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Counting Macros | Should I? Shouldn't I?

Hi lil Chickpeas. I've been debating writing this post for a while now and it's a very varied opinion across the fitness industry. Macro-nutrients aka protein, carbohydrates and fat and do you need to count them?

I want to start by saying firstly, one shoe doesn't fit all. We are all completely different and various things work for different people. What works for me may not work for you and what works for you may not work for me. That's perfectly fine! We could be eating and exercising exactly the same and come out with completely different results. I personally know people who have striven off things that didn't personally work for myself and vise-versa. 

I know people who love full on body building and eating meat. I know people who won't even pick up a weight and thrive off carbohydrates. I know people who enjoy cross-fit and get their fuel from healthy fats. I know coffee lovers and tea lovers. Runners and yogis. I know people who prefer 6 small meals a day and some prefer 2 or 3 large meals. I know people who like peanut butter some who don't (you bloody weirdos). I know some people love to count macros and some do not. It's all cool, we are our own little bodies trying to figure out what works for us. But I wanted to tell you just why count Macros isn't the be end all of you achieving fitness or weight goals. 

With 'My Fitness Pal' the well known calorie counting app becoming a big craze, I've come across so many trainers and fitness professionals that won't even take in account an individual, their preferences, goals and past. They instantly believe that 'counting macros' is the only way to achieving muscle gains, weight loss, body transformation or goals. Now i'm by no means saying that it's wrong, in my belief it has a place and a time and with the right individual.

For example for a serious, body building competitor macros counting is extremely important to achieve the goal/competitive leanness they need. But for someone like myself, with a past of calorie counting and obsession, Macro counting was a recipe for complete, utter disaster. I wanted to talk to you about a few of the pro's and con's of macro counting and my own experience, again so you can figure out what works for YOU. 



 For someone who isn't used to being aware of what they're putting into their body, it allows them to prevent over eating or under eating while also learning quality of foods. It allows you check if you have a deficit in any macro-nutrient. It can be good for anyone starting a fitness journey or wanting to learn more about nutrition & healthy eating but I feel like it should only be a temporary thing. It also allows you to be able to play around and find what works for you, like I said you may fuel better of more carbs or maybe higher fat! Playing around with it and trying various things allows you to educate yourself and get to know what works best for your body. 


If you're seriously interested in body composition, facts and numbers it can be a great way to reach results. Like I said works great for body builders and bikini competitors! You can watch how your body responds closely to different foods and approaches. It gives you a specific way to make tweaks to your diet to loose some extra fat or transform your body which may lead you to your goals quicker.


When you come to the understanding of foods and what is in foods, it allows a flexible approach. If you're not good at intuitive eating and you have a love for something like chocolate or ice cream or something you've 'forbidden' yourself from, you have the ability pop it in to 'fit your macros'. This approach may offer someone the opportunity to create balance with their diet and it's benefited many people I know.


 This gives some people more motivation in getting to their goals like a training plan they have something to work towards and stick to. Some people really thrive of routine and structure, and that's fine, if it works for you and you're happy by all means do it! Again this is down to the individual and their preferences! 



 For so many people counting macros can go from a helpful tool to something they feel 'they have to do' which can lead to obsession. You feel like you have to hit them macros or cannot go over them. You may find yourself then restricting from things your body may be craving such as some extra nuts or little bit more hummus because you'll go over your fat intake for the day which would drive your mind crazy. I feel this only creates a very unhealthy approach and relationship with food and something I see very commonly with many people who count macros.

Time consuming/stress 

Really is it something you want to be doing long term? More than likely not. Macro counting can be come such a chore! Weighting out food, counting every gram, checking menu's nutritional values, logging it all into My Fitness Pal or other calorie counter. I mean can you really be bothered? This can sometimes lead to a sense of stress especially if you're going out for food or someone else is cooking for you. I feel like it's a recipe for restriction.

Basic nutrition? 

 In my own opinion I feel like macro counting can throw basic nutrition out the window for so many people. People can become so involved in simply 'hitting macros' or things 'fitting macros' that they loose sight of the importance of say veggies and them important micro-nutrients! It gives some people just a simple justification of eating crap which is defeating the purpose of fuelling your body correctly. On a small scale it's fine but if the majority of your diet is lacking nutrients just because it 'fits your macros', it's not the way forward and no excuse.

Not listening to our bodies 

Some days our bodies need more food some days we need less. Wheres the joy if you're cramming down extra food before bed even when your stomach screams "NO MORE", just because you didn't hit your daily protein goal! Or denying yourself because you've hit your carbs but your body is craving some more sweet potato after your workout. It creates a place where we could actually become less mindful of how we feel and how food makes us feel because we become so fixated on reaching them goals. You may loose track of your bodies inner cues which could lead to guilt and restriction.

My verdict

From my own personal experience I 100% prefer intuitive/mindful eating. I've tried counting macros and it simply didn't work for me. I felt very restricted, obsessed and that if I didn't keep hitting these targets I wouldn't see progress. I'd continue to eat even when I was unbelievably full and wouldn't eat anymore even if my body was asking for it. I just continued to create more of a unhealthy relationship with food. Not the best. If this sounds like you, maybe you need to reconsider counting macros? Because it simply may not be for you and that is OKAY. And NO that doesn't not mean you'll gain a load of weight or loose muscle or go out of control. You may even find you loose some fat or see positive changes in your body and mind by dropping the stress and hassle of knowing every ounce of rice or every gram of chocolate you pop in you body. 
And if counting macros works for you then brilliant! Keep doing what you are doing as long as it's giving you a beneficial and happy outcome. 
Like I said, not one shoe fits all. 


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