Last week I shared some of my tips for staying on track throughout the weekend, and one of the biggest struggles people shared was navigating eating at restaurants.
While I know this is challenging, I wanted to share some of my favorite tips to navigate it a little easier, along with a mini cheat sheet to save and help you track.
𝟷. Plan Ahead. Have a general idea of what you’re getting before you go, and prepare your macros for the full day around that meal. Having a game plan for your next meal can be huge too.
2. If you’re at a restaurant without information online, find a similar option that would be comparable.
3. Choose options that you can track piece by piece instead of mixed items that may be harder to track.
Some examples of easy to track options:
- Lean Proteins (go for grilled or steamed)
- Veggie sides
- Salads with a lean protein on top (order dressing on the side and along with things like dried fruit, nuts, tortilla strips, bacon bits etc…
- Fajitas which are usually grilled protein and veggies and come with separate ingredients
Some examples of difficult to track options:
- Mayo based chicken, tuna salads etc…
- Soups, stews, Chili’s, etc…
- Pasta dishes
- Fried, breaded, or coated options
- Things with lots of dressings, sauces etc….
4. Put a placeholder in for your meal. If you’re not quite sure what you’ll be getting, set aside a good chunk of calories so you can go with what you feel like when you get there. For example, if you’re going for a heavier meal, setting aside 1000 calories for later. If you know that you’ll be making a fairly healthy choice of a lean protein and a veggie, maybe it’s only 500 calories.
5. Account for extra fats, as most restaurants cook with lots of oils.
Helpful?! 𝘞𝘩𝘢𝘵 𝘢𝘳𝘦 𝘴𝘰𝘮𝘦 𝘰𝘧 𝘺𝘰𝘶𝘳 𝘨𝘰 𝘵𝘰 𝘳𝘦𝘴𝘵𝘢𝘶𝘳𝘢𝘯𝘵𝘴? 𝘈𝘯𝘺𝘵𝘩𝘪𝘯𝘨 𝘴𝘱𝘦𝘤𝘪𝘧𝘪𝘤 𝘺𝘰𝘶 𝘴𝘵𝘳𝘶𝘨𝘨𝘭𝘦 𝘸𝘪𝘵𝘩 𝘸𝘩𝘦𝘯 𝘪𝘵 𝘤𝘰𝘮𝘦𝘴 𝘵𝘰 𝘳𝘦𝘴𝘵𝘢𝘶𝘳𝘢𝘯𝘵𝘴 & 𝘵𝘳𝘢𝘤𝘬𝘪𝘯𝘨?
I know macro counting is a very trendy topic right now, and while it was the key for me, I also know that it’s a bit complicated to understand. I see so many people giving it a try, struggling for a week or two, getting overwhelmed and then giving up or feeling like they failed. If that is you, you most certainly are not alone.
- Y𝘰𝘶’𝘳𝘦 𝘦𝘹𝘱𝘦𝘤𝘵𝘪𝘯𝘨 𝘥𝘳𝘢𝘴𝘵𝘪𝘤 𝘳𝘦𝘴𝘶𝘭𝘵𝘴 𝘪𝘮𝘮𝘦𝘥𝘪𝘢𝘵𝘦𝘭𝘺. If macro counting is done right, it should take a long time. Reason being, we want it to lead to slow sustainable weight loss (𝘐’𝘮 𝘵𝘢𝘭𝘬𝘪𝘯𝘨 𝘢𝘯𝘺𝘸𝘩𝘦𝘳𝘦 𝘧𝘳𝘰𝘮 𝘢 ¼ 𝘰𝘧 𝘢 𝘱𝘰𝘶𝘯𝘥 𝘵𝘰 𝟸 𝘭𝘣𝘴 𝘱𝘦𝘳 𝘸𝘦𝘦𝘬). It also may take a while in the beginning to figure out what your true deficit is and to do that we need to track consistently for AT LEAST a month.
- 𝘠𝘰𝘶’𝘳𝘦 𝘴𝘦𝘢𝘳𝘤𝘩𝘪𝘯𝘨 𝘧𝘰𝘳 𝘢 𝘱𝘦𝘳𝘧𝘦𝘤𝘵 𝘧𝘰𝘳𝘮𝘶𝘭𝘢. Every single body is different and everyone’s needs, functions, and calorie burn will vary. That being said, in order to see what the best macro split for you is, you need to start with a generic formula, track how your body responds, and make changes from there. This takes TIME.
- 𝘠𝘰𝘶’𝘳𝘦 𝘮𝘢𝘬𝘪𝘯𝘨 𝘤𝘩𝘢𝘯𝘨𝘦𝘴 𝘦𝘷𝘦𝘳𝘺 𝘸𝘦𝘦𝘬. Building off of the two reasons above, if you are constantly making changes to your macros, you’ll never allow your body a chance to adjust AND you won’t track things long enough to see whether or not what you’re doing is working. You or your coach should NOT be switching up your macros every week, or even two weeks.
- 𝘠𝘰𝘶’𝘳𝘦 𝘯𝘰𝘵 𝘣𝘦𝘪𝘯𝘨 𝘤𝘰𝘯𝘴𝘪𝘴𝘵𝘦𝘯𝘵 𝘧𝘰𝘳 𝘭𝘰𝘯𝘨 𝘦𝘯𝘰𝘶𝘨𝘩. If you’re catching on to the trend here, the key is time and consistency. The only way to know if something is actually working is to be consistent with it for at least a month. If you are never actually hitting your macro goals or being at least 80% compliant, there’s no way to know whether it’s actually working or not 𝘗.𝘚. 𝘈 𝘧𝘶𝘭𝘭 𝘱𝘰𝘴𝘵 𝘪𝘴 𝘤𝘰𝘮𝘪𝘯𝘨 𝘰𝘯 𝘩𝘰𝘸 𝘵𝘰 𝘮𝘰𝘳𝘦 𝘢𝘤𝘤𝘶𝘳𝘢𝘵𝘦𝘭𝘺 𝘢𝘯𝘥 𝘤𝘰𝘯𝘴𝘪𝘴𝘵𝘦𝘯𝘵𝘭𝘺 𝘩𝘪𝘵 𝘺𝘰𝘶𝘳 𝘮𝘢𝘤𝘳𝘰𝘴 𝘣𝘶𝘵 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘕𝘜𝘔𝘉𝘌𝘙 𝘖𝘕𝘌 𝘵𝘩𝘪𝘯𝘨 𝘵𝘰 𝘥𝘰 𝘵𝘰 𝘩𝘦𝘭𝘱 𝘸𝘪𝘵𝘩 𝘵𝘩𝘪𝘴 𝘪𝘴 𝘵𝘰 𝘗𝘳𝘦-𝘗𝘭𝘢𝘯 𝘺𝘰𝘶𝘳 𝘥𝘢𝘺 𝘪𝘯 𝘺𝘰𝘶𝘳 𝘭𝘰𝘨. 𝘐 𝘱𝘭𝘢𝘯 𝘰𝘶𝘵 𝘮𝘺 𝘮𝘦𝘢𝘭𝘴 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘯𝘪𝘨𝘩𝘵 𝘣𝘦𝘧𝘰𝘳𝘦, 𝘢𝘴 𝘢 𝘨𝘦𝘯𝘦𝘳𝘢𝘭 𝘦𝘴𝘵𝘪𝘮𝘢𝘵𝘦 𝘰𝘧 𝘩𝘰𝘸 𝘐 𝘸𝘪𝘭𝘭 𝘩𝘪𝘵 𝘮𝘺 𝘮𝘢𝘤𝘳𝘰𝘴. 𝘛𝘩𝘦𝘯 𝘵𝘩𝘳𝘰𝘶𝘨𝘩𝘰𝘶𝘵 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘥𝘢𝘺 𝘐 𝘤𝘢𝘯 𝘮𝘢𝘬𝘦 𝘴𝘮𝘢𝘭𝘭 𝘵𝘸𝘦𝘢𝘬𝘴 𝘢𝘯𝘥 𝘤𝘩𝘢𝘯𝘨𝘦𝘴 𝘢𝘴 𝘯𝘦𝘦𝘥𝘦𝘥.
- 𝘠𝘰𝘶’𝘳𝘦 𝘤𝘩𝘰𝘰𝘴𝘪𝘯𝘨 𝘵𝘰𝘰 𝘮𝘢𝘯𝘺 “𝘧𝘶𝘯 𝘧𝘰𝘰𝘥𝘴”. While quantity is key when it comes to macro tracking, food quality is equally as important when it comes to actually being able to stick to your macros AND keep your body healthy. If your diet consists of poptarts and protein shakes, you’ll likely feel hungry often AND you’re setting your body up for higher insulin, stress, and lots of health problems down the road. Not only that, you’ll probably feel pretty crappy and have a harder time sticking with any sort of plan. One hack to solve this, try to focus on good whole foods 80-90 percent of the time. I’m also a huge fan of prioritizing a daily protein goal, including 1-3 healthy whole fat sources a day (oil, avocado, nuts, seeds, etc…) and aim to hit a daily fiber goal. This will ensure you’re choosing higher fiber, whole grain carbs, fruits and vegetables to reach that goal.
- 𝘠𝘰𝘶’𝘳𝘦 𝘯𝘰𝘵 𝘸𝘦𝘪𝘨𝘩𝘪𝘯𝘨 𝘢𝘯𝘥 𝘮𝘦𝘢𝘴𝘶𝘳𝘪𝘯𝘨 𝘧𝘰𝘰𝘥. This can be a huge one especially if you’ve never tracked portions before. It can be really difficult to estimate portion sizes and you may be grossly under or over estimating the amount of food you’re consuming, simply because you genuinely haven’t learned what 4 ounces of chicken looks like yet. It doesn’t mean you have to weigh and measure forever, BUT the best way to learn how to eat intuitively is to actually understand what your body needs.
- 𝘠𝘰𝘶 𝘬𝘦𝘦𝘱 𝘴𝘢𝘺𝘪𝘯𝘨 𝘺𝘰𝘶’𝘭𝘭 “𝘴𝘵𝘢𝘳𝘵 𝘰𝘷𝘦𝘳 𝘰𝘯 𝘔𝘰𝘯𝘥𝘢𝘺”. There is absolutely NO WAY to fall off track with macros, unless you simply just stop, but here’s the reality. Even if you’re over or under, or not positive on your foods that day, just track something. The best way to learn is to fail, and if you keep just stopping every time you think you “failed”, you’ll never actually learn enough to follow through.
- 𝘠𝘰𝘶’𝘳𝘦 𝘰𝘷𝘦𝘳𝘤𝘰𝘮𝘱𝘭𝘪𝘤𝘢𝘵𝘪𝘯𝘨 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘱𝘳𝘰𝘤𝘦𝘴𝘴. If you can’t be consistent with macros, start with simply logging your food. Get really good at that. Then maybe you track your calories and a protein goal AND then track your macros. Understand that there’s a learning curve and it will take time and practice, and just like with anything you may need to start with a more beginner approach so have patience with yourself.
I’m curious? What is your biggest struggle when it comes to nutrition? Is it the all or nothing mindset? Knowing what to do? Following through? Fill me in!