Updated: Nov 14
Macros Counting vs. Portions vs. Intuitive Eating
There are some things just about everyone knows. Take this one: To lose fat, you need to watch what you eat.
But knowing how to monitor food intake? That’s something clients really need. Only it can be hard to know the best approach.
Some experts tell you to count calories or meticulously measure every macro. Others encourage you to estimate portions. Still others want you to “listen to your body.”
Sometimes it seems like the entire health and fitness industry is divided.
But guess what? Measuring Macros works.
Tracking hand portions? Also works.
Mindful eating? Intuitive eating? Yep, those work too.
You get the picture: All these methods work. (If implemented well.)
The real question: What’ll work best for you… right now?
Most people don’t realize how much they’re eating.
Case in point: Research shows folks often under-estimate their food intake, sometimes by as much as 30 to 50 percent.
(You’re probably not shocked by this.)
There’s a well-known fix, of course: food tracking.
Hand portion tracking
These methods act as “external guides” that can help you eat the right amounts of food for your body at the right intervals.
Do that long enough and you’ll begin to retrain your body to better regulate the hormones that tell you when you’re hungry and full.
Think of these food tracking methods as nutritional training wheels.
They give you the guidance and calibration you need to achieve balance on your own.
Some people need these training wheels for longer or shorter periods of time or require a combination of tracking strategies to find their balance.
But ultimately, the goal is to shed your training wheels—or external guides—and move towards knowing what, how much, and when to eat without militant tracking or monitoring.
Macro counting work well for…
Most people. Tracking your calories or macros can help you learn more about your current eating habits. It also gives you a better understanding of appropriate portions. Once you have the hang of it, you can transition to hand portions and, eventually, self-regulation.
In this system you use your hand as a personalized, portable portioning tool. You’re not actually measuring your food, but rather using your hand to gauge portion size. And because each hand portion correlates to a certain number of protein, carbs, or fat, this method counts macros for you. (See Picture Below)
Mindful and intuitive eating
Mindful eating means paying attention to the experience, feelings, and sensations you have around eating. Practices like eating slowly and eating until 80 percent full are a part of mindful eating. Instead of focusing on eating certain types or amounts of food, mindful eating teaches you how to regulate your food intake by noticing how your body and mind feel when you eat.
Intuitive eating is a similar system, but it rejects “diet” messaging and culture. Intuitive eating wasn’t originally intended to achieve a specific body composition goal, but rather to improve your overall relationship with food.
Both approaches involve learning how to tell whether you’re hungry or not, know when you’ve had enough, and be at ease with food.
Consistency is what’s most important.
And remember: Think beyond the food
Food is important, but it’s not the only thing that matters. That’s true even if weight loss is your goal. A well-rounded program will focus on not just nutrition, but also on:
Getting more quality Sleep
Improving your outlook and mindset
So that you are thriving in all domains of health.