Carrie Cuellar & Her Macro Journey
“I was really starting to get more interested in living a healthy lifestyle, and what I was eating was not healthy.”
Carrie Cuellar is a super exciting competitor, who has been making her rounds in the mags ever since she came onto the IPL scene at the 2017 2nd Annual Southwest Grand Prix in Phoenix, Arizona.
At that contest Carrie would enter five classes and walk away with 1st place honors in three. Her wins included Bikini Mommas, Women’s Sports Model Novice and Women’s Sports Model Open, earning her IPL Sports Model PRO CARD. Her other two classes were Bikini Novice Class A and Bikini Open Class A, where she placed 2nd and 3rd, respectively.
Carrie is such a passionate athlete, and is willing to open up and share lots about her life and experiences. She has so much going on that we have had a hard time fitting all of her words into her past two features! So, now that she is prepping for her next IPL contest, I wanted to return to Carrie, and give her more space to share. This time, she goes deep into her search for the right macro nutrition balance. >>>
BEN YOSEF: So, let’s start with your diet. You have described a very interesting strategy that you implement in order to dial in for a show. You consume a unique blend of macros. Can you tell us more about this?
CARRIE CUELLAR: Sure, Ben! You mean my insane 55% carb, 22.5% fat, and 22.5% protein ratio? I arrived at this specific blend after a long and amazing journey. I have always been fit and played sports throughout my life, softball being my first love.
After I started having kids, I would eat a tiny amount of calories Monday through Saturday and take Sunday’s off to help my body bounce back after each child. It worked well. I had the best six pack after my second to last child but knew I wanted more.
After the birth of my last child in 2013, the weight was harder to get off, but still manageable. I was really starting to get more interested in living a healthy lifestyle, and what I was eating was not healthy.
I was the typical fast food and candy bar junky. I consumed everything from soda, to McDonalds. You name it, I ingested it. Why not! I looked great and felt great, or so I thought.
I read a book by Dr. Wolfson at the end of 2014 called The Paleo Cardiologist. I went full Paleo with my diet – organic everything, no wheat, no dairy, and so forth. After a couple months, I was gaining weight on a deficit and that raised a lot of questions: Maybe I wasn’t weighing my portions correctly?
Maybe I should eat less and workout more? I did all the standard Go To’s to fix my problem and nothing worked. I was tired most of the time and did not feel myself. What I was finding was that while the Paleo diet had drastically improved my overall heath, it was not showing me the results I was looking for in my body.
Frustrated, I started researching the different body types: mesomorph, ectomorph, and endomorph. I took a basic quiz that told me I was roughly 75% meso and 25% ecto. The macro ratio standard for a meso is 40c/30p/30f and on Paleo, I was eating more like 20c/40p/40f.
Researching my macro ratio from 2009-2013, I found that I was eating around 50%-70% carbs and was cutting like crazy! I started trying to hit up the carbs and move my macros around. It took some trial and error, especially after finding that I was allergic to some of the carbs I was counting to reach my goals.
After a couple weeks on my 40c/30p/30f ratio, I started to see a huge difference. I felt better and had more energy for workouts. After a month of holding firm at that ratio, I was back at it and looking good.
I took a risk and upped my carbs and went to 50c/25p/25f. I phased in some junk food, but never more than 10%-20% of my total calories for the day. I figured 80% or more healthy organic foods was the happy medium I could do daily. That was the best decision I made!
After a month, the fat was flying off, and my muscles were looking ripped! I even took it a step further to a 55c/22.5f/22.5p ratio to which I stayed. 2015 was a great year for learning!
Fast forward to 2017, I decided I wanted to be in a show with the International Physique League. The show was four months away, in October. I thought I would do the standard cut a lot of competitors do before a show.
I slowly increased the protein and lowered the carbs and fats. Unfortunately, that backfired. I started gaining weight on a deficit. I looked 3 months pregnant, and was miserable. I felt like a failure with only 90 days left until show time!
My posing coach, Cheryl Normal of Cheryl Norman Fit said, “Girl you know your body, trust yourself.” It seemed unheard of to do a show on 55% carbs! I reluctantly went back to my insane carb ratio of 55c/22.5f/22.5p. I ate my standard diet, which included my favorite snack at the end of the day… A candy bar, Twinkie, or ice cream! I did that until the day of the show and never looked back.
What I learned was, just because something worked for someone else, doesn’t mean it will work with you. God created us all different! I need to embrace what makes me different.
BEN: Wow! What an amazing story! This is all so interesting! And, yes! You obviously have a nice system in place now, as you looked amazing and killed it at the Grand Prix! Now, you are in prep for your Pro Debut in Sports Model at the Arizona Pro in May. And are aiming for that Pro Card in Bikini as well. Will anything change in your diet or prep plan, or will you just stick with the same system?
CARRIE: Yes, Ben! I have to admit I am a bit nervous for the show in May. Debuting as a Pro in the IPL is a big step up from the Novice or Open. As far as cutting, I am doing the same program but I am so far behind! I hate making excuses! This year has been a roller coaster ride with six kids all moving in different directions at one time.
Sierra is in college and Kiara will also be starting in the fall. Mikayla is a sophomore in high school, Kaleb is in 3rd grade, Mackenzie is in kindergarten, and Konner is in a special-Ed preschool. They also ALL play multiple sports and it’s Kiara’s senior year playing varsity softball.
I am struggling to find balance in the midst of chaos, but I am determined to make things work! I hope I can pull it off in time for the show! If I don’t hit all my goals in time for this show, I still plan on going until I hit them and finding a way to maintain. That is my struggle, Ben. Maintaining!
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“They all knew the sacrifices I had made and hard work I put in over the last eight months to completely transform. So it was an emotional win.”
“Whether you think you can or can’t, either way you are right!”
“Seeing myself in a magazine, let alone on the COVER of a magazine, is absolutely surreal to me! Never in my life did I anticipate seeing myself in this way! Competing had been a dream of mine, so I am so glad I allowed myself to get out of my comfort zone and even more glad that it was with the IPL!”
“…some may say, ‘slow down and enjoy the moment.’ I am learning that, but there is no lower gear.”
“I will keep working on myself and make sure I grow. Not just in my physique, but mentally and professionally as well!“