Happy Holidays! Let's admit, it's during this season that most people find it hard to track what they eat accurately especially when attending parties or going on vacation and you don’t know the calories of the macros listed on the menu. Don't worry, this is a normal natural part of life and it's not always predictable. Join me as I discuss some common mistakes in macro counting, how to properly use it as a tool and figure out the question behind the question to achieve balance between accuracy and enjoyability.
Find show notes at bicepsafterbabies.com/261
- Balance between accuracy and enjoyability (02:54)
- Macro counting (5:07, 7:29, 9:53, 15.33, 23:47)
- I should be eating healthy and other ways we keep ourselves stuck. (18:33)
- What are pressure languages (18:33, 21:39)
- Creating more options (18:33, 23:47)
You're listening to Biceps After Babies Radio episode 261.
Hello and welcome to Biceps After Babies Radio. A podcast for ladies who know that fitness is about so much more than pounds lost or PR's. It's about feeling confident in your skin and empowered in your life. I'm your host Amber Brueseke, a registered nurse, personal trainer, wife and mom of four. Each week my guests and I will excite and motivate you to take action in your own personal fitness as we talk about nutrition, exercise, mindset, personal development and executing life with conscious intention. If your goal is to look, feel and be strong and experience transformation from the inside out, you my friend are in the right place. Thank you for tuning in. Now, let's jump into today's episode.
What to expect in 2023 00:47
Hey hey hey. Welcome back to another episode of Biceps After Babies Radio. I'm your host Amber Brueseke and we are wrapping up November with a topic, the question that I get asked all the time and that is the question of “What do I do if I can't accurately track what I ate?” This is a question, I feel like most people go through this question as they start to track macros and it's a really important question to address and, and not only address the question itself, but what's usually behind the question, so that's what I'm going to do today on the podcast. Now before we dive into that topic, two things I wanted to mention: one, last year I took a break in December and we replayed some of our top Podcast episodes during that time period, during December, and it was really nice for me. It was really nice for you guys because you still got content and a lot of you guys missed some of the highlights from the year and so it was nice to replay those. And I really enjoyed rolling into the New Year having that nice break during the holidays. So because of that I am doing it again, which means during the month of December there will still be a podcast released every week. We are picking out the top episodes from 2022 so you can expect over the next four weeks some of the top episodes from 2022 will be replayed, rebroadcast, and that means that I get to spend a little bit more time with my family during the month of December. That means you continue to still get really great content and I promise that I will be back in January, renewed and ready to hit 2023 running. And the second thing a freeway to support Biceps After Babies Radio is by leaving a 5-star rating and review on Apple Podcast. It is a chance to tell you, tell me what you love about the show and it also helps other people to discover it too. So thank you for taking the 3 minutes to leave a rating and review on iTunes. It really does make a difference.
Balance between accuracy and enjoyability 02:54
OK, so let's dive into answering this question, “What the heck do I do if I can't track something accurately?” and this often comes up when people go out to eat and you go to a restaurant that doesn't have the, you know the calories of the macros listed. It happens when you go over to somebody's house and you're invited over for dinner. It happens when you go to parties. It happens when you go on vacation. In reality, it actually happens a lot. This is a normal natural part of life, is that it's not always predictable. And especially for my, like, type A type of people, this can really get on people's nerves because they have this idea on some level that the more accurate, they are the more successful they will be. And, and so that gets in people's minds and they kind of freak out a little bit over these, these more unpredictable situations, but this is life. Life is weekends. Life is vacations. Life is going out to eat. Life is going over to someone's house. And so I see a lot of clients coming up against feeling like I can be really successful when I'm at home, when I prepare all of my own foods, when I create all of my own recipes and yet I also want to live my life and go out to dinner, and go on vacations and be invited over to other people's houses for dinner and have that be a part of my plan as well. And I want that for you as well. I don't love the idea of thinking that macro counting’s gonna hold you back from going out to eat or going out on a date night or going over to a friend's house. Now, you know, I guess if you are a competitor, if you're going to a fitness competition, that level of like accuracy may be necessary. But that's not who I speak to in this podcast. I have to imagine most people listening, probably 100% of the people listening to podcasts are not fitness competitors. We're not to that level of trying to get to a, you know, 14% body fat and so I wanna talk about this balance between accuracy and, and enjoyability. Accuracy and living your darn life and being able to incorporate this tool into your life in a way that actually feels enjoyable and successful. And like you can find that balance.
Macro counting as a tool 05:07
I talk a lot about how tracking is a tool, and just like any other tool, there are many ways to use it and you know you think of something like, for example, a hammer. Yes, you can just like bang with the head of the hammer like we normally do, but you can also turn that hammer around and use the don't know what they call those like the tines of the hammer to like remove a nail and I've also used the side of the hammer if I wanted to like bang something into place. So there's lots of ways to use a tool. There's not just one like 1-1 right way to use a hammer. There's a lot of right ways to use a hammer. Same thing with, like our barbell. You know the barbell is the tool, but there's lots of ways to be able to use a barbell in different ways, and it's the same thing with macro counting. Macro counting is a tool, and there's not one right way to wield the tool or to use the tool. And this is a point that I make over and over and over again to my Macros 101 clients that the whole goal with this tool is not to use it in one way, as if there is only one way to count macros and you have to fit yourself into that one way, that's backwards, macro counting is a tool, and the more you can be familiar with the tool, understand the tool, see the different ways that you can use the tool, the more that you can decide, hey, I want to use the tool in this way because this is going to fit my lifestyle or I want to use the tool in this specific way because this is going to be more enjoyable for me. This is going to be something that I can stick to. And so the more you can understand, and this is a lot of what I teach inside of macros 101, is like the more you can understand the tool, let's understand the science behind it. Let's understand the different ways that it can be used. The different ways that it can be applied. The more you understand the different facets of the tool, the more you can make a really educated decision of how you would like to use that tool right now. What's the best way for you to use that tool? What's the most effective? What's the most enjoyable way for you to wield that tool in this situation for this goal that you're trying to achieve? So anytime you go into macro counting, saying this is the way it needs to be done. This is how macro counting has to be. I have to hit my macros. I have to eat 160 grams of protein. I have to, you know, lift weights this many days a week like I have to do it this way. I want you to take a step back and recognize that none of those are requirements. You don't have to do it anyway. Macro counting is a tool, the more that you can customize that tool to your unique body, your unique lifestyle, your unique goals, the more successful you're going to be in the long run.
The question behind the question 07:29
So with that as the foundation, let's go back to the initial question that I asked at the beginning of the episode. What if I can't accurately track something that I ate? Now what? Now my job as a coach is to figure out the question that's behind the question. So a lot of times the clients will ask me a question like this. OK, Amber, well, what do I do if I'm going out to dinner, and there's no, there's no macros that are listed. Now what do I do? As a coach, I could just address that question and come up with some ideas or come up with some like suggestions for them or give them advice and I could do that, right? I could answer the question, but what's more beneficial as a coach is to recognize that every time there's a question, someone's asking me, there's always a question behind the question and my job as a coach is to figure out what that question is. Why is this coming up as a question? And when we can get down to like the question behind the question, that's where really powerful coaching can start to take place. And the reason that a lot of people are asking questions like this are because of some assumptions that are often made, that aren't really great assumptions to begin with. So they're asking a question based off an assumption that isn't a great assumption, isn't a helpful assumption. So some of those assumptions that often people have as they come into macro counting. That you know you can check yourself and see do I have some of these assumptions? Am I operating under some of these assumptions? One of the assumptions that I see a lot of people coming in with is the more accurate I am, the more successful I will be. And this I think comes from a lot of people's dieting history. Because they've been told in the past, here's the rules, here's the dieting rules you know. Don't eat after 7:00 PM. You know, don't eat any processed foods. Stay within this number of points and so they come in and they've been told all their life, if you want to lose weight, just follow these rules and if you just follow these rules, then you're going to be successful. And if you're not following these rules well then that's, you need to suck it up and you need to follow the rules. Because if you want to be successful, you just need to, you know, follow everything to the letter and that's where success lies. And so people come into macro counting with that history, and some of that baggage of this idea that macro counting is very similar to all the other diets they follow in the past where there's a right way to do it and there's a wrong way to do it. And if they do it the wrong way, then they aren't going to be successful.
Common mistakes in macro counting 09:53
And that's, that's bringing what I like to call the Dieter mentality into macro counting. It's one of the biggest mistakes I see a lot of women making, is they bring this Dieter mentality, a way that they've looked at food. A way that they've looked at their relationship with food in the past and they bring it into macro counting, and they essentially turned macro counting into just another diet. With this idea, the more accurate I am, the more I follow these rules, the more I hit my macros, the more successful that I will be. And the reason that we know that this isn't actually true is because, well, first of all, I've talked to lots of women who have been successful. I interview, have interviewed lots of women on the podcast. You can go back and listen to a lot of them. And as interesting that as many women as I have interviewed who have been successful, who have lost weight, who have hit their goals, I've never, ever heard one of them cite accuracy as her secret weapon. Never. What do women talk about? What do women who are successful talk about? They talk about not giving up. They talk about keep going even when they like struggle. They talk a lot about that aspect of the journey. I hear very few people talk about perfectionism or or nailing their macros every single day as being the secret. In fact, I remember one of my podcasts with Melissa Porter, who ended up losing 55 pounds. She talked, she tells openly, she says, hey, there's in like those years that I was losing that weight in the time that I've been counting macros. I've never once zeroed out my macros. Never once. Not even one time and she lost 55lbs. So this idea that we bring into this process of like the more perfect I am, the more accurate I am, the more successful I will be. I actually find that that is backwards for a lot of people, because for a lot of people, the more accurate they are, the more perfectionistic they are, the more it feels overwhelming. The more it feels like it takes a whole lot of time. It takes a whole lot of effort. And the more likely they are to quit and the only way to guarantee that you will not get the results that you want, is to quit. And so I understand that and hopefully you understand that now too. And so you can approach everything from what is what is more likely to keep me moving forward. What is more likely to keep me going and what is more likely to make me quit and anything that's more likely to make you quit, stay far away from that and for a lot of you that's like this idea that I have to be perfect or exact with my macros, or have to track everything to the gram. If that makes you want to quit, if that is too overwhelming for you, if that is too much effort and time and energy put into this, don't do it. Because you quitting is the one way you will guarantee that you won't get the results that you want. And so this idea, this assumption that a lot of women make that the more accurate and the more successful I will be actually ends up making them less successful. Because they burnout and they quit.
First Assumption 12:53
Some other assumptions that people make that lead to this question of how do I track something that I don't, can't track accurately? Is this assumption that it is actually possible to be perfect? It's actually possible to be 100% accurate. And let's breakdown that myth a little bit right now. First of all, everything, everything on nutritional labels is rounded. Everything. You will never see any nutritional labels that say this. this product has 262.4 calories in it. Never. In fact, they usually round it to the nearest five, so you'll see like 240 calories or 245 calories, but not very often 243 calories. And that's because everything on there is rounded. The macros are rounded, the calories are rounded. Like everything is rounded on a nutritional label.
Second Assumption 13:47
The second thing is even, even if they weren't rounded, food has different color values. Even if you take an apple and both apples have, are 100 grams, there can be nutritional differences in those apples. There it, it just, there's it's not exact. There's nothing exact about saying every single apple that weighs 100 grams always has the same nutritional components, it's just it's, there's too much variation. It's just not how it works, and so understanding that it is actually impossible to be 100% accurate. You go to a restaurant. Those are notoriously inaccurate, right? Because the chef makes the dish once, they figure out the calories of it, and then different chefs make that same dish over and over again, and they may add less oil. They may add more oil, they may not care about how much they're adding. They may add less cheese or more cheese, or like it's so varied that it's important to understand and I don't say this to, like make you feel like what's the point then, like why am I even tracking it all right? But to break down this idea that it's even possible to be 100% accurate. You cannot be a 100% accurate. It is impossible, impossible. So if you are aiming for being perfect or you're aiming for 100% accuracy, or you're aiming to like track everything down to the exact gram and zero everything out, just know that even if you do that, it's probably not 100% accurate. And so hopefully that gives you a little bit of grace for yourself and a little bit of like, OK I can like take a deep breath that like perfection isn't even a possibility, so I'm not gonna spend a whole lot of time and like energy and effort in trying to be 100% accurate when that isn't even a possibility.
What does it mean if I can't track this accurately? 15:33
OK, so back to this idea that there's always a question behind the question, and as my job, as a coach, that is my job to help you to figure out. But if I'm not coaching you right now you can do a little bit of the same investigative work on yourself with a really, really good question, and that is the question of meaning. So a lot of times we make statements or we ask questions and what it's really coming from is an underlying meaning or interpretation that we are giving to the situation. So a great way to start to elicit that from yourself is to ask a question around meaning. You can ask yourself the question if you're coming up with like. Oh, how do I attract this? How do I like be the most accurate as possible? You can ask yourself the question. OK, Susan, if I can't accurately track this, what does that mean? What does it mean about me? What does it mean about my journey? What does it mean about my goals? What does it mean about this, you know success I'm going to have or not have and then so ask yourself that question and see what comes up. What does it mean if I can't track this accurately? What does that mean? And then listen. And think about it. Because a lot of us are telling ourselves stories, like if I can't accurately track this, then I might as well not track it all. If I can't accurately track this, then it means I'm not going to be able to be successful. If I can't accurately track this, then it means why am I wasting my time? If I can't accurately track this, then that means I should just stop tracking. So understanding what meaning we are creating around this can be really insightful and helpful as you're trying to move forward in answering your own question. Oftentimes, and I, whenever I say this, people, the number of people who like raise their hand of this experience is very, very high. How many of you have been tracking, tracked throughout most of the day you get to a dinner or you go out or someone drops off cookies or whatever myriad of unexpected events occur and you don't know how to track it. You know, it's like I went out and I didn't didn't know how to track it or we made a dinner and I didn't create a recipe and I didn't know how to track it or someone dropped off some food and I didn't know how to track it. And then what happens next? You stopped tracking. The number of times that that has happened, raise your hand if that has happened to you where you get to this point where you're like, I don't know how to accurately track this and so my decision is I just won't track it. That's where we go. That's all or nothing thinking, either I have to accurately track it or I won't track it at all. And if you remember before I said, the only way to guarantee you will not be successful is to quit. And that's essentially what you do when you say, well, I don't know how to track this so I won't track it at all, and that goes back to like what are you making it mean if you can't track this. That's an important question be able to answer for yourself.
Create more options 18:33
One of the things that I'm really clear on as a coach and something I'm often coaching clients through, is that a lot of our suffering, a lot of the things that make life hard, that make our journeys, our fitness journeys hard is a lack of options. So often when I'm talking to clients, they present to me they, you know, I don't like option A. And I also don't like option B, so I feel stuck. Because neither of these options seem like they're really great options, it's like either I, you know, track it really accurately. Which I don't feel like I can do because I'm going to a restaurant that doesn't have their calories listed or I don't track it at all. Which I don't also like, because now I'm not getting any information right? So it's like A or B. Both of those options are terrible and. So we feel stuck. So when you feel stuck, a good question to ask yourself is how am I limiting my options? Because stock is usually a feeling when we feel like we've run out of options. We don't have any other options to try, and oftentimes it's because we are limiting our own options ourselves. So if you want more progress and you want less frustration in your journey, create more options. I know that sounds really simple. But it's magical, when you feel stuck. Ask yourself what options am I currently limiting myself to and how could I create more options? I went through a really powerful exercise back in episode 164. It's called I should be eating healthy and other ways we keep ourselves stuck. I talked in that podcast episode about pressure language and I'm going to bring that, that same exercise that I walked you through in that episode into this situation to answer this question for you of what if I can't accurately track what I'm going eat? OK so we're gonna walk through the same exercise and it's one that you can use in a lot of areas of your journey, especially when you're using any pressure language. Things like I need to, I should be. Those are like, “need” and “should” are very pressure, it's pressure language, is putting pressure on yourself and most of the time putting pressure on yourself in a not positive way. OK, so anytime you notice yourself using pressure language, I should be doing this. I need to be doing this. I have to be doing it this way. That's all pressure language and it usually is because again, we're coming back to limiting our options like this is the one way I need to do it. I should do this, it this way, that's the one way I should be doing it, and I'm not and so now I feel, I feel bad about myself. I don't have any other options because I'm not doing the one option that I should be doing. Again, suffering is caused by lack of options. You want to have more progress. You want to feel less frustration in your journey, create more options for yourself. So what does that look like in practice? Essentially this question of like what if I can't accurately track something is a question around should, like how should I track it? That's essentially what you're asking me Amber, if I don't know exactly how many macros are in something, how should I track it?
How to change pressure language to a more option language 21:39
OK. “Should”, pressure language, should be a ding! A queue. Hey, I'm using pressure language with myself again. And So what we can do is we can change the “should” to a more expansive, more option language of “could”. So I often will use this with my clients and they're like, How should I do something? I change just one simple word from should to could. How could I track it? I'm going out to eat, there's no macros listed for the food. How could I choose to track this? Notice how that shift from should to could is expansive. It's like there's not just one right way to do this, and the honest truth is there is not just one right way to track it when you go out to dinner. There are actually lots of options, and when you start to realize that you start to feel less stuck, you start to feel less frustrated and you start to feel like, Oh, I have lots of options I could choose one. I could be intentional, I could just make a choice of how I could track this. It's not just one right way that you're trying to find. OK, so “How should I track it?” changes into “How could I track it?” Next up is from “could” to “can”. How can I track it? And if you pay attention to the language and how you feel as you say the language, “can” even feels more forward facing like it's a possibility for me to do it. How can I track it? OK, we're not done. Last step is the most important one, it's “How will you track it?” So once you come up with options, once you expand your mind that there's not just one way to track things, there's lots of ways, lots of ideas. Now it's about choosing which one you're going to do. How will I track it? That is, that is commitment language of I will track it this way.
The answer to the question 23:47
You see what happens is so often in our journeys people get into, they hit a fork in the road. I would say this, any experience where you feel like you don't know how to exactly track it, is a fork in the road. And people get stuck thinking that which fork in the road they choose is the biggest deal. Should I go left or should I go right? My gosh should I go left or should I go right? One of these ways is the right way to go and I'm fearful that I might go down the wrong path. What they don't realize is that what actually makes the difference is simply that you pick one of the forks. Either of the forks is better than what most people do which is turn around or sit down, and this is what happened when people say I don't know how to act like a track list, so you know what I'm gonna do I'm gonna not track it at all. Sit down, rather than saying there's a lot of ways that I could handle this situation. I could get really creative and come up with ten different ways probably that you could do your best to track a meal out. There's lots of options. But the option that won't get you anywhere is to sit down and not choose any of the ten options, and that's what a lot of people do. They say, oh, I can't accurately track it so I'm not gonna track it. Gonna throw in the towel. I'm not gonna track the rest of my of my, you know, food this today. OK, So what actually makes a difference is simply that you don't throw in the towel. This is one of these forks in the road. It doesn't matter which fork you choose, it just matters that you pick one fork and you move forward. Don't sit down, don't turn around. Don't sit there with your mind like thinking that there's only one right fork in the road. The women who are successful, pick a fork and keep moving forward and that is really what creates success is that consistent attention to and effort behind continuing to move forward, continuing to take action. It's never going to be perfect. It can't be perfect. Perfection is an illusion. It does not exist. You cannot be perfect, so if you spend all of your life trying to be perfect, you're a fool's errand. You're running a fool's mission. It's never going to happen. Perfection doesn't exist. There's not one right path to go down. The key is picking a path and moving forward, and so when you're stuck with these situations where you're like, I don't know how to track this, like how should I track this this, this food my friend brought over dinner, how should I, don't know how I track this. Remember moving from, How should I track this? to How could I track this? How can I track this? And then how will I track this? And making a decision and moving forward. The worst thing that you can do is throw your hands up in the air and just not do anything. Just stop tracking. Just quit. Just throw in the towel. That's never going to get you where you want to go. Making a decision, moving forward, doing your best, making your best guess, making your best estimate is always going to be more beneficial than just throwing in the towel. So moving forward, when you have that question of like what do I do if I can't accurately track? You now have a tool in your back pocket that you can pull out to give yourself more options and then to remind yourself that the key in these types of situations isn't to do it right, perfect, exact, even accurate. The goal is to make a choice and continue to move forward. To give yourself more options to expand the number of options that you have. Pick one and move forward. Don't sit down, don't turn around. Don't throw the towel. Don't quit. Pick one and move forward. That my friend, is the key to success.
I hope that you have a fantastic December. A fantastic holiday season. And I will be back in January with some more new content. Thank you for being here. Thank you for being a Biceps After Babies Radio listener. Thank you for sharing the podcast. Thank you for leaving ratings and reviews. It is such an honor to be able to be with you every week and be in your earbuds while you're driving while you're going for a walk or run or you're at the gym or doing the dishes. And I couldn't do what I do without listeners like you, so thanks for being here. Happy holidays and I'll see you in 2023. That wraps up this episode of Biceps After Babies Radio, I'm Amber, now go out and be strong because remember my friend you can do anything.
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