Have you ever felt like you’re doing EVERYTHING you possibly can on your weight loss journey and yet the scale is just not moving?! You’re tracking your macros and working out regularly, but your measurements aren’t shrinking and you’re wondering WTF gives?! I know, I’ve been there and it’s the living WORST.
One thing I see a lot of (and it’s something I used to do too), is people wanting to find the “culprit” to blame. We start hyper fixating on things that aren’t usually the problem. It typically looks like blaming our sodium intake or our sugar consumption, when really the problem could be something much simpler. And that’s what we’re talking about in this blog – how to stop blaming things that aren’t the problem and actually get back on track with your weightloss goals!
If you want to read this… well, keep on chuggin’ along! 😉
If you’d rather watch/listen, catch my YouTube video on this very topic here.
Think Horses, Not Zebras
A couple years ago, I saw a doctor on television talking about how to know if you’ve got Covid or the flu during flu season. She used an analogy that if you’re sitting inside and you suddenly start hearing the sound of hooves outside, it’s more likely to be horses than zebras. So her phrase she continued to use was “think horses, not zebras”, and her point was to encourage her audience to focus on the obvious answer first (in her example, the obvious symptoms of the flu versus Covid). And I thought that idea made so much sense in terms of a weight loss journey too!
If you’re not losing weight and you’re trying to figure out WHY – think about the most obvious solution first (aka the horse). Sometimes when we’re struggling to lose weight we are quick to blame sodium, or sugar, or gluten, or WHATEVER the trending culprit is… But sometimes the reason you’re not losing weight is that you’re just eating a little too much. Period. Now you might be thinking “Hannah, I track every damn day! I’m NOT eating more than I should…” But one thing I frequently see that could be holding you up too, is not tracking the little things throughout the day. It’s honestly SHOCKING how quickly little things can add up to pretty significant calorie amounts. So let’s work through a real-life example to see if this might be where you’re getting stuck…
A Day in the Life of a Macro Tracker: Why the Little Things Matter
Okay major unpopular truth here… but coffee creamer and olive oil have calories. I know, LAME. But many people don’t think to track little things like their coffee creamer and cooking oils, and maybe you’re doing this too. You’re adding a little dab here and a little dash there, but you’re not tracking any of it. You might be wondering “what’s the big deal?” And that’s a fair question because it’s really not a big deal here and there. BUT (and that’s a big but), if it’s a regular occurrence for you, it is likely why you’re struggling with your weight loss goals.
Let’s Walk Through It
Here’s what an average day of not tracking “the little things” can look like, starting with your morning coffee creamer. A regular, run-of-the-mill coffee creamer runs around 30 calories for ONE tablespoon. But let’s say your go-with-the-flow pour averages you around two tablespoons, putting you at roughly 60 calories. And while yes, 60 calories in isolation is NOT a big deal, let’s see how it plays out in the grand scheme of things…
Now it’s lunch time at work and you’ve got your bomb ass salad, but you forgot your homemade dressing so you borrow someone else’s. You throw it on there without counting it because “it’s just a little dressing right?” NOPE. Unfortunately, an average salad dressing is going to run you between 100-160 calories for a MUCH smaller portion than you really want to realize (like a tablespoon or two).
And let’s say at dinner time you’re throwing some chicken on the grill and you’re brushing each piece with olive oil (YUM) but again – you don’t track it. Unfortunately, cooking oils are one of the most common foods that are unaccounted for in terms of calories because it’s SO easy to forget to track it. But just one tablespoon of olive oil is 120 calories of pure fat. And just because it’s healthy fat doesn’t mean it doesn’t count towards your macros… sorry not sorry. Whether we like it or not, our bodies don’t care if we’re slamming 120 calories in broccoli or 120 calories in olive oil. It’s still a unit of energy, and it still counts towards daily macros.
So at this point, we’ve reached a MINIMUM of 260 extra calories in just one day. When these little things go untracked every day, it adds up and prevents you from achieving your weight loss journey goals.
Bring it Back to the Basics
So if something’s not working in your weight loss journey, instead of jumping the gun to blame the sodium, or the sugar, or you forgetting to drink your detox diarrhea tea… check your daily habits to see if you’re potentially missing something and eating more calories than you realize. If you’re trying to accomplish goals and you’re using macro tracking to get there, you’ve gotta track what you’re consuming. It is what it is. Otherwise, all of your other hard work isn’t going to be paying off, and that freaking SUCKS. So set yourself up for success, and take a look at your daily habits.
Don’t hate the messenger here, but just because you don’t track something doesn’t mean it doesn’t count.
For example, if you’re a gum chewer and you slam a pack of gum in a day, you can easily be consuming 100 calories more than what you’re tracking. Love ketchup with your fries? Agreed, it’s DELICIOUS… but you still gotta track it. If you’re putting anything in your mouth that doesn’t have zero calories (so basically water), it counts towards your overall calories and macros.
Of course, this doesn’t mean you can never go over your macros or calories. If you decide to go over some days, that’s OKAY. It’s not about being perfect and sticking to the gram every damn day, but it IS about being aware of what you’re doing and what your daily habits are. If you’re consistently not tracking things, they’re going to add up and make an impact on your weight loss journey goals.
You CAN still enjoy the things you like. That’s literally the entire point of finding a diet that’s flexible and having someone to help you with your macro tracking (shameless plug!). BUT, if you’re not seeing results and you’re finding there’s a lot of little side things you’re not keeping tabs on, you might need to make an adjustment before diving deeper and blaming other potential areas. The truth is, sticking to macro tracking only when you feel like it and then being disappointed when the results don’t happen, isn’t fair. You can’t give 80% and expect 110% results.
So How Do You See Results?
The first question is “are you being honest with what you’re tracking?” If not, that’s OKAY! You didn’t do anything wrong, and you’re not failing. Maybe you just didn’t know or realize how quickly the little things add up. So now’s your opportunity to start being more mindful, and start with the simple stuff first (aka being aware of the bites, licks, and tastes instead of demonizing an entire food group for the rest of your life). Focus on getting your nutrition on point. Your water and sleep on point. Work on getting your stress under freaking control. Because once you start handling these basic things (aka the horses), then we can dive deeper into the other things you want to work on (the zebras).
If you want to learn more about tracking macros, check out this blog here! As always, feel free to send me a message on Instagram or contact me. I’m here to help in any way I can, and I’d love to hear from you!