Why Your Macros Are Your Speed Limit

family at dinner table with woman laughing

I might be sort of a crazy person, but I love thinking of analogies to help people become better eaters and one of my favorite analogies involves a rule that we all love to break. I’m talking about speed limits.

But what do a speed limit signs have to do with nutrition? Quite a bit. When you see a speed limit sign that says 55mph do you do 55 exactly? Probably not, right? I don’t, but what I do make sure of is not going too far over or too far under that limit. 

See, I love the idea of thinking about food in terms of speed limits because just like there is a sweet spot for the speed we go where we don’t get in trouble, there is a sweet spot for our food intake as well. In the case of our driving record, insurance rates, and our safety, it’s important to be in a specific range. We get a free pass if we’re close but when we take it too far we risk getting a ticket or ending up in a ditch. 

You probably see where I’m headed here.

Just like nobody expects you to drive the exact speed limit ever time you’re on the road, we don’t expect you to hit your exact numbers every single day on the program. This means we don’t want you to worry about being perfect, because perfect doesn’t matter anyway. I know that sounds weird because most diets require it, but as you probably realized, we like to do things differently at Stronger U.

Proximity to the goal is what matters. You might have a macro target to shoot for but we want you to look at that number as a range that influences certain actions. Not that the number is somehow perfect for you specifically. 

Going too far over your macro numbers means you might not lose the fat you wanted to lose. This is going to cause frustration, stress, and another feeling of failure. We don’t want that. Going too far under might result in more weight loss but that also comes with a cost. Getting too deep into a calorie deficit can lead to things like loss of muscle mass, poor recovery, delayed hunger, and additional and unneeded stress. Much like you can get a ticket for speeding, you can get one for going too slow too.

In a real-world setting think of it like this:

If your macros are:

  • 130g protein
  • 65g fat
  • 150g carbs

You will most likely get the same results if you are 137g protein, 59g fat, and 160g carbs. Some days will be higher, some will be lower, but most of the time the averages will be close enough… as long as you don’t abuse the ranges. 

Please don’t use this as an invitation to test the waters and see what you can get away with, though. Just like we’re not saying it’s okay for you to ignore the speed limit, we’re also not saying it’s okay for you to ignore trying to get close to your numbers. This is simply a reminder to be ok with consistency as long as you are close. Perfection is nothing but a badge of honor that your body doesn’t even care about. Don’t let it consume you.

Drive safely, everyone

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