health recommendations for real results. To learn more, click the link or hop over to Instagram and DM me the abbreviation “CMC”!
  • DIY Macros Guide – Follow this free guide to set your own macros so you can start eating to your needs ASAP!

  • Macros Made Easy – Get on the waitlist to learn when we enroll next and qualify for exclusive bonuses. This is a professional led, self-paced online course that teaches you how to track macros—the stress-free way. Learn how to eat for your unique needs so you can be in the driver’s seat of how you look, feel and perform without relying on a restrictive diet plan ever again.
  • Eat to Lean Coaching – If you’ve mastered the basics of macros, but there’s still room for more clarity and personalization for your particular goals, join us in Eat to Lean Coaching! ​In this group coaching program you’ll learn nutrition, exercise and mindset changes alongside other women who are in your exact shoes.

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