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?
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.
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
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Hi, I'm Tasha–nutritionist, recipe developer, and multi-published cookbook author.