Counting Macros: A lifestyle or a fad?

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What does a “healthy lifestyle” look like?

And what is “eating healthy?” 

Can we eat candy in moderation even though it’s mainly sugar and offers very little nutritional benefit? Maybe a couple of peanut butter cups after a protein and fiber packed dinner? How about a small pack of Skittles while at the movie theater with family?  There’s something to say for balance between all foods, and a healthy mental state. 

Is Macro counting a fad?

Here at Stay Fit Mom, we firmly believe that both of the instances follow a “healthy lifestyle.” The answer is balance. This is why we refuse to label foods as “good” vs. “bad.” When we do that, deprivation comes into play. There is truly room for every food group at the table, including the fun foods! Or rather, there’s room for every food in your macros. You really CAN enjoy your life, your social events and be healthy too. 

This past weekend, I was participating in my usual nightly ritual of binge watching television before bed. Let it be noted: it’s not my healthiest habit, but with three little kids, a girl has to do what a girl has to do to fit in some “Netflix and chill.” I was watching Selling Sunset, when the women were at a restaurant and ordering food. One of the women said,

“I want the tofu with some veggies. Anything that doesn’t have carbs!” 

Instantly, my heart sank. It truly made me cringe and hurt me down to my soul.  We have all heard these statements multiple times in our lives. “Oh I can’t have that, it’s not healthy,” or, “I can’t eat there, I’m dieting.” Hear me when I say, this is why diets fail and this way of thinking will lead to failure every single time. EVERY FOOD can be factored into our numbers in the right quantities. When we participate in a fad diet, there is a lot of pressure to turn on “no carbs mode” or “no sugar mode” or “no fat mode,” etc. Counting macros doesn’t do this, and that’s what makes it truly healthy and sustainable. The pressure to be “perfect” is no more, and allows for consistency to enter the room. The freedom of being able to choose from all of the food groups is what allows us to achieve both physical and mental/emotional health, as long as we prioritize fiber, veggies and food quality. That is what makes this a truly healthy lifestyle, rather than a fad.  

With all of that being said, we still have to put in our due diligence and get our momentum going, in order to reap the benefits of this flexible, fun lifestyle. This means prioritizing consistency and all of those healthy habits that we want our clients to track. We want you to be on cruise control with your macros. When you put your cruise control on during a road trip, driving becomes pretty enjoyable and you’re cruising right along. But then let’s say you come to an unexpected car wreck or a stoplight, and your cruise control gets interrupted. You have to hit the brakes temporarily, until you can hit the gas and get your momentum going again. But you don’t just stay stopped in the middle of the road because of a temporary interruption. You hit the gas again, you focus on your speed and you put your cruise control back on. This is exactly what we want each client to do in their macro lifestyle. You might have a day, a week or a life event that temporarily causes you to not track, but it’s temporary. Think along the lines of unexpected illness, holidays, vacations where you choose not to track (which is perfectly okay), etc. You don’t stay stopped in the middle of your health journey. You get going again! That’s what we want for our clients. Taking a day to not track everything you eat ISN’T being “bad” or breaking your “diet.” This ISN’T a diet. It’s simply eating untracked food, with the honest commitment of getting back to tracking the next day, the next week or the next MEAL. This past weekend, I took a day off of planning and tracking. We celebrated my son and I’s birthdays with family, and my husband took me to a fancy Italian restaurant. The entrees were very unique and casserole-esque, the desserts were desserts that I had never even heard of, and I wanted to try it all without calculating portions or weighing things. I knew there was no way I was hitting my numbers that day, so I didn’t stress over it. I enjoyed it, I ate, and I made memories with my family. The next morning, I woke up, ran four miles with my daughter in her stroller, I showered and drank my coffee before church and I prioritized a lot of veggies, protein and fiber. I got right back to hitting my numbers and chugging my water, knowing that one day of breaking my numbers isn’t “breaking” my healthy lifestyle. It’s just a part of it! 

Counting macros isn’t something to start and do for the duration of the six week beginners session and then stop. Counting macros isn’t a diet or a fad, it’s a lifestyle. There is no end date! And when a client leaves the nest and decides not to use one-on-one coaching anymore, our prayer is that the client continues to use the information they learned and put it into practice on their own. It is never our intention for any client to ONLY count macros for x amount of weeks, months or years and then leave it all behind. As coaches, our goal is to equip you for LIFE and reap all of the benefits, allowing you to live a truly healthy, balanced lifestyle. 

Health is a destination. It’s not possible to be 100% “healthy.” Everyone has something that they could improve upon when it comes to their health, and I mean absolutely EVERYONE. None of us will ever achieve “perfect health.” So we need to stop making “perfection” the goal. We only need to honor our commitment to show up every day. 

Coach Tracy said it best when she said, “macros are still macros whether we choose to track them or not.” We can either use our macros to meet our health and physique goals, or we can, for lack of a better way of saying it, “go to work without our toolbox.” Why not use macro counting to our advantage in order to hit goals and achieve the best balance between physical and mental health? That sounds like a true healthy lifestyle to me.

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