Can Restrictive and Obsessive Behavior Come From Macro Tracking?
The most common objection to macro tracking is that it can fuel unhealthy, obsessive habits within those prone to eating disorders such as anorexia, bulimia, and those that restrict their food intake.
The detractors argue that the attention paid to weighing, measuring, and recording your intake becomes too restrictive to be positive.
Is this true?
I understand the concerns, but I believe these fears are easily addressed.
In my own life, in addition to tracking my food intake, weighing, and measuring myself, I maintain an unspoken rule that if circumstances have me stumble upon an important meeting, spontaneous friend gathering, or a meal with a loved one, then this is a perfectly valid reason to adjust my tracking for the day.
At the conclusion of whatever popped into my life, I can step back and reassess my macros for the day or rebuild for the following day.
In other words, I not only allow spontaneity in my diet; I encourage it.
The detractors of macro tracking or calorie counting (within the flexible dieting framework) mistakenly believe that the goal of macro tracking is to force your eating behavior into a rigid plan. They miss the point!
Macro tracking isn’t about constraint – it’s instead about thoughtfulness.
It’s a simple habit that forces you to continually assess whether what you’re eating is aligned with the present goals you have for yourself. It’s the process of asking that returns results, not unyielding rigidness. And those with such thoughtfulness as to what they’re eating daily get the additional return of actual numbers to measure their progress.
Remember, what gets measured, gets managed.
For example, what is a financial budget?
It is a thoughtful expression of what you’re using your money for daily. And the return is you get to see real numbers and whether they match your goals or not – and if not, the ability to manipulate the numbers, strategies, or tactics in your favor to get on the right track.
In actuality, those that have the willingness to track their caloric and macronutrient intake, while also being adaptive to modifying their eating plan as necessary, possess MORE creativity and freedom than one that adopts the traditional unstructured approach of eating everything with no measure of intake at all.
Without structure, it’s easy to go over your calorie limit for the day, eating shallow foods, and then not make the physical goals that you set for yourself. It’s like trying to find a location out of state without a map or road signs. You’re never going to get there on time, and you’ll be frustrated the whole way.
With the structure of weighing, measuring, and tracking, however, you can ensure that your body is getting the nutrients it needs while getting to the goal that you desire for a fixed period – the type of commitment that will more likely get you to your destination.