Might be. But not entirely. I know intuitive eating is not for everyone, as well as tracking is. There are no absolutes when it comes to nutrition.1 Nonetheless, tracking macros can be a useful tool in your box. Especially when it comes to learning and measuring nutrition.
Tracking macros and calories is around for quite a long time now. It came up somewhere in the oldscool bodybuilding and Jane Fonda era. Every housewife who wanted to lose a few pounds wrote a nutritional notebook back then. Nowadays it is still as useful as it was back in the days.
First, we’ll look at the pros and cons of tracking, afterwards, we’ll talk about how you should do it best.
That’s why this second step is all about math. But stay with me before you click the red panic button marked by an ‘X in the top right corner. It will be really simple.
Use this calculator it should give you an approximate amount of calories you should consume. It calculates this value through your age, weight, height, and overall activity.
Ignore the macros it suggests to you. We will do that on our own!
I would advise eating 2g per kg of protein, 1g per kg of fats, and 2g per kg of carbs. The rest of your calories is filled with your personal preferred amount of carbs and fats:
If you like to eat more carbs – do so.
If you like to eat more fats – that’s totally fine, too.
Just make sure to eat carbs and fats. Don’t eradicate one of both from your diet.
By any means, this value isn’t set in stone. It could be above or below your actual need – this is why you need to check regularly if you are still on the right path.
Next: Use apps or an oldscool notebook
To track itself, you can either write them down on paper or use an app. I preferred to use the app MyFitnessPal by Under Armor. Once learned it is very intuitive and has a huge databank of many foods.
There are plenty of other apps around – feel free to try them. I can’t judge any of them.
Tracking has to be a part of your lifestyle and be done daily, preferably in the evening after you ate most of your food that day. I would suggest doing it once a day for 10 minutes. This should be enough time.
All you need to track your food is a Kitchen Scale*. But – don’t be overly accurate here. Weighing every tomato you eat will do more harm than good. Tracking appropriate is a fine line to walk. For some calorie-loaden foods, you should weigh more strict (e.g. oils and nuts) while other foods are very low in calories (leafy greens or veggies).2
One thing which can save you a lot of time is eating the same stuff every day – maybe your favorite breakfast or your protein shake*. You can create your own meals and add all the ingredients with one click.
Last, but not least: Check if you stay on course
OK – you’ve got your goals straight and learned how to track. Moreover, you learned how to incorporate tracking as a part of your lifestyle. Be proud of yourself!
Now you only have one piece of work left – checking if you are still following the right path. Wherever that final point lies.
I would weigh yourself every month and take some photos of yourself. See where your journey goes. If you are on course stay there – if you can’t measure your process don’t worry but navigate that course and adjust your initial set macros.
That’s it – pretty simple, isn’t it?
The hardest part, in my opinion, will be to trust the process and your abilities to set the direction rightly.
An alternative – eat intuitively
An alternative to this tracking madness could be intuitive eating. It was my savior after failing horribly with tracking macros – I developed an eating disorder. But as with many pathologies, it wasn’t just this sole factor. Instead, it was one of many contributors.
So don’t be shocked or in fear of tracking. It is what it is – a great tool to learn how to eat.
Maybe intuitive eating can be the same for you – if you already know how to eat. That’s why I would advise anyone to track a while before trying to fly free. Check out this post for much more information on intuitive eating!
For some, it can even be a lifestyle choice supporting their life, while others tend to overcomplicate it or even develop mental issues. Likewise, not everybody likes soccer – not everyone likes to track.
It is just that – another tool in your box, which should be used wisely to fix proper issues with it.
My goal was to show you tracking as that – a very handy tool if used right. If you have any questions left unanswered feel free to ask them.
I would like to hear your thoughts about tracking versus eating intuitively. What were your experiences with both? I bet anyone struggles from time to time with his nutrition until he finds out what works and whatnot.
All right, that was all I wanted to say. Read you next time,
Sources and further reading:
For everything concerning macros, tracking, and awesome calorie-reduced recipes, as well as a very positive mindset, I can recommend checking out Zach Rocheleau at his site Flexible Dieting Lifestyle. A wealth of information can be found at his Website, Instagram, and Podcast.