We get asked this all the time, “Do I really need to weigh and measure my food?”
If you’ve decided to commit to tracking your macros, then the answer is YES! Like anything in this world, the more precise you are, the more accurate you are and so it follows, the better the results! Of course, there needs to be some balance, we don’t want you to drive yourself crazy or be that guy at the restaurant with your scale on the table. But when you have access to a kitchen, we recommend you weigh and measure your food to improve the results you’ll get from tracking macros.
So what do you need to get started? Well, we like the Ozeri Pronto Digital Scale that is less than $10.00 on Amazon prime! But any digital scale that has several units and tares will work.
Cooked or Raw?
A common question clients have at the outset is when they should be weighing their food. You will find that there is a difference in weight between foods once they’re cooked versus when they’re raw. We’ve found that veggies can incur at a 10% decrease in weight once cooked and protein can weigh around 20% less. So for the purposes of tracking, the macronutrient information you’re provided with on nutrition labels and in the app is typically for food in its raw form. So if you’re weighing your food once cooked but tracking the food as raw, then you’re actually consuming a little more than what you’re accounting for. Don’t worry though! Despite this difference, we still like to weigh our food once its cooked because it’s more convenient. If you choose to do this and want to account for the difference you can do that, or you can just pick one method and keep it consistent.
Side note: at restaurants the weight they give you for protein, for example 8oz sirloin steak, is the weight of a steak pre-cooked! Remember it’ll weigh about 20% less once cooked.
Weigh or Measure?
We weigh EVERYTHING! I mean, how many times has your “tablespoon” of peanut butter looked more like a scoop of ice cream? (ummm every day!). Often when we use cups and then weigh our food on the scale, we find that we’re over with our measuring. The same can certainly be said for eyeballing too. No matter how much practice we get at weighing, it’s easy to be thrown off a lot simply by guesstimating.
Like we’ve said before though, do not drive yourself crazy, consistency and finding what works for YOU is key! Life is all about finding balance. Maybe you decide you can weigh everything Monday through Friday but give yourself a little more freedom on the weekends to guesstimate or eyeball.
The Benefits of Tracking Macros
At this point you may be wondering if counting macros is for you. And I don’t blame you! It’s certainly not effortless, but it can provide you with some amazing results and a ton of flexibility. It’s really not like any other diet because no food is off-limits. Here are some of the main reasons we encourage our clients to try out tracking macros.
What gets measured gets managed
Learning how to improve your health and nutrition means stepping up to the plate and managing your behaviors. The more you track, the greater your chance of reaching your goals. Think about how you make progress in the gym. If you don’t know how heavy your last 5RM deadlift was, how do you know what to put on the bar next time? How do you expect to get stronger if you’re never adding more weight on the bar?
Practice makes perfect
Yes! We know it’s an old cliché and you might even counter with “perfect practice makes perfect.” Well when it comes to tracking, we don’t even need you to be perfect, but we do need you to be persistent. Remember what your first day in the gym felt like? Don’t forget that what seems hard now, will some day feel like a warm up.
It’s better to track something versus nothing at all
Building awareness about what you’re eating helps you to adjust your perspective. You’ll naturally start to ask yourself whether you really want that cookie or whether you want to fit into that older pair of skinny jeans for your high school reunion. Moreover, you’ll develop the willpower to resist short-term enjoyment in favor of long-term gain. You will see food in a new light and develop better behavioral practices because of this. Most of the time that people struggle with their nutrition it’s because they suffer from an “all or nothing” mindset. Tracking no matter what and learning how to allow yourself indulgences will ultimately change the way you behave around food.
You can be flexible!
It’s why we have found tracking macros to be the most sustainable and successful “dieting” method out there. Provided we hit our macros at the end of the day, we can eat what we want, when we want. Being able to adapt the way we eat according to what is going on in our lives – appointments, training, dinner dates, birthday parties – has given us freedom to enjoy foods we love with the people we love AND still feel confident in the skin we’re in.