Weight Watchers vs. tracking macros. First of all, why am even talking about this?
Well, because I get countless coaching applications that cite a previous experience with Weight Watchers, when what they really want is fat loss. And more energy. And reduced cravings. And muscle and strength gain. And a healthier relationship with food.
No wonder they weren’t successful with an approach that focuses solely on calories in and calories out!
On the surface, there are some similarities between tracking macros and Weight Watchers: Both the WW program and macro tracking involve logging your food in an app. Chances are that you’ll be eating more whole, real foods and fewer refined, processed and packaged foods. Both approaches can promise to get you weight loss results.
But there are 3 big ways that they are different—and why tracking macros is better than Weight Watchers for tackling a plethora of different goals.
1. TRACKING MACROS ENSURES YOU'RE GETTING ENOUGH OF ALL MACROS
A WW plan accounts for total calories and assigns a point value to that calorie goal. What it won’t tell you is how many of those calories should come from protein, fat and carbohydrates.
This is important because the macronutrients – protein, fat and carbohydrate – each have different roles in the body. They each behave differently and impact the way you feel, look and perform.
Weight Watchers subscribes to a “calories in, calories out” mantra which can work for some people, depending on how they structure their meals to hit their point allotment. However, there likely comes a day when focus needs to turn to macronutrients in order to influence hormones, lean muscle gain, fat loss, blood sugar balance, energy, fullness and much more!
2. WW CAN ENCOURAGE LOW FAT EATING, WHICH ISN'T ALWAYS HEALTHIER
Here are the facts: foods containing fat are the most calorically rich. This means that for every 1 gram of fat you eat, you’re eating more calories than for every 1 gram of carbohydrate or protein you eat. Foods that contain less fat are going to have fewer points in the WW system. This means you may unintentionally eat low fat and demonize this important macronutrient.
That matters because fat is very satiating. When you build a meal with healthy fat, you’ll stay fuller longer and probably prevent a desperate run to the vending machine for a snack to cure your munchies.
Among many functions, fat balances blood sugar. Carbohydrates paired with adequate fat and protein, as is encouraged by macro-tracking, leads to blood sugar that looks more like rolling hills instead of a roller coaster, which translates to sustained energy and normalized hormones.
3. WW FOCUSES ON WEIGHT LOSS, MACROS FOCUSES ON BODY COMPOSITION CHANGE
Weight loss and fat loss are distinctly different. While WW takes an approach that is intended to help you lose scale weight, tracking macros is an approach that can help you lose body fat. Turning focus to macronutrients allows for a leaner, stronger body shape and size regardless of scale weight.
Put another way, “calories” refer to the overall energy a food contributes. Manipulating calorie intake influences only body weight gain, loss, or maintenance. Alternatively, “macros” refer to the composition of a food or where the calories in the food came from.
Manipulating macro intake influences many things: lean muscle gain or loss; body fat gain or loss; feelings of hunger and fullness; blood sugar balance and stability; hormone balance; sleep quality and duration; stable, consistent energy; energy for high intensity activity; cravings for sweet, salty, or crunchy foods and so much more!
Instead of learning a whole new point system that can’t be translated to the real word in any way, skip to the part where you learn what your food consists of and adjust your meals to meet your personal needs: macros.
If you’re sitting here like, “OMG this is so me” and you’re curious to learn more about macro tracking and how it can support your diverse list of goals – download my DIY macros guide to set your macros (and ditch point tracking forever!)