Tracking macros is one of the most efficient, customized ways to achieve your goals. There’s no question about it.
Some of our clients get macro goals and have no issues learning how to hit them in just a few days. More commonly though, there is a bit of a learning curve when it comes to tracking and hitting macros.
While it can feel totally overwhelming at first, it’s actually quite easy (and fun!) to adjust your eating habits to hit your custom macro goals. But, only if you learn the correct tips and tricks.
If you follow the rules below, you’ll have no problems tracking and hitting your macro goals and progressing efficiently towards your goals.
1. MEAL PLAN, THEN FOOD PREP (NOT ‘MEAL PREP’)
Having food ready and available makes it unthinkably easier to succeed at this. This doesn’t mean you need to give up your Sundays to pre-package chicken breast, rice, and broccoli in little containers. Nope! All you’ve got to do is make sure you have some proteins, carbohydrates, and vegetables prepared so all you have to do is throw your meals together when it’s time to eat.
There are tons of ways to do this: you can choose a few recipes from our favorite recipe blog (Skinnytaste) and prep them. You can prepare your favorite proteins, carbohydrates, and fats to your liking. Or, if you’re not big on cooking this week, you can pick up some pre-made or frozen options that you can quickly heat up when you need. Here are some no-prep meal-prep grocery lists:
2. ABT (ALWAYS BE TRACKING)
I used to freak out if I couldn’t weigh and track my food precisely, and when that happened, I just called the day a wash and ate whatever without entering anything else into MyFitnessPal. Don’t do this. Even if you know you’re going to go over or under, or know that the nutritional info you have available isn’t totally accurate, just make your best guess and log it. This keeps you in the habit of logging your food and still holds you accountable so you don’t go off the deep end. In fact, here’s a tried-and-true guide on how to track food without a food scale.
3. DON’T OBSESS
Don’t expect every single day to be a success. Sometimes you’ll go over, sometimes you’ll go under. Sometimes your tracking has to be less precise than you’d like. It doesn’t matter. This is a marathon, not a sprint. Just like you didn’t make all your progress in one day, you won’t lose it in one either.
4. PLAN AHEAD FOR TREATS
A client recently told me that she was finding herself being “really good” and then bingeing on the weekends. When I looked at her food logs, I realized she was eating 100% clean during the week and restricting herself from foods she really enjoys, which created a need to binge. I told her to have one “fun food” every day and the bingeing stopped.
Here’s how: the first thing I enter into MyFitnessPal every day is the snack I want to have before bedtime, like ice cream. No matter what it is, I always make room for a food that I really look forward to by making sure it’s the first thing I put in MyFitnessPal and then plan the rest of my day around it.
5. BUILD EACH MEAL AROUND A QUALITY PROTEIN SOURCE
One of the most common struggles of our clients is getting enough protein. Let’s make it easy, build all three of your main meals (breakfast, lunch, and dinner) around a quality protein source. If you have protein at each of those meals, you should be a good position to nail your protein goal for the day. Not sure how? Here are some examples of sample eating days with different protein goals.
6. PLAN YOUR DAY AHEAD OF TIME
If you have $100 to spend at Lululemon – do you just pick up a pair of tights, a hoodie, and a headband, walk up to the register with fingers crossed, hoping you didn’t spend more than $100? Nope! Same applies to tracking macros. When you’re laying in bed tonight, open up MyFitnessPal and swipe to tomorrow. Enter in everything you need for breakfast, lunch, dinner, post-workout snack, etc., adjusting as necessary, to hit your goals. Tomorrow, if you need to adjust a little bit here and there, that’s ok.
7. LOG IT BEFORE YOU EAT IT
If you can’t log your whole day in advance, then at least abide by this rule: log it before you eat it. I promise you, if you log it before you eat it, you will be very successful in hitting your macros!
8. ADD SOME VOLUME TO YOUR DIET
If you find yourself even a little bit hungry throughout the day, that’s indication that you need to substitute some of the treats for less calorie-dense, more fiber-rich foods. For example, you’ll get a lot more bang for your buck in the carb department eating broccoli rather than eating Sour Patch Kids. Interested in learning more about eating for volume? Read this.
9. HAVE THE ESSENTIALS ON HAND
There are certain foods I always have in my house because they easily help me close any gaps I may have. If I’m low on carbs, it’s apples and bananas. If I’m low on fat, it’s nut butters and olive oil. If I’m low on protein, it’s protein powder and jerky. With these on hand, it ‘s almost always possible to get within 3 grams of your macro goals.
Have questions or want to work one-on-one with a coach? Schedule a free introductory call here.