Dear Macros, I’m breaking up with you. Well, sort of. Somehow I thought this day would never come and to be honest, I’m still a little besides myself about it. I’ve been tracking macros consistently for almost 5 years. 5 years!! Can you believe that? If it weren’t for My Fitness Pal glitching out a while back and not letting me track my food that day, my streak would be God knows how many days right now. For so long I was so proud of the streak I had going and really have never done something day and and day out for so long. It’s going to be a difficult mental transition but I truly believe it’s time to start a different journey. It’s not you, it’s me. Time to regain my sanity.
This is kind of a tough post for me because although I truly believe that tracking macros works, I know it’s time for me to transition over to eating mindfully.
How It All Began
When I first started tracking macros I was very excited because the thought of being able to fit all kinds of foods into my diet sounded fantastic. No cutting carbs or fats. No insane amounts of protein. No chicken and broccoli every meal. No tilapia and salad all the time. I could eat pretty much anything I wanted as long as it fit my numbers. Oh let me tell you, you can make almost anything fit if you really put your mind to it. So, of course, it has a positive side. Especially with all of the different diets out there, it was nice to be able to eat just about anything in moderation. I relied on a coach to keep me accountable and guide me through the process.
Like most people, I was skeptical about this. I mean, how could I lose weight while still eating desserts and non-clean foods. Well, 7 months later I was the smallest I’d been since probably middle school. The transformation was insane. I was hooked!
My first reverse diet went really well and once I built up to a pretty decent amount of calories, I decided I wanted to do a show and compete. I spoke to my coach, we outlined a plan and went full steam ahead. I don’t want to say that prep was easy because it definitely had it’s moments but because I had built up to a good amount of calories in my reverse, my body adjusted well to the lower calories and I didn’t have to do an insane amount of cardio or starve myself in the process. I had a good coach who knew what he was doing and always put health first. I think because I had a goal set and my eye was on the prize, it was easy for me to do all the things I needed to do to get there. My diet was on point and I hit all of my workouts as best I could.
Come show day I was ready and ended up placing first. I decided to do another show that was scheduled for a couple weeks later since I was already that lean and won first in that one as well. I was beyond happy and proud of what I had accomplished. Although I did well, I didn’t feel that drive that everyone talks about when you step on stage and such. Don’t get me wrong, it was a great feeling but I just didn’t feel that fire that I think a lot of the girls I know and follow feel. That love for stepping on stage and competing. I will say that I love watching the sport and have a true appreciation for it because it’s not only a physical challenge but mostly a mental challenge. To diet down and train as hard as possible while doing that isn’t easy.
Post Competition Dieting
After my competition, I reverse dieted slowly until I was back to a good weight. This is where things started to get a little tricky. Even though I was eating more than I had in the months prior when I was cutting, I felt an almost uncontrollable hunger. I’ve always been a big eater so I thought this was pretty normal. I feel like God forgot to put the “I’m full” mechanism in my body because I can seriously wolf down a ton of food and still go for a second or third plate and be fine. Well, this hunger kept growing and growing even though I was eating plenty of food. I was constantly hungry. Recently it’s been to the point where eating (even if I just ate) became all I could think about.
When is my next meal? What am I gonna eat? How much am I going to eat? I felt obsessed with food and a little out of control when it came to it. I mean literally all I could think about from the moment I woke up to the moment I went to sleep. In fact, I started staying out of the house for as long as I possibly could so that I’d somehow stop thinking about eating. Well, things just kept getting worse and worse and I felt consumed by the thought of food. This made me feel a little crazy and out of control. I felt embarrassed and a little ashamed at the lack of control.
My anxiety was through the roof and it was all food related. The thought of eating out, eating more, going over my numbers, gaining weight, still being hungry and a ton more things were giving me the worst anxiety.
Bye Bye Macros
Well, 4th of July was the last day that I tracked. I haven’t really opened up My Fitness Pal since then and it’s been a interesting week. I haven’t told anyone yet and have kind of just been seeing where this journey will take me and figuring out how to overcome this obsession with eating. I think it’s interesting how certain things come across and I don’t know if it’s luck or fate but Stephanie Buttermore came up on my feed as a suggested follow and for some reason I felt the urge to click on her profile. This was about a week before she started the #allin movement. The things that she started talking about shortly after I followed her were exactly what I had been feeling for the last few months.
Constant and uncontrollable desire to eat. Always wanting to eat more even though I had just finished eating and never really feeling satiated. While looking at her posts and videos I found a few other people that had been through something similar and started taking a look at what their journey was like. It felt pretty good knowing that I’m not the only one out there and that I hopefully won’t feel like this forever.
Is this what I would call an eating disorder? Even though I don’t want to take it that far, I definitely think so. My eating although balanced, healthy, and nutritious and without restrictions (other than hitting my numbers) felt disordered. Since I’ve stopped tracking, I’ve been eating mindfully and letting myself go outside of my usual boundaries. There are definitely things that I haven’t completely let go of yet like weighing out certain items like my nut butters but everything else I’ve pretty much just eyeballed.
It’s been pretty freeing but at the same time still gives me a little anxiety but much less anxiety than I was feeling a couple weeks ago. I feel as though everyday is better as far as my thinking about food although I’ve definitely had my moments where I have looked at myself in the mirror and just felt like “am I doing the right thing?” “what will I look like in a month?” “should I start tracking again?” the list is endless.
The good news is that as each day has gone by, I’ve thought a little bit less about food. So, in a way it’s like a break-up for me. Everyday is a little bit better and I think a little less about it. My hopes are that soon I will just be back to what I feel is normal and think about food only when I’m actually hungry. This is a new journey for me and probably not going to be an easy one.
Macros Served Their Purpose
Just to be clear, I am not bashing tracking macros in anyway here. In fact, I learned so much from tracking that I feel that I can eat mindfully in the right way just from doing it for so long. Tracking taught me how to really take a look at a food label and make quality decisions. I learned how to diet and eat properly for my goals and that there are no good or bad foods. I learned that you can without a doubt enjoy all kinds of foods in moderation and that carbs are not the devil. I learned what an actual portion size looks like and that I can eat out without completely losing sight of my goals. I learned that you really can’t out train a bad diet and that you don’t have to restrict foods. I learned that cheat meals don’t have to be just that but that you can incorporate not so diet friendly foods into your diet without killing your progress.
No matter what, this is my time to get my head back together and figure things out. I’m excited and a little terrified all at the same time. So, here goes nothing! It’s not you, it’s me…let’s get this party started!