Since I started online training I've received lots of emails asking about macros and if it's really necessary to count calories and macros. Here's a quick breakdown and some questions for you to consider!
What does tracking macros mean?
If you track macros this means you are keeping track of how many grams of protein, carbs, and fats you are consuming each day. Tracking macros requires you to plan out your meals, use measuring cups and scales to make sure you're eating the correct amounts, and laying off any mindless eating or snacking completely. (Unless you want to track 3 almonds here and 4 tortilla chips there.) As long as you're eating the appropriate macros for your body, you will mathematically and scientifically reach your goals.
Does this mean I get to eat whatever I want as long as I hit my macros?
Technically yes, but let me explain.
On the left is 275 calories of buffalo meatballs, sweet potato, and veggies. One the right is 1/2 a big mac, which is about 275 calories, but has double the fat. The meal on the left was my lunch over the weekend and I honestly had a hard time finishing it-- so much food! I think 1/2 a big mac would be all of 4 bites… full? I don't think so. My point is that you can technically eat 'whatever you want' but when you're eating fast food, processed food, and packaged food your macros are going to add up really fast and you won't be eating nearly as much food as you would if you chose clean, whole foods.
The good part here is that if you do want something that is not so healthy, you can work it into your macros for the day and it's not going to be a setback. You'll find though, this is hard to do while still eating the volume of food you're used to with clean foods so I only recommend this as a once in a while thing.
Why should I track macros versus just eat clean/healthy?
This is the biggest thing to consider when you're deciding between tracking macros and not. If you're someone that is just looking to be healthy overall and are not as concerned about being lean or 'toned' then just eating healthy is a perfectly fine route. However, keep in mind that even if someones diet is 110% clean and healthy they can still gain weight. This is because an abundance of any macro nutrient regardless if it's healthy for you or not can cause weight gain. When you're tracking macros you avoid over-eating by weighing and tracking your food so that you can hit that magic number for your body.
If you're someone that is looking to get lean, or even just looking to get past a plateau you may want to consider tracking macros at least for a while.
I get really bad cravings but eat really clean, can counting macros help stop this?
Why, yes it can! Just because you're eating healthy doesn't mean you're eating the right amounts of food, and eating too much of one macro and not enough of another can not only lead to weight gain, it can also cause cravings. If you're not eating enough healthy carbs that may be the culprit in your sweet cravings at night. If you're not eating enough healthy fats, that may be the reason you dream about chicken wings and cheese fries. Tracking macros ensures you're fueling your body properly which will likely stop your cravings altogether.
I've heard people become obsessed with tracking macros, is this true?
Becoming obsessed with hitting a certain number is definitely a possibility, but honestly a little bit of pre-planning is all it takes to avoid this. If you can take 5 minutes to plan out your meals the night before, you'll already know exactly what you're eating the next day which takes out any guess work or thinking period.
I want to give it a shot, how do I get started?
Well, fancy you ask! I would love to help :) Shoot me an email at email@example.com and become a part of my online training team. If you're not quite ready to make the jump, there is lots and lots of information on how to track macros online, so I encourage you to do a little googling and give it a shot!