Mindfulness or Macro Counting: Which is Better?

I’m often asked to provide nutrition information for my recipes. Honestly, I’m torn…

Yes, one of my main missions is to provide recipe inspiration for easy, real food and I do this to be helpful. I get that it is helpful for some people to have the nutrient breakdown of the foods they are eating.

But here’s the thing:

Counting nutrients in order to restrict them (calories or “macros” such as carbs, protein or fat) AND eating mindfully are mutually exclusive. You really can’t do both.

In my opinion, the only people who need to be counting anything are people with diabetes who take insulin, which is dosed on the amount of carbohydrates eaten. (BTW, this can be done while eating mindfully.)

The rest of us would benefit more from practicing mindful eating without counting anything. Estimating calories is notoriously inaccurate even when we try. And research supports that dieting for weight loss is not sustainable and may lower your metabolism. Hence, if I provide nutrient information, I worry the information will be misconstrued and misused–and you will end up worse off.

I do not want you to manipulate numbers and obsess about your food, which robs you of a significant amount of time, energy and joy–and can negatively affect your health. Rather, I want you to enjoy a more mindful, natural approach to eating.

I believe you can enjoy a more mindful, sustainable approach to eating when you mainly choose real foods from nature and use your hunger and satiety (along with blood sugar monitoring if necessary) as a guide to building long-term healthy eating habits (and other habits beyond food-related ones).

How to Take Action

  • If you’re a carb counter for insulin dosing and there’s one of my recipes you’d like me to analyze for carbohydrate content, please leave a comment and I will be happy help you.
  • If you’re a “macro” counter for other reasons, I hope you will consider another more liberating approach to meal time. You might want to start by learning more about the 10 Principles of Intuitive Eating. Intuitive eating addresses mindful eating plus many other important topics, such as rejecting a “diet” mentality and focusing on non-judgmental, self respect. (If this resonates with you, there is also a book and a workbook.)
  • If you’re not a “macro” counter, good on you! But maybe you struggle with the other extreme: “winging it” with meals throughout the week. You might want to reconsider implementing some meal planning. The best way to be mindful about what you’re eating is to plan ahead to eat a variety of real foods during the week.
  • Start small: pick one meal and prepare a recipe to divide into portions for several days of the week. The weekend is the perfect time to meal prep for an hour or less to get ahead of the week. Have a good one!
Easy Egg Cups
Easy Egg Cups
Baked Oatmeal Cups

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.