Counting Macros is Tough Long Term: Here’s What You Can Do Instead


I’m sure you’ve heard it somewhere: counting macros is all the rage.  Really?

Is it?

Because as best I can tell tracking macros is just calorie counting by another name (with stricter parameters).And from where I’m standing counting macros is boring AF, time consuming, and not sustainable for the long haul.

Now before you go getting your hackles up and shouty caps on to tell me why I am wrong about all the things, hear me out.

There are certain populations that macro counting is well suited for:

  1. People who enjoy tracking their intake
  2. People with very specific, time constrained performance or aesthetic goals
  3. People who don’t understand the basics about they are eating
  4. People looking for a baseline from which to make tweaks to their intake
  5. And, um, that’s about it

Out of all the people I mentioned above, only those who find themselves in category one or two are people that should be tracking long term.


Truth time.

Even when I was following a macro-based program with specific body composition change goals in mind, I didn’t track macros unless I was under guidance from a coach that I paid for, and even then, it was begrudgingly.

This likely stemmed from the bad taste WW left in my mouth coupled with my dislike for rules, planning, and the subsequent place these factors landed food tracking on my list of priorities.

With the exception of a few short periods a year I just don’t have it in me to spend any minutes tracking any day.

When I say that it’s not a sustainable strategy long term, I’m speaking from both personal and clinical experience.  Over the last couple of years I have worked with hundreds of women with fat loss goals.  And at least 90% of the time their experience with tracking macros went something like this:

Day One: You want me to what?  Where do I even find that information?
Day Two: OK I’ve signed up for MFP (the site with the largest macro database I know of), and they are recommending WAY less calories than I’m aiming for.  Am I actually going to gain 5lbs in the next 5 weeks?!  Freaking out.
Day Three to Seven ish: OK, I’ve got a handle on this.  I even had one day this week right at my targets!  I can do it!
Day Fourteen: Ugh this takes forever.  It gets easier right?
Day Twenty-eight: Still sucking.  Why aren’t I getting faster at this?  If only I ate the same food every day.  Planning.  More planning is what it will take.  I can buckle down.
Day Forty: EFF THIS. Or, I got this.  I can do this.  I’m more than half way there.  I can do anything for 40 more days.
Day Seventy-Two: I’m eating the same thing every day because I can’t be bothered to search out everything anymore.  I’m bored AF but so close now.
Day Eighty-Four: Hooray, I did it for 12 whole weeks!  GOOD BYE MFP!  SEE YOU NEVER!

Sound familiar?  Doesn’t it just reek of every other diet you’ve ever done?

Learning–> Compliance –> Reaching the end of the program –> Jumping off the deep end.
Into a vat of ice cream and peanut butter cups and french fries and chips with no intention of tracking it or anything every again.
I know what you’re going to say, I do.

“But Amber!  I’ve been doing this for months and it really helps me!  It’s gotten easier!  It makes me feel like I’m in control.”

Well my friend, if this is you, you officially fall into category one above.

For the rest of us, surely there is another way?

There is.  And it’s all about gradually building healthy habits around food.

Yes, that is fairly unsexy and more than a touch vague; on purpose actually.

Because it leaves room for individual circumstances, preferences, and goals.

It includes strategies like:

1. eating when you are hungry

2. stopping when you are full

3. listening to your body

4. eating a variety of nutrient dense, whole foods, and

5. managing your energy levels and activity with sustainable strategies.

It’s not woo, it actually works.  But it does take some time and experimentation.

The end goal, having an intuitive eating strategy that you feel so comfortable with that it doesn’t feel like white-knuckling work, well, there are many paths to get there.

Bottom line: tracking macros is a great tool to learn about what you are actually eating, but it can be a time consuming, tedious task to manage every day until the end of time.  Which is why I re-thought and re-worked my food education for the RRM 66 into something more intuitive.

Registration for the 66 is only open until Friday, August 5th, so click here for all the details while you still can!


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