Should I Track Macro's
to Lose Weight?
Should I Track Macro's to Lose Weight?
The fit 20 something girl on Instagram says "flexible dieting" is how you too can look like her. The trainer at the gym says "tracking macro's" is the only science based way to lose weight. That other podcast says "IIFYM (If It Fits Your Macro's)" is the only way to lose weight effectively.
And I say . . . . . Bull Sh*t! 😂
You ABSOLUTELY DO NOT have to track anything in order to get healthy, lose weight, and stay that way.
After our calorie discussion from episode 14, I got some questions regarding my thoughts on tracking macro's and if it would work for them. The simple answer is this: you're asking the wrong question. You SHOULD be asking whether a method like macro tracking is in line with your goals and your lifestyle, and if you'll stick to it long term. I don't teach macro counting strategies to my clients for several reasons that I'll outline in the podcast, but the biggest reason is that for MOST people it's not a long term sustainable lifestyle. I've said it before and I'll say it again: short term solutions give short term results, long term solutions give long term results. I teach LONG TERM solutions.
But my REAL goal is for you to be able to make informed decisions for yourself, not have another person (me) telling you what to do, so I'm going to lay it all out for you and you can decide. In this episode we're going to cover:
- what are macro's
- what's involved in a macro tracking program
- what are the benefits of a macro tracking program, YES there are some benefits
- what the drawbacks of a macro tracking program
- If I decide it's not for me, what else can I do that will work?
I've seen so many people using macro tracking as a short term plan, and they DO get results. But like any other diet, once they stop the program, they're right back where they started. If you want to get BEYOND yo yo dieting, and never diet again, you have to change your strategy. That strategy is what I teach in the 12 Weeks to Weight Loss and Wellness Program. Click the link to get on the waiting list for the next program opening!
Full transcription available at the bottom of this post
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0:00:00.0 S1: The girl on Instagram says you need to track your macros to lose weight and look like her, your trainer at the gym is talking about flexible dieting, and the podcasts you listen to is talking about in it fix your macros. But what does all of this mean? What is a macro? Do you need to track them to lose weight? I'm gonna walk you through this today and I'm gonna help you decide for yourself if this is a method that's right for you. Let's Go.
So before we get going today, I want to bring you another review from iTunes, I so appreciate that you guys are subscribing on iTunes and leaving reviews.
0:02:09.8 S1: I love getting the feedback, I love hearing that. It's making a difference for you. This review comes from miss Dakotah Cisco, and she says this, realistic health. I love that Tara shares that being healthy is an ongoing process and wellness includes not only our body but also our mind, even in the first episode, I understand how Terra really is sharing no nonsense and is ready to get real... The knowledge she has shared is relatable and also a different perspective on their traditional information, we always hear about health and wellness. I can't wait to hear more. Dakota, thank you for that review, I so appreciate you and I appreciate you taking the time to do that. And that is exactly what I hope you all are getting from this a whole lot of real and a different approach on health and wellness, one that includes not just your body, but your mind to go to... Thank you so much for that, and if you have a second, pop over to iTunes subscribe and leave me a review, and it really helps out the show, it helps make it more visible for more people to find us and join this community to...
0:03:14.1 S1: Okay, we're talking about macros today, so this discussion is kind of building on our calorie counting discussion from episode 14, if you haven't listened to that... Listen to that one too. I will link it in the show notes so you can go back and take a look at it. It'll give you a little more context for this discussion and we're doing... I'm doing this episode because after that episode about calorie counting, I've got a lot of questions like, Okay, well, if you're not a huge Toronto calorie counting and points counting, are you... What do you think about macro tracking, because that's something that we hear all over the place, right? It's everywhere, every trainer and just about every Instagram gal is teaching you how to track macros. And so I got a lot of questions like, Should I do that? And so the answer is that I kept giving was, the question really shouldn't be, should you do it? The question is really, does is that a method that is going to align with your goals and your lifestyle, and that's really how you choose whatever method you're choosing, whatever thing you're going forward with in your life in terms of how to get healthy...
0:04:21.6 S1: Lose weight and keep it off. You have to make sure that it's aligning with your goals and your lifestyle, so I'm gonna take you through what this is, and then you can decide for yourself if it's something that aligns with you, I'm gonna tell you my opinions about it and my experience with it, and there's a lot of trainers to who I am friends with who use this method, and so please don't come at me if you just agree with what I say, because bottom line for me is it's not for everybody, and so you will never hear me saying that this is a good plan for everyone to use, so I'm gonna explain why that is. First, we should talk about what is a macro nutrient... Right, start at the beginning. That's what we like to do here at. No nonsense. So Macronutrients are nutrients that your body needs in large quantities to function, so there are three protein carbohydrates and fat, your body needs all three of those things in order to function optimally. A micro-nutrient are the things that your body needs in smaller quantities to function, like your vitamins and your minerals, your body needs both, it means the micronutrients and the macro nutrients, so let's make that super clear in a broad sense, macronutrients provide your body with the energy that it needs...
0:05:46.1 S1: And micro-nutrients are what sort of help unlock that energy, so your body can use it, the micronutrients are necessary for those chemical processes to unlock the energy within the macro-nutrients makes sense. So if we break it down a little bit further, each macro-nutrient source provides energy to yourselves, we measure that energy in the form of calories. Now again, if we listen to the calorie counting episode, we know that calories is not an exact science, macro counting is not an exact science, it shouldn't be your religion, it should be a guideline, so protein offers four calories program, carbohydrates for calories program at nine calories program. When we're talking about proteins, we're talking about protein from plant or animal sources, proteins contain amino acids, there are 20 total amino acids, and eight of those, your body cannot produce itself, and you have to get them from food sources, protein is a building block of your entire body, every single structure in your body is made of proteins, those proteins are made of different combinations of those 20 Amino assets. Does that make sense? Protein and amino acids are essential for the growth and repair of tissues, for making hormones, for supporting immune function, like almost everything that your body needs to do involves the amino acids from proteins in some way, very important that you're getting adequate sources of protein.
0:07:20.0 S1: Carbohydrates, carbohydrates are an energy source, when they are converted into glucose in your body, your body uses that glucose as quick energy, lots of people say that glucose is your body's preferred source of energy. I don't necessarily agree with that statement, I will say that glucose is your body's easiest access for energy, carbohydrates are also an important source of dietary fiber that you need for digestion, and carbohydrate sources are generally fruits and vegetables and grains, now, just like protein sources, all carbohydrate sources are not created equal. Some are going to be very beneficial to your body and some are gonna be more harmful to your body, so all carbs are not created equal, all proteins are not created equal, all fats, as you'll find out in a second, are not created equal. You need fats in your body to function properly, it's needed for absorption of certain vitamins, there are several fatty acids that your body doesn't actually make, but really needs like Omega-3, so that's something that you have to supplement with food, saturated fat is generally from animal sources, on saturated fat, generally from plant sources, you wanna eat largely unsaturated fats, but we are finding and science is showing that those saturated fats are not necessarily bad from you depending on the source, they can be actually really good for you, what you don't want...
0:08:52.1 S1: Your fat source to be as vegetable oils, so that's something that you will definitely hear me talk about trying to get rid of entirely those artificial vegetable oils, so like your story being oils and your corn oils, your vegetable oils, your cotton seed oils, all of those highly processed oils are not ideal sources effect will do entire podcast of all of this, but I just want you to have the basic idea that counting macros involves counting the amount of proteins, carbohydrates and fats that you're getting in a day and try to keep each one of those within a certain window. And what it doesn't address though, is the sources of those proteins, carbohydrates and fats, and the source is really, really important for your overall health, so a macro-tracking diet, aka flexible dieting, AKA if it fits your macros, is somewhat based on the calories in calories out philosophy that we talked about an episode for our Teen, so go back and listen to... It's a real flawed philosophy, especially for those who want long-term weight loss and health, the most basic example is that your body is going to react very differently to the nutrients received, for example, 50 calories of broccoli has a vastly different effect on your body in many ways than 50 calories of ice cream.
0:10:24.0 S1: So unless you have some other parameters in your nutrition besides just the calories and adjust the macros, then you are not necessarily doing yourself much of a service by just counting these things. Remember, that's the biggest problem is that we need to address food quality, we need to address the source of the proteins, the carbs and fats, not just how much... Okay, so what are macro ratio? So when you decide to start a macro tracking diet, you're gonna plug your information into a macro calculator or if you have a coach taking you through their plugging your information into a macro calculator, they vary depending on where you're doing it and what calculations are being used but they're more or less the same with different variables, so you're plugging in things like your age, your height, your weight, your body fat amount, what your goal is, how much exercise you do, and it's gonna put it into this formula and spit out a macro racial... So it's gonna tell you in a day, you should eat this many grams of protein, this many grams of carbohydrates, this many grams of fat... So what's involved then? What is the day in the life of a macro tracking plan look like? So what you have to do is for every single thing that you eat, it has to be way and measured and then tracked on whatever tracker app that you're using, so that you can track your ratios, you can track, okay, this meal was this many grams, protein, this minigames carve this minigame a fact.
0:11:58.1 S1: So you can stay within your windows for each one of those three things, each one of those three macros for the day, this is far more involved than most people are willing to do or want to do long-term because... Really think about that. What does that look like? It does, that's not how most people eat, most people, when they make a meal, will make a salad and they'll put definable or they'll put stuff in a skillet and stir it up, they've got their chicken and their vegetables and their race, and they're this and they're safer whatever. And they mix it all up. Okay, so if you're trying to count macros, you can't mix it all up, you have to keep the chicken separate and then the vegetable separate, and then the race separate and the soft separate, that you can enter all exact amounts of each one of those things, and then you can mix it all up, or you might see people who are doing their food prep for the week and they have their little plastic containers and they know exactly the macro account of each one of those plastic containers, and then they just eat the same thing every single day, that's when I did a macro tracking plan, I was doing it for a competition, a tech matter competition, and so I was doing it 'cause I really wanted to optimize my gym performance so that I could do well in the competition, and that's what I did I waited and measured everything, I put it in my little plastic containers for the week, and I just grab my plastic container and eat the same thing every day because I knew what...
0:13:25.4 S1: What the macros are supposed to be... For me, that was fine. Short-term, 'cause I am very disciplined when I want to be, but for a long-term for my life, I have no desire to live like that. So you have to decide for yourself, if this is something you wanna do. Do you have a short-term goal that you can use the short-term strategy, or do you have a long-term goal that this is gonna work so well for because you're not gonna stick to a long-term... That's what I want you to start thinking about. Short-term strategy, short-term goals versus a long-term strategy, long-term goals. So there are benefits to the macro tracking kind of program. I don't wanna say that it's all that, certainly not, so let's talk about some of those benefits because again, I want you to make the decision for you based on your goals, so a macro tracking program is definitely better than just a calorie counting program, so if you're just tracking points, or you're just entering food into My Fitness Pal and trying to stay under 1200 calories... Knock that shit off.
0:14:28.6 S1: It's terrible. If you're a tracker, track macros, you... If you love the of weighing and measuring food, entering it into your macro counter like a little science experiment, then definitely count Macros instead of calories, because counting macros will give you a lot more information about what you're eating, and that's something that I actually appreciate about a macro-tracking diet, and most people who coach this, have you in a much healthier energy intake range, a much healthier calorie in range, usually it's a lot higher than you think you should be eating, and that's because most of us are really restrictive when we pause, you try to diet and we get real restrictive, so that's something that I actually really do appreciate about a macro plan, is that most of them are not as restrictive on total calories, it's also not as restrictive in terms of food sources, so there's a lot of diets out there, that are telling you, eat this, don't eat that. Eat this donate that they got a lot of food rules. And one thing I do appreciate about a macro counting plan is that instead of all those food rules, it just says, We'll eat whatever you want as long as it fits into your macro ratios, and so you got a lot of wiggle room there, right.
0:15:49.6 S1: Like if you want ice cream, you can have ice cream and then you just don't have something else because you know you got a lot of fat from that ice cream and some carbs, and so now you're gonna eat more chicken and less rice at dinner... Right, that you fit it all in. Into the ideal ratios that you're trying to hit, that's why it's called flexible dieting. I also like that it takes away the idea of a cheat meal, I hate any diet that uses the word cheat meal automatically, it's thrown out the window for me, eating food is not cheating, that's a total just bullshit way of looking at food and looking at life and looking at your relationship with food, anything that is telling you that, Oh, stick to the strict, strict, This and that through the week, and then on Saturday, you can have a cheat meal or a cheat day bullshit, you are creating disordered eating. So at least for me, if you're counting macros every day is just a day. You can fit in. What you wanna fit in? If I wanna fit in, I scream today, I'll fit it in.
0:16:53.4 S1: If I don't, I don't. I appreciate that about macro-counting. It's also useful if you are... You've already been eating healthy, you've already got the basics down, you have a healthy relationship with food, that means we are not dealing with emotional eating or not dealing with binge behavior, we're not dealing with that board, I'm eating... It can be useful to help you break through a plateau, so you've been doing really well for a really long time, and you just start kind of in this stuck place, you're not really sure, it can be really useful to track these things for a little while for a short term to kind of dial in some things for you to just dial in like, you know what, I do a little better when my carbs are a little lower and my proteins a little higher, or I do a little better when my proteins all lower and my fats, a little hair, we're all a little bit different, so sometimes tracking these things and really being able to dial it in for ourselves and figure out what are the ratios that make us feel the best... That is really useful information.
0:17:56.1 S1: However, that is an advanced level skill, you gotta get the basics down first, and then I would say move to trying to really dial it in and macro counting is one way that you can really dial it in. So let's talk about then some of the drawbacks of a macro tracking type plan. Again, I do consider it a higher level skill and for only the most committed clients, most people need to work first on healing their body, healing their mind, healing their emotional relationship with food before they employ, in my opinion, more advanced strategy like macro tracking. So for most of us, there is a lot of work to be done before we would consider something a little more involved, a lot more involved, a little more advanced, like a macro tracking, that's my personal opinion based on my experiences and people that I work with, there's a lot of work that we need to do on ourselves, there's a lot of basic work that we can get done first, and that for most people make a huge difference, and then if we wanna move to a kind of macro tracking type plan to really dial some things in that can be useful.
0:19:20.0 S1: Again, it's really labor intensive, there's planning and weighing and measuring, it requires a high, high level of commitment, and it's really hard to stick to in real life. For most people, I'm gonna tell you, from my own experience, I have always been an athlete, I have always been pretty disciplined when I want to be, I have always been able to really stick to things if I so choose. And my experience with this is that I did it for about three months. Three, four months. And that was enough for me. I hope enough I was good. I didn't wanna live like that. I don't wanna have to constantly weigh my food, I don't wanna have to constantly put it in these little containers and track every single bite that I eat, that's not... That's not for me, that's not my ideal. Healthy life, that's not what it looks like. And I won't stick to a long-term, so I know most people don't stick to a long-term, so again, like I said, while it's still better than counting calories, it doesn't take into consideration the quality of food sources, so that's like an additional thing that you really have to pay attention to like if you're a carb count for the day is coming from Cocoa Puffs, you're gonna get a much different result in the end then if your carb counts are coming from vegetables now, as you move through it, you're probably likely to start figuring that out, I should...
0:20:43.7 S1: But again, I feel like there are so many basic things that we should be accomplishing consistently before we move to a macro-type counting plan, accounting, anything plan really... It also is not really teaching you anything about how your body works, you're not learning how to heal your gut, you're not learning what food sensitivities you might have, you're not learning to listen and be really a lot more intuitive and conscious with your body. You are putting artificial parameters around what your body is doing, does that make sense? Any kind of tracking plan is you telling your body, this is what I want, this is how I want you to operate in. My personal philosophy is that it should be the other way around, we should be able to listen to our body and have it tell us, my body... I have learned, doesn't like, let's say a corn, it doesn't corn doesn't agree with me very well. Well, a macro counting plan is not teaching me that at all, only some other strategies are teaching me what my body needs, so again, that's just like a real big missing spot for me, and you really also need to consider that this kind of regimented view of food can contribute to disorder eating behavior, so if you are someone who has a history of disordered eating, this really might not be a great choice for you, macro tracking can feed right into the diet mentality that we are trying to break...
0:22:24.0 S1: Right, that's why you're here, if you're not here listening to this podcast because you wanna know the layers and grades, diet tricks, you're here because you want to break away from diets and not need them anymore. Well, macro tracking is not gonna help you do that, it really feeds into that regimented food paradigm, that diet mentality, it's real easy to get really obsessive and have a lot of anxiety about hitting those macro counts... Exactly. Every single day. So if you're not someone who's gonna deal well with that, this is not gonna be a good choice for you, if you're someone who tends to get really obsessive and controlling about food, this is gonna feed right into that, and I don't think that's healthy behavior. So if that's you, this is not gonna be great, and again, if you have a history of any kind of disordered eating or getting really obsessive or anxious or stressed about food, this is not... Any tracking plan, period, is not gonna be a good plan for you. And there's the social aspect. So, sorry, I have been this annoying friend, and I have friends that have been this among printers, just calling you out for a second, but you're gonna be that person who comes to the barbecue and with your little Tupperware of broccoli and sweets and chicken...
0:23:46.0 S1: Right. Everybody's enjoying like they are yummy barbecue food, and you're like, Oh, America, sometimes I've been that person for a short time, I was that person because I had this goal of competition, but that's not how I wanna live my life, I don't wanna live my life out of plastic freaking containers. I wanna live my life eating food with my friends and having normal food relationships, so I don't want to base my life around food, I just don't... A period, I don't want my life to be based around food, my food should just be part of my life. Okay, that's my philosophy. That does not really jive with a macro tracking philosophy, and the biggest thing that you need to consider is, again, what are your goals? If your goal is 10% body fat and getting on stage in a physique competition, you're gonna have to count macros and calories, you're gonna have to artificially manipulate your body into some very specific and unnatural ways to achieve very specific and largely unnatural results. For most women, temperate, body fat is not sustainable, you are not gonna maintain that, it's not even healthy for you to maintain that, most of you don't want that, most of you want a more healthy...
0:25:07.8 S1: Appropriate sustainable weight and body composition. Most of you simply want to lose weight lauter in your shorts, not so much get a six pack, but more to live longer, to knock at type 2 diabetes, to knock at other chronic diseases, to have more energy to be able to run around, to be able to work out and actually enjoy it, to feel strong, to feel vibrant, they're so much more effective and healthy ways to get those results, then a tracking and counting plan that I just don't feel like for the majority of us, it's just not necessary tracking and counting and measuring is just not necessary. So I find that there are more useful techniques, like I said, the hand counting or the hand-measuring or the plate measuring, so that you have kind of a visual of what you're eating, not so much having to put every single thing on the scale, but just being able to look and be like, Okay, do I have visually... Do I have half my plate vegetables, do I have a quarter of my plate protein, and do I have a quarter of my plate with some starchy carbs and...
0:26:21.4 S1: Or fruit. That's the plate method. So the hand method is just the sizes of your hand, you're fisted your palm, your thumb for measurements, visuals that I use because if I go out to dinner and that's how I measure, that's how I'm like, Okay, I need more vegetables in a less of this... Right, and I wanna be super clear that I'm not saying that marching as stupid or You shouldn't do it, I'm not saying that calorie counting is stupid or doesn't exist, that calories are not a thing, or that macros are a thing, all of it absolutely is. I'm just wanting to put all these things in their place for you, if you live by a calorie counting Bible, I need you to throw that Bible away is not... It is one method. It's one tiny metric, it's one tiny thing in the plethora of things that make up you and how your body works, there are much more important things to think about, like food quality, and like how your body is actually working and what foods actually work with your body and what foods don't... My philosophy of Ultimate Health and Food Freedom is understanding how to eat and what your body needs without all of these artificial parameters, just understanding, having an understanding of In the moment, what does your body need without putting parameters around it, like I have to eat this much protein or I have to eat at this time, or I have to eat as many meals a day, or I have to eat as many calories...
0:27:56.6 S1: Ultimately, Ultimate Health, ultimate weight maintenance. Ultimate wellness really is your body doing all of those things on its own, and your body has been made to do all of those things on its own, it's us that gets in the way with our shitty diets and our shitty thoughts, so Food Freedom is your body doing what it was made to do and us getting out of the way, food freedom is going through your day, eating when you're hungry, understanding what food is satiated to you, what food your body runs the best on, and stopping one you're full and then not thinking about food again, until you're hungry again, that's Food Freedom, Macromedia calorie counting, any kind of counting plan, in my opinion, is not moving you towards ultimate Food Freedom. So again, it can be a short-term strategy for a short-term result, but if your goal, and I hope it is, is this ultimate Food Freedom, there's a lot more involved than just tracking shit, there's bigger pieces of this puzzle that we need to address, so my recommendation to you is have a real understanding of where you're at right now, and have a real understanding of what you need to get where you want, and if this plan that you're looking at, if it's a macro tracking plan, if that plan is the thing that's actually gonna get you there.
0:29:33.9 S1: My guess is, for most of you listening, it's not going to be the strategy that's gonna be the long-term fix for you... What is the long-term fix? Well, we have to deal with what's happening in our head, we have to deal with our relationship with food, we have to deal with emotional eating, we have to deal with binge behavior, we have to heal our body from the inside out, we have to understand where our body is broken and why it's broken and how to heal it, we have to heal those guts, we have to understand how food is working in us, every single one of us is very individual, and the one thing that works for me might not work for you, you have to be willing to go through the process. You have to be a student of your own body, you have to be a scientist of your own body asking questions and seeking understanding, and that's what I hope that I can do here for you in this podcast, and that's what I also aim to do for you, in the 12 weeks to weight loss and wellness program, we just started that program, and if you wanna get in on the next one and go to tarafaulmann.com and sign up to get on the waiting list for the next group to go through.
0:30:54.9 S1: I want you in there with us, I want you to make these lasting changes. Alright, so I hope that was helpful. I hope I help you make a decision that's right for you. And if you need any help in making that decision or you want help walking through any of these things, I am always available to you, just hop on the website it, that contact form, and I will be happy to get back to you and chat with you. Alright, until we talk again. My friends, be Well.