Is Counting Macros Mentally Healthy?

So yesterday in our facebook team group, we started the discussion on this topic and boy, I had way too much to say on it and just wanted to go ahead and make an organized blog out of it. There are so many different factors that go into this, and many different personalities so I want to touch on a few of the situations that could come up and maybe one of them are you and you can relate and know that you aren't alone. If you follow my blog, then you are either a fan of macro counting, endurance races, trolling, etc but we will start with someone who may be contemplating counting but things that might be obsessive. 

"Macro Counting is too obsessive" 

This one typically goes along with the "It's all about the quality of food" that you are eating. haha! There are those that eat very healthy, pay no attention to how much they are eating, and just eat good wholesome foods. That doesn't mean that they confine themselves to certain food groups, or restrict at all, but just eat healthy. Weighing food seems absolutely out of the question and completely ridiculous. Tracking intake seems obsessive and quite frankly ridiculous. 

This is also typically someone who looks down their nose at unclean foods and associates macro counting with oreos and poptarts. I'm totally stereotyping, but stereotypes are sometimes that way for a reason.

"Macro Counting makes me become obsessive"

There is a difference between those that think macro counting is obsessive from the get go (most of the time before they even will give it a try) and then those that do macro counting and it makes them crazy. They won't go out to eat, they have to have everything perfectly weighed at home, and they make sure that every thing is zeroed out at the end of the day. They genuinely feel like they are suffering through the perfect tracking, but yet they do it because they feel one mess up will cause crazy things to happen.

"I use it as a tool-I don't track that close always" 

Not gonna lie-this is my territory but I don't want to get into how I feel until I'm done explaining each section (I know that I started a series about cutting then reversing but I just don't like being meticulous with numbers in life these days so I just started eating more and didn't worry about all of that to be honest).

This is the one where you have numbers that are set for what you think is great for you and your activity level, but if someone invites you to dinner or you just want to run to Bojangles cuz life is short-well you do that. haha!

"I'm a meticulous macro counter and it doesn't affect me mentally" 

This was me for so so long, and I am 100% all in favor of that life. There are so many that especially when they first begin macro counting, they truly have life altering things happen mentally. I am SUCH a huge fan, and think this is such a beautiful and critical time. I feel it's such a great time to reach goals as well. You are so dedicated to this new found passion and so you hit your macros like a freakin champ. You love every minute of it, and you are able to cut really well. I got lean as a bean when I started macro counting because I hit those targets like it was my job. hahaha! I'm not so good at that anymore. 

This was me when I first started! I was so good at hitting macros then LOL!!

This was me when I first started! I was so good at hitting macros then LOL!!

Here's the truth. Macro counting has it's place and it's time. If you've never done it before, and don't know what it is then I think that it's genuinely only fair that you give it a chance. You could be one of those people that it changes your life. You also could be one of those people that you hate it so much and never want to do it again, and that's okay too. Everyone is not going to agree on this so I can give the opinions of how I feel all day but that doesn't mean that I'm going to solve the divide on this. 

I truly believe it's the easiest and most carefree way to the goals that you have in weight loss and the goals that you have when preparing for a race. I, for one, would still probably be eating too little, and then there are others that are the exact opposite and would be eating too much. Knowledge is power and unless you are someone who has genuinely studied nutrition then just saying you are going to "eat clean" isn't going to get you very far and will only create relationships with certain kinds of foods that you think are the only ones that you can have. Even those with the best of relationships would tell you that bread is "bad for you" but if you look at the nutritional break down of it, it's really not at all. It's all these things in society that have made us think a certain way and that's why I think macros are so vital and so helpful. They really help teach you. 

hahahaha I liked my own picture! #guilty I could have deleted this but it was too funny! I wanted to show what I know happens when I track macros semi consistently and back when people actually liked my pictures on insta LOLOL

hahahaha I liked my own picture! #guilty I could have deleted this but it was too funny! I wanted to show what I know happens when I track macros semi consistently and back when people actually liked my pictures on insta LOLOL

However, we all know that you don't want to be counting macros when you are like 87 years old remembering the days when instagram first came out and you learned about it from the girls eating doughnuts with sculpted abs. hahaha! Am I the only one that thinks about these things? Can yall imagine what the world will look like and what we will think of the days we are living now? It's quite hilarious. I just hope and pray I haven't revealed so much of my life online that I'm just shaking my head like "girl what in the world?" LOL!!! 

The transition that I've made out of tracking meticulous was a lot easier than what I see online with a lot of girls. I just had some things come up in my life that I couldn't really do it. This is almost embarrassing to admit but for the entire first year of counting macros (even during my reverse), I didn't own a food scale. I didn't ever weigh my food so the thought of doing it down to the gram to zero out my numbers just didn't cross my mind. I went by like "half cup this", "tablespoon that" and I thought that it was perfect enough to me. It worked gloriously so I have no regrets about that. I think it also didn't make me obsessed when I went to restaurants that didn't have food listed. I was just like "eh well this looks like the 1/4 cup that I use so it'll do". I'm also like a wanna be type A but not actually type A so that helps. I was still being "perfect" on my macros at this time.

Life started happening and events and I would track things and then wouldn't be hungry at the end of the day so I was like "eh whatever". There would be some days where I was hungry and thought "well this one day it won't hurt" and of course it didn't. Then came the real kickers. There were days where I thought "ya know what? I want some fries, and I don't have the fat for it...like not even close but I want this and I work hard" so on random nights (NOT CHEATS/TREATS/YADDAYADDA), I would go value that. 

and then this is what I look like a lot of days (forgive the just woke up feels) because Bojangles > abs 

and then this is what I look like a lot of days (forgive the just woke up feels) because Bojangles > abs 

In my head, I was like HECK YES YOU GO GIRL! I know it's so dumb, but like really, that's a transformative time to be able to decide what I WANTED not what fit my macros. When I would go out to eat with friends on weekends, I would look at a menu and say "Okay Katie, what do you really want? Wait, no, what's the most macro friendly option? NO KATIE WHAT DO YOU WANT?" It's a conversation I had to have with myself. 

There was no "I am quitting macros forever now" moments. There was no deleting of the app. There are still meticulous days most of the time during the week. There is still 100% belief in what macro counting is about and thinking that if you have a goal that you want to get to, it's the best way. However, I just didn't let it get to me. I have no name for my eating. It's not intuitive eating. It's just sometimes I could and sometimes I don't. And then sometimes, I get good for like a week and remember what I can achieve from just a little consistency.

This also doesn't mean that with intuitive eating, you can't keep your physique but just that I got a little lazy on the nutrition as of late. haha!

Maybe I'm making this up but I feel like sometimes we obsess with things because we see others obsess. In real life, I'm always around people that think macro counting is crazy to be honest (they came around and all lost weight using it lol), but I never had the choice to be neurotic about it and so therefore I never even thought to be. I thought flexible dieting meant for us to be flexible, therefore when I go out to eat and I want to track, I pick something that fits. If I go out to eat, and I don't want to track because I have no specific goals at the moment then I don't. It's really that simple. I feel we make it much more complicated than it has to be. 

Some days I under eat. Some days I over eat. Some days I meticulously count and vow that I'm going to set big goals (and then I don't follow through because #life). When I'm training, I use myfitnesspal to make sure I get in enough calories for the day to support that.

I think of macros like I do cleaning my house. I'd love to clean my house every day. That'd be nice and would look lovely, but sometimes that just isn't going to happen and that's okay. The house will get dirty then one day I'll clean it all and it's all good.

I'm not here to act like I'm perfect or that my way is the best, but just how I feel on it! :)

I know that you see that my mindset is relaxed about it however if I had goals and weight that I wanted to lose as I know that many do and I was not progressing, then yes I would count meticulously. It's temporary. It doesn't mean you are obsessed. Just like I'm having to grind for the next 15 weeks in prep for my ironman, there are just some times in life that you have to grind to a goal and that's OKAY!!! If you find it makes you mentally unstable, then that's one thing and then maybe macro counting is not for you. 

End of story: You have to find what works for you but even though I don't track meticulously, I'm a huge fan of doing it and think that it doesn't mean that you are obsessive, hate yourself, are crazy, etc.... and don't let anyone tell you otherwise! 

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