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Do I Need to Track Macros?

Updated: Aug 31, 2021

Hmmmmmm.

Let's start at the beginning. Macros stand for macro-nutrients. They are carbohydrates, fats, and protein. When we say, 'fits with our macros', it means we are aiming for a certain percentage of our daily calories coming from each of the macronutrients. A common goal percentage might look like 40% carbohydrates, 30% protein and 30% fats.


To achieve this, usually we have to track our food in some way, mostly commonly by tracking calories.


To be honest, I have mixed emotions about macros. Yes, the ratio of what we eat can be important (and pretty much everyone I have worked with has benefitted from eating more protein). I often work with ADDING more protein with clients, using hands and sometimes visual trackers to keep an eye on this. The main benefit to macros is the AWARENESS of what we're eating, and I do believe this is incredibly important, but can be achieved in a variety of different ways.


Simply subscribing a macro percentage feels a little off kilter to me. Out of alignment.


Because what about that client as an individual?


- their relationship with food?

- what feels good and enjoyable?

- honouring their physical, mental and emotional health?

- existing challenges in their life?

- their time available to devote to this?

- long term tools and strategies for when they don't want to or can't track?

- the quality of the food? Are we giving the education on quality of food to make informed choices, and more importantly, are we putting this into the perspective of honouring our body and our health?


Most people simply do not need the over-complication of macros. Macros are for when we have the basics nailed - consistently. For when we want to get super specific about our goals, for example, competing in a sport.


We need to focus on the basics; sleep, stress, simple nutrition habits and movement. Consistently. We need to focus on our relationship with food, our bodies and our health.


A percentage for me, simply does not do that.


It's like being pre-occupied with figuring out a food 'intolerance' and ignoring the massive stress issues and sleep deprivation in our life.


It's like taking an expensive supplement or vitamin pill, but massively over-looking the lack of nutrient-dense foods elsewhere in our diet.


It's like obsessing over bicep curl variations, reps and form, but not recognizing the effects of a largely sedentary lifestyle.


Let's do the deep work; let's see the bigger picture.


Let's see macros as a tool in our nutrition toolkit. It is one of a VARIETY of tools we can use and it has pros and cons. It can be helpful, until it isn't. It can be unhelpful, until it isn't.


AWARENESS - yes.

OVER-COMPLICATION - no.


What are your thoughts and experience of macros? Let me know in the comments below!


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