So, it’s been almost 2 years since transitioning from counting macros to intuitive eating. This isn’t something I think about often anymore, but recently I feel like this is a DM that keeps popping up from women who are currently counting macros and want to move away from it. Specifically around how did you make the transition, and did you notice any changes in your body? Two years ago, I wrote a couple of posts around these topics. A New Fitness and Health Mindset where I talk about what made me want to stop counting macros, and My Transition from Macros to Intuitive Eating where I talk about how I approached making the change after a couple months in.
I figured though it was time for an update especially given recent questions. At the time, I could only give feedback on the transition after being in it for a couple months, and now it’s been two years. So needless to say, I can probably give y’all some more insight now!
To answer the first question of: How did you make the transition?
So in my original blog post, I approached it in a way where I felt more “in control.” I talked about how I made sure to have protein at each meal, how I’d eat a certain amount of veggies each day, etc. When you first stopping counting, it’s really hard to abandon all sense of what you’re eating in terms of C/F/P. At least for me, I’d have PB toast for breakfast and think, okay this is probably like 25g of fat, I need to limit fat for the rest of the day. In order to try and move away from that line of thinking, I gave myself other “guidelines” to follow that made me feel like I was still eating a more balanced diet overall. I’d aim to have protein at each meal, and veggies 3x a day. Disclaimer, this has not lasted the last 2 years LOL. But I think it’s all about taking baby steps. It’s hard to go from counting everything to having no parameters whatsoever. So if you’re wanting to make the transition away from counting macros, I think this can be really helpful initially.
I feel like this approach lasted a few months but eventually I kind of got tired of that too lol. While I tried to eat a balanced diet, I wasn’t going to beat myself up if I didn’t hit my “guidelines.” I felt like after a few months, I had given myself enough time to slowly ease out of any parameters to where just eating intuitively didn’t cause me any stress or anxiety. It’s not to say that I didn’t completely stop thinking about macros but at that point, it wasn’t really dictating what I was eating on a daily basis. If I wanted to have an egg white scramble for breakfast, fine. If I wanted oatmeal with bananas and PB, fine. I think a big reason I was able to continue with this shift (in eating) is because I stopped placing a lot of emphasis on any potential physical changes in my body, and focused more on just how I felt.
On that note, this is probably a good time to answer the question of: Did you notice any physical changes when you stopped counting?
I will say that in general macros work when it comes to wanting to achieve a certain physical look. So while I know macros work because I’ve personally seen it, I also was counting when I was 26-29 years old and my metabolism was fairly different compared to now at 32. My point is, IMO, if I was counting macros at 26 and counting at 32, my body is still going to respond/look different because of my metabolism and age.
However, when it came to making the transition initially (within the first 6 months) and when I look at myself now, I can honestly say I don’t notice a difference. Like I said, when I was 26, going to the gym 5x a week and working out for an hour and counting macros, my body was just going to look different. However, when I stopped counting macros two years ago compared to now (I’m 32 now for context), I don’t really notice any major changes. I will admit, I didn’t take progress photos so it’s hard to me to say exactly but that was part of the point of me not counting anymore. I didn’t want to be so focused on the physical changes that my mindset revolved around that. I more so focused on, if I feel good why does it matter if there have been changes? So that was (and still is) my barometer.
That isn’t to say that I feel 100% confident every moment of every day but it’s like, as a whole, do I feel comfortable with my body and the skin I’m in? When I wake up in the morning how do I feel? And I think when you ask yourself this, you have to be able to use good judgment and be rational. It’s not comparing yourself to someone else on social media and saying “well, how do I look compared to them?” It’s not if you order clothing and put it on and it doesn’t fit or look good, immediately jumping to “OMG, I need to count macros again, I need to workout more, etc.” It’s being like okay, this doesn’t fit or this isn’t flattering, that’s all it is. It doesn’t mean there is something wrong with your body. Now if I’m starting to feel that way with all the clothes I try on then I may think, okay it doesn’t seem like I’m feeling my best so do I need to adjust my approach some? And maybe that means I do a little reset where I’m not drinking as much, or I do try to incorporate more protein, etc.
At the end of the day, it really is all about your mindset. I don’t wake up and “check for abs”, I don’t take progress photos, I don’t compare my physical progress to other people on social media. I’ve made a conscious decision to not let those actions be part of my daily routine. Someone will always “look better” than me and there’s going to be photos of me from 5 years ago where I “looked better” than I do now. But I don’t want to live a life that revolves around that and so I make a decision to focus on how I feel each day and let that guide me. It’s not easy to do, especially when you’ve been in the cycle of tracking macros, being heavily focused on your physical progress, etc. but it is possible. You just need to make sure your daily actions and habits start to align with the mental shift you want to make. It will get easier each day and eventually it will be second nature not to focus on those things.
So what is my day-to-day approach now? I wish I could give you a clear breakdown of how I approach my workouts and diet but there aren’t many specifics too it. For workouts, I typically workout 4-5x week for no more than 30 minutes each session. For food, I did a recap of what I eat on a typical day to try and give y’all some sort of idea but there aren’t really any consistencies with this. I just try to eat a balanced diet paired with what I’m in the mood for. I don’t let what I’m eating each day take up a large part (or really any for that matter) of my headspace.
Alright guys, I think that wraps up this post! I would just leave you with this — If you’re someone who wants to shift away from macros, or being as “health obsessed” it is 100% possible. It just takes time and patience, and for you to be willing to step away from certain habits and start creating new ones. PS. I wrote a blog post a while back on Why I Forced Myself To Become Less Gym and Body Obsessed. Everything I wrote I still completely agree with and it really helped me make the first steps away from a life that was largely focused around aesthetics!