If you’ve been tracking your macros for a while, you may have wondered:
“What comes after tracking macros?” or,
“How can I apply the hard work I’ve put into tracking macros to the rest of my life?”
Let’s introduce two distinct concepts: Intuitive eating and intentional eating.
What is the difference between these two? Which one is right for you?
Let’s chat about it.
Although some people feel comfortable tracking their macros forever—many don’t. And that’s okay. There is no right or wrong way. The best option is always completely individualized and based on your goals.
There are some instances where precise tracking is very helpful:
There may also be times when you want to take what you’ve learned while tracking macros and apply it to life beyond tracking. You can begin to build more self-trust and use the knowledge you’ve developed to make choices that support your goals without relying on your food scale or tracking app.
Tracking macros is like reading a textbook. It involves nitty-gritty, down-and-dirty numbers. Tracking macros can help you learn more about what is in your food and teach you what portion sizes look like. Tracking can also allow you to confidently answer, “What is the optimal choice for me, given my goals and options?”
After spending some time tracking, however, you can put your textbook away and use what you’ve learned in everyday life through intuitive and intentional eating.
Now we’ll introduce the principles of intuitive eating. Intuitive eating asks you to listen to and honor all body signals at all times—no matter what. It asks you to respect true hunger and fullness cues. Developing and honing these skills takes time, practice—and a whole lot of self-trust.
Intuitive eating is a long-term approach to eating, especially if you’re wondering if macros are forever.
Intuitive eating might be right for you if:
Things to watch out for when eating intuitively:
Intentional eating bridges the gap between tracking and intuitive eating.
This is often a shorter-term approach to eating that allows you to stay aware of what your body is asking for and honor those needs in a way that also helps you move toward more specific health goals.
It requires a bit more mindfulness (aka - intention!) with food choices than intuitive eating. For example, if hunger is higher, intentional eating asks you to bring more attention to foods that make you feel fuller instead of denser foods that may leave you more hungry.
Intentional eating tends to be best for:
Things to watch out for with intentional eating:
So, which is right for you?
At WAG, we’ve found that most members spend most of their time using some form of intentional eating. Some of the most common situations we see for those who are putting away their food scales but staying intentional with food choices are:
If you’re feeling a bit of tracking burnout but want to continue working towards your goals, intentional eating may be a great fit. It will help you:
If you’ve already reached your goal and you’re feeling confident in your ability to listen to hunger and fullness cues (and doing so allows you to maintain at your current body composition or performance output), you’re likely already eating intuitively.
Make sure to stay in communication with your WAG coach if you have any questions about life after tracking. Not part of #teamWAG yet? Working with a coach who will get to know you, your goals, your preferences, and your lifestyle can help you move from tracking to intentional eating to intuitive eating while feeling great in your skin and confident in your choices!
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