To begin with I wasn’t really sure how this diet thing was going to go. I am no nutritionist, I have never been able to diet in my life, and I love food.
BUT I have kind of found a very reasonable method to this madness that doesn’t at all feel restricting and allows me a bit of wiggle room.
Disclaimer: As previously stated I personally have a tendency to push the wiggle room a bit too far, so I’ve been strict about it as of late. In the end, I’m hoping to end up with a nice balance up in here but for now I’m trying not to end up on a billboard.
Working from a plan set forth from some very smart (lovely) people who know what they’re talking about, I set out on my plan to eat whole, fresh ingredients (revolutionary, right?) and track my macros using the My Fitness Pal app. Whole, aka not processed ingredients are key because, well, they are better for you, easier for your body to digest, and also – for this purpose – easier to track.
If you’re not familiar with macros don’t be alarmed because I definitely was not either. Basically, “macros” is short for macronutrients, which are the proteins, fats, and carbohydrates that we eat every day. They are the basis of all calories you consume. If you are tracking the grams of each and sticking to a specific percentage of intake daily, while staying around your calorie goal, you will lose weight.
I know it sounds complicated but it’s not, really. Basically here are some steps:
- Calculate your macros here: https://www.iifym.com/iifym-calculator/. It is a series of questions and takes 5 minutes.
- From this, you will be given percentages (and grams) of each of your recommended Protein, Carbs, & Fat along with a calorie recommendation. My recommendation was 40%/40%/20% and 1,630 calories.
- You can input these exact percentages into My Fitness Pal: In your app, go to the “…” more button, choose “Goals,” then “Calorie & Macronutrient Goals” and insert your percentages & calorie goals here.
- Start tracking away.
For the first week I would input foods and play around with my percentages to get a good feel for what I could/couldn’t fit into my diet. You quickly realize what foods are worth it and which aren’t. Once I found a good balance of protein/carb/fat for each meal I set out a weekly plan and stuck with that combo pretty much the whole week, just to make it easier.
Some days, however, I would have something wonky come up (work trip, lunch out), and I would then track it and try to compensate for my percentages in the other categories. I’m not saying this is ideal or the right way to do it- I think it probably isn’t ideal actually, but this is real life here and we (I) can’t always be prepared.
This isn’t perfect. I’m sure there is a way it can be for someone who is a little stricter and more hardcore than I am. But it’s honest, it’s not tough to track for the most part, and it really does give you a good idea and make you pay attention to not only what you are putting into your body, but the composition of those foods along with a guide as to what is needed for your activity level and body type (and weight loss goals).
Below is an example of a day of tracking my macros. Like I said, not perfect but it’s working for me to continue to keep balanced and it’s do-able.
Meal 1: Breakfast – 206 calories
Apple & Gouda Smoked Chicken Sausage from Publix (5g fat, 5g carbs, 11g protein) + 1 cup of egg whites (0g fat, 2g carbs, 22g protein)
Meal 2: Protein before/after a workout – 125 calories
French Vanilla Designer Whey Protein Powder (1.5g fat, 6g carbs, 20g protein) + 3oz unsweetened Almond Milk (1.2g fat, 0.5g carbs, 0.5g protein)
Meal 3: Lunch – 318 calories
Turkey Breast 4 oz (0g fat, 0g carb, 25.2g protein) + Protein Up Core 12 Wrap (2.5g fat, 18g carbs, 12g protein) + Yellow Lentil hummus (3.5g fat, 2.5g carb, 1g protein) + spinach & cucumber & tomato
Meal 4: Pre-workout snack – 227 calories
One half a medium avocado (10.5g fat, 6g carbs, 1.5g protein) + a honeycrisp apple (0.4g fat, 29.3g carbs, 0.6g protein)
Meal 5: Dinner – 560 calories
Grilled Chicken, 6 oz (4g fat, 0g carbs, 52g protein) + Quinoa kale mix (4g fat, 20g carbs, 4g protein) + Broccoli (0.3g fat, 12g carbs, 7g protein) + ½ baked Sweet Potato (0.2g fat, 20.5g carbs, 2g protein)
Meal 6: Snack – 190 calories
Two squares, Lindt Dark Chocolate (9.5g fat, 8.5g carbs, 1.5g protein) + 1.5 cups of popcorn (3g fat, 9g carbs, 1.5g protein).
Total calorie count: 1,626
So that’s it! That’s what I’m doing. In this example I definitely need to decrease my fat (so instead of a snack like an avocado next time I’ll have a 0% unsweetened yogurt with some berries).
One thing that I’m doing with My Fitness Pal is not logging my exercise- it will add in extra calories and makes my tracking a little harder to do. I know I’m working hard and this is the caloric intake I want to stay at for now.
P.S. You can follow me (or be friends with me!) on the MyFitnessPal App. I’m @caitdingle 🙂