I have had quite a few questions about counting macros on the keto diet so wanted to do a quick post about it!
First of all, in case you aren’t aware, macros are fats, proteins, and carbohydrates.
If you are eating a ketogenic diet then your macros are going to be something like 5-10% carbs, 20-25% protein and 70-80% fats.
Sometimes people talk about these percentages in terms of grams – so it would like 30g carbs, 70g protein, 170g fat per day (for example).
When I first started eating keto I tracked everything using myfitnesspal. It’s an easy to use app that is free. In the beginning, it really helped me to track my macros because I had no idea what a high fat, low carb diet looked like!
But the thing about tracking your macros is, it can send you a little crazy. Well, it did me anyway. You end up spending quite a lot of time every day writing down what you eat and totaling up the macros of every bite of food that passes your lips.
There were times were I’d sit there letting my food go cold while I furiously typed in every little thing on my plate. Or I’d try to map out everything at the beginning of the day and end up feeling like I was eating like a robot.
So although tracking was helpful in one way, I also knew that it was not how I really wanted to be spending my time in the long run.
A huge reason for starting eating keto was that I wanted freedom in my diet – freedom to enjoy delicious food, feel satiated, lose weight and be able to focus on other, more important things in life.
So here’s the deal with tracking macros on the ketogenic diet:
I highly recommend moving away from tracking your macros as soon as possible, or even better, simply not tracking them at all.
But how do you do this?
There are various ways that you can stay on top of your macros without tracking.
First of all, once you are in ketosis and you know how ketosis feels, it becomes very easy to be aware of how you are feeling and know whether you need to eat more fats, or less protein etc. This, for me, is the holy grail. Eating intuitively and reaping all the benefits of a low-carb, high-fat diet.
The simplest way to do this is to follow this formula for your meals in the beginning:
Eat 3 meals per day.
Fill half your plate with vegetables. Add a palm-sized piece of protein and add 3 tablespoons of fat per meal.
If you are hungry in between meals, eat some fat bombs, or a fatty tea/coffee or a small piece of protein (for example a boiled egg).
Now, as I said, this is an incredibly simple formula and is best for anyone who just wants to think of food as fuel.
If you have not yet experienced ketosis or if you like to have more variety in the way you eat and still ensure you reach ketosis, I highly recommend these weekly keto meal plans from Leanne Vogel. Every Tuesday you get a week’s worth of keto meal plans in your inbox, including recipes and a grocery list. There are also variations for anyone with food sensitivities and options for carb up meals.
Another thing you can do is to keep a journal. I use and recommend this app on my phone. You can take pictures of your meals and write a little note underneath about how you felt before and after eating, or just journal in which ever way you like. Start with the basic meal formula I have written above, and keep a note of what you eat and how you feel each day.
This really helps you to begin to understand how different foods affect you.
I love this approach because it will guide you towards knowing and understanding how to nourish your body so you feel great.
Finally, you can set a time limit to tracking. Decide that you will track everything for the first month, but as soon as the month is up make sure you delete your tracking app! After a month you will have a great idea of what foods have what macros in them, and you will be able to ‘eyeball’ your meals from then on in.
I truly believe that in order to have success on the keto diet, you need to think of it as a way of life. I did not want to be counting macros for the rest of my life!
The truth is that every day will be different, and the more you can feed yourself according to what your body needs as opposed to what the numbers say you should have, the better you are going to feel in the long run.