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If you are on a health and fitness journey, you have probably wondered about counting calories. There has been a lot of recent talk about macros in the health community, and many wonder the differences between calorie counting vs. macro counting. Please keep in mind that this is just my opinion and what has worked best for me. I always advise doing a little trial and error and figuring out what works best for your personal health and fitness journey.
When I first wrote this post, it was very different than what it is today. Over the last couple of years, it became more and more popular, and I decided to completely re-write it to keep it in line with the improvements that I have made in my lifestyle. I hope that you enjoy it!
Calorie counting vs. macro counting
In my opinion, if you’re brand new to eating healthy, brand new to living a healthy lifestyle, you might want to count something. You may be eating either too much or too little. It is important not to overeat, but under-eating can be just as detrimental to your health.
Your body needs fuel! If you choose to track your food, I recommend using a free app like MyFitnessPal to track your food intake for at least the first couple of weeks. Another thing that I love about MyFitnessPal is that it connects to my FitBit. I manually enter gym workouts, but I let my Fitbit track my steps for the day and it syncs directly with the MyFitnessPal app.
That being said, if you have a history of having an unhealthy relationship with food (eating disorder, etc.) tracking could do more harm than good. One tool that I do enjoy is the DailyDozen app. It’s absolutely free and you can find it in the app store. You can watch a video about the Daily Dozen here.
What are macros?
When I refer to macros, I am talking about the macro-nutrients that make up your food. Protein, carbohydrates, and fat. Your body needs all three of these macro-nutrients. I am going to say it again, your body needs protein, carbohydrates, and fat. Following an ultra-low calorie, ultra-low carb, or ultra-low fat diet are not good for your body in the long term. Some people do well on a lower carbohydrate diet. The key to a successful low-carb diet is making sure the replace the carbohydrates by including more dietary fat. Fat is absolutely essential in a healthy diet. It is important to pick healthy fats rather than processed junk. My favorite forms of healthy fats come from nuts and nut butter and foods like avocados.
Do I recommend counting macros? No, I don’t. Why? Because Dr. Michael Gregor doesn’t. I really enjoy Dr. Gregor’s advice when it comes to evidence-based nutrition. I don’t claim to be an expert, but if you’re looking for non-biased information on just about anything health-related, you can probably find it on Nutrition Facts. If you prefer reading, I really enjoyed “How not to die.” This isn’t sponsored or anything like that, I truly appreciate the work that NutritionFacts.org is doing!
So, what should I be doing?
If you hadn’t guessed it by now, I recommend following a plant-based diet. This isn’t a vegan blog, and I’m not asking you to join a cult. I can tell you that a whole foods plant-based diet has worked very well for me, and I’d highly recommend it to anyone.
Does this mean that you can’t eat the things that you enjoy? Absolutely not. Instead of thinking of it as eating less of something, why not think of it as eating more of something? Think of meat as a side instead of the main course (if you choose to eat it.) Try eating more vegetables and fruits. Healthy foods like vegetables, fruit, and legumes have lots of fiber. When you eat more of these things, there’s less room for unhealthy options.
I realize that this may not be a popular opinion but why not just focus on eating whole, real good instead or obsessing over calories or macros? If you have anything you’d like to add, I’d love to hear about it in the comments! I’ll be posting more about healthy plant-based living, so make sure to follow me so that you don’t miss anything!