30 Nov How to Stop Tracking Macros | Transitioning To Intuitive Eating
You can stop tracking macros and keep your results.
The goal from spending time tracking your macros should be to learn so much about food that you know what your body needs and can eat intuitively.
If you don’t feel ready to do that, maybe you need to spend more time tracking.
Or maybe you’re scared.
The hardest thing about transitioning to intuitive eating is trusting yourself.
You have to trust that you’ve learnt enough and can make informed decisions about food.
This article is going to give you the steps to transition to intuitive eating so you can stop tracking macros.
It begins with assessing whether you’re truly ready.
Ps. If you don’t know anything about tracking macros you should read this first.
You’re Ready to Stop Tracking Macros
To eat intuitively you have to learn to trust yourself. You’ll need to choose portion sizes based on your hunger and fullness signals.
This is easier to do if you’ve spent lots of time tracking macros already.
If you can nod your head to the following then you’re ready to stop tracking:
- can eyeball 100g of chicken and 20g of peanut butter
- usually hit your protein target with no issues
- you fill in your food diary and hit your calories naturally (without really having to make huge adjustments to what you plan to eat)
- you don’t think of food as good or bad or use it to make you feel better when you’re having a bad day
You’re Not Ready to Stop Tracking Macros
It might not be the best time to stop tracking macros if you’re still working towards a goal to change your body.
You need to eat in a calorie deficit for weight loss and in a surplus for muscle gain.
It won’t necessarily feel natural to eat that amount of food in either case. You won’t be able to just listen to hunger cues.
Also, if you have a poor relationship with food then you should work on this before transitioning to intuitive eating.
You need the self awareness to tell the difference between emotional hunger and physical hunger. You also need the self control to eat when you’re hungry not when you’re sad.
How To Stop Tracking Macros and Transition To Intuitive Eating
There is no right or wrong way to stop tracking macros.
You have to do it in a way that you feel comfortable with.
I’ve broken it down into 4 steps. You should start at step 1 but then you can jump straight to step 4 if you want to.
Step 1: Know what maintenance is for you
If you’ve just finished a weight loss phase where you were eating in a calorie deficit, I’d spend some time tracking at your new maintenance calories before transitioning to intuitive eating.
Your hunger hormones will have time to adapt and you’ll be able to see how much you should be eating to maintain your body.
This will be different from what you had been eating and also what you were eating before you started your weight loss phase.
Step 2: Stop tracking low calorie foods
Now you can start reducing the number of foods you track.
A good place to start is with lower calorie foods like fruit and vegetables.
Stop weighing and tracking these. Track foods that you know have lots of calories or are unsure about portion sizes.
Step 3: Stop tracking meals out
Next, you can reduce the number of meals you track.
Going out to eat can be helpful for this. It’s a lot harder to track since you don’t even have an option to weigh things.
Stop tracking any meals you eat out.
Then you might want to stop tracking breakfast or another meal of the day. This will help you feel more confident with not tracking.
Step 4: Stop tracking a few days of the week
When you feel ready you can have 1 day per week where you don’t track.
Then you can increase it to 2-3 days.
If you usually eat the same kinda food during the week you might want to track 1 week day and then on the weekends for a bit.
Pay attention to your hunger and fullness levels. Contrast how you feel on the days you track with the days you don’t track.
If you have been tracking macros religiously and hitting a carb and fat target, you could go back to tracking protein and calories only, then slowly stop tracking altogether.
How To Know You’re Doing Intuitive Eating Right
Eating intuitively still requires you to pay attention.
Maybe not to calories and macros. And you don’t need to weigh yourself daily- in fact I recommend that you don’t. The scale is meant to fluctuate on a daily basis even if your goal is maintenance.
Seeing the scale go up and down might make you think you’re doing things wrong when you’re not.
If you’re confused about what those scale fluctuations mean, you can read this.
You need to pay attention to how you’re feeling, your hunger and how your clothes are fitting.
If you’re going to bed hungry each night then you might not be eating enough food. If your clothes start to get a bit tighter, especially around the waist then you might need to dial things in again.
What If You’re Scared To Stop Tracking Macros
Remember, you don’t lose fat overnight, you won’t gain it overnight either. If you stop tracking macros and end up eating too much, you’ll gradually gain some weight.
This is slow. As long as you’re paying attention you’ll be able to adjust your food intake before you lose your progress.
If you are finding yourself hungry, or if your clothes are fitting differently, and your goal is maintenance, then you might need to check your diet.
Spend a day tracking your food and see if you’re eating as much as you should be. Then you can see where you might be overeating or underrating. Be mindful of this when you go back to eating intuitively.
If you’re finding it hard to stop tracking, a good time to start is when you go away on vacation.
It’s a lot harder to weigh and track things in a different environment. You can use the time away to practise eating according to your hunger. When you come back home and see that you haven’t really gained fat, you’ll feel a lot more confident in trusting yourself to continue eating intuitively.
Even if you did gain a bit of weight, you can probably put it down to eating more fun things and maybe drinking more than you normally would.
You’ll likely lose it again once you go back to your regular routine.
Intuitive eating is not eating whatever you want when you feel like it. You still have to be mindful of what you’re eating and when.
Slow down when you’re eating, appreciate your food and pay attention to how it makes you feel. Serve your food up onto a plate rather than eating straight from bags or bigger dishes. That way you can still see how much you’re eating.
And trust yourself! If you’ve been tracking macros for awhile, so long as you stay mindful, you can stop tracking and maintain your body.
If you’re interested in getting some help with your fitness goals, feel free to reach out here.