When it comes to losing weight, the simplest "equation" to follow is total calories in and total calories out. This is also known as "diet and exercise".
If you take in more calories from the foods you eat than you expend through exercise and movement, you will gain weight. And when your intake is less than the calories out, you will tend to lose weight. However, there are an enormous number of methods to track and measure your caloric intake, which makes it so much harder than it sounds.
The food we eat consists of macro-nutrients (fats, carbohydrates and proteins) and micro-nutrients (vitamins and minerals). Macronutrients are nutrients that provide calories or energy. Nutrients are substances needed for growth, metabolism, and for other body functions. Since “macro” means large, macronutrients are nutrients needed in large amounts.
A focus on nutrient density is important when we are trying to support and feed our bodies. A food that is considered "empty calories" typically has very little nutritional value for our bodies and leaves us feeling "hungry" and typically craving more of the same types of "empty calories".
So using the calories in and calories out approach, makes some sense, but you don't need to be a nutritionist to recognize that eating 1,500 calories a day of twinkies, pizza and beer is not going to provide the same value to your body as eating 1,500 calories from fruits, vegetables and lean protein sources. Either way, you are getting 1,500 calories in and if this is lower than your body needs in terms of total calories, the math suggests you will lose weight.
But under which condition will you feel more energized, stronger, confident and fulfilled? Is it more important to you to feel more energized, stronger, more vital and confident? If it is, the decision is clear.
So the question is, WILL COUNTING MACROS HELP ME TO LOSE WEIGHT AND FEEL BETTER?
The short answer is yes, with the condition that you have to have a strong focus and a strong reason WHY in order to do it effectively. It is important to note that this isn't a forever process, in fact I usually recommend doing it for several weeks and then see what (good) habits get set. The end result is that you will be balancing out the food you eat, focusing more on the quality and nutrient density of what you are eating and paying more attention to how certain foods make you feel.
Three reasons why you shouldn't Count Macros
Reason #1 - You are good where you are at!
You feel pretty good about yourself, sure you could probably drop a few, but the idea of making changes, watching what and how and when you eat is "too much work", it just isn't worth the effort. If this is you. keep doing what you are doing, exercise regularly, and stay as true to "clean eating" as you can each day.
Reason #2 - You don't need the extra stress in your life.
Tracking your macros and doing the program right takes time and effort. It can be stressful to take notes, make meal plans and "think" about how you are fueling your body.
Reason #3 - You have an unhealthy relationship with food.
Your history with food hasn't been a good one. Spending too much time reviewing and thinking about how you are going to eat is triggering to you and may lead you down a bad path. If a focus on food creates obsessive thoughts and habits, consider reaching out to a healthcare professional for positive strategies to manage.
Three reasons why you should Count Macros
Reason #1 - You will develop a more solid understanding of intake and how foods make you feel.
By following a solid plan that is customized for you and tracking your macros for a few weeks (like our 6-week Ultimate Transformation Challenge), you will build a stronger understanding not only what you are eating, but how certain foods (and eliminating certain foods) can make you feel. You can directly relate your actions to the results you are achieving. Without doing this, you may not understand what worked for you and what didn't.
Reason #2 - You are what you eat.
Typically, when people follow a well designed plan they end up consuming less processed foods and replace them with nutrient dense foods. Noting how you feel, your energy levels and general vitality as you improve the quality of food that you are consuming is priceless. Further you will better understand portion sizes that are right for you and find the best foods that serve you best.
Reason #3 - Getting Satisfaction
Set a goal, set your objectives and make a plan. Have the discipline to follow through for a few weeks. When you make goals and then accomplish them, it provides its own reward. Satisfaction in the fact that you are treating yourself with the care that you deserve, that you are fulfilling and nourishing your body like never before. Even if you take this approach for a short period of time, the long-term knowledge gained will serve you for a lifetime.
There are plenty of resources out there to put a plan into place. However if you are interested in working with a team of dedicated professionals to help you achieve amazing results, and get in some amazing 30-minute training, then I highly encourage you to check out our upcoming 6-week Ultimate Transformation Challenge.
Check out some of the results below.