Why I started macro tracking...
FOOD. It’s something
we think about everyday. I know I have let it rule my life in the past. My mind used to be completely obsessed by what I was going to eat next. I constantly worried about whether my portion was too much, whether it was “bad” for me, whether the person I was eating with thought I was fat. I felt like I had to justify every food choice I made and rarely listened to what I wa
nted to eat.
I was so obsessed with what I was eating, because I was desperate to lose weight and become more accepted. I restricted my intake as much as I could during the day. At night when I could no longer bare the feeling of emptiness, I'd binge on sugary, ‘forbidden’ foods until I felt violently ill. Then in the morning the cycle would start all over again, and I would beat myself up for failing
I’ve been there and done it all with EVERY diet. You name it. I kept trying different diets because I thought there had to be one out there that would unlock me the key to being smaller and skinner; which in my eyes would make me become more likeable. I thought about food ALL the time. It was exhausting. I was grumpy and on edge all the time because I was so hungry. It left no space for anything else in my brain. It strained my relationships, prevented me from enjoying food. And the worst part was that it actually really isolated me from the rest of the world;
the exact opposite of what I was trying to achieve.
Desperate to find a way of eating that would allow me to eat the way I wanted, feel AND look good I scoured the internet and social media. Whilst I got inspiration from fitness models who had impossibly tiny waists and big booties, I also discovered people out there who were eating what they wanted. They were eating in a way that made them feel AND look good. This was when I first heard about flexible dieting and the ‘if it fits your macros’ (IIFYM) phenomenon. This style of eating means you count your macronutrient grams (protein, carbs and fats) and as long as you hit your macro target you could eat anything.
Focusing on macros as opposed to actual food was so liberating to me. The guilt associated with eating so many 'forbidden' foods became less and less. I went through bit of honey moon phase with IIFYM, filling my macros with as much ‘junk’ as possible. Things that are calorie dense, normally packaged with little nutrients like burgers, chocolates, lollies. It was easy to ignore typical ‘healthy’ foods because I was getting a handle on my binge eating and this was a hugely positive for me. Eating with little to no boundaries, being really flexible on the way I filled my macros, was really helpful in teaching me that I could include ALL foods as part of my nutrition.
I definitely believe that you should and almost need to eat ‘fun’ foods. But I've come to a point where I also value wholesome, nutritious foods even more.
These days, I follow more of a macro and micro tracking approach that prioritises feeling the best I can. Firstly, I choose foods that make me feel like I can thrive in and outside of training. Secondly, I choose foods that make my soul sing e.g. ice cream. For me, there is a clear distinction between IIFYM and macro tracking.
IIFYM has done great things in terms of removing negative connotations around foods. Macro tracking is a crucial tool to educate yourself on the contents of your food. It allows you to become really aware of the contents of your food. And yes at first it will be time consuming and confusing. But like with any new skill, the more you do the better you will become at it.
If you too are sick of feeling guilty about eating certain foods, want to know how to not let food rule your life, whilst also achieving your body composition goal - talk to me. I've been there and done it all, so maybe I can help you get to the point I am today even faster.