Do You Need to Track Macros and Calories Every Day?
One of the main issues I've heard from clients over the years is that they don't want to track macros and calories every day. I get it, it seems like a fairly daunting practice to do every day.
You'll know, I always advise people to track their macros and calories. Especially if you're trying to lose weight easily and effectively. I also talk about changing your mindset on food, and why tracking is an important part of that process. Just because it's an important process though, does it mean you need to track macros and calories every day though? Let's go over quickly why tracking your macros and calories are important and then we'll dive further into that question.
Why is Tracking Macros and Calories Important?
Whether you're gaining weight, losing weight, or even maintaining weight, tracking macros and calories is an important factor in all of these. We know that macros in general are something important to look out for. Calories are as well when it comes to weight management.
When it comes to weight management, it mainly comes down to CICO (Calories in and calories out). This is true for gaining, losing, or maintaining weight. If you intake more calories than you're burning, you'll gain weight. Whereas if you're burning more calories than you're intaking, then you'll lose weight. Intake just as much as you burn, and you'll be maintaining weight.
Why Tracking Calories is Important
Tracking calories is important because depending on your goal, you'll need to track to ensure you're hitting your goals of calories and macros that will determine if you hit your goal weight. If you have a calorie range of 1700 and you just assume you're eating 1700 calories a day and you gain weight, you're going to think that you need to lessen your caloric amount. In reality, though, you might be eating more than you were expecting because you weren't tracking your calories or macros. Then you might really start eating way less than you need to and you'll drop weight, but you also may start dropping lean body mass as well.
Why Tracking Macros is Important
Macros are extremely important to track as well. When losing weight, the main goal should be to drop weight while limiting the amount of lean body mass being lost. Losing lean body mass is inevitable when losing weight but you would want to limit that. One of the main components of that is by eating enough protein throughout the day. Getting an adequate amount of protein throughout the day when cutting will help you preserve your lean body mass as much as possible.
Trying to calculate your macros? Check out the Macro Calculator here.
Tracking when Starting Out is Extremely Important
If you're just starting out, tracking macros and calories is extremely important to find out where you're at and how your body is responding to the new calorie intake. Maybe you hit your target of 2000 calories a day for a week but it hasn't made a difference. GOOD, now we know we can effectively cut some calories and try again the following week. We do know that 2000 calories weren't getting the job done and losing at the pace you wanted to lose. You can cut down to 1900 calories and maybe your body starts dropping .25-.5 lbs by the end of the week.
Only Eating What You Need to Eat
One of the main reasons I advocate to track macros and calories besides the reasons mentioned above is that you should only be eating what you need to be eating. If you're on a cut, and you can lose a steady weight of 1900 calories a day, there is no need for you to eat less than that. Why would you eat at 1600 calories a day unless you wanted to really speed up the process but this will also leave you being cranky and potential to lose more lean body mass? The same goes for gaining weight and bulking, if you can gain a steady weight at 2400 calories a day, why jump up more then that? You can eat 2800 calories but you'll only gain more fat in the process and not tack on that much more muscle.
Trying to find out how much you need to eat? Check out the Calorie Calculator here.
Do I Need to Track Macros and Calories Every Day?
Ah yes, the question we've all been waiting for. So the question is, do you need to track macros every day?
Short Answer: No
Long Answer: Well, it depends on your goals.
When You Don't Need to Track Every Day
If you're following the same diet and you eat the same things every day, it does become rather useless to keep on tracking the items you're eating. If you intake something that you normally wouldn't you can probably gauge if you're going over and under pretty easily.
The more time you spend tracking calories, the better you get at gauging if you're over or under for your maintenance. It honestly becomes second nature at some point.
When You Need to Track Every Day
I would say though if you're planning on just dropping weight for a competition or for a very specific goal, it might be worth to track every day to keep yourself in check. This will also keep you prepared and if you won't have any slip-ups.
Another reason to be tracking your calories every day is if you aren't making progress towards your goal. You may need to reevaluate your caloric and macro goals then. After you reevaluate, you would need to start tracking your calories and macros again at least for a week to see if everything is matching up and you're making progress towards your goal now.
Tracking calories and macros is relatively important, especially when you're first starting out with weight management. Whether if you're trying to gain muscle, lose fat, or even maintain. If you're starting with a new caloric/macro range it's best to track everything to make sure the range is good for you and you're meeting your goals. If you're following the same diet and you're eating the same thing every day, you can usually stop tracking until you hit a plateau.
However, if you're someone who is doing a competition or trying to hit a specific weight goal, it might be best to track your weight every day to not have any slip-ups and stay on track.