Whether you’re trying to lose weight, bulk up, or improve your overall health through nutrition, macro-tracking diets have become a popular option. You may know them as IIFYM diets, which stands for “if it fits your macros.” In a macro-based diet, foods are broken down into three macronutrient groups: carbs, fat, and protein. You set a target for each macro, based on your fitness goals and a daily caloric budget, and then plan your meals accordingly. The basic idea is that you can eat whatever you like as long as it fits within your macro limits.
Macro-tracking diets rely on the fundamental principle that to lose weight, you have to burn more calories than you consume. Because they don’t require you to cut out entire food groups or make drastic changes to your diet, they’re generally a safe and effective option.
Downsides of Tracking Macros
Tracking macros can seem intimidating at first, but it’s not as complicated as you might think. In fact, any potential downsides are easy to overcome with the right tools. And it’s worth noting that many of the aspects of macro tracking that people don’t like would be true of almost any diet. For instance:
Tracking what you eat. A macro-tracking diet won’t work unless you log the foods you eat. Fortunately, you don’t have to carry around a journal to write down everything you eat; instead, download the Lifesum app onto your phone so that you can enter your meals in seconds. You also won’t have to calculate or track your macronutrient goals yourself; the app does all of the math for you.
Planning ahead. When you are serious about tracking your macros, you may find it’s easier to hit your goals if you map out your meals ahead of time. Meal planning doesn’t have to be a time-consuming process, though. Lifesum gives you unlimited access to a large collection of delicious recipes that will work with your diet plan. You’ll even get personalized recommendations.
Adjusting your diet. You can’t expect macro tracking to be effective if you don’t make any changes to the way you eat. However, macro tracking doesn’t require extreme measures. Instead, it encourages variety, moderation, and gradual but lasting changes. Use Lifesum’s built-in rating system to help you make healthier choices at restaurants, grocery stores, home, and parties.
Sticking with it. Tracking macros can help you lose weight, but results won’t be instantaneous. When you aren’t seeing the scale move as much as you’d like, it can be tempting to eat less in the hopes of faster results — which is bad for your overall health. Make it your goal to be healthier, not just thinner, and stick with your diet. Lifesum will let you know if you’re eating too little to stay on a healthy weight loss track, and offers several tools to keep you motivated and making better choices.
With so many helpful tools available to supplement and simplify macro tracking, it’s hard to come up with a reason not to try it.
Is Tracking Macros Safe?
Not only is macro tracking easier than you might think, but it’s also a very safe and effective approach to dieting. Here’s why:
It encourages a balanced diet. The core goal of tracking macros is to ensure that your body is getting all of the macronutrients it needs. Macro tracking helps you keep your diet balanced, with healthy proportions of protein, fat, and carbs.
It is more nuanced than calorie counting. No matter what diet you choose, quality matters at least as much as quantity. Macro tracking accounts for this fact better than calorie counting, which judges food by calories alone. When you track your macros, you’ll be eating food from all three macronutrient groups.
It can be an eye-opening experiment. Although macro tracking won’t give you the whole picture, it can still provide valuable insight into your eating habits. Even if you only track your macros for a few weeks, you’ll walk away with a better understanding of your diet.
It offers more flexibility than other diets. With a macro-based diet, you can still eat your favorite foods — in moderation — while still seeing weight loss results. You don’t have to follow a super-restrictive diet, and you have room to adjust your diet each day.
It can support long-term, healthy changes. Tracking your macros can help you learn how to maintain a healthy balance of fat, carbohydrates, and protein. You will also get a better sense of how much food you should be eating each day to lose or maintain your weight.
Tracking Macros With Lifesum
If you’re new to tracking macros, Lifesum can help. Our app includes both a calorie counter and a macronutrient calculator that makes it easy to keep track of your macros. Plus, when you use the Lifesum app, macro tracking will only be one part of your health journey. We offer several tools and features to help you take a balanced, long-term approach to your health and fitness goals.
Diet Plans. Lifesum supports 12 different in-app diet plans that you can pair with your macro tracking. Choose the one that suits you best, and your macronutrient goals will be tailored to your goals and preferences. Not sure which to pick? Our plan test will recommend the perfect diet for your needs.
Daily Ratings. Our daily ratings system provides feedback on the foods you eat, noting pros and cons to help you focus on quality over quantity. For instance, it might note that a food is high in protein and low in sugar (good) but is also processed and high in sodium (bad). Each food — as well as your overall day — will be assigned a corresponding emoji to show how well you chose.
Habit Trackers. You can also motivate yourself to make healthier choices with our habit trackers. Use the fruit and veggie trackers for an extra push to meet your macro-tracking goals with whole foods rather than processed snacks. Eating more fruits and veggies will help ensure that your body is getting the vitamins and minerals it needs to thrive. The app will even give you tips throughout the week to help you meet your goals.
Macro tracking may not be the right fit for everyone, but it can still be a good tool for weight loss and other fitness goals. Just be sure to pair your macro-based eating plan with basic healthy-eating principles so that you’ll reap the full benefits.
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