Intuitive eating vs. macro tracking, which is better?
If you follow me on instagram @marissaliana, A lot of you guys know that I’ve recently made the switch to intuitive eating after tracking macros religiously for 4 years. Macro tracking is different from calorie counting because instead of just focusing on how many calories you are consuming, you are getting these calories from a specific ratio of carbohydrates, fats, and protein (in grams) to make up your total daily caloric consumption.
When I first made the switch to intuitive eating, it was SCARY, and I doubted my ability to give my body what it needs while maintaining my appearance. There were definitely days in the beginning where I said to myself, “maybe I’ll just go back to tracking, just for a week”... But I didn’t, and I stayed true to what I knew my body needed.
So how am I feeling now about which is better? - Macro tracking VS Intuitive eating?
WELL.. I don’t think I will ever go back to tracking a single calorie or gram of food another day in my life. I feel stronger and leaner simultaneously, the stress of food is completely gone (no more guilt for “overindulging”), and I’ve developed a sense of peace with my appearance and body’s needs. I’m feeding it what it tells me to, not what I think it needs based on pre-set numbers. And.... here’s the weird part, I’m DEFinitely eating MORE CARBS and have actually lost 2 lbs.
With that being said, this took me years of preparation and understanding of nutrition to get to a place where I know what food choices to make, even without numbers to follow. I’d LOVE to write a separate post about when I DO think macro tracking SHOULD be used, and when I think intuitive eating is the route to go.
With that being said, here are 9 key things I do consistently to stay in shape without tracking a single calorie or macro:
1) EXERCISE consistently* 4-5 days per week, while always training intuitively (not stressing my body out/pushing myself when I don’t feel fully recovered). .
2) Not following a set or consistent number of meals per day. Some days I eat 3 meals, some days I eat 6. I’m always listening to my body’s hunger and energy cues.
3) Avoiding dairy and gluten. These Bloat me, destroy my skin and ruin my digestion. I keep my stomach tight by only eating foods that work well with my digestion.
4) Proper supplements for gut health and energy. This allows me to detox efficiently, support my metabolism, improve immune function and balance my hormones.
5) Paying attention to my vegetable, protein, and healthy fat consumption while fueling with carbs based on energy needs / how I’m feeling. Some days I eat lots of carbs, other days I’m not as hungry.
6) Fasting for 12 hours as much as possible over night. So important for feeling lean/light and energized, while giving your digestive system a break.
7) Not eating too much before or after drinking alcohol. If I’m having drinks that day/night, I’ll be more mindful of extra calories throughout the day and skip them.
8) Self reflection and knowing my personality. Restricting isn’t an option for me. If I restrict something I just want it more. Allowing myself to eat freely keeps my physique goals managed.
9) Developing a healthy relationship with food and most importantly my body. Knowing I’ll never be “perfect”, staying true to health comes before aesthetics for me, and accepting and loving myself the way I am. It’s hard to want to track calories when you love yourself the way you are. This takes work!
Things I’ve noticed since breaking up with my macros
1) I’m choosing more whole, nutrient dense foods instead of worrying about what modified, low-sugar snack I can “fit” into my budget just because my numbers tell me this is what I should eat. It’s funny because I never really realized how many poor choices I was making before just because I was basing meals around numbers and not nutrients.
2) I have more mental space to give a shit about stuff that matters a lot more. Like my family, friends, clients, business and living in the moment. I used to get stressed about dinner dates and drinks because I only had “300” calories left for the day. I’m not turning a blind eye to portions now, I’m just stressing a hell of a lot less. .
3) My mood hasn’t been dictated by what a scale says when I wake up. Now I wake up thinking about how my body feels, how rested I am, and how hungry or satiated I am. I base my day off how my body feels, not off an electronic number.
This is just the beginning and I’m sure I’ll continue to learn a lot more through these changes! - Not only with my diet but how it effects my fitness and daily life. I’ll continue to be as transparent as possible through good and bad! Questions or comments? Share them below!!
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