Do You Need to Count Macros to Lose Weight?

It’s fairly well known that in order to lose weight, you need to monitor what and how much food you’re putting in your body.  But you don’t need us to tell you that!

The most difficult part is figuring out the best approach.  Is it measuring every gram of food you eat?  Estimating portion sizes?  Or listening to your internal hunger ques?

Macro counting- that works.

Estimating food portions using external guides- also works.

Intuitive eating- yep, that works as well.

You get the idea; all of these methods work but knowing which method is the most effective for you, your lifestyle, and your goals is the real question.

Research has shown that most people don’t realize how much they’re actually eating.  They under-estimate their intake by as much as 30-50%.  The most common reasons for these miscalculations are:

  1. Not knowing how calorically dense many foods can be.
  2. Not having a reference for portion control.
  3. Mindless eating.

The best-known fix for these common problems is, yep you guessed it:

  • Macro counting
  • Portion control methods
  • Mindful Eating

All of these methods can guide you to eat the right amount of food and help retrain your eating habits. When used properly, these methods are a tool to eventually learn how to balance food choices on your own.

There is no one method or set amount of time each an individual should follow one or more of the methods we’ve mentioned.  The ultimate goal is always, to move towards naturally knowing how much to eat and when without tracking every gram of food you but in your body.

So, the big question is, do you need to track our macros in order to lose weight?

The simple answer is, it depends….

Macro counting works well- Short-term for people with advanced needs and precise goals.  For example, someone that needs to make a weight class for an athletic event or someone with a job that requires a certain physical appearance, tracking macros is the most effective method for reaching this specific target.

Macro counting is NOT ideal for- the majority of people.  The reality of macro counting is it’s a lot of work!  Most people will not enjoy this method of tracking and it can take the joy of eating away.  Long-term it has the potential to create unhealthy habits such as disordered eating.  Before we ever consider macro tracking for a client, we ensure they have a healthy foundation of eating quality, whole foods.  When we do recommend macro tracking, it’s only for short periods of time for people that need to achieve a very specific goal.

We focus on building new habits one at a time and creating a solid foundation of healthy eating based on where you’re starting from. By creating new healthy habits one at a time, the habits are more likely to stick with you long-term vs trying to change everything all at once. A few of the most common first steps are; adding more veggies to your meals,  slowing down when eating and learning to pay attention to you internal hunger ques, and setting your environment up so that you are successful with your new healthy eating journey.

Think of it as a journey, not a race and always strive for progress over perfection.

If you’re unsure of where to start and need guidance, our team of professional nutrition coaches is here to help you cut through the noise and create a customized plan to start reaching your health & fitness goals. Book a Free Nutrition Consult to get started.

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