Tracking Macros Forever and Intuitive Eating
When people ask us how long we’ve been tracking our food, they are often shocked to learn how long we’ve been doing this. 5 years might seem like a long time to stick to a daily habit but how long have you been brushing your teeth?
We get it, when you first start tracking your macros it’s a pretty foreign concept. Up until now, you’ve spent most of your life (30-day diets excluded) eating pretty much whatever you want with little forethought. It’s only natural to want to know how long you’re going to have to do this new thing that, at least in the beginning, adds more effort and a little more stress to your day.
So when clients ask us, “how long will I have to track my macros?” in all honesty, it’s hard to give a clear-cut answer. It’s all about finding what works best for you. When Roz first started tracking, she never intended on doing this forever, and still has no idea whether she will, but somehow she finds herself on a 900-day streak with no signs of quitting. And why would she? She gets to eat food she enjoys, more food than ever before and she looks better than ever before!
Macro counting is not just another diet. It’s more of a way to eat well and achieve your goals while being able to eat the foods you enjoy. What’s important to keep in mind is that whether you track your macros in an app or not, your body will continue counting them.
So, is it best to always track your macros? And how do you transition to intuitive eating?
1. How Tracking Now, Helps You Later
While macros are great for helping you hit a certain goal, they are also great for learning what’s in the food you eat. After all, it forces you to learn proper portions and what comprises a balanced diet.
After tracking your macros for long enough, you’ll be able to recognize the correct portion of rice you really should be having or the best way to get your protein.
This new knowledge will allow you to become more comfortable with the idea of “intuitive eating”. So what exactly is intuitive eating? Is it a good option for everyone?
2. Intuitive Eating
Well in a nutshell, it’s the ability to understand your body well enough to know what it needs and to know nutrition sufficiently so that you can take appropriate action – i.e. pick the right foods to eat! You’ll know that you have a certain amount of Protein, Carbs and Fat to hit daily and you’re able to assess fairly easily that you are meeting those needs with what you’re consuming.
Basically, you will have a very good understanding of what’s in your food and be confident in your choices even though you aren’t physically weighing everything out or keeping track.
It goes without saying, that intuitive eating takes a lot of practice to master (and in many cases lot’s of mistakes). It also requires a lot of routine and consistency with what you eat.
Intuitive eating is harder for those who have bounced back and forth between diets, because they are more likely to resume old habits once the tracking stops. It’s also harder for people who travel a lot or have little control over the food they eat.
However, there are a few things you can keep in mind if you’re planning on intuitive eating:
- Maintain Your Habits: The number one most important thing here is to remember that your food choices matter, whether you are tracking them or not. One of the most common mistakes people make with intuitive eating is resuming their old habits. However, this can quickly undo any progress you made. So make sure to keep in mind everything you’ve learned from tracking your macros, and apply it to intuitive eating.
- Baby Steps: Going from consistent tracking to hardly any tracking can be a bit overwhelming and confusing at first. So if you want to slowly ease yourself off tracking, start with one untracked day per week, continuing with your normal foods and portions. If you continue to maintain your current progress, add another day of intuitive eating, until you feel comfortable without tracking.
- Focus on Meals Not Macros: Before you stop tracking, make sure you have a good idea of what proper portion sizes look like. Knowing the right portions of carbs, proteins, and fats is crucial when it comes to intuitive eating.
Tracking Forever – The Takeaway
Keep in mind, intuitive eating is not for everyone. If you can’t hit your macros consistently, are prone to binges, and aren’t good with portion sizing, then intuitive eating probably isn’t for you just now. Tracking your macros is one of the best ways to stay consistent in reaching your goals and ultimately can lead you to a point where intuitive eating whilst maintaining your results is a real possibility.