A few years ago when I was working toward getting a little leaner, I started tracking my calories and macronutrients. I allotted myself a daily amount of the three macronutrients—protein, carbohydrate, and fat—and I did everything in my power to consume that exact amount every day. In order to do this, I was measuring and logging every morsel of food I consumed, using a food tracking app on my phone.
It took a lot of work, and I erroneously believed that anything so involved surely had to be effective. At first, it was new and interesting, but any excitement I had about tracking and logging foods wore off after about a week. Soon, I saw it for exactly what it was: nothing more than a huge hassle.
I was spending a ridiculous amount of time each day hunched over my phone, trying to figure out what I could eat that would fit those numbers, and then meticulously planning meals around those foods and numbers.
In fact, my thoughts revolved about foods and numbers practically all day, every day.
Tracking foods quickly exacerbated my already-problematic scarcity mindset around food. I panicked as I watched my “allowed” daily caloric intake decrease with every food that I added into my app. I lived in a perpetual state of worry that I would still be hungry but not be able to have any more food that day because an electronic program said so. Seeing which foods I could “fit” into my daily macros was like playing a bizarre game of Tetris; one that I could never seem to win.
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