How to track your macros is quite the trend these days. Obviously, I believe in counting macros as a health and weight loss tool. I mean, I’m all about carrots and cake! 🙂 Macros, as a framework, is so great for many reasons. Personally, it keeps me “honest” about my nut butter (and wine) obsessions, but I know the pros and cons of the process, especially working with nutrition clients over the years. It’s exciting to “hit your macros” and see progress, but sometimes tracking becomes a bit addictive if you want to be “perfect” all the time.
I’m here to tell you that accepting the fact that you’re perfectly imperfect is a much healthier lifestyle. If anything, counting macros gives you the freedom to enjoy any food that you want as long as you balance the rest of your choices. And, if you don’t balance those choices to a tee, it’s not the end of the world. Macros keep you in line, but they are not the be all, end all of your diet. Healthy eating is not black and white, and tracking macros can really help you thrive in the daily gray area!
For me, macros have an important place in my life, but they are not my WHOLE life. I use them as a guide for mindful choices in my diet, especially with regards to building well-balanced, satisfying meals and snacks. It’s also helpful to see when I’m eating too much junk! 😉 It’s all about balance – with food and mindset – so I wanted to share some of my tips to tracking your macros without being obsessed with the numbers and making yourself crazy!
Accept that you don’t have to be perfect. Here’s a quick rule of thumb for macro goals: Try to be within 5-10g for each macronutrient (protein, carbs, and fat). Adjust your expectations for being “perfect” and give yourself some wiggle room with your numbers. At the end of the day, even if your 10g over or under, you’re still doing okay! Just be sure to keep an eye on your overall calories and keep them as consistent as possible.
Pre-plan your days the night before – even prep and pack up your food. That way, you don’t have to think about tracking the next day. Tip: Use the Copy to Date/Copy from Date on MyFitnessPal to quickly add meals/snacks that you like – one less thing to track!
Repeat days throughout the week. If you calculated a day that came close to hitting all of your macros, just repeat it! Of course, you can make small tweaks here and there, but the majority of the planning is done for you.
Don’t look at counting as restrictive. If anything, see it as a tool for enjoying your splurges more! Because you’re not going overboard, you are living a healthy life to feel good about. You don’t have to avoid foods because they won’t fit your macros or because you think they’re too caloric or “bad.” Plan them in and enjoy!
You don’t have to track macros everyday. Take days off all together from tracking! I typically track Monday – Friday morning and then take the rest of Friday and Saturday off. I’m mindful of my choices, but I’m not tied to my macros all weekend. You could even take off specific days during the week, like Tuesday and Thursday, just to give yourself a break from thinking about numbers all the time. For me, taking a break from macros always motivates me to get right back on track!
On days you don’t track, focus on patterns and habits that you see. Do you eat enough veggies? Snack between meals? Are you giving your body consistency in the amount of food it gets every day? Pay attention and see how these habits fit into your health goals.
Guesstimate! Again, you don’t have to be perfect all the time with your macros to see results and life a healthy, happy life. Guesstimating is your friend, especially at events, traveling, or whenever you haven’t planned ahead. A piece of wedding cake? Margaritas with friends? Just guess the best you can and move on. You gotta live your life! Tip: Either search the MyFitnessPal database for an option that seems close or try the “Quick Add” option (go to “add a food,” scroll to bottom, add approximate macros – close enough)!
Every day is a new day. Even if you come no where close to your macro goals, start fresh the next day – or even at the very next meal. Make it healthy! A healthy life is all about getting back on track and continuing to work toward your goals.
Additionally, check out my video below to see what I have to say about tracking macros without being obsessive about it!
Question of the Day
I’d love to hear your tips or tricks for keeping your sanity while trying to track your nutrition habits?
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