Like any lifestyle change, when you first start out, there will be some difficulties and growing pains that go along with learning the process. This goes for macro tracking as well.

Here are 5 common tracking difficulties those new to tracking may encounter.

  • Going Out to Eat at a Restaurant

  • Weighing Out Foods

  • The All or Nothing Mindset

  • Database Entries

  • Zero-ing Out Your Macros

Going Out to Eat at a Restaurant

Tracking is pretty easy when making every meal at home, where you can weigh everything. But, that is not how life tends to work for most. Sometimes we stop and get lunch somewhere or go out for a nice dinner with friends. Don't let tracking stop you from enjoying life. Here are some tips to help!

  • Plan ahead - See if the restaurant has nutrition information on their website or online menu.

  • Bank some calories - Plan to eat a little lighter during the day to "bank up" some macros to spend on dinner. That way, you aren't as concerned about going over.

  • Prioritize protein early in the day - Carbs and fat are extremely easy to find when going out to eat. It's protein that can be hard to come by when we are out of the house. Try and get the majority of your protein target consumed before leaving for dinner, say 60-70%.

  • Estimating is fine - Try your best to estimate what is in the dish. Either break it down by ingredient or try or find a similar meal and track that. It's best to overestimate than under. Meals out are usually much for calorie-dense than you think. Can you still be compliant if you try to get as close as possible? Of course. Consistency > Perfection.

Weighing Out Foods

Weighing your food takes out the guesswork of knowing how much you are eating. It may seem daunting at first, but soon it will become a maintainable habit. This is where a digital food scale can help.

All or Nothing Mindset

The all-or-nothing mindset can manifest in a few different ways.

Have you ever "dieted" and eaten something "bad" like a donut and then just gave up being on your diet for the day? Or, maybe you missed a day or tracking and felt like giving up for the rest of the week.

It is important to recognize that when you begin tracking, there will be some days you mess up. We are human after all and life happens. That is part of the process of learning anything new.

If you go over on your macros by noon, keep tracking. If you missed tracking yesterday, start tracking the next day again. Doing this is building healthy habits and keeping you consistent.

Don't think short-term. This is a lifestyle. It's long-term habits that get you to your goal. Not one day.

Database Entries

When using the food database in Carbon, you may run into the issue of multiple entries for the food you want to track. At first glance, most of the results look like good candidates to track. We recognize how this can be confusing. We recommend choosing one that most similarly aligns with the food you are trying to track. If multiple entries align, we recommend choosing one and consistently using this entry in the future. Here is an article discussing this more in-depth.

Zero-ing Out Your Macros

What does "zeroing" out your "numbers" mean? Zeroing out means you hit all 4 targets (calories, protein, carbs, fats) perfectly, resulting in all zeros when selecting the "remaining" tab on the diary.

It may seem like a fun thing to do, especially if you wish to post it to the Facebook group. Still, we want to make sure you understand that zeroing out your numbers is unnecessary to use Carbon effectively.

The three reasons zeroing out is unnecessary are:

  • There will always be some slight margin of error when macro tracking.

  • It's unrealistic to expect someone to modify meals to the extent needed to achieve zeros every single day.

  • It is not a healthy habit to consistently be doing. We often hear of people going to the kitchen to eat three almonds, weigh out 3 gummy bears, or take a shot of olive oil. Those habits can, unfortunately, turn into long-term issues.

It is still important to get as close as possible without obsessing, which is unrealistic and unnecessary. Because of this, we provide an acceptable range for compliance at check-in. If you end up zeroing out a day for fun, it happens naturally, or it helps with your weekly compliance, that's great, but don't feel like progress is lost if you aren't able to!

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