So, I am guessing you heard about counting macros for weight loss and thought to yourself, “OMG, this is so great! I can eat whatever I want and STILL see results as long as I hit my prescribed macros each day.”
If you found macro tracking through this lens and somehow stumbled on my website, great! I am so glad you’re here. Much of the time, “macro counting” becomes synonymous with “weight loss” or even, “fat loss” — and it can absolutely help support these goals. However, counting macros can be about so much more than losing, which is why I encourage you to expand your view of all that is possible…
Here are six ways counting macros can help you achieve your body and fitness goals (beyond losing fat!)
Get back to a healthier metabolism with reverse dieting through macro counting
If you’ve been unintentionally (or intentionally) undereating for a long period of time, you might benefit from reverse dieting for metabolic health. Reverse dieting is the strategic increase of calories and macros over time to combat the metabolic adaptation (or the down regulation of metabolism) that naturally occurs as a result of dieting.
Reverse dieting is best implemented in people who have yo-yo’ed around the same weight for an extended period of time, can’t seem to lose weight or body fat despite being at a low calorie intake, or are not seeing any real measurable physique improvement despite engaging in challenging strength training activity.
Using a macros approach to reverse diet is a great way to track and monitor on your way up to a higher, more liveable calorie intake by minimizing body fat gain coming out of a period of undereating.
Use macro counting to fight portion distortion
Portion distortion refers to the growing portion sizes that people have been conditioned to consider “normal.” This is the result of many factors, such as the reduced relative cost of ingredients, value-sizing, the creation and availability of cheap, hyper-palatable foods, advanced production methods that make food able to travel farther, and the increasing size of cookware, plate size and utensils in the past several decades. In other words, there is a lot to unpack — but becoming more mindful through macro counting can make a huge difference.
In a battle against portion distortion, tracking macros can give you a barometer for how much food is appropriate for you, personally, because the target protein, fat and carbohydrate grams are tailored to your needs. Later, you can tweak that prescription to fit your individual preference or based on how you feel, which is much more liberating than when you start a new way of eating by suddenly eliminating a whole food group.
count macros to support athletic performance
If you look forward to your one hour a day spent being physically active or you love to nurture your inner competitive side through your sport of choice — you should eat to support that!
Tracking macros can be one way to ensure you bring energy to your workouts as well as recover appropriately and fully. Proper nutrition could be the difference between showing up to a workout feeling like a total badass or feeling completely faded.
Use macro counting to support hormones
Manipulating macro intake can change the hormone picture. For example, someone who has blood sugar stability and/or insulin sensitivity problems could use macro counting to build meals with PFC balance, limit overall carbohydrate consumption, and work to improve the overall quality of carbohydrates consumed. Coupled together, these changes could influence the blood sugar stability and insulin response.
Similarly, hormones like cortisol, thyroid, estrogen, progesterone and testosterone can get wonky for many reasons. Using a macros approach could be helpful to ensure you’re eating enough:
- Fat to actually make hormones
- Enough protein to support strenuous strength training activity without causing too much stress on the body
- Enough carbohydrates to replenish glycogen stores after intense cardio activity, and again, ensure you’re not inadvertently putting too much stress on the body
Use macro counting put a stop to undereating
You love the way you look, feel and perform and you don’t want anything to change. Maybe you have a history of undereating, but you’re over that now and understand the importance of eating enough to support your metabolism, hormones and overall activity. You lost a significant amount of weight by making lifestyle changes, but you’re afraid of “slipping up” or “sliding backwards.” Counting macros can help you get a great understanding of how much food is appropriate for you. Aiming for even 10% close to goal most days of the week will support maintenance of your current body shape and size so you can continue to feel great!
Use macro counting to gain weight in a healthy way
There’s no shortage of information (read: opinions) about how to lose weight, but there doesn’t seem to be much in the way of healthy weight gain outside the “just eat whatever you want” mentality. If you’re looking to gain weight, you’ll want to do it in a slow, methodical way to ensure more of that weight gain supports lean muscle gains rather than fat gains.
Coupled with consistent, heavy strength training, tracking macros can be one way you maximize lean muscle weight gain. If you’re in this camp and tired of people telling you to just “eat whatever you want” or people rolling their eyes at your goals because they “wish they had your problem,” consider tracking macros as a solution to wanting (and having every right!) to want to change your body through weight gain.