Okay, forever may sound a little exaggerated, but it’s the best way to get the point across. I could say “a really, really long time” and that would work too. But you get the point 😉
So. Macros. Yes, “iifym” has blown up in the fitness industry, and even not. Everyone wants to know how to get their numbers, they want to count their macros and feel the flexible dieting freedom that they might not have had when they were strict “clean eaters”. I think it is great that so many people are adopting a more flexible diet, and allowing themselves to eat things that they might have once deemed “off limits”. No food should be completely off limits, everything in moderation. At least that’s how I like to live.
On my trip to California this past summer, I ate whatever I wanted, I didn’t count one macro, and I lived.
But when does it stop? Will you be waking up every morning and plugging in food into my fitness pal before you can start your day? Will you be out running errands and someone asks if you want to grab a bite to eat, and you have to find a place that can only fit your numbers? Will you be on an amazing trip around the world, I don’t know, traveling Europe or something, and whip out your food scale at the pizza place in Italy?
Honestly, that’s not how I would want to live the rest of my life. I personally think about when I have children.. I most likely would not want to have them grow up with their mom weighing out their broccoli just to eat it for dinner. That’s just me.
I think counting macros is awesome, of course, since I personally count and weight everything right now. Yes, I do. And it might seem like I’m putting macro counting down as a terrible thing. It’s most definitely a great thing, but I believe it should be a stepping stone into intuitive eating. Listening to your body cues – eating when you’re hungry, stopping when you’re full. Eating foods that make you FEEL your best and are best for your health, but also allowing yourself to be flexible and eating ice cream if you want to without counting the macros in them. I know, easier said than done.
There are a few instances where counting macros would be necessary:
- If you are prepping for a competition – I know some people can prep without counting and weighing everything. That is awesome, it’s most definitely not necessary. However, I’ve approached my prep in a way where I can still eat cereal, treats, and whatever I want every single day. For me, this means counting and weighing, and right now it is working great for me and keeping me sane without having such a rigid and strict meal plan.
- If you are reverse dieting – this is SO, so important, especially after a show. After dieting down for 12-16 weeks, or maybe even longer, your body is in a very vulnerable state. You don’t want to go from eating a little amount of calories to your “bulk” calories. Your body will put on that weight sooooo fast. You want to build up your metabolic capacity very slowly, and this usually means tracking the amount of carbs, proteins, and fats and slowly building up those carbs and fats to gain as little body fat as possible.
- If you have no idea how many calories/macros you are consuming and you aren’t reaching your goals – I always suggest that if you have a fitness goal, whether it is to lose fat, build muscle, etc. and you aren’t reaching your goals, you should track for at least a week or two to get an idea of portion sizes and how much you should be eating. If you can’t lose weight, the #1 reason is usually always that you are eating more than you think you are. Yes, it’s true. This happened to me before I started weighing things out. I was eating WAY more than I thought. You think you’re eating only a tbs of peanut butter? Put it on a scale and scoop out 16 g of nut butter. You’d be surprised at how little the amount is! It sounds meticulous, but it’s the most accurate way to get an idea of portion sizes. On the other hand, some people claim they are “hard gainers”. More often than not, this is because you are eating less than you think you are. Seems so simple, but until you really track what you are eating, you may never reach your ultimate goal.
Those are the top three instances where I think counting macros are necessary. Once you are done with your competition, done reverse dieting, or you have gotten an idea of portion sizes and how much you need to eat for your goals, you can most certainly maintain and continue to reach your goals eating intuitively. That’s called living life. Not everyone is hung up on numbers day in and day out, and you don’t have to be either.
I LOVE iifym, for so many reasons. It has helped me physically and mentally, and overcoming being stuck in the “I-can-only-eat-certain-clean-foods” mindset. But I’m mostly definitely going to transition into an intuitive approach once I’m done with my competition and reverse dieting. Because you CAN be flexible without counting every macro that goes into your mouth. I promise.
What are your thoughts?
How long have you been counting macros if you do right now?