Weighing and measuring your food. Yikes, right?
That is called "restriction" and it goes against all things intuitive eating. Intuitive eating as in eating when you're hungry and stopping when you're full. Eating what you feel like and not restricting your food choices.
If you come from the realm of overeating and are finally starting to make peace with food, then why on earth would you want to start counting macros and measuring and weighing every single piece of food you put in your mouth?
Well, the short answer is because AWARENESS.
The long answer goes here.
What are macros?
"Macros" is short for macronutrients. Carbohydrates, protein, and fat. Counting macros mean you calculate how many grams you should be eating of these three macronutrients, and then you track what you eat. Your goal is to hit your target macros every day. Depending on your current weight and your goal, if you want to gain weight, maintain or lose weight, you eat a certain amount of carbs, protein, and fats.
Now you might be wondering, "Why would I wanna do this if I'm looking for food freedom? Counting macros seems like the opposite of food freedom. Just thinking about it puts me in diet-panic-mode".
5 reasons to give macro counting a try.
You can't hide. You can't eat mindlessly or pretend that bag of Dorito's didn't happen. Personally, awareness around my eating was a huge A-HA moment. The act of tracking my food, even the binge stuff, was an eye opener and suddenly I felt like a grown up that had to take responsibility. I must admit it took me a long time to actually commit to tracking my food and hold myself accountable. I kept avoiding it with excuses as "It's too obsessive" or "It's too complicated." Neither was true, and the only reason I kept avoiding it was that I didn't want to face the brutal reality of my eating. Initially, the realization hurt. The painful realization that me, stuffing my face, was the equivalent of the weekly caloric need of an Ironman-athlete made me cringe. But then, awareness happened. That little magic word. Like starting to track your money and you realize all those little Starbuck espressos might not have been in your wallets best interest. Everything counts. Tracking macros was a big wake up call for me. I had no idea. I was clueless. I was floored by my appetite and seeing every day what I was consuming opened up a new world. It's called adulting.
2. Eating Enough
A paradox. As I was used to dieting as my default eating plan, I didn't know how normal eating would look. How much is enough? Tracking my macros made me realize that when I thought I was eating normally I was eating way too little. Not enough. At all. No wonder I'd always end up binging. For the first time in like forever, macro counting showed me how to feed myself properly. Eating enough protein. Eating enough fat. And for me, the biggest take away was learning to eat enough carbs. Yes, even those forbidden carbs.
3. Gentle Weight Loss
How many of you out there love the word "weight-loss-boot-camp"? Raise your hand. I was a weight loss boot camp aficionado. How fast can I drop the weight? Count me in! But of course every time I'd jump on board on these boot camps all that I would accomplish was a panic-binge-attack. Not successful. Which resulted in weight gain. Every single time.
But with macro counting, I started with maintenance macros. Eating enough to maintain my weight. I had never done that before. At least not in a controlled and managed way. Coming from erratic eating, this was huge. Oh! I can eat a lot of food and not gain weight. Who knew? Coming from always being in a diet-mentality this was paradise and so much peace for a tired, starved, stuffed and beaten body.
Gently, and very slowly, I started to decrease my macros. I mean, super duper slow. And guess what? The weight started to finally come off. No crash diet. No crazy drop in caloric intake. Slow and steady decreasing every week. Gentle weight loss.
4. All the Food
No food rules. No forbidden foods or lists of "allowed" foods. We're talking about food freedom in the greatest sense here. Macro counting opens up the doors to eating everything. As long as you track your food and as long as you hit your target macros you're good to go. This is why I fell in love with macro counting. It gave me a safe space to start incorporating all the foods that I'd had denied myself because I was afraid they would make me gain weight. And lo and behold, I began to experiment, even with sugar and flour, and I started living and breathing again. And no I didn't relapse because I ate sugar. Apparently my "food addiction"...not a real thing.
5. Training Wheels
After ending my binge eating habit, I still struggled with eating intuitively. It just didn't work. My hunger signals and fullness signals were all over the place, and I had no idea how to get my body to respond in a natural way to food. Coming from eating massive amounts of foods to eating intuitively was mission impossible. Macro counting was the bridge between those worlds and the missing link. Macro counting taught me how much to eat. It taught me that I could eat all the foods. It taught me that weight loss can be done with ease and joy. It taught me to have awareness, to eat consciously. In other words, macro counting showed me how eating mindfully is the way to food freedom.