The Great Debate About Tracking Macros

by | May 21, 2022

Tracking macros is not a disordered behavior.

I received a comment on one of my IG posts about macros that said …

Counting calories is disordered eating.

I love blanket statements that provide zero context.

The nice part about keyboard warriors is they provide great topics to write about.

This comment in particular isn’t too far off from being relevant.

Counting calories (or tracking macros) CAN be disordered.

My feeling is that the act of tracking, in and of itself, is not.

Typically, it can be used as a means for control and can become obsessive for someone who already has disordered eating tendencies.

Tracking macros is a tool that can be used or abused.

But, let’s not forget, tracking macros is simply one tool that can be really helpful to create awareness and specificity around your nutritional habits.

Like any tool, it can be used or abused.

You probably wouldn’t hear anyone say that budgeting your finances is disordered behavior.

Some people are meticulous about their budgets.

They track and monitor every dollar earned and every dollar spent.

Others keep their head in the sand.

They don’t want to know the numbers or look at the numbers.

Regardless of whether it gets tracked or not … the net result is still the same.

The amount you earn minus the amount you spend = the amount you have.

The numbers showing up when you look at your bank account will tell the story.

Similarly, some people track macros and count calories.

Others keep their head in the sand and don’t want to look at the numbers.

Totally fine either way.

Regardless of whether it gets tracked or not … the net result is still the same.

The amount you consume minus the amount you burn = the amount you have.

The numbers showing up when you step on the scale will tell the story.

Individuals who make a budget often use it to ensure that their bills are paid and it gives them peace of mind to spend on “wants” with whatever is left over.

So they take care of the “needs” and then likely throw some into savings or investments and then have a set amount for whatever they want.

Could be vacations, date nights, online shopping, hobbies, whatever.

Does that sound responsible or disordered?

Is tracking macros disordered eating?

What about with nutrition?

Individuals who make a budget with their calories and macros use it to ensure that their basic needs are covered (enough protein, veggies, fats, carbs) and it gives them peace of mind to spend their calories on “wants” with whatever is left over.

Does that sound responsible or disordered?

Well, it always depends on how the tool is being used.

The example above sounds responsible.

But what if it becomes obsessive?

Like someone who is too controlling with their budget so they don’t spend money on anything fun or fulfilling and they end up miserable or depressed.

And eventually they reach their tipping point so they go spend a bunch of money on alcohol and gambling.

What if someone becomes so obsessed with hitting their macros perfectly that they avoid all social situations and become a slave to the numbers?

I lived that existence for too long.

However, it wasn’t the macros that were disordered.

It was me.

I had to fix myself first and now I can use macros as a tool that’s available when I want it. But not something I depend on.

The tool didn’t change.

I did.

My perception did.

My relationship with food did.

Sometimes, the problem is not the tool but rather … ourselves.

So no … tracking macros isn’t disordered eating.

It can be.

And the solution might very well be to walk away from using that tool.

But we need to be careful about labeling things as bad because of bad things that can happen.

Once we invented cars, we also invented car crashes.

Once we invented banks, we also invented bank fraud and bank robberies.

There is always going to be the dark side of a tool or technology.

Dropping blanket statements without context isn’t helpful.

So, allow me to be the one that provides way too much context in way too many words ;).

My hope is that this gives you a moment to assess your own use or abuse of something like tracking macros, weighing yourself, or even budgeting.

In my opinion, when investing in yourself and your own health is not included in your “needs” category of budgeting … that, to me, is disordered.

Notice the key part of that statement … “in my opinion.”

The way we communicate things matters.

So, I’ll gladly over explain.

Interested in 1:1 Coaching?

And let me know that you’re interested in the 1:1 signature coaching program.

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