I feel like there are two kinds of people in the fitness industry.
The first group counts macros and they are pretty happy about it.
The second group doesn’t count and never has.
They are also pretty happy about it.
The only problem is if you have been counting for a long time and want to stop, you can’t really relate to those people.
Because they aren’t really addressing the issue of being scared of eating intuitively, because they always have been.
And people who stop counting usually do this to “get a break” or “enjoy more treats”.
As if there’s nothing in between.
That’s why I believe that I can give you a pretty unique perspective.
Because maybe you feel like if you stop tracking, suddenly you lose all control.
“How do I know I won’t put on 2kg in a week?”
Suddenly you feel uneasy eating that bagel because you don’t really know whether it fits your macros.
I get it.
I’ve been there too.
Look, there’s one thing that I want to get out of the way.
You can tell yourself that you’re happy with tracking all you want.
But the fact that you’re reading this tells me you kind of want to stop.
That doesn’t mean that you’re unhappy or that you feel restricted.
You’re just over it.
“I’ve learnt a lot, I’m thankful for that, I get it, how do I get out of this now?”
So look, what if you make this transition and improving your relationship with food a priority for a bit.
Weighloss is cool, but maybe you won’t be focusing on that just now.
Because maybe you WILL gain some weight.
It will take time for you to adjust.
It will be scary for a while.
But that’s part of the process I’m afraid.
And maybe if you’re not ready to take that risk, you’re not ready for it just yet.
But if you’re ready to free your mind from that fear, I’ll give you some tips that I’ve learned along the way.
Make it an advantage
I know, some people will say that after you’ve been counting for years, you’ll never truly eat intuitively because you have those numbers engraved in your mind.
But I say that’s actually putting you in a better position.
You know all the macros for all the foods, you know that chicken thighs have some fat in there, you know that quinoa has some protein too, you know that a strained greek yoghurt is high protein, use that knowledge to play it by the ear.
Rules don’t change
Do you think that anything changes just because you’re not logging it into MFP?
Chicken is still high in protein, a muffin is still 400kcal and eating a slice of banana bread will still not impact your intake as much as eating a large Domino’s.
You know all these foods, you know what keeps you full, you know what you usually eat for breakfast, you know what snacks satisfy your sweet cravings, you know what kind of portion you usually have after a workout, just keep that the same.
You have to realise that nothing actually changes about those foods when you stop tracking them, you’ll just have to learn to read your body’s signs rather than the numbers.
And that can be tough, I know.
I don’t know about you, but I could always tell when I was going a little bit overboard with treats.
Tracking or not.
You feel sluggish, kind of fluffy and you just crave some vegetables.
But hey, also, when you know you’ve just done a heavy training session, or that you’ve been active all day, you know that you can have some more carbs, you know that if you eat an ice cream, it will be totally fine.
You know that if you haven’t had any snacks after lunch, you can have a bigger dinner.
You know, just use the common sense and trust yourself when choosing whether you can “fit something in” without actually logging it.
LISTEN TO YOUR HUNGER
If you’re gonna takeaway only one message from this post, make it this one.
Seriously, I cannot stress this enough.
I know, if you say that to an overweight person who’s eating junk food all day, that’s probably not the best idea.
But you’re used to fuelling your body properly and eating whole foods.
And when tracking, we tend to eat certain amounts of food even when we don’t feel that hungry or when we are actually more hungry…
During the past few months I’ve learned that it depends on a lot more stuff than we normally realise.
It depends on how much you sleep, on how much you move and so on.
Some of you act like if you don’t know the macros, you panic, you eat a meal out and you freak out, “have I eaten 700kcal or 400kcal, am I still in deficit or in surplus?”
Some people actually weigh out food after buying it out.
I’m sorry but to me, that’s a bit ridiculous.
Even when I was tracking and I ate out, I just listened to my body.
If I’m normally used to eating a 400-500kcal lunch, I eat out and then get hungry again as I normally do, then it was probably around that.
If I am full for hours and hours, then it was probably quite a bit more than I’m used to.
Come on, you can tell if a meal was really fatty or not just according to how you feel afterwards.
If I eat a cookie that actually makes me full for 6 hours I know that was probably very calorific, but if I eat a croissant in the afternoon and then I’m hungry again for dinner, then it was probably just around 300kcal.
Observe and learn
This whole thing is a learning process, you know, so really start paying attention to how you feel after those meals.
Listen, those small differences and inaccuracies DO NOT MATTER when you’re counting either so just chill and make effort to listen to your body instead!!!
Also, it’s a good opportunity to observe what triggers emotional eating and stuff like that too.
For example, you might learn that if you don’t have carbs for dinner, you binge at night.
Or that if you have a milky coffee before a workout, you don’t need another snack.
When the excitement is over, it will settle down
And listen, maybe you will overeat sometimes.
And you will probably prone to this especially when you suddenly stop counting.
You can eat all these foods without restriction, you can eat out anything you want, you can eat peanut butter out of the jar and don’t have to tell MFP.
So much freedom.
But I’m telling you, this will wear down.
After a few weeks, the forbidden fruit psychology will start working and you’ll learn that since you can have that anytime you want, you will only eat it when you actually want. And not at every opportunity.
And you will learn that if you eat a tub of ice cream at night after dinner, you will feel rubbish the next day.
Whether you’re counting or not.
And you want to feel good, so it will be natural.
It’s okay to still weigh something
Look, I’m not telling you to delete MFP account and bin the kitchen scales, okay!
One of the things that really helped me at the start was that I didn’t forbid myself from weighing anything, I didn’t tell myself that I will not track ever again.
During the first few weeks, I sometimes still checked the macros for the meal prep food that I was preparing for work.
I still weigh out my oats. Cause it’s easier. I don’t want to fuck up the consistency.
So if you want to play it by ear most of the time and when making pasta or sprinkling cheese on top, you want to weigh it out, that’s cool.
Soon, you’ll become more and more confident in trusting yourself.
Trust the process
Be kind to yourself, accept that weight-loss will not be a priority during the first few weeks but you will learn a lot more about yourself and work on your relationship with food.
And that’s impressive too!
And after a while, you know, stick to the basics, eat whole foods, make your meals balanced, insert treats here and there, eat more when you feel really hungry and enjoy life.
You will be fine.
Shameless Instagram plug: @sunshine__susan