Do You Need To Track Macros?
Before discussing whether you need to track your macros or not lets firstly address what macros are.
Macros are short for macronutrients. Macronutrients are food groups, your protein, carbohydrates and fat. Tracking your macros allows you to break down your caloric intake into specific macronutrient goals, how many grams of each macronutrient to consume every day. Macro tracking is done by weighing all of your food and using an app such as Myfitness pal to track.
We have established what macros are, let's discuss whether you need to track them or not.
The short answer is yes and no. Now let me explain.
Tracking your macros can be beneficial when you are just beginning your weight loss journey and looking to eat healthy, as it will allow you to be accurate with your overall caloric intake. Research has found that a common reason why people struggle to lose weight is that they don't know how many calories they are eating.
Pro: Portion Control
Tracking your macros allows you to visualise portion control. This can be a very eye-opening experience as often people do not know how the importance of portion control.
Pro: Teaches Flexibility
Thirdly, it is a great way of teaching you how to be flexible with your diet and still reach your goals. A flexible diet helps with diet adherence.
Pro: Manipulate Body Composition
Macro counting is a great a way to manipulate your body composition. Individuals such as athletes, bikini competitors, and bodybuilders follow this approach as it allows you to be precise with your nutrition to reach your physique goals. Simply adjusting calories will not let you see the changes in physique not like macronutrient manipulation will. Adjusting macronutrients can really change the look of your body, for example lowering carbs will make you look more flat as a result of a lack of glucose in the muscle. Furthermore, there are 3 different body types, mesomorph, ectomorph and endomorph. Each body type will respond differntly when it comes to nutrition.
Pro: Balance Hormones
Moreover, it can be valuable when looking to balance hormones. Certain hormones require more of one particular macro to rebalance. Therefore analysing one's diet and seeing that they lack one macro can help or regarding managing insulin resistance macro tracking for a while can help the individual see how many carbs they should be eating.
However, on the other hand, tracking your macros is not necessary and you do not have to do it. The majority of the population does not have to worry itself with such an approach, this technique is appropriate for a small population. Tracking your macros can be a burden, especially at the beginning, as it takes time and effort to weigh, measure and then track your intake into the app on your phone. You can become very absorbed and focused on creating and tracking your food, and people are simply not interested in this.
Con: Quality vs Quantity
Individuals that do follow such an approach often forget about food quality and merely focus on quantity. Quite often people try and be too flexible and focus on including as much junk food into their set macronutrient ratios, which can, in turn, affect health.
Con: Disordered Behaviour
Macro counting can lead to destructive and disordered behaviour surrounding food. Tracking your macros may result in obsessive behaviour, in which you begin to exert a high level of control over your diet.
Con: Long Term
Lastly, tracking your macros is not something you can do forever. In reality, as we grow older this will become something that will become merely impossible to do. Most importantly you must understand our body, nourish it and eat intuitively.
Tracking your macros can have some benefit, however, it is not necessary. This approach is all about personal preference and what your overall goal.
Although, if you are interested in tracking your macros it is essential that you seek expert advice and guidance. Secondly, if you do decide to track your macros make sure you take breaks from it, allow yourself to eat intuitively too as this will help you maintain balance in your life and avoid the obsessive behaviours.
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