I have a love/hate relationship with macros.
On the one hand, they are a great tool to create more awareness around the food you’re eating, portion sizes, understanding food labels, and finding some low hanging fruit like whether or not you are eating enough protein and veggies.
On the other hand, there’s a dark side of tracking macros.
Is tracking macros causing more damage than good?
Rather than ramble on (like I have the tendency to do), I’m just going to list the top 10 reasons why macros can cause some collateral damage …
1. You ignore your body for the sake of arbitrary numbers. Ever feel ravenously hungry but you’re all out of macros for the day? Or, have you been in a situation where you’re totally stuffed but your macros tell you to keep eating? Yeah … that’s called ignoring your body and it can cause some not so good things to happen.
2. You begin thinking in terms of pass/fail. Hit your macros perfectly = pass. Don’t hit your macros = fail. Sounds a lot like an all or nothing mindset to me, and we know that an all or nothing mindset is a great predictor for struggling.
3. You feel anxiety in situations where tracking isn’t practical or ideal. How do I track this restaurant meal? Or the birthday cake? Or the cocktails? Maybe I should just live in a bubble where I can weigh and track every single morsel of food. Sounds fun, right?
4. You say “fuck it” the minute you get thrown off course. Well, I didn’t eat what I had planned so I might as well eat everything in sight. This stems from rigid thinking around tracking macros.
5. You start lying about or hiding the things you’re eating. Well, I only had a little bite, I don’t even need to track that. Or … I ate so damn much I don’t even want to see the numbers. Not the healthiest relationship with food.
6. You feel lost without macros. Wait … what … you want me to just eat? Like, intuitively? Ummm … HOW?! I need the macros. I need the control!
7. You disregard all the other variables that contribute to a successful transformation. I don’t need to worry about sleep, managing stress, food quality, or enjoying my life.. I just need to adjust my macros!
8. You’re never truly present. Externally: I’m so excited for this vacation! Internally: How am I going to be successful at tracking macros on vacation? Should I track everything? What about when I get home … should I lower my numbers??
9. You have no flexibility in your life. Want to go grab lunch? Oh, sorry, I already logged what I’m eating. Want to come over for dinner? Sure, I’ll just bring my own chicken and broccoli in a Tupperware container.
10. You literally don’t eat unless you can weigh and track it. Want some of this delicious watermelon? Hang on, let me grab my food scale. You have to try this new rice cake flavor! Ok, can you hold up the barcode so I can scan it first?
Macros are just one tool you can use
Before you swear off macros forever … this is just to create awareness around some of the disordered behavior tendencies that MAY occur from tracking macros.
Macros are just one tool in the toolbox and any tool can be used or abused.
They can be super helpful for some.
And, they can be damaging for others.
I just released a podcast episode on this exact topic. It’s called The Dark Side of Macros – you can tap here to listen or search Mind Over Macros on any podcast platform. It’s episode 128.
Do any of these resonate with you? If so, which ones??