“I’m going to take a break for right now…”
We hear this often at Stay Fit Mom. Perhaps the client has been tracking macros with us for a while now, and the client feels comfortable tracking and remaining accountable without a coach. Maybe money is tight, and you feel you need to step away. Sometimes clients will even step away to try a different program for faster results. Maybe you have an extreme life event, like the death of a family member, the birth of a child, or something along those lines. When clients step away from vigilant macro tracking, metabolic damage can be done and typically rebound weight gain is present when the client returns. Let’s talk about why that is.
First, we all know that tracking macros is the ultimate way to food freedom. We keep our protein intake at an optimal level so that outside of basic health purposes, we can see muscle growth. The more muscle mass, the faster the metabolism. Therefore, the more we can eat. BUT, we have to remain focused and diligent. We have to hit our macros consistently, we have to prioritize fiber, vegetables, water, steps and sleep, and by doing that, we EARN our food freedom with focus, time, dedication and ultimately, consistency. Often when clients step away, that focus and diligence slowly diminishes.
We remember what was preached to us when we were in the thick of macro tracking: “We have to eat! Food freedom!” BUT, we forget that the freedom we talk about is earned, and we work hard for it. If we take away the hard work, our metabolism isn’t going to have the same ability to burn, or on the other hand, we can become restrictive because and then deprive ourselves out of fear which can lead to metabolic dysfunction overtime.
After taking a break and coming back, a client will often become frustrated when their body doesn’t respond the way it did the last time. After giving birth to my baby girl, Lola Blake, I jumped back in to diligently tracking my macros and remaining consistent when I was three weeks postpartum. I would look at my photos and think, “Why won’t my body just respond a little bit faster!” I wasn’t seeing this relatively quick shift in body composition like I did when tracking macros was new.
Here’s what we have to know: the stimulus of macro tracking is no longer new when we have already introduced it to our bodies. While the body will be grateful for the consistency and happy that you’re treating it well, it might take longer to see results. This is because the concept of “newbie gains” (or even “newbie weight loss”) is no longer at play. Macro tracking is not a new thing, your body already knows this stimulus. Think about a person who is weight lifting for the first time. Changes are quicker when just beginning a weight lifting regimen. It doesn’t take a whole lot to see results from a brand new exercise routine that pushes you out of your comfort zone. But when you are two years in, suddenly it feels like results are really slow. This is because the stimulus isn’t new anymore, and your body knows the drill. It will take more to see muscle gain. The concept of “newbie gains” is no longer present. The same concept applies with macro tracking.
If you are one who frequently starts and stops macro tracking, your body is going to feel a bit confused. Think of a puppy going through potty training. Picture yourself utilizing a very consistent training schedule, in order to teach the puppy to pee outside at designated intervals that make sense for your schedule. You are staying focused, patient and committed so that eventually, you have a fully house trained puppy. Now, let’s say you suddenly adopt a new schedule and training regimen. You’re sitting with your puppy begging him to pee outside, but he isn’t responding. And even worse, he pees on the carpet shortly after bringing him inside! We quickly become frustrated and question why we thought getting a puppy in the first place was a good idea. This is EXACTLY what our bodies do when we frequently start and stop macro tracking, then start again. You are begging your body to burn, but your body is saying, “What do you even want me to do? You keep changing our routine! We have a good thing going and I think I have it down, and then you pull the rug out from under me and switch up the routine!”
Stick to your regimen. Give your body the opportunity to build momentum. Yes, it will take longer to do after stopping. If you make the commitment to track your macros, you have to be prepared to stick to it for the long haul. Remember that macro tracking is NOT a fad diet. It is a lifestyle, and a tool that will hopefully stay with you even if you don’t utilize a coach.
If you have to step away from macro tracking with your coach, you can continue to use a tracker. Your tracker can help you to remain accountable and diligent. Use our Guide to Tracking Macros on Your Own so that you can make educated tweaks, until you can come back to work with a coach. Ultimately, if you want to prevent rebound weight gain and/or some form of metabolic damage, you’ll want to commit to intentionality with your nutrition.
The best thing you can do for yourself is release your timeline and forget about finding that “perfect time” to start. Do the best you can in your circumstances and don’t give up. Slow progress will always trump no progress. Click HERE for tips that will help you come back to macro counting strong!
Finally, we highly encourage you to take a look at our blog titled, “Taking a Break: If Not Macros, Then What?” It is an excellent resource that supplements this blog.