Diet defined as a verb is to : restrict oneself to small amounts or special kinds of food to lose weight.
Looking at a diet this way is important when correlating it with macro tracking. Because a lot of people look at tracking macros as another diet when it is in fact not. Typical diets are Keto because you cut out carbs or dairy free because you're cutting out dairy. Or even worse when your purchasing foods for several hundreds of dollars and you get little packets of powders that create soup. Like no.
The biggest reason why those things don't work is because it's not sustainable long term. It's not teaching you how to live real life. Like what to do when you're craving something else. Or when you want to eat normal. If you're eating little packets of food every day and thinking that's normal. It's not. You need to be eating normal food. Something I like to bring up to people doing these types of fads is, is this what you want your children to do one day? I hope not. So if you wouldn't want your kids to do it, why on earth would you?
Also, I don't know if it's just me but that sounds miserable. Not being able to eat foods you enjoy and knowing you'll gain the weight back if you do is so daunting.
I was on a call with a client of mine and she hasn't tracked in a few weeks. She's also been slacking on her workouts a little bit. She's adjusting to the transition of teaching some classes and her kids are back in school. You would think if she stopped doing those certain things the 22 pounds she'd lost during the 8 week challenge would start to creep back. NOPE. She has not put one pound back on. She developed eating habits that she is able to continue to keep up with. Even though her schedule has changed and she's not doing everything she was. This is a great sign of actual fat loss and a sustainable plan
Which brings me to what are tracking macros anyway? To break it down in everything you eat there are calories. The breakdown of calories are fats, carbs and protein. So in everything you eat you have carbs, fat and protein. Whether you like it or not or know it or not, it's there. If you look at the nutrition label of the food you're eating you'll see the calories at the top and then the breakdown.
So in everything you eat you already have calories which are carbs, fats and protein. In every gram of protein there are 4 calories. In every gram of carb there are 4 calories and in every gram of fat there are 9 calories. So if you add those up you will get the total calories.
Now every person has a different height, weight, activity level, goals exc.. So how can you give a blanket rule of cutting out carbs or eating meal packets? Everyone is so different with different preferences. You can't do something so extreme without taking those other things into consideration. That's what macros do. If you exercise a lot you need to be fueling yourself enough. If you are 6 feet you cannot expect to eat the same amount of someone who is 5 feet. That's the importance of macros.
Also what if you're visiting friends and want their home made spinach and artichoke dip. Then what?
If you track calories and eat less than you burn you will lose weight. That's why they're important. BUT it doesn't mean you will lose fat. You need to be eating enough protein to ensure that you can preserve your lean muscle mass. If you don't eat enough protein your body could be eating your muscle as fuel and leaving your fat. YIKES. Nobody wants that.
This is why tracking macros has significance and is effective. Now Maria, why isn't tracking macros a diet?
Tracking macros is not a diet because it doesn't make you cut anything out. It encourages you to add things in. For example if you're like me i used to struggle with restricting food and then binging. SO tracking macros showed me I needed to start eating more. For me I need to start eating more carbs. And you know what? I haven't binged since. My body was freaking hungry so I had to start feeding it and those moments of feeling out of control went away.
Going back to the spinach and artichoke dip. If you tracked macros you would know you can definitely have the dip. But have some form of protein along with it or before it. Before sitting down to snack have a protein shake or roll up some turkey. Its all about balance and making sure you're getting the right amount of each macro nutrient. Doing this will also help you not eat the entire dish of dip.
Another example is the client I was talking about above has PCOS. She hasn't had a consistent period in months. After eating enough for about a month she got her period back. If you're not eating enough it could throw your body way off leaving you with terrible side effects. A fix to that is eating enough. SO tracking macros shows you that.
It is not a diet because it teaches you how to eat correctly for your body. Sometimes we pick up on what our parents taught us. They may have picked up on what their parents taught them. I'm not saying they were definitely wrong but they could have been. So how could you expect to know all that you need to know when it was never taught? Similarly to how we complain finance and taxes were never explained in school. Well neither was food.
Another reason why tracking macros is not a diet. Again, shown in my client above is you don't have to do it forever. It teaches you what you need to do. There are ways you can make adjustments for different goals. Like higher carbs and fat to build muscle or lower to lose fat. But it's not something you have to do forever. You can do it for a time. See what your body needs for its current goals. Track for a time to become more intuitive with your eating and then stop if you'd like. It's a great tool not a ball and chain like the rest of diets.
Tracking macros empowers you to understand what your body needs to get it to do what you want. That could be things like more energy, sleeping better or losing body fat. But it doesn't require you to cut anything out. That is realistic and sustainable for life.
If you're interested in tracking macros. I am coaching an 8 week challenge starting monday! Where you will be given macros to follow based off your goals. You can get started now by downloading this app. And selecting me "Maria Imperato" as your advisor. After you download it, I will then reach out to make sure you know exactly what to do and i'll be there every step of the way.
Feel free to reach out via email @firstname.lastname@example.org. Or through Instagram @mariaaimperato.
Everyone should track macros for a time to get a better understanding of what their body needs. Please feel free to reach out and ask questions at any time.