Tracking your macros does not mean being restrictive. This article is going to cover how you can include your favourite foods and drinks, whilst still keeping to your macro split.
If you are grabbing food on the go then most food chains will have their food products and nutritional values on their websites. If you are using a macro tracking app like MyFitnessPal, then it will most likely already be in the food library and ‘searchable’. My tip is to ‘decide before you buy’. If you know you will have to buy something high in carbs or high in fat, then you will be able to plan your other meals around this.
If you are eating out at a restaurant that is not a chain, then you can do the following:
- See if the menu is online and choose your meal before you get to the restaurant
- Estimate the macros for the meal – if you are choosing a beef burger, sweet potato fries and salad then search for each item individually. For example, sesame seed bun, beef patty etc. It doesn’t have to be precise!
- Over estimate the fat content. When you eat out most food will have added fat you may not include when cooking at home. There will be more butter and more oil. When I am estimating the meals I eat out, I will include a generic fat source to up the fat macros to the meal. For example: butter, 10g.
I wrote a post (Can I enjoy alcohol and still lose fat) dedicated to how you calculate the macro content of alcohol and include it in your day without straying from your macro split. To be clear, if you want to lose fat and improve your health then you should follow the 80/20 rule. Therefore I do not recommend adding alcohol into your diet every day simply because you can. However, you can have a glass of wine whilst watching tv, or enjoy some drinks with friends and stay on track.
If you want a 175ml glass of red wine then you can include it into your diet by:
- Taking the calorie content. In this example 175 calories.
- Decide whether you want to take these calories from your carbs, fats or both. I often take it from my carbs as I have more carbs to play with than fat.
- Take the calories and divide it by the number of calories per one gram of fat or one gram of carbs. So in this example I would divide 175 calories by 4. This equals 43.75 grams of carbohydrates.
- I add this into my macro tracker at the start of the day so I can plan the rest of my meals around it. Using MyFitnessPal I choose the Quick Add option.
- By adding the wine into my tracker at the start of the day it means I don’t get towards the middle of the day and suddenly run out of macros to use!
Don’t cut out the things you love!
Just because you want to reduce your fat percentage does not mean you have to cut out the foods you love. In fact, I tell my clients that is the exact opposite of what you should do. When you cut out foods you love, you create cravings and you are far more likely to binge. When you want to lose fat binging can set you back quite a way.
Instead, plan your favourite foods into your week. Maybe it is a glass of red wine over dinner, or peanut butter on toast. My favourites I include on a (sometimes) daily basis are Options hot chocolate, Oppo ice cream (100-150g), a glass of whiskey, salted dark chocolate and salted pretzels. If you follow me on social media you will see my daily meals and macro splits.
My overall tips to making memories and losing fat are:
- Keep to your macro split – consistency is truly KEY
- Plan ahead – input the meals you are eating out, or the drinks you want to have at the start of the day so you can plan enough meals around them
- Keep to the 80/20 rule – by allowing yourself a little of what you like whilst also eating fresh whole foods you will reduce cravings and binges
Have you read parts 1-4 of the macro series? Part 1 explains what macros are. Part 2 helps you calculate your macro needs. Part 3 helps you calculate macros for fat loss or muscle gain and Part 4 teaches you how to track your macros.
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