macro tracking

I am a long-term fan of macro tracking. It has helped me cultivate a sense of nutritional awareness, balance, and control over my food choices. I understand the importance of a well-rounded diet, but I also know how easy it is to not get the proper amount of nutrients each day. 

I use tracking as a way to ensure I am eating well and giving my body everything it needs to succeed. Now, that does not mean I am married to my tracker. I do not log every single thing I put in my mouth every day, but when I am feeling off or as though I might be slacking on nutrition, I use it as a quick tool to get my health back on track. Here’s how I do it, why I do it, and what it consists of so that you too can get your health in alignment with your nutritional needs.

What is macro tracking?

Well to first understand what macro tracking is, we need to know what macros are. Macro stands for macronutrients. The macronutrients in our diets are protein, carbohydrates, and fats. These are the nutrients your body needs in large amounts each day. Learn more about them in my post here

Fueling your body with the proper amounts of these nutrients is key for a healthy diet. Getting too much or too little of these nutrients can cause damage to our bodies and be the reason for weight gain, hair loss, inflammation, fatigue, and more. 

Tracking your macros provides insights into how much of each nutrient you are getting every day. You can then use these insights to change your eating habits ensuring you meet each of your macronutrient requirements on a daily basis. This will ensure proper nutrition and give you the ability to see where your diet could improve.

How to track?

There are two main ways to track your macronutrients.

  • Piece of paper: you can simply record what foods you eat each day and at the end of the day roughly estimate the amount of protein you ate, the carbs you consumed, and the fat you had. This way can give you a generalized picture of what your diet could use more of and what you over-consume. 
  • Food Tracker apps: my personal favorite way to track macros is using My Fitness Pal. My Fitness Pal is a very convenient way to log the food you eat, and the best part is it does all of the hard work for you. The app calculates your protein, fat, and carb intake based on what you log. This takes out the generalization aspect that you would have made on paper and makes it super easy to tell exactly what you put into your body that day. They have a large database of foods so you don’t have to know what is in the foods exactly before tracking them. It definitely makes it super easy and convenient to learn more about your eating habits. 

Why track?

Many people tell me that they eat healthy, so what is the point of tracking their food? Well, the answer is simple. Even if you are consuming healthy foods, you may not be meeting each macronutrient requirement. Protein is a big macronutrient that many people fail to meet each day. They eat their salads, daily doses of fruit, get in some healthy fats from nuts, but when it comes to protein, they often fall short of adequate without realizing it. This is where tracking comes in handy.

It will tell you what is in the foods you are eating and where you can make improvements. You can then take the information from tracking a few days and improve your eating habits by including foods that have the macro you are low in and limit the consumption of the macros you go over in.

Macro tracking also provides great insight into portion sizes. It will help you realize how many calories come in a serving and open your eyes to the reality of how one plate of cheese fries has more calories than you were meant to consume in the full day. This aspect has helped immensely with my ability to have a few bites of something and be satisfied rather than eating the full plate just because that is what was served to me. It has helped me to enjoy a smaller portion of foods I would have normally had 10 servings of in one sitting (aka my bucket of movie theater popcorn…). I still enjoy all the foods I want, I just make sure to balance them out and fit them into my macros to stay on track.

When to track? 

I recommend tracking your food for 2 weeks straight to get a great picture of how you typically eat and what is in your diet. Once you get a good look at what you are consuming regularly you can then start making adjustments to make sure you give your body the nutrients it needs. 

Some people will be able to track in 2 week increments whenever they need a refresh, and others will love the insights it provides and continue tracking for many months at a time. 

I go through phases and will track for weeks at a time and then eat more intuitively for a few months. Whenever I feel I need a refresher or to jump back on track, I will track my food and take a look deeper into the insights it provides me. 

In the end, it is up to you how and when you want to track but I cannot recommend it enough because the nutritional awareness it will bring you will last a lifetime and help your body get all the nutrients it needs to thrive. 

Need a coach to help you?

I would love to help you learn more about health and your diet through one-on-one coaching or a group session in the LEAN or CLEAN program. Sign up for my 4-week one-on-one coaching here or for the group session here using code “lettuce” for a discount!! 

I love working with people to help them understand their eating habits and build life-long changes to optimize their health! 

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This post was written by Lauren Thornberry, CLEAN accountability coach.

Follow her on instagram here and check out her blog with more great nutritional info here!

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