• Sara O'Malley

Why I Count Macros Over Everything Else

Macro counting. Keto. Weight Watchers. Atkins. Paleo. There are so many ways to "diet". I was recently asked the question on Instagram, "Why macros over every other diet out there?", and it made me think. This wasn't something I could explain in one Instagram story.

First of all, I want to address full-on diets. The TRUE meaning of the word diet, according to Meriam Webster, is, "food and drink regularly provided or consumed by one person or group of people". However, the secondary definition is, "a regimen of eating and drinking sparingly so as to reduce one's weight". Sadly, the majority of the earth's population thinks of the second definition when they hear the word. I don't believe in restricting yourself. I believe in changing yourself. Changing your habits, changing your patterns and changing the way you look at food.

It's no secret that I have had a horrible relationship with food and my body for some time. Through therapy and some personal revelations, I have discovered that I do my best when I am not dieting, but staying on track with healthy eating habits and exercise.

Therefore, I do NOT have any interest in these two diets:

1) Keto/Atkins. I just calculated the amount of carbs a keto diet would allow me, and it said 38. I'm sorry. What? 38 carbs a day? That's less than one meal for me! That is insanity. Carbohydrates are one of the macronutrients your body needs. Literally, your body needs a bulk of carbs every day to function. Carbs are used for energy. When you don't have carbs, your body goes in to ketosis and uses energy from that.

The symptoms are bad breath, fatigue, inability to perform sexually (WHO would want this?!), insomnia and digestive issues. I'm sorry, but that doesn't sound like the lifestyle I want to live, and it definitely isn't something I could stick to. And that's why so many people lose so much weight on keto. You starve yourself of nutrients your body needs. And you lose weight - (yay?)! And then you go out of ketosis, start eating normal again (which wasn't great in the first place), and gain it all back. No thanks.

2) Paleo. If you don't know, the main things you eat on a Paleo diet are red meat, eggs, full fat oils, leafy vegetables, etc. You can't eat: bread, pasta, dairy, no alcohol, corn, potatoes, peanuts, peanut butter. I'd die.

I mean, it's named after the Paleolithic people, so people actually ate like this, right? Yes, but the average age of the Paleolithic human was 35 years. I'd like to live past my child's 10th birthday. This diet can be good in the short-term, sure. Just like keto, it can help you drop weight. But in the long run, people eating Paleo are eating high amounts of red meat and saturated fat, which causes them to have premature heart attacks and high blood pressure. They also aren't getting any whole grains, which help regulate gut health, therefore creating rot and high stomach acid, where your stomach eats itself. Yeah... I'll skip all this.

Here comes the big argument: why not Weight Watchers? I have a ton of friends doing WW right now and having success with it. That's awesome! I lost 40 pounds on WW when I was 14. It honestly helped me kick start my weight loss journey, and I loved it and the community it gave me as well. However, it doesn't work for me anymore.

Weight Watchers is a binge/over eater's nightmare. Why? The 0 point foods. I know it has changed a lot since I've last done it, but from doing a little online research and Facebook stalking, these foods are 0 points still:

Most Fruits


Most Vegetables

On one the plans, boneless skinless chicken breast is zero. WHAT?!

This is why Weight Watchers works for most people. They have horrible eating choices before, even if they weren't eating a lot, they weren't eating the right things. Making these foods 0 points is a way to incentivize eating them.

However, for the binge eater... I would be 500 pounds. Unlimited eggs? Do you know how high my cholesterol would be? How many grams of fat I'd eat in a day? FRUIT?! There are 35-40 carbs in one large banana, 25 in an apple, mango is like off the charts. My body would turn into a carb. For someone who is trying to maintain their weight, this would be too much freedom for me, and I would overeat.

(Weight Watchers is a GREAT program and I've seen many have success! I just don't think it would work for me now since I've developed binging problems.)

So, folks, THAT is why I count macros. My macros add up to around 2100 calories a day. So, yes, I'm counting calories, just like WW points. However, I'm making sure I get a certain amount of those calories from protein, fat and carbs. There are NO foods that are off limits with macro counting. There are also NO foods that are "free" and you don't have to track. It is a no-brainer for me. I don't have to remember the list of foods I can't eat. I track everything I eat, and feel good about it at the end of the day.

This doesn't work for everyone. And there's no one-size-fits-all program to maintaining or losing weight, but you asked why this works for me. And why other diets don't.

What eating program do you follow, and why do you like it?

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