How to Count Macros Without Being Obsessive

November 17, 2014

One of the best features about wordpress is that you can see search terms that lead people to your blog. I always look at these because some of them are hilarious, but most of all, they give me and idea of what topics people may be searching for. As I was looking at them the other day, one really stood out to me – “How to Count Macros Without Being Obsessive”. I thought it would be a great topic to write/do a video about, because I’m sure many people struggle with this.

I know that counting macros can either go one of two ways for people – it can either make people crazy and feel obsessive, or it can tremendously help them get over the clean eating obsession. Thankfully for me, it has helped me improve my relationship with food. I will now eat things I may not have eaten before, and just track them in my daily macro allotment. Tracking is super easy to me, and has become second nature. Will I do it forever? Hell no. But for now, it’s not harming me, and since I am reverse dieting, it is helping me a lot.

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On the other hand, I know it’s not for everyone. As much as someone can try to argue with that, it’s just not. Just like 100% “clean eating” is not for everyone. Just like vegan is not for everyone. Just like paleo is not for everyone. So on, and so forth.

So while some people may do better off with not coating macros AT ALL and simply following whatever makes them feel the best physically and mentally, or following intuitive eating, some people can certainly follow macros.

But how do you do that without being obsessive? You CAN, you just have to change your mindset about it.

  • Think of macros as a guideline. Don’t freak out if you go one or a few grams over your allotment. The goal is to get consistently close to your macros. You don’t have to zero them out every single day.
  • You don’t have to weigh every single little thing if you aren’t in contest prep. If you are throwing some spinach in your eggs, eyeball it. Estimate it. You really do not have to weigh out 2 grams of spinach or things like mustard or gum. It won’t kill you, I promise.
  • Learn to trust your judgment. Once you get the hang of weighing/measuring/counting macros, you really need to trust yourself to know what certain things look like. You will learn what certain things look like.
  • You need to be FLEXIBLE. This is the most important tip. Tracking macros is really all about having a flexible mindset and a flexible diet – that’s the whole point! You can have a meal out and estimate the macros. You can have a meal that doesn’t fit your macros sometimes. That’s life! Eat according to your goals, but for your mental sanity as well.
  • You can have days where you give yourself a break. If you feel yourself getting stressed or overwhelmed, take a step back. Stop tracking. You will not gain 14801394 pounds. Mental health is just as important as physical health, and that’s one of the main points of flexible dieting. And lets be real, days like your birthday, Christmas, Thanksgiving, etc. Eat some freakin’ pie and screw macros. Life is short 😉

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What are your thoughts?

If you have tracked, has it helped you or hurt you?

 

21 Comments
      1. For some people it is and I totally get that! It has actually made me less stressed though! 😀

    1. Great advice! I see things about flexible dieting on Instagram a lot, and it seems to be helping a lot of people. I used to keep a food diary but since I have become more in touch with my eating I no longer keep that up. I measure out certain foods sometimes too. It depends on my mood.

      1. It has definitely helped me! Good for you girl, I think that’s the ultimately goal for people.. to track and get more in touch with their eating so they no longer have to anymore!

    1. Such great advice! I track my eats through MyFitnessPal and really like it. As you said, I use it just as a guideline and don’t get too obsessed. I give myself more of a range that I want to stay in, rather than strict numbers. Sometimes I’ll take a break from it for a day or two, but overall, it just works well for me.

      1. Exactly! Good for you girl. It’s working for me right now, too.

    1. I’ve never tracked but can’t imagine anything but general estimation is helpful for mental health. It seems too easy to become obsessive. If it creates any anxiety it’s probably a bad idea.

      1. EXACTLY! Love the last line, so true. That’s when people need to take a step back and re-evaluate.

    1. I have tracked calories before, but it can become time consuming and obsessive. Now a days I try to focus more on IE and doing what makes me feel good and perform my best. It is not easy and I sometimes still struggle with it, but like everything it takes time and patience. And AMEN to enjoying food and living life, because it is too short!

      1. Very true! Everything does take time and patience. IE is definitely a goal of mine in the future if I’m not prepping for shows or anything. AMEN!!! Eat good food and live life 😉

    1. I love this post!! I tend to do a mix of tracking and intuitive eating; I think it is important to be aware of how much and what macros you are eating, but if I count calories for too long I start to think in terms of numbers instead of nutrients

    1. Counting definitely isn’t for me. I did it for a couple of years, and it was nothing but a huge source of stress for me. You’re right, though — it works for some people. Just not for me and my obsessive personality 😆

    1. I have been tracking macros for a few months and I had amazing results fat loss-wise! But over time I got too obsessed with it (that’s why I was so curious to read your post!). I weighed out every single bit (well, not mustard, lol) and wanted to be sooo exact with everything. And if I had a few grams left at night I would think about what tiny bit I could still have. At some point it was just ridiculous but most importantly it didn’t make me happy anymore but way too stressed. I then had a phase of many months of not tracking at all and ttrying other diets, and now I’m on a kind of low-carb “diet”, however I consider it my lifestyle (like everyone does, haha). I still know how much protein or carbs are in this or that, so I’m still kind of guesstimating macros, but not measuring anything or even tracking. I feel comfortable with this, and am constantly trying to get more and more balanced!

    1. Well done answering that [assumed] question! I hope the next people searching for an answer to it will find your blog appear top in the search engine because you broke it down so well in few words. I’m generally skeptical towards macro counting as I feel it doesn’t serve any purpose unless you’re training for a competition. But maybe that’s influenced by my own negative experiences from the past.
      The times I tracked macros in the past -did- make me obsess. I wasn’t even looking to know my macros in the first place but the calorie counting website I logged my food into readily shows you the macros in anyway. Ironically enough, I had payed close to zero attention to macros before that – calories alone were enough to stress me out. Now I don’t log either, anymore.

      1. I agree! Macro counting really is mainly for a few instances: to get an idea of what portions look like, to get ready for a competition, and to reverse diet out of a competition. It’s definitely not for everyone! Some people do get obsessed, and that’s why different things work for different people. Good for you for not logging anymore! <3

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