Macro Tracking is becoming a very popular diet style for weight loss. If you’re wondering what it is, let me break it down simply for you:
It’s the same as counting calories, however you allocate your daily calorie target into the type of macronutrient they are: Protein, Carbohydrate or Fat. The total of each macronutrient target will add up to the total calorie target.
Macronutrient targets are individual to your gender, age, height, goals and your daily activity level. The key is to balance the amount of energy (calories) you are consuming with the amount of energy (calories) you are using each day. Simply put, when you consume less calories than you use, you lose weight. Of course humans are complex creatures and so it is never as simple as “Just Eat Less” which you can learn about here: Here’s Why Weight Loss isn’t as simple as “Just Eat Less”
While macro tracking may seem simple, doing it correctly can be a time consuming and frustrating process. Especially if you aren’t seeing the weight loss results that you’re expecting. Keep reading to learn about the most common mistakes people make and how to avoid them.
Most macro trackers will use a simple Macro Target Calculator to estimate how much they should be eating to lose weight. This will require you to input how much activity you do each day. This will include workouts as well as daily activity. A common mistake people make is overestimating their activity. A study found that people do this on average by 50%! This is a massive inaccuracy when calculating targets for balancing energy intake and output in order to lose weight.
In order to make sure you are not making this mistake, track your activity using a fitness tracking watch or your phone. Remove any unusual spikes (e.g. when you have a very active day that you wouldn’t usually have) and use a ‘usual’ week’s data.
If you over estimate your activity level, the calculator will give you higher macro targets than you need to be consuming and may mean that you do not lose any weight.
A common mistake I see when speaking with women who have just started tracking calories or macros is that they set their calorie or macro targets really low. Often its something they’ve gotten from a friend or someone they follow on instagram.
Macro or calorie targets are individual to the person’s size and activity levels. You won’t see the same results as somebody else if you follow the same targets… every individual is different.
The biggest disadvantage of having macro targets that are too low, is that you will feel restricted. You will be eating a lot less than usual and potentially moving more as well (if this is another change you have made to your lifestyle as part of your weight loss journey). Your body doesn’t want to be hungry. Your body fights the weight loss journey in order to survive.
When you aren’t using additional techniques to manage your hunger, it is likely that you will become miserable and want to give up. Saying “stuff it” and eating whatever you want will often lead to an awful diet cycle of overeating and then restricting as you continue to diet on and off for years. This is particulary common if you haven’t aligned your goal setting to your core values. If you have never had a coach who has taught you how to do this, you can sign up for a free goal setting session with me.
Another danger of feeling overly hungry when dieting is that you’re more likely to overeat when you attend social events. Social events are (for most people) an important part of life which provide enjoyment. Often when dealt restrictive macro targets, you will be tempted to use the weekends as ‘cheat’ days. Not only is this an awful word to use which makes you feel like a failure, if you’re going into those meals hungry, you’re more likely to overconsume food on purpose. You can download my FREE Eating Out Guide to learn about how to approach Eating Out and Drinking Alcohol when macro tracking.
This is easily the most common mistake made by both short and long term macro trackers. Sometimes you can get away with these errors however what will end up happening is that you’ll be eating more or less than what you think you are. This is important when tweaking your macros to pursue new goals (e.g. further fat loss or to put on muscle mass).
So how does this even happen? When you use macro tracking apps like MFP, you are searching for a food from a list. Those food values are crowd coursed and rarely correct. Even when they are ‘green tick verified’, they are just popular entries – not entries that have been formally verified.
This concept can get very complicated very quickly and really outlines how time consuming accurate macro tracking can be. To help you, I have recorded training videos teaching you exactly how to track accurately so that you don’t have to worry about falling victim to these errors.
Scientifically speaking, macro tracking is an effective weight loss technique. However, if you’ve ever dieted before, you know first hand that its easier said than done. Life is busy, stressful and sometimes just really hard. You’re not a robot and it’s not your fault that a diet isn’t working perfectly for you – you’re human.
If you’re looking for some extra help with your macro tracking, I’ve created a complete mini course to follow. You can check it out here!
If you’re not sure if macro tracking is for you, or you are struggling with where to start, click here to book in a complimentary brainstorming session with me directly.
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