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Counting Macros: Should You Take a Break?

By April 21, 2017Eat, Move, Think

IIFYM: If It Fits Your Mouth…?

If you’re not familiar with the term “counting macros,” it’s where you count the macronutrients you eat every day. You can use an online calculator to determine how many grams of protein, carbohydrates, and fats you should consume, and then, you count the macronutrients in each meal you have, either by hand, or by using an app (I use myfitnesspal). 

Before entering college, I counted my macros consistently for almost two years. I am a person who likes structure and doesn’t mind dealing with numbers, so I never saw it as an annoyance. 

I didn’t have a problem doing this in high school because I had structured eating times, and I always brought food from home. I just pre-weighed everything and I was good to go. At the time, this method served its purpose. No problems whatsoever. 

When I got to college, I had a much harder time doing this. I go to a city school, and a lot of social outings revolve around food. Sure, you can estimate calories here and there, but I prefer exact measurements, and I hated feeling stressed about going out with my friends just because I didn’t have the nutrition information.

The stress of being a full time student, having a job, running a student organization, and trying to keep up with friends started to wear on me as well. The last thing I feel like doing at the end of the day is coming home and having to cook/weigh my food. Can’t I just order Postmates? 

I said goodbye to my Martha Stewart food scale that I used for the longest time during my sophomore year of college and decided to stop counting macros.

At first, I kept telling myself I should still be able to count my macros. I would ask myself all of these questions: Why did I decide to take a break? Am I just being lazy? If I were truly dedicated, wouldn’t I just bring my meal prep tupperware when I go out with friends?

Those are all questions that I struggled with. But since entering college, I know that I have grown to choose my mental health and well being over physical appearance. If the current situation of counting macros in college is bringing me stress instead of enjoyment, then why am I doing it? 

Fit University has taught me that fitness is about overall wellbeing, not just about physique goals.

Since taking a break, my strength in the gym has actually improved. I eat out with my friends without feeling stressed. I am by no means saying that counting macros is a bad method, but for me, college is not the time and place I feel comfortable weighing my food. 

Taking a break from counting macros in college will provide you with a much needed mental break. You can enjoy going out to eat without worrying, or you can grab something from the dining hall without weighing it in public (yes, I have done this).  But most of all, during a time that’s busy and sometimes stressful, you will have one less thing to worry about. 

I am trying to live that balanced lifestyle that Fit University has taught me all about. It’s okay to take a break. If you don’t enjoy something, it’s most likely not going to be sustainable. Will I eventually get back to counting macros? The answer is: yes. Some of my goals will be better reached using that method. But for now, I want to enjoy staying fit in college, and that will mean something different for everyone.

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Author Rebecca Paul

Becca Paul is a Freshman at The George Washington University in the Columbian College of Arts and Sciences. She has a passion for fitness and for helping others. She is currently studying to become an ACE certified personal trainer.

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