Tracking Macros Vs Intuitive Eating
This blog post is Part 1 of 3!
Macros are the 3 main "macronutrients" that food is comprised of: protein, fats, & carbs.
Macro tracking is a form of calorie counting- but instead of just counting calories you are counting specific grams of each macronutrient.
The first step of macro tracking is to first determine what your specific grams will be. You can do this by using online calculators, hiring a coach to do it for you, or using this handy guide I made for you with all the calculations you need. Once you determine what your specific numbers are for your goals (fat loss, maintenance or muscle gain) you can start to track your food. Your aim is to eat foods that total up to the numbers you have calculated for ex. 130g Protein / 185g Carb / 55g Fat.
You do this by either logging your food into a counting app such as MyFitnessPal or I know some people do it by hand (very tedious!).
Pros of Macro Tracking:
Can help eliminate the "good food vs bad food mentality"
Helps learn about portion sizes
Helps learn about categories of food
Creates more awareness around your food choices
Produces more dramatic results such as competition stage lean
Cons of Macro Tracking:
Can become an obsessive behavior for those who have a tendency to lean towards perfectionism
Can be tedious to track all your food daily
Calorie counting is not always precise (such as the difference between the weight of cooked chicken vs raw chicken)
Requires you to weigh it out all your foods, sometimes that includes vegetables
Reliance on an app to tell you how much to eat vs just listening to your body
Can become mentally draining
Can become out of tune with your body's natural hunger and full signals
In my personal opinion I think there is a time and a place for macro tracking; such as someone who is preparing for a competition, someone who has a tendency to under-eat or even someone who has a hard time feeling guilty about eating non conventional foods such as a donut or ice cream every now and again.
I was a very avid macro tracker- I did it non stop for 2.5 years. During that time I was a pro-level competitor and had to maintain a body fat of 12% so the only way I COULD look like that was being very obsessive with my food. Tracking macros helped me to gain a lot of muscle because I purposely was eating way over my maintenance calories & it also helped me get into top shape for competition. These days I eat intuitively & find I have a lot more mental freedom & I feel a lot more in control knowing how to fuel my body properly to reach my goals without consulting an app before I eat. I believe you can get just as good as progress with intuitive eating :)
Part 2 will come out tomorrow- all about Intuitive Eating & the Pros & Cons!
Oh and don't forget to download this guide if you want to learn how to calculate your own fat loss macro numbers :)