I haven’t been counting macros for the past few months.
And it’s been glorious.
Allow me to explain.
Yes, I’m well aware that this may appear to be an oxymoron, given that I just recently published my e-book, How to Count Macros. But if you’ve purchased the product and you’ve read through it (thank you!), you’ll notice that I made it very clear that counting macros is situation-specific.
If you have a concrete goal you’re working toward – whether that be reverse dieting, fat loss, or what have you – then yes, it absolutely makes sense to count your macros.
But if you’re just coasting along, you’re happy with the way that you look, and you want to focus on other aspects of your life for the time being, then there’s absolutely nothing wrong with ditching the scale and the food tracking app.
That’s where I’m at right now.
Ultimately, I do believe that intuitive eating is the most sustainable approach. Everyone can and should eventually come to a point where they let their food scale collect dust on the kitchen shelf and simply enjoy food for what it is. At the same time, though, I totally get that it’s a process to get there, and not everyone is ready to make that kind of leap quite yet.
Counting macros is a great middle step to get there.
Truth be told, I’m still trying to figure out how I was able to mentally transition from meticulously counting macros for years and years to now having no idea how much I’m eating or how many grams of protein I’m consuming – and not even caring. I’ll let you know when I decipher that.
Here’s what I’ve been up to over the past few months on the food front.
[Tweet “I eat when I’m hungry. I stop when I’m 70% full. I eat exactly what I want.”]
No food has been off-limits for me, ever.
Full-fat half & half in my coffee every morning without fail.
Wine? Lots of wine – chardonnay, Riesling, pinot noir. I’m far from a wine connoisseur, but vino and I have been getting well-acquainted as of late.
I always keep a stash of gummy bears in my freezer at home (they taste best frozen, I promise!) and I typically have a small handful everyday.
I also have at least a bar of dark chocolate – also in my freezer – and break off a square every now and then. I have to humor my sweet tooth, after all.
As for my fridge, it’s honestly been mostly empty. I’ve been channeling more of my energies into my business projects nowadays, which has meant that my cooking practices (and care for said activity) have taken a hit.
But you know what? I’ve just resorted to life hacks. Or kitchen hacks, if you will.
I eat jasmine rice all the time. It sits well in my stomach, it tastes delicious, and it’s very, very easy to cook. Also incredibly versatile.
Rotisserie chicken has also been making a frequent appearance on my dining table. It’s a quick process to tear all the meat off and store in a container.
And eggs take all of three minutes to prepare. I typically have them over-easy to add some fats to a meal, but sometimes I’ll have them scrambled.
I’ve gone out to eat and also ordered in a number of times, and not once have I been concerned about the macronutrient content of my meal.
I’ve binged exactly zero times. I’ve felt the urge to do so never.
Meal timing is guided primarily by my hunger levels, though I’ve often found myself consuming a protein shake just to get something in after a training session. This usually means I’m eating at 9 or 10a.m., then again at 2p.m., with my last meal anywhere between 6 to 8pm.
So no, I’m not intermittent fasting anymore.
At least not intentionally. Again, it’s simply not a priority to me at this time, and the last thing I want to do is to worry about when I can get my last meal in to meet the cut-off for my feeding window.
At a glance, then, here’s what a typical day of eating might look like for me:
7:30a.m.: one cup of coffee with 2tbsp of half&half and a dash of stevia
9:30a.m.: breakfast wrap from corner deli (turkey, ham, egg, & cheese)
2:00p.m.: PWO protein shake with one scoop protein powder, almond milk, banana
6:00p.m.: small bag of popcorn OR small handful of frozen gummy bears
8:00p.m.: heaping bowl of white rice with the meat off of half of a rotisserie chicken, all topped with two over-easy eggs
Looking at it now, here are some quick observations:
- Not enough protein – I’d guess that I’m getting in around 80g, and that’s only because of the tremendous amount of poultry in my last meal. I can probably squeeze in some source of protein (maybe protein pancakes? something convenient and portable) to go with my morning coffee.
- Not enough healthy fats. The yolks from the eggs are good, but I need something more than that.
- Veggies? Where are they? Nonexistent, apparently.
- The evening treats (gummy bears, popcorn, chips, and/or chocolate) have been serving as the buffer I need to prevent cravings from spiraling out of control. This has been pivotal in keeping binges at bay.
- Meal spacing looks pretty good.
- Caloric intake is not very high. I’d guess that I’m averaging between 1300-1600 Calories on any given day.
So not perfect by any means, but then again, this is the product of all of zero effort put into my diet.
The low food intake is due in large part to my drastically decreased physical activity as of late, which can be attributed to my spending more time on my ass typing away on my laptop. (It’ll all be worth it in the end… I hope.) Couple that with the inclement weather we’ve been having in NYC and the commute to the gym, and it’s been too easy for me to convince myself to stay home for the day.
(If I were to decide that I wanted to lose a few pounds of fat, then yes, I would temporarily revert back to macro counting. I have absolutely no problem with that. For reasons like that, I’ll emphasize that no matter what point you’re at in your life right now, knowing how to track macros is a useful skill to have.)
Moving forward, I haven’t decided yet what I want to do food-wise.
Maybe I’ll book a photoshoot for the spring just to have a real reason to eat more protein and train more frequently again.
Or I might just continue with what I’m doing for the rest of the year. It’s been incredibly freeing to never think about food.
But when it all comes down to it, how I eat shouldn’t really affect how you eat.
Whatever you spend your time thinking about is a reflection of what holds priority in your life. To me, my fitness goals are just not it right now (but yours are – to me, anyway!)
I’m hoping that my rationale behind my decisions can offer you some food for thought as you consider the reasons behind why you eat the way you do.