Even though we as coaches preach and feel that macro counting is a sustainable nutrition course, we get clients that need to take a break for various reasons from life events, to financial reasons, seasonal, etc. When that happens we support our girls during those seasons completely.
That being said, every now and again we get the “macros isn’t for me” or “macros aren’t working for my body” response.
When we hear this we always ask clients, “What’s your plan? If not macros, then what?” We ask this not as a defense mechanism but rather to get them to think offensively for themselves. Not having a plan or taking a quick fix without good habits is a sure way to rebound weight gain, cause metabolic damage from under-eating or fad diets, and can allow bad habits to creep back in.
Why clients ‘take breaks’ and how having a back up plan applies.
- At or close to goal weight: You are ready to tackle this on your own with good habits built. This is ideal and our goal as macro coaches! You know what portions you need and how to balance intuitively. You know your hunger cues and listen to them. You understand the diet culture trap and know your triggers to fall off track. You have a plan to combat them. You can always fall back to more structured macros /nutrition if you need to.
- Life event/financial reasons: Expected or unexpected, these are real/valid reasons to break. Paying off debt or using money for major purchases shows discipline that can also be channelled into doing this on your own. The budget principle is universal. Life events that are stressors can sometimes elicit a break i.e pregnancy, moving, death or sickness of loved one, super busy with summer/holidays etc. Some clients choose to remain with the program as a means of support, routine and having it be something they can stick to or control when so much else is out of their control. This requires the mindset of grace and knowing that while the numbers might not be 100% all the time, the effort and intentionality of sticking to a plan is better than the wheels coming off the bus. Often when we have clients go off the program for stressful things, we see chronic undereating or binging. This leads to metabolic damage or weight gain that can take a long time to regain and recover from. For clients in these situations that choose to break, we highly recommend sticking to some sort of maintenance macros- either higher numbers that give some more freedom or shooting for 4-5/7 macro adherence. Meal plan style nutrition can also work, consistency and moderation are key versus falling into bad habits or fad eating.
- Frustration- “Macros don’t work for me”/“Macros are too hard”: This usually happens with brand new clients that have moderate to severe metabolic damage and/or history of serial dieting/diet culture issues or long time clients with metabolic adaptation/health concerns or lack of compliance and the willingness to take accountability for it.
New clients hear “trust the process’ ad nauseam. This really requires abandoning ideas of diet culture and diets that you have tried prior to adopting a new way of eating and thinking about your food and body. It can be really scary to do this, especially if your body doesn’t respond how YOU think that it should. The idea that this is a new ‘lifestyle’ versus a quick fix is key and if a client just can’t get past this, the program will be a struggle and probably not a good fit. Clients often try to lead the coach with how they think their numbers should be according to what their past trainers, IG influencers and even other diet/medical professionals have told them rather than let the SFM coach take control and lead. At this point, to that we say, “If that worked great for you why are you here?”
Macro counting does have a learning curve, but it leads you far closer to a true “intuitive eating” way of life by teaching you how your body works with certain macros, learning to feel natural hunger, balancing meals, restoring and balancing hormones, and learning to appreciate your body for what it is. YOU have to want that and allow it to happen versus an emergency weightless solution. For existing clients that get into a rut and want to ‘take a break’, I always ask them to truly consider their adherence and commitment in the recent past and ask them,
“If not macros, then what?”
We are not of the thought that macros is the only way, but when it comes to choosing macros over things like, HCG, Low cal, KETO, IF, Juice Cleanses, etc., we know that those solutions are NOT SUSTAINABLE and that clients usually come back with rebounded weight that is even harder to lose.
The BEST diet out there is the one that you can commit to and SUSTAIN. If you have trouble with macros, will program “XYZ” be any different? Having no plan is just as detrimental. Eating too much or not enough can slow down your metabolism as easily as a fad diet.
As always, we UNDERSTAND the need for breaks and as coaches take them ourselves. Just have a plan that you can stick to. Ask your coaches what they would do in your situation. As much as we love to have you as clients, we have your BEST interest in mind at all times and are willing to help you figure out your next move.