Read time: 4 minutes
By: Dr. Alli
Nothing can be more frustrating than deciding to start a nutrition program like counting your macros, and not seeing any progress.
If this is happening to you, you could be making one or all of these errors…
Be honest with yourself when reading this blog.
Are one of these critical errors responsible for your lack of progress?
1. Your calories/TDEE (total daily energy expenditure) should be much lower than you set them at.
You've decided to go about tracking macros on your own and need a starting point with your calories and macro targets. Your friend has been tracking their own macros for a few weeks and decides to guess at what you should set your number at. Or, maybe you download a tracking app, put in your stats and away you go with the number the technology spits back at you.
The problem I often see is that people overestimate their activity levels in a day, and thus their macros calculation is set far too high for their actual energy expenditure needs for fat loss.
They start diligently tracking away, and hitting the gym….. 2-3 weeks go by and NO progress is made.
They think "I guess macros just doesn't work for me…."
If you haven't had somebody set your calculation specifically for you, it should probably be lower if fat loss is your goal.
2. You are only looking at the scale for success.
A HUGE, massive, critical error when starting to count your macros is making your only marker of progress looking at your bodyweight on the scale.
If you are tracking your macros you need also to be tracking your body measurements, as well as other markers of progress like performance in the gym, how your clothes fit, energy levels etc.
The scale will never tell you if you've:
In fact, a week ago I got my hair cut and I weighed myself before and after, just to show what a joke the 'scale' is in actually telling me about my body. From pre to post chop (2 hours, no water and lots of hair later) I "lost" 0.5lb based on the scale.
What a joke the scale can be!
3. You have binge days & do away with all your previous hard work.
If you are meticulously tracking your macros, and doing a great job staying within your targets… but Saturday rolls around and that bottle of wine just drinks itself……you could be undoing all the hard work you've put in the week before.
Yes, unfortunately it can be that easy to put your body from caloric deficit into weight maintenance mode. Your body is a continuous, dynamic process and as such, your "bad nutrition days" cannot outperform your "good days" if you expect to see long term success.
4. You burn fat less calories on a workout day than you think.
After you have set your macros & you're ready to hit the gym to gain some muscle while shedding fat, you may think that you can 'burn extra calories' and then add those back in on your workout days.
This is a huge mistake!
Caloric burn estimates are wildly inaccurate. Your body is not listening to what your FitBit says.
You might think your 40-minute lift burned enough calories to justify an extra helping at dinner - but it didn't…. especially if you are someone who sits all day and works out frequently to 'make up for it.'
You still may be considered to have low activity during the day….. and any extra calories beyond your macros target can stall your progress.
5. You jump on board the pizza/donuts/'as long as it fits!' mantra
Yes, you can eat whatever you want when counting your macros. So long as it fits your daily targets, you will see progress. However, the quality of food should not be ignored just because you see the #iifym attached to pizza, donuts, cookies & beer on your insta. Ignoring high quality foods is certainly a detriment to your health, and will eventually catch up to you as you loosen up your weighing, measuring and tracking.
I like to coach people to follow the 80/20 rule. 80% high quality foods - vegetables, lean meats, fruits…and 20% food that they consider indulgent. Starting to count your macros is not an excuse to add back in pre-packaged, processed and high sugar foods.
If you think you're making one or all of these errors, I'd love to help you. please visit my inquiries page and shoot me a message.
Yours in health,
- Dr. Alli
I am currently accepting 3 people for a 12 week fat loss program! If you're ready for a change….. commit to yourself and to me for 12 weeks and see what your body can do!
Dr. Alli Cain Team
Our mission is to act as a catalyst for as many people as possible to make a meaningful change to their health.