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End Dieting For Good By Understanding Macros

Ever wonder why we’ve been so obsessed with dieting? I mean, who actually wants to restrict themselves from eating everything they enjoy?

It drove me crazy that I would lose weight (but was never happy with my body) while on the diet, only to gain it all back after enjoying food again for the next week or so.

I either felt miserable while dieting or miserable when I ate like a pig afterwards. That was when I realised I was in serious need of a change.

No fitness competition or harsh deadline would ever get me out of the restriction-binging dieting cycle I grappled with for years. I needed to figure out how to actually make this a lifestyle. It was only when I focused on macros rather than calories that everything fell into place.

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The macro magic

So, what was it about learning how to track macros that made the difference? In simple terms, tracking macros requires that you eat a specific amount of protein, fat and carbohydrate each day. In essence, as long as you hit those numbers, you’re good to eat whatever you want, at least according to the popular ‘if it fits your macros’ (IIFYM) diet.

While this is technically true, as a general rule, you should always aim to eat a wide variety of whole foods (predominantly vegetables) and minimally processed foods.

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The ‘no diet’ diet

Once I started working with a coach who taught me how to track my macros, I couldn’t believe how much my body changed as a result. Knowing that I could eat foods other than chicken, rice, broccoli, sweet potatoes, and oatmeal and still lose weight was mind-blowing!

I was able to eat foods I normally wouldn’t allow myself while dieting. For someone who used to binge eat every few days after a period of over-restriction, eating a serving of chips or a cookie was honestly incomprehensible.

There was a bag of opened tortilla chips in my pantry for longer than a week? Who was I? That, in my opinion, is one of the biggest driving forces behind ending dieting with this method. Ultimately, you break the diet cycle and put a stop to binge eating because you actually include foods that you enjoy.

READ MORE | 4 Steps To Diet Success

Finding the balance

But can you really eat the foods you love and still achieve the body you want? You’re probably thinking that there must be catch…

Well, it’s not necessarily a catch, but you can’t eat those fun treats and processed foods more than the natural whole foods.

The “80/20” rule should apply here – 80% of the time you should follow a whole-food diet filled with nutrient-dense foods. The remaining 20% of your diet can consist of the ‘fun’ stuff.

It’s a sound approach to keep you on track, out of the pantry past 11 pm, and in those skinny jeans you’ve wanted to wear for the last 5 years. We all have ‘em!

READ MORE | What Does Following A ‘Balanced Diet’ Really Mean?

Measuring macros

Of course, you’ll need to learn how to accurately track your macros. While meal plans are easy to follow and seem like the path of least resistance, they don’t give you any freedom over your choices, and you never actually learn how to structure your meals.

I’m always reluctant to even offer meal options because, if you’re simply recycling the same meals over and over again, you’re technically following a diet, and that is exactly what we want to get away from.

Figuring out how you’re going to calculate these numbers probably seems daunting, right? My advice is to start using a simple tracking app such as My Fitness Pal or MyMacros+.

If you don’t have a fitness and/or nutrition coach who helps you figure out what specific macros to hit for your goals, you can use an online BMR calculator to give you a baseline number from which to start. It’s as easy as that.

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Find your diet fit

Oftentimes, we stop ourselves from getting anywhere because we’re afraid to start something new. But rest assured that none of us ever want to suck at anything!

The weight loss and rebound weight gain that characterises the typical diet cycle is probably so familiar to us that we’re naturally reluctant to give it up.

The problem is that we end up entirely dissatisfied because we know we can’t turn this way of eating into a healthy and sustainable lifestyle. Constant dieting is not sustainable nor healthy, and that’s exactly why tracking macros is key.

That’s not to say that other dieting methods won’t work. This is simply a solution that helps you change your lifestyle to something that is much more maintainable.

In my experience, after years of coaching women over 40 who have, for the most part, followed the restriction-binge cycle for years, this has been the method that works best.

The problem with fad diet trends that flood the market is that they promise a solution that seems quick and easy. The problem with quick and easy is that it is unrealistic and unsustainable.

Cut out all carbs? Of course you’ll drop weight fairly quickly, at least at first. After all, you’re basically cutting out an entire macronutrient group!

READ MORE | The Importance Of Food Variety For Optimal Health And Diet Success

Find food freedom

If you see tracking macros as a diet, then I recommend that you consider it from a different perspective. If you’ve been an on-and-off-again dieter for years, you probably feel like you’re a slave to the number on your scale.

How does tracking even more numbers change that feeling? It gives you the opportunity to actually enjoy your food; something that was almost impossible while dieting because you weren’t allowed to eat the foods you enjoy most.

To someone who felt like a slave to a scale and never had freedom around food choices, this is what we call food freedom!

Wherever you find yourself on the macro-tracking spectrum, give yourself some grace if you’re not perfect (or if you’re in desperate need of an extra cookie or two). Always remember that it’s all a process. The longer you’re able to commit, the easier it gets as you go.

As much as we think we want quick and easy, slow and steady will give you a feeling of satisfaction, which is what you really crave at the end of the day.

I truly believe that tracking your macros is the best way to extract yourself from that vicious diet cycle and end the misery. It may take some time to get used to it, but if you’re willing to put in the effort to understand macros and track your intake, you can finally end the curse that is yo-yo dieting.

By Ashley Soro

Ashley is an online fitness and nutrition coach, certified personal trainer who has coached women of all ages for over 13 years. She also co-owns a meal prep company in California and is a WBFF professional. Ashley’s passion project entails hosting all-inclusive photoshoot retreats in different cities around the world to help her clients transform from the inside out. Connect with Ashley: IG @ashleysorolifestyleandfitness | www.ashleysoro.com

This contribution was created in partnership with FITposium, an annual educational and inspirational seminar focused on success in the fitness modelling and entrepreneurial industry. Held in Arizona in the US, this workshop features a variety of sessions to prepare fitness talents with everything they need to know to enter the market and succeed. For more info about FITposium, visit fitposium.com.

Author: Pedro van Gaalen

When he’s not writing about sport or health and fitness, Pedro is probably out training for his next marathon or ultra-marathon. He’s worked as a fitness professional and as a marketing and comms expert. He now combines his passions in his role as managing editor at Fitness magazine.

When he's not writing about sport or health and fitness, Pedro is probably out training for his next marathon or ultra-marathon. He's worked as a fitness professional and as a marketing and comms expert. He now combines his passions in his role as managing editor at Fitness magazine.

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