Eating enough, aka meeting your macros is essential for getting leaner and stronger — plain and simple. What’s not so “plain and simple” is how you deal with that in the context rest of your real life. As birthdays, holidays, stressful situations, trips, moves and more events occur, resolve can easily give way to excuses about lack of time, knowledge, money, focus and so on.
But, as a macro-tracking dietitian with years of experience coaching hundreds of clients on macros, I am yet to hear an excuse that can’t be overcome. Unlike other restrictive or regimented ways of eating, macro-tracking can empower anyone and everyone. (I mean, who doesn’t want to eat more and get lean in the process?)
Here are a few commonly heard macro tracking myths I want to bust wide open…
Macro tracking will blow my budget
On the contrary, my friend! Between Healthy Choice frozen dinners, ready-to-eat chia seed puddings and post-workout acai bowls, you’re spending a lot more than you need to on food. Tracking macros will likely have you in the kitchen more often, which is almost always going to be cheaper than eating out — especially if you buy simple ingredients in bulk. Affordable, macro-friendly pantry items include rice, potatoes, squash, canned tuna, nuts, seeds, beans, peas, lentils and coconut products. You’ll pick up freezer items like ground meat, various cuts of poultry and fish when they’re on sale. And, think about all the budget-friendly frozen fruits and vegetables you’ll keep on hand to round out a meal with nutrient-rich carbohydrates!
I have to eat the same thing every day to make it work
Be honest: Don’t you already do this? If you took a look at your kitchen or your grocery list from week to week, you’d probably find the same 10-15 foods. You like what you like! Except for a few meals eaten out, impulse grocery buys and snacks around the office, I’m willing to bet you’re already a creature of habit when it comes to food.
Unlike rigid diet plans, macro-tracking will actually afford you way more options — and probably even inspire some creativity in the kitchen. Tracking macros never tells you what to eat. Rather, itsets parameters on how much is appropriate for you. Choose any cuisine, any prep method, as big or small a portion as you want… and, if you want it, you can have it.
If you’re still worried that you’ll have to eat the same foods every day in order to hit your macro targets, it sounds like you haven’t played around with food logging apps in awhile! Technology has come such a long way to provide huge databases where you can find nearly every brand and restaurant. Nothing is stopping you from adding variety to your diet while tracking macros.
I have to be perfect to see results
What would you say if I told you that the whole macro-tracking approach isn’t an exact science? Between user error in measuring food, database errors in the tracking apps and “best guess” macro prescriptions — it’s definitely not an exact method!
But, even in its flaws, macro-tracking is still one of the most efficient and effective ways to lose weight, change your body composition and eat to support athletic performance. Perfection is NOT required. In fact, just by getting close to your macro targets, you’ll see changes to your energy, mood, digestion, sleep and skin within the first several weeks of tracking.
Given a little more time, you’ll start to see changes to the way your clothes fit as you shed fat and build lean muscle. And even more time? You will be able to lift bigger weights, move quicker, push harder and recover like a boss.
“It works for you, but it probably won’t work for me.”
I get it. You’ve been burned by plans and programs that claim “get lean fast” — but you’re here, so I know you still have hope. So, what if I tell you that macro-tracking has the power to be the LAST “diet” you ever consider.
You don’t have to be a nutritionist like me. You don’t even need an advanced nutritional knowledge base. And you DEFINITELY don’t have to contemplate living the rest of your life in a state of deprivation.
As I know from working with hundreds of clients from a variety of backgrounds and with a huge range of goals, macro-tracking is an amazing unifier in that it will work with you. Try reframing macro tracking from “another attempt at losing weight” to “a tool to help me learn how much I need to eat to support my body.” Tracking macros will strip away all the unnecessary rules from food and leave you with a solid understanding of what you’re eating and how it makes you feel.
It’s complicated and time consuming
If you’re already planning a menu, shopping for groceries and even glancing at ingredients or nutrition labels — you’re more than halfway to tracking macros. If anything, counting your macros simply provides a little more framework to the way you select foods and build your meals.
Instead of having an internal argument with yourself about what’s on your plate and how much you should be eating, you’ll feel confident in putting together satisfying, satiating meals that the whole family can get on-board with.
If you’re worried that you won’t be successful because math wasn’t your strong subject in school, don’t be. With food-logging apps with features like barcode scanning, recipe creation, quick-add macros and copy-paste functionality, it’s easier than ever to track quickly.
Wine, chocolate or fill-in-the-blank has to go in order to see results
Lemme ask you this: do you think your gym bestie is opting for an approach that has her skipping wine night? Of course not!
One of the biggest shifts for people when they start tracking macros is that suddenly no foods are off limits.
Instead of, “I can’t have this wine because it will ruin my diet,” you’ll say, “Can I see the wine list?” Because you know wine counts as carbohydrate or a fat in your daily targets, and you can you can simply log it and adjust accordingly.
With macro-tracking, you’ll start to see that taking a balanced approach to nutrition is way better than an all-or-nothing mindset: Whether it’s wine or kombucha, ice cream or Greek yogurt, a home cooked meal or Chinese takeout, it’s your choice to eat how you want to hit your calorie and macro needs.
but Here’s TL;DR truth about macro tracking:
Macro tracking won’t blow your budget.
You don’t have to eat the same thing every day.
You don’t have to be perfect.
It CAN work for you.
It’s not complicated or time-consuming.
And you can still fit chocolate, wine or your favorite foods in your diet while tracking macros.
Don’t you think it’s worth your best effort and a little bit of practice?