Is Counting Macros A must?
To count or not to count, that is the question... counting macros/calories has become basically a must for any flexible dieter, but is it necessary to allow flexibility? No it isn't, counting macros is not exclusive to flexible dieting. And if you consider yourself a flexible dieter but never eat something that doesn't fit your macros; you're NOT a flexible dieter. You're as rigid as any other restrictive eater.
But counting macros kind of came with the ideology of being "flexible". And it's well deserved, I mean, you eat what you want and as long as you count your macros all of a sudden fat starts coming off like never before, veins start popping out and abs start to show faster than expected.
So it's not like it's a bad thing, right? Like any type of diet you follow, they all have their pros and cons. The dieting process will always suck (in some cases more than others). And flexible dieting isn't exempt of this. Counting macros isn't all fun and rainbows, it can sometimes be inconvenient, stressful, obsessive and difficult. And as in economics, a concept called "externality" occurs. Where one action has unintended consequences in another. While counting macros might seem to only take a few minutes from your day, you'll often spend a significant amount of time thinking about food and what you'll eat to hit your macros. And if you're a macro counter, you know what I'm talking about. But we all want results right? And we want them now! And that's what counting macros does for us. It gives us the tools to manipulate our body composition in a way that nothing else does. We can predict the amount of weight we'll lose (or gain), the amount of time it will take and the rate at which we will lose it (or gain it). It doesn't get any more precise than this! But this accurate approach to dieting has its down side. You have to count every single gram of food that goes into your mouth. Counting macros isn't always easy, specially when it comes to social gatherings or travelling. While you're at home cooking your own food its simple, but when it comes to hanging out with friends, going to a restaurant with your significant other, going to your parents house for dinner or travelling to places where you can't cook your own food or you have to eat "exotic" foods it becomes a hassle. A simple answer to this is: Estimate the macros of the meal. But this isn't always easy either. Try estimating the macros of something like a Sukiyaki (a typical Chinese food), it's basically impossible.
Another solution is ordering simple meals when you go to restaurants. But whats the fun in that? Other diets just tell you to avoid these situations, but I'm assuming you don't want to be the type of person that skips hanging out with friends and family just because you're on a diet. So what do you do? You don't have to count macros to be "flexible", you can always enjoy these foods with moderation. Just as long as you workout on a regular basis and don't turn into a black hole and devour everything in sight, you will be ok! Counting macros can sometimes be an obsessive approach to dieting, and its ok to be an "intuitive eater". You can still achieve amazing results by just being moderate with your food intake and controlling your portion sizes. And as I always tell my clients:
Life always tends to get in the way, but it's ok to enjoy these moments. Life isn't about being on a diet, it's about enjoying it with the ones you love and having fun. So never forget to live life!
Thank you for reading! If you have any questions, leave a comment below!