*Tracking Macros means, counting every gram of protein, fat, carbs, sugar, fibre and calories to meet a certain intake limit each day.
To explain why I stopped, I need to retrace over why I began in the first place. After a personal challenge (read my story here), I was unconsciously looking for control over my body. I developed Orthorexia and along with it came an intense need to change my body shape. I began to restrict food- amounts, types, timing, pleasure and took up an insane exercise regime that I stuck to 7 days a week, with zero rest. I became fixated on getting abs. Every decision I made in my life was somehow connected to whether or not it would lead me to getting ripped. I tried every diet there was, Clean Eating, Eating every 2 hours, Paleo, Intermittent Fasting, Zone, cutting carbs, cutting fat, fat burners and I can’t even begin to tell you how many supps I tried that promised results were right around the corner.
Then I found Counting Macros… In a lot of ways, I have this method to thank for finally shaking me free of the old habits I had kept. The program I was following, encouraged me to take rest days so I could cycle my carbs! Rest days?! I thought, they must be crazy, I’ll never get abs doing that HA! But funnily enough I dropped weight, I got better at Crossfit and my symptoms of fatigue began to improve.
It taught me that Food was not the enemy, in fact it was my friend and I needed a lot more of it, if I wanted to smash goals at training, feel my energy come back and get closer to my aesthetic goals.
I learnt that I could have balance in my diet. If I ate mostly whole foods, I could enjoy whatever the hell I wanted and not spiral into weight gain like my unhealthy mindset had me thinking.
And I finally figured out that carbs weren’t the enemy. WIN!
I tracked my macros consistently for a good 18 months. I got down to 12% body fat and gained 3kg of muscle, annnd ironically still no visible abs haha!!
The tracking itself didn’t stress me out, in fact I felt empowered about my new found sense of control. But that was the problem. The control.
When I was a third of the way into my studies with the Institute of the Psychology of Eating, I began to realise that tracking macros for me had become a band aid fix and almost like a security blanket for my body image issues.
I considered stopping but every time I decided to, I was met with fear. Fear of what might happen if I lost control, of losing all my hard earnt efforts…
To let it go I had to face some honest questions:
- Could I trust my body and my appetite to tell me what it needs?
- Could I accept my body whatever the results?
- Could I let go of the control and relax into the unknown?
- Could I choose a healthy relationship with food and self-acceptance as my number one priority?
I decided yes. So I stopped. And guess what?! I was tooootally fiiiiine! In fact it gave me the opportunity to focus on what foods really made me feel good, rather than what fitted into my daily macros. No more smashing a packet of rice crackers at 10:30pm to get all my carbs in.
I kept the principles and valuable lessons I had learnt about my bodies energy needs and let go of the need to be constantly working on my body.
The best part was, all of a sudden, I had so much energy, focus and passion for other more pressing and exciting things to do with my life!!
So if you’re currently tracking macros or looking at giving it a go, make sure it is for the right reasons. As yourself the hard questions, honestly.
To educate yourself on what your body needs and balance your diet, it can be a super useful tool for short term, especially if you’ve come from a place of under eating. But if you’re still at it, years later, gripped with fear about letting it go, then the time is now.