Tracking macros is maybe the most used method of food management-specifically for weight loss- but do you really need to do it to lose weight?
The short answer, “No.” But it may help you lose weight faster.
Let’s discuss five reasons why food tracking can help you lose weight.
Tracking Gives You Perspective. What you DO and what you THINK YOU DO are different things. Research has shown that as humans, we are terrible at recall- the ability to recount actions or events with accuracy- including and especially for our own actions. We have a bite of this here, a spoonful of that there, and often completely forget that we did it an hour later. Tracking macros is an effective way to get the full picture of your own nutrition habits so you can aware of what you actually DO, not just what you think you do.
Tracking Educates You About Your Food. Tracking macros helps you understand the composition of your food. Understanding this composition in terms of protein, fat, carb, vitamin and mineral content allows you to make informed decisions about your nutrition regardless of your goal. Not only that but it also helps you identify any foods that may have negative impacts on your body, whether it be small food intolerances or full blown allergies, tracking your food and understanding their composition can help you make the best nutrition choices for you.
Tracking Reveals Portion Sizes. In addition to being bad at recall, humans are also notoriously bad at scaling -estimating things in terms of size, distance, or amount. Tracking is an effective way to understand how the portions of food you regularly consume compares to the recommended portion sizes for those foods. With this understanding, you can then make more informed decisions in restaurants, grocery stores, and parties even when you are not using your food tracker. This knowledge is empowering and gives you more food freedom for flexible dieting.
Tracking Provides Accountability Accountability is essential to achieving your goals. Accountability also comes in many forms- whether it is a person, an alarm on your phone, or tracking- it gives us structure and helps you develop self-discipline. Tracking macros is a form of accountability that helps you stick to the plan you know will allow you to reach your goals.
Tracking Can Help Reset Hunger Cues There are two different forms of hunger: physiological (body) and psychological (brain). One is a signal that your body needs energy, the other is a signal that your body may need something else like comfort or may be a response to a pre-existing habit. Knowing the difference is important to help curb unnecessary snacking or over-eating. Tracking gives you the data to help you determine which hunger cue you may be experiencing and therefore which action to take in response. Tracking macros allows you to see exactly what your body has been given and therefore what its remaining needs are. You can then use that data to determine if your hunger cues are accurate (you haven’t eaten enough and need more food) or if they are a result of psychological stimuli (there are cookies on the counter and they look tasty).
These are only some of the reasons why I encourage all my clients to track their macros for a minimum of 2 weeks- so they can learn their own habits, patterns, and begin to better identify the nutrition changes they may need to make to reach their goals.
If you are interested to learn more of the specific nutrition coaching program that I use with my clients to help them finally achieve food freedom, feel in control of their nutrition, and how they use that nutrition to achieve massive body composition changes, you can learn more here.