So, you get macros from your coach or friend or website (which I don't recommend) and you are left with the thoughts of "Well now, how do I fit things into these numbers? I'm lost. I'm confused. This is going to take me hours upon hours" I wanted to share a few key things to help you get started!
1. It's not as hard as it looks. It's a puzzle and it's kinda fun. You look at labels, you scan in labels into myfitnesspal, and these numbers are added together for you by myfitnesspal and you try to hit a total for the day!
When you go into your diary for the day, it will have a circle (pie chart) icon in the bottom right hand corner. Click on that. That brings you to the screen below. Click on where the arrow is. This takes you to your daily totals.
2. Most likely if you are given numbers that are of any worth, your protein will be very high so you should aim to have protein at every meal. I prepare all protein in advance, and save the carbs for whatever I'm craving on that day. Constantly in my fridge you will find: cooked chicken, cooked ground turkey, cottage cheese, plain greek yogurt, eggs and I just add these into my different meal choices and recipes daily. My other protein sources I keep on hand not in the fridge are low sodium tuna packets and quest bars (which also contain good amounts of carb and fat).
3. Sweeten things on your own. I buy everything sugar free. This is not so that I can restrict myself. It's simply so that I'm able to eat more VOLUME to fit my numbers. The more food the merrier for the least amount of macros! That's the goal so you find tricks! Buy PLAIN greek yogurt and sweeten it with artificial sweeteners (I don't believe they are bad for you and I will write about that research on another day). Then I add vanilla cupcake goldfish instead of granola.
4. Find substitution recipes. If you are craving something, I guarantee you there is a recipe for it on instagram with the same frequent ingredients that you should keep on hand: protein powder, oats, plain greek yogurt, vanilla extract, baking powder, coconut flour, and egg whites
5. All Walden farms except for their pancake syrup is disgusting. Don't waste your money. However, their pancake syrup is THE BOMB.COM PHENOM. It's hard to find in stores, but you can always buy it online and I find it's actually cheaper that way.
6. You want a protein powder that's less than 10g of carb per serving size, and you want to add it into recipes. Please tell me if you are a human being that likes protein shakes with just water or almond milk because....yuck. I do however use it for recipes! "But Katie, what do you have post workout?"---> I eat real food. I have chicken, potatoes, and broccoli.
7. Some things that should be a staple for you are unsweetened almond milk (1 cup is only 2.5g fat, 0.5g carb, 1g protein) , fat free reddi whip, low carb flat out wraps or other low carb wrap options, and spray butter! All can be added in so many different variations to things for virtually no macros. (Note: I've heard of people getting crazy with spray butter though like pouring it on things to which I used to be guilty, and just beware that it DOES contain massive amounts of fats if you aren't just doing sprays)
8. Many mistakenly think that because chicken is a "protein" and peanut butter is a "fat" that you just associate them as such. NO WAY JOSE! Peanut butter has carbs and proteins and chicken has fats so you need to log all of this in myfitnesspal. It will do the adding up for you.
9. Don't think that you have to eat the entire serving size, and you can normally put in crazy serving sizes into myfitnesspal. One of my serving sizes is 1 goldfish. Obviously, I never eat just one but that way I can just add in however many I do put in my yogurt whether it's 3 or 6 because the normal serving size is like 52 and that math is just too hard.
10. Everything has a calorie. Yes, you count veggies. I actually count gum as well which has helped me to stop chewing an entire pack per day. An entire pack is 30g of carb. That's the equivalent of a skinny cow sandwich. I'd rather have the skinny cow!
11. Don't count net carbs. Again, that's a scientific blog post for another day but it's a waste of your time and you won't get anywhere. That was a made up term by companies to essentially sell you more product by making you think it's healthier.
12. Just because it's deemed "healthy" does not make it macro friendly, and just because it's macro friendly does not make it nutritious for your body. Fruit has tons of vitamins and minerals however it also is LOADED with natural sugars and CARBS! A banana and a skinny cow hold the same amount of carbs and your body will essentially metabolize them the same. The skinny cow sandwich however is not going to provide you with the vitamins and minerals that the banana will but your body in strict terms of aesthetics will respond the same.
I know it seems overwhelming however it is not. Think of it as a game and a puzzle and I think it'll become more enjoyable. Look for ways to get the MOST out of your macros every day and play around with numbers with foods you may not even ever eat just to see if you could fit crazy foods into your macros such as burgers, pizza, hashbrowns, french fries, cheesecake, etc etc because I eat these foods ALL the time in certain serving sizes to fit my macros :)