How to Do Keto Without Tracking Macros [19]

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Part one of a two part series dedicated to doing keto without tracking macros. Today we discuss ditching the tracking app by blending keto diet principles with intuitive, mindful eating practices. 

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Hey there, Tasha here. Welcome back to the show. I hope you guys are having an awesome week so far because I have been! I’ve been having such an amazing week because the sunshine has actually been showing up in the Seattle area. And if you know anything about Seattle, all the rumors are true. It’s rainy, it’s dreary, it’s gray. And this week, the sunshine is out. And it’s been wonderful actually getting outside. Any excuse to get outdoors? I am there. So I hope things have been going as good for you on your end as they have for me on mine. And now the last couple of weeks we really focused on keto macros. A pretty deep dive, actually, to cover how to calculate, what to make of the numbers, what they mean, and what to actually do with them. Right. And we talked all about tracking macros last week, where you have your macronutrient goals and tally them through the day as a way to measure them out and help align with your goals. If you listened to those episodes, we all know by now that tracking isn’t 100 percent necessary for keto, and it might not actually be a good fit for everyone either. So if you’re unsure of who is a good candidate for tracking and who’s not, you might want to check out last week’s episode just for a little bit of clarity.

So as promised, this week, I’ll be sharing strategies for how to do keto without tracking. And I have plenty to say about this. So I’m actually going to break this up into a two episode series as well. And really, these are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to nutrition and eating habits, because there’s no cookie cutter way to go about this stuff. There’s no right way or wrong way to do these things. So I just like to talk about it all and give perspective to the situation, because that will help you uncover what works best for you. Right. You’ll go through your own process of trial and error and find the sweet spot. Find the Goldilocks: just right. I talk a lot about macros because that tends to be the language of ketogenic diets. It’s just what most people tend to emphasize when it comes to keto. That’s because when it comes to getting into ketosis and staying in ketosis, the carb macro drives this all. So when it comes to carbs, fat and protein, altogether, all of those macronutrients together.

Some people do really well with various specific numbers to target and goals to stay with it. So calculating and tracking macros is a really popular option for keto. But for many, many, many, many people, these numbers become obsessive. Right. They’re treated like law or rules that can’t be broken and ultimately create unnecessary stress around eating a keto diet. And if any of that sounds familiar to you, I want to offer insight into alternative approaches. If low carb, keto eating makes you feel great, but the tracking makes you feel horrible, there are ways to reconcile the conflict without driving yourself crazy.

My first suggestion is to simply stick with keto-supporting foods. So we know for keto in general without any specific numbers we’re working towards, that we have this general dietary pattern that’s low in carbohydrates with adequate protein and it’s a bit higher in fat compared to most high carb dietary patterns. And based off of this general keto pattern, we can find foods that fit within those parameters, right? Foods that support ketosis are low carb foods. Foods that support your body composition are rich in protein. And then you have a little wiggle room left over for foods that are higher in fat. So you choose these types of foods, build your meals around them and boom, you’re probably doing something pretty pretty close to keto.

And if you think about it, that’s the same thing you would have done with tracking, too, right? You would have selected foods that you understand to be supportive of a ketogenic state. You’d opt for the low carb versions of things, and those all tend to be higher in protein and fat. Then you’d log it into your little tracking app and it would give you the exact breakdown of everything you ate for the meal. That feedback from a little calculator that just reinforces that you ate something with carbs, fat and protein. Now those numbers of carbs, fat and protein could potentially help you choose your next meals for later on in the day. Or they could send you spiraling into some sort of panic mode because it was way more than you thought or not nearly enough. Whatever your reaction to the feedback, the macronutrient breakdown of the meal would be pretty much the same for that meal, whether or not you logged it into an app, right? Like be real with yourself. How different would it be if you chose to log it in your app or you chose to go with your gut instinct? Now, remember, I’m not saying that tracking is bad for everyone. I’m just saying that tracking isn’t necessary for everyone. And if that feedback loop that happens every time you eat something makes you feel like a garbage person instead of driving positive behavior change, then consider taking a break from tracking or ditching it altogether. Instead, select foods that are lower in carbs and eat to satiety. Those two things are key. Selecting low carb foods and eating to satiety, or basically just eating until you get full. OK. So in this scenario, instead of technology-based feedback mechanisms like your app, you have a built-in mechanism in your body.

You already have a feedback loop that you were born with. OK. When you eat and get full, that’s your body sending you signals for you to stop eating. OK. You do not need an app to tell you that. You don’t need an app to tell you how much to eat and what you’re eating. And if you’re doing a good job, you need to listen to your body.

Ok. The problem, though, is that most of us in today’s society are not really actually tuned into the feedback that our body is giving us. So we eat really fast while we’re driving or sitting in front of a TV. We barely chew our food before we swallow it and gulp it down. Seriously. We’re supposed to chew our food 30 times before we swallow it. And most of us are nowhere near that. Be honest with yourself. Like next time you sit down for a meal, chew your food and count how many times you’re actually chewing before you swallow. And you’re going to be really surprised because it’s probably nowhere near 30 times. Especially if you have a habit of eating really fast. And we’re just really out of touch with how we’re supposed to actually be eating. So we’re barely chewing our food. We’re totally zoned out doing other things at the same time, you know, we shove food in our mouth, swallow it before we’re supposed to, then we head back for second helpings, thirds even. And before we know it, we’re so full that we hurt. We’re in pain because we’re not just full, we’re stuffed to the limit.

You know, we’re just completely stuffed. And then we do it again and again and again and again until that’s just how we eat. Right? And we eat well beyond our bodies needs when we do this and how we gain weight. And then we go on all sorts of diets to try to correct it. And tracking macros is kind of an intervention for this. Right. Like it can be a huge wake up call to see how it all adds up. Like how many carbs are we actually eating or how much protein in comparison to the fat and the the energy balance of our days and whatever. Right. So tracking can be helpful and it can really be eye-opening for a lot of people. But if we just worked on tuning into our body’s hunger cues in the first place, we probably wouldn’t need a little computer telling us what to do. We wouldn’t need to track macros. We wouldn’t need to go on diets.

So instead of tracking feedback, I would say that listening to the feedback that your body gives you at a meal is a superior intervention. And I really do think that everyone should do this, honestly. You can do both, of course. Of course you can. If you’re tracking macros, you can also do this. But if you really struggle with the numbers and you’re hoping that keto will deliver results for you, then you especially need to focus your attention on the elements of your meal beyond just the low carb foods you’re choosing, right? The who, what, when, where, why, how, how much? All of it. And this practice is called mindful eating. People sometimes refer to it as intuitive eating, but there’s actually a whole anti-diet philosophy that accompanies that phrase. And honestly, both really resonate with me to a certain extent. But mindful eating is what I think we’re missing from our eating behaviors as a whole. And actively practicing mindful eating can be a great way to align your food intake with your goals without the tracking. Developing an awareness of what’s going on with and around your meals can be an incredibly effective way to change your eating habits–keto or not.

But if you select foods that support keto and apply those mindful eating practices to your meals, you’ll see a difference. You’ll be able to do keto without tracking macros. Low carb foods are the guidelines that direct your initial food choices and the mindful eating practices guide your intake. Now it takes practice, but if you listen to your body, it can give you all the feedback you need to make healthful decisions about your food. And you can do this with any dietary pattern. Like I said, keto or not. So if you have yet to start keto, but you want to make changes to your eating, consider starting here. If you can take charge of your eating in this way. Who knows? Maybe you won’t need to subscribe to any kind of diet at all. It really depends on what your goals are. But if you’re struggling with your weight, a lot of times our food behavior is just as much at fault as the foods that we’re eating.

I really love this approach because it also reinforces that we’re choosing to eat healthy because it makes us feel good, as a practice of self-love. And dieting? Obsessively tracking and counting and measuring and you know the drill. That doesn’t always feel like a practice of self-love. Right. That kind of feels like self-hate and loathing and a weird compulsiveness–that’s generally how that tends to manifest itself. OK, so with overly restrictive diet mindset and habits, you can go kind of in a terrible direction with all of this.

And I know that’s not always the case, but I have to bring it up. And I want to discuss it with you here, because if it does ring true, then it’s better to hear it now than continue on down that path, OK? And you could honestly make things a heck of a lot easier on yourself instead. Now, mindful eating can be kind of challenging in our environment where we’re constantly distracted and we’re always on the go and we’re so busy and we’re always trying to multi-task and do things. Just being in the present here and now can be a little tricky. I won’t lie, it takes practice. But to become a more mindful eater, you really need to start paying attention to your hunger and eating patterns first and foremost. So just ask yourself these questions. How often do you get hungry? Can you tell the difference between hunger and an appetite craving? When are you hungry? Are you actually hungry or are you eating because it’s lunchtime or dinnertime? Are you truly hungry or are you eating because you’re stressed, bored, sad or tired? Why are you eating? Are you eating because you’re hungry? Or are you rewarding yourself or celebrating? Are you just thirsty? Right. Are you eating just cause maybe there were bagels in the break room or a free candy in the dish at the register? Why do you stop eating? Do you stop eating because you’re full or because you’re stuffed? What are you eating? Are you eating foods that support your health and align with your goals or something else? And how are you eating it? Do you scoop the spoonfuls of peanut butter straight from the jar to your mouth? Did you scoop out your halo top ice cream serving into a little bowl and eat it like that? Or is that straight to the container until it disappears completely? Are you paying attention to your meal or are you distracted? Are you talking on the phone while you eat? Are you watching TV? Where are you eating? Are you on the couch? At your desk? In the car? Are you sitting at a table with a plate of food or are you somewhere where you’re not actually supposed to be eating? Do you know how many peanuts you ate during the movie? Or are you elbow deep into that container? And finally, how many times did you actually chew your food? You see where I’m going with this?

Now instead of tracking something like macros, consider keeping a food journal about your food awareness. Take notes on your answers to some of those questions I just asked and you’ll learn a whole lot more about your eating behavior. Just jotting down the who, what, why, when, where, how and how much, will give you so much insight into your eating. And that awareness will help you build better habits. That feedback will help you improve and work towards better nutrition as a form of self-care and breakaway from that diet habit and mindset. All right, guys, I hope you found that to be helpful. That’s all I have for this week. Next week, I’ll be diving in to meal planning because that’s another strategy that you can use to align your goals with your eating habits without actively tracking every bite you take throughout the day.

All right. I’ll see you next week. Bye.

Thank you so much for tuning into this episode of the Ketogasm podcast. You are awesome. I really hope the shows added value to your keto journey. Making big changes to your eating habits can be a little tricky, but if you’re taking the time to listen and learn about keto, you’re well on your way. You got this. Be sure to visit Ketogasm dot com for the show notes with full transcripts, references and resources to help you out. Including a totally free course called Hello Keto. It’s helped over seventy five thousand people start keto with confidence. I’ll see you in the next episode. Bye.

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Hi, guys! Welcome back to Easy Keto with Tasha. As you know, macros have been our hot topic lately. We’ve covered what macros are and how to calculate them in Keto Macros Demystified [E17], and we broke down what to do with those calculations in Tracking Macros 101 [E18].

It’s safe to say you’re set on macros. But what about those of you that realized macros aren’t a good fit for your lifestyle? Have no fear; today’s episode is all about strategies for doing keto without tracking macros!

Can You Actually Do Keto Without Tracking Macros?

Despite what the keto police might say, there really is no right or wrong way to do things. It’s much more important to find what works for you and your goals as opposed to what everyone else is telling you to do.

Macros are heavily emphasized in conjunction with keto. But this is more so because restricting your carb macro is necessary for achieving and maintaining ketosis. 

However, tracking all of your macros is not mandatory. Some people love using specific numbers to help them meet their goals. But many other people treat macros like law and end up causing themselves a lot of unnecessary stress.

How to Eat Keto Without Tracking Macros

If you’re looking for the easiest way to eat keto without tracking macros, just focus on consuming keto-supporting foods! As you recall, keto generally consists of low carbs, sufficient protein, and slightly higher fat. The goal is to choose your foods based on these guidelines.

Opt for foods that are low in carbs to support ketosis. Support your body composition with foods that are rich in protein. Round out these meals with a bit of fat. Use your gut-instinct and understanding of keto to decide your meals.

This approach is very similar to tracking your macros. You would have selected foods that supported keto, then added the macro values up to determine what else you could eat during the day. Tracking might have helped you stay on track, or it might have sent you into a panic because the numbers did not meet your expectations.

Listening to Your Body’s Feedback

You are born with a feedback loop. When you eat and get full, this signal tells you to stop eating. You don’t need an app to tell you this! You can trust your body to guide you.

Unfortunately, many people practice behaviors that make it a lot harder to listen to the feedback their body is sending. Eating fast while driving, being distracted during meal times, and barely chewing are food can all contribute to missed signals. 

To test yourself, count how many times you chew your food before swallowing. We’re supposed to chew 30 times! Realistically, most of us are nowhere near that. This is contributing to getting stuffed, eating beyond our bodies’ needs, and gaining weight.

Tracking macros can help cut down on this missed feedback loop. But remember, this is something you were born with! You don’t need to track your macros to listen to what your body is telling you. To do keto without tracking macros and the feedback it provides, you have to practice tuning into your body’s hunger cues and listening to that feedback.

Mindful Eating for Keto

Mindful eating, also known as intuitive eating, is the ultimate anti-diet philosophy. Truthfully, it is something most of us are missing. Through actively practicing mindful eating, you can align your food intake with your goals. It is the perfect way to do keto without tracking anything!

Select foods that support keto and practice mindful eating behaviors. Low carb foods are the guideline that direct your initial food choices, and mindful eating practices guide your intake. With practice, you will be able to listen closely to your body and utilize what it tells you to make healthy decisions about food.

This approach also reinforces the idea that choosing to eat healthy because it makes us feel good is a form of self-love. Meanwhile, dieting and obsessively tracking and getting upset when things don’t align does not necessarily feel like self-love. For many, restrictive diet mindset and habits can turn into a form of self-hate, which we absolutely do not want!

Like everything else, this is specific to the person. Some people flourish with tracking macros and following stricter guidelines. Others would do better in a lenient setting. If this rings true to you, it’s better to start now than continue down that path any longer!

Mindful Questions to Ask Yourself

It can be difficult to navigate your diet in our easily distractible environment, especially when you’re attempting keto without tracking macros. This is especially true if you are practicing to be more mindful. To combat this, consider asking yourself these questions while you eat:

  • How often do you get hungry?
  • Can you tell the difference between hunger and appetite craving?
  • When are you hungry?
  • Are you actually hungry, or are you eating because it’s lunchtime or dinnertime?
  • Are you truly hungry, or are you eating because you’re stressed, bored, or tired?
  • Why are you eating?
  • Are you eating because you’re hungry? Or are you rewarding yourself or celebrating?
  • Are you just thirsty?
  • Are you eating just because there were bagels in the break room or a free candy dish at the register?
  • Why do you stop eating?
  • Do you stop eating because you’re full or because you’re stuffed?
  • What are you eating?
  • Are you eating foods that support your health and align with your goals or something else?
  • How are you eating it?
  • Do you scoop the spoonfuls of peanut butter straight from the jar to your mouth?
  • Did you scoop out your Halo Top ice cream serving into a little bowl and eat it like that? Or is it straight from the container until it disappears?
  • Are you paying attention to your meal or are you distracted?
  • Are you talking on the phone while you eat? Or are you watching TV?
  • Where are you eating? Are you on the couch? At your desk? In the car?
  • Are you sitting at a table with a plate of food, or are you somewhere where you’re not actually supposed to be eating?
  • Do you know how many peanuts you ate during that movie? Or are you elbow-deep into that container?
  • How many times did you actually chew your food?

Food Journal

Consider keeping a food journal about your food awareness. To start, take notes on some of the previous questions. This will help you uncover your eating behavior.

Writing down the who, what, when, where, how, and why will provide tons of insight into how you eat. This awareness ultimately will help you create better habits and break down your diet mindset. 

The best part is that there is no right or wrong answer. You’re doing keto without tracking macros; there’s no specific values you have to stay within. Instead, you’re sharing feedback with yourself and practicing some self-care.

Further Resources

How to Read a Nutrition Label on Keto [E15]
Keto Foods List: What to Eat on the Keto Diet
Keto: A Woman’s Guide & Cookbook

Timestamp

Intro
1:52 – Can You Actually Do Keto Without Tracking Macros?
3:44 – How to Eat Keto Without Tracking Macros
6:38 – Listening to Your Body’s Feedback
9:38 – Mindful Eating for Keto
13:02 – Mindful Questions to Ask Yourself
14:46 – Food Journal
Outro

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