It’s been 2 months since we’ve been back from Italy, so technically almost 3 months of not counting macros. Obviously I wasn’t counting during our trip, and then when I got back I still wasn’t counting but obviously just not eating pizza and pasta everyday LOL.
I’ll be honest, making the transition was easier than I thought it would be. In the past few years there have been a couple times where I decided to step away from macros briefly, and it wasn’t the easiest. I’d always be thinking about my scale, thinking about the numbers, and inevitably go back to macros. This time though, I was stopping macros with a totally different mindset. Being in Italy made me really re-evaluate things when it came to how I wanted to live my life on a daily basis (more on that in this blog post), and that in itself was really powerful. That being said, I wholeheartedly wanted to move on from counting macros so it made the transition easier.
I’m not going to lie and say it was so easy. In the beginning, there were moments where I would think, “okay this has X amount of fat, so I shouldn’t eat PB later in the day.” Or, “this doesn’t have protein so I need to have protein for dinner with less carbs” So even though I wasn’t weighing anything, or entering food into MFP, since I counted macros for so long, I just knew automatically what the breakdown of macronutrients was for food. And while I’m glad that I have this foundation and knowledge, I didn’t want it to still consume my thoughts when making food choices. I just wanted to focus on foods that made me feel good, and that were part of a balanced and healthy lifestyle versus just focusing on numbers.
One thing I found when I started eating intuitively is that I was eating a lot more whole and fresh foods versus packaged foods–which was great! However, I also noticed that it was so easy for me to eat a lot of carbs and fats during the day and pretty minimal protein. Granted, the carbs and fats I was eating were from “healthy” sources but I also knew I was neglecting my protein. And even though I wasn’t counting macros, I still wanted to eat an overall balanced diet so I made 3 little “guidelines” for me to follow each day to help find that balance. The first being to incorporate a protein source at every meal and the other was to eat 3 servings of veggies a day. I’ve found that using this as a guidelines helps me feel like I’m still eating a well-rounded diet without thinking of the numbers associated with counting macros. Of course this doesn’t happen every single day but it’s a good general rule. And technically the third guideline is just to keep up with my water intake of 2L a day.
As far as aesthetics go, I honestly haven’t noticed a change in my body. Maybe if I took photos (before & afters) and compared them side by side I would notice some changes, but I honestly can’t say if the changes would be for the “better” or for “worse.” My point being is, the differences aren’t noticeable one way or the other, and I feel great so I’m not going to take the time to compare photos. If you FEEL good then that is all that matters IMO. Right now, I feel comfortable and confident in my own skin (of course not every second of every day but I didn’t feel that way when I counted macros either), and I love that I’m not spending all this time and energy focusing on food, the scale and my app. It’s been so nice to put energy into other areas of my life that really bring me joy instead of always thinking about what I need to eat to hit my macros.
It’s funny though. When I counted macros, it seemed so second nature. I didn’t ever feel like it was taking up a lot of mental head space, time or energy. And it probably didn’t because my attitude towards it was so different. It was something that was working for me and my life for the last few years. But then once I had the change of heart in Italy, all of the sudden counting seemed like such a burden to me. I didn’t want to spend my day thinking about food in that way.
So my point is, everything is relative–different approaches work at different times depending on what your interests and goals are at any given point. Always remember that nothing has be to be permanent. You can count macros forever, you can start you can stop, you can start, stop and start again. You get what I’m saying. I think so often we (myself included) get nervous to change things up because we think “but what if I look or feel worse?!” Well if you do, you can always go back to what you were doing before! That being said, for the foreseeable future I’ll be continuing with intuitive eating but that doesn’t mean I’ll have this approach forever. Right now though, I love how I feel and it’s working for my lifestyle!
Any thoughts on this blog post, can you relate at all? Would love to hear your thoughts or what you’ve been going through! xx C
EDIT: Since this post, I have written an update of my thoughts 2 years later! You can find it here.