Macro counting is like calorie counting, but slightly more in depth - it focuses on the number of grams of carbohydrates, fat, and protein (the three major components, or macronutrients, of food) that you take in each day. This gives us a lot more information about our food intake and allows us to make better progress depending on our goals.
It may look complicated, and while it does take some practice, apps like MyFitnessPal make it way easier than you may think. So why should you consider counting your macros? The benefits are numerous, but here are just a few:
✅It'll show you what you're really eating. Having a better idea of how much protein you're eating, or how much sugar you consume without realizing it, or how many more (or fewer) calories you're taking in than you thought you were. ✅It can teach you how to prioritize better food choices. Once you've tracked your food for a week or so, you'll see patterns emerge. Then you can start changing up your macros and learning how to eat to meet them choosing the best possible foods. ✅ It can help control food cravings. It'll be hard to say no at first, but hitting your macros spot-on becomes its own reward. ✅It allows you to be flexible with your food choices. Craving a slice of pizza, or a post workout doughnut? Great! Plan it in your day first and adjust the rest of your day accordingly.
There are a ton more benefits to tracking including improved performance and body composition. However, tracking isn’t for everyone! Here are some signs that you aren’t quite ready to start tracking macros:
❌It'll add unnecessary stress to your life. ❌You have a history of disordered eating or an unhealthy relationship with food. While the main idea of counting macros is that you can have more freedom in food choices while still staying on track to meet your goals, it can easily give way to restrictive eating and unhealthy obsessive tendencies. If you think you might be tempted to fall into old patterns, don't mess with macros. ❌ You'll use your numbers to justify poor food choices. The basis of your diet should be nutrient-dense food! ❌You'll prioritize hitting your numbers over listening to your hunger signals. Your numbers are not the ultimate authority—you shouldn't be going to bed starving or eating till you have to unbutton your pants just to hit your macros.
If you're considering tracking your macros for the first time, we definitely recommend getting a coach! A coach will make sure you are getting the right amount of protein, fat and carbs, and will help you learn how to make the process much easier. Plus, they'll keep you on track and hold you accountable!