Starting a macro based diet can be difficult if you don't know where to begin. If you are looking for insight on a macro based diet, we have a few tips for you while you are beginning your new lifestyle.
Why Should I Track My Macros?
Tracking macros allows your diet to get relatively specific results using very specific measures. Traditionally while dieting, people tend to start with the overlying "calories in versus calories out" approach. Counting calories can be a very great way to achieve weight loss but sometimes can lead to frustration when you aren't quite seeing the results you want in terms of fat loss.
Fat Loss vs Weight Loss?
That's right. These two often get used interchangeably. However, they are different things that often times require different variables to help you achieve results. Weight loss comes from a calorie deficit. A deficit which will then cut into both muscle stores and fat stores to get the energy your body needs. Thus leading to weight loss.
Fat loss can be triggered when you start tracking your macronutrients because of the way your body responds to protein, fats, and carbs. By tracking your macros you can make sure your workout are properly fueled while in a caloric deficit, helping you achieve the best results.
To learn how to calculate your macros click here.
Macro Tracker: How Do I Start?
Getting started with tracking macros is all about determining what your objective is. Are you trying to lose fat? Are you trying to gain muscle? Do you want to maintain your weight but change your body composition?
All of these objectives will have different starting points in terms of macros and will vary even further with the level of exercise you are putting in. If you are struggling to calculate out what macros you need to get started on your diet, there are great online resources available to use at your disposal.
A great resource to use to get started with figuring out your macros is Total Daily Energy Expenditure. Here you can figure out a good starting point with your macros based upon your Basal Metobolic Rate, additional energy expenditure, and body composition goals.
Example Day of Tracking
When following a macro based diet, the easiest way to keep yourself accountable as well as be as accurate as possible is to track them, using either a diary or some type of app! If you are a more traditional person, a pen and paper may be just fine for you.
However, if you would rather have the convenience of a database of food readily available to you, an app will definitely be the best method for you. Most "macro-friendly" apps such as Trifecta, allow you the ability to easily track your macros for a premium feature.
Either way, an example day of tracking your macros may look something like this dependent upon your goals.
- Breakfast: Two Eggs, 1/2 cup of Oatmeal, 1 serving of Peanut Butter (P: 25, F: 28, C: 34)
- Snack 1: Protein Shake (P: 50, F: 1, C: 0)
- Lunch: Turkey Burger, Sweet Potato Fries, Side Salad w/ Low Fat Vinegarette (P: 22, F: 16, C: 45)
- Snack 2: Dannon Light & Fit Yogurt, 1/2 cup of Strawberries, 1/4 cup of Kind Protein Granola (P: 17, F: 2, C: 32)
- Dinner: 4oz Flat Iron Steak, 6oz Brown Rice, 4oz Veggies (P: 30, F: 8, C: 57)
- Snack 3: Protein Bar (P: 25, F: 7, C:20)
- Total for the day: P: 169, F: 56, C: 188
Developing a Routine for the Long Haul
When it comes to any diet, developing a routine that you can adapt around your lifestyle is going to be crucial! If you are busy and never have time to cook, don't take on a change that requires 5 hours of preparation every Sunday evening.
Instead determine how much time you have available and what your resources are. For example- You work 60 hour weeks only to have to come home after work, take your kids to soccer practice, cook dinner, and clean. Do not give up and say that it is impossible to maintain a diet because of your busy lifestyle. Instead, understand what resources are available to you.
Many of the people who order Trifecta, do so because it helps them get their time back and stay on track. When you don't have to cook your own meals, suddenly the diet gets a lot easier to follow. Oh and you don't have to spend hours cleaning tupperware? Even better.
Now, getting your food from a meal delivery service is the easy part when you are in your normal routine. It's not too hard to stay away from temptations when you are in the comfort of your own home, stocked with healthy food. So what happens when that environment changes? When you are invited to that Friday night happy hour with friends? Or go on a vacation? Do you really stick to your diet, or do you take those days "off"?
Tracking Macros on the Go
Learning how to take on the IIFYM approach can be mildly difficult, especially if you'd rather just have days off and not think about it. Lucky for you, you can have your cake and eat it too. As long as it is in moderation and you guessed it......fits your macros.
The thing about tracking macros on the go is you don't need to get crazy obsessive about it. If you enjoy the comfort of knowing that every single macro is accounted for, then sign up for Trifecta and account for your food when you go out to eat.
However, a great starting point is just understanding how to visualize your food. If prior to that happy hour with your friends, you had a breakfast high in protein and carbs, a lunch high in protein and carbs, and haven't hit your fat intake, you should probably lean towards a healthy fat alternative such as a salmon and avocado salad.
This way, you are visualizing and understanding foods as more than just "healthy" or "unhealthy" but rather as a good source of protein, fats, or carbs. Once you understand this, it becomes MUCH easier to sustain a balanced lifestyle while on the go. As well as enjoy quality time with friends and family without feeling uncomfortable about venturing beyond your chicken and broccoli meal waiting at home.
The real key to sustaining any diet and achieving long term results is by learning how to adapt to changing environments.
If you want to learn more about how to track your macros, check out the Trifecta App!