One of the more popular methods people use to lose weight these days is counting macronutrients, a method that tracks the amount of protein, carbohydrates, and fat you eat every day. Rather than counting calories, counting macros is said to be a healthier, more effective way of tracking the food you're eating and how that contributes to your weight loss because it looks more at nutrients.
Although there's certainly nothing wrong with counting macros — it can offer useful insight into your overall diet — it may not be the best, most sustainable way to get your health on track. Julieanna Hever, MS, RD, CPT, certified plant-based dietitian and health and fitness expert, explained to POPSUGAR why you might want to take a step away from your macro calculator and instead develop a more holistic relationship with your food.
"We eat food, not nutrients," Hever told POPSUGAR. "If we can focus on eating whole, nutritious foods and stop worrying about how many grams of fat or how to avoid carbs or how to get more protein, we can look at the quality of the entire food." She said "all intact foods" — that is, natural, whole foods — have some combination of carbs, protein, and fat. If you stick to whole foods that are entirely unprocessed, your body will never be begging for any of the major nutrients.
When it comes to weight loss, Hever points out that vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and legumes "are not only the most nutrient-dense foods, they are also the most calorically light foods." That's why adopting a plant-based diet might be the smartest choice if you're trying to shed a few pounds. Hever highly recommends going back to the basics and learning the true nutrition of real food, because that's when your body can function at its highest capacity and arrive at its most optimal weight.
"Eating a plant-based diet has been consistently shown to reduce risk of obesity, and people eating plant-based diets tend to be leaner," Hever added. "Most importantly, when eating a variety of the healthiest foods on the planet — vegetables, fruits, whole grains, legumes, nuts, and seeds — you can easily get a balanced intake of nutrients with foods that also are the most powerful at reducing risk of disease."
As always, speak to your doctor before making any drastic changes to your diet. In the meantime, it definitely wouldn't hurt to add more whole foods to your diet . . . just to see if it makes a difference in how vibrant you feel.