Some Handy Tips When Using MyFitnessPal To Track Your Macros
- Plan Your Protein Sources:
Initially I wanted to plan out every single meal I’d eat with flexible dieting, but over time I realised I wanted to be a lot more flexible with my diet. So, I had the genius idea of just planning big meals (lunch and dinner), making sure I got protein in with those, and winging the rest. I’ll admit, it may not sound like the best plan, but let me tell you: it works! Having your main meals figured out is just enough structure, and having some flexibility built-in works well with the unpredictability that is life!
- Use the MyFitnessPal app
Whether you have to set a timer once-a-day to log or plug in meals in advance, you absolutely have to use a calorie-counter for this approach to work so that you know what you’re eating! Of course, not all the entries available within MyFitnessPal are accurate - but regardless, getting in the habit of logging is good for you. I’ve also learned a lot about foods just by inputting them and then checking the nutrition profile - and you can too!
- Log BEFORE You Eat, Not Vice Versa:
It’s important to use the app when you’re on the go and eating out, but the trick is use the app before ordering, browsing entries, and finding something that won’t blow your macros for the day. You could even pull up the menu at home before you head out so you're not being too awkward in front of your evening date.
- Watch Portions:
It’s really important not to underestimate your portions, especially if you are trying to eat less of something. For example, it’s pretty convenient to estimate you had a half a cup of mashed potatoes with dinner but be honest with yourself: was it really just a half a cup? The same goes for over-estimating portions of protein. I use a scale and it’s awesome because I can eye things and have a better sense of how much I'm really consuming.
- Speaking of Scale – Measure Everything!
Better than estimating is actually measuring. Invest in yourself and buy a digital scale. Salter's are a great brand and reasonably cheap.
- Ignore the small stuff:
Good news: you don’t have to log EVERYTHING. (I don’t.) I spend my time logging the items I know will impact my macros, like if I added cheese to my sandwiches, etc. I don't really bother adding veg or small amounts of sauces - it's mainly water.
- Choose lean meals:
One thing you do want to be careful about is fatty meals. One thing I use a lot are egg whites, tilapia and chicken breast - they save me on fats! Keep logging things into MyFitnessPal, you'll learn so much about nutrition it's incredible.
- Eat Clean:
So I know a lot of people in the IIFYM community boast about eating whatever they want – even some of the worst foods – even I do at times. But that's only a small portion of my macros - majority of the time I'm consuming clean, nutritious and filling foods.
- Keep it simple, stupid.
Especially when it comes to meals – don’t dump extra virgin olive oil on everything or over season with salt or butter because those things add up - keep it simple! I can’t tell you how many boring meals I've had with chicken and veg; the point was that I got full — not that it was the most flavourful meal!
- Meal prep:
Ah! This is so key - meal prepping is such a lifesaver, I swear! When it’s done, it’s done and you don’t have to think twice about what to cook or eat. My ideal week is one where I plan my meals in advance; I prep them and log them, and then log the odds and ends as the week goes on.
- Don’t fret:
Finally, don’t fret. This is my favourite part about the IIFYM approach – if you eat something awful – something you know you probably shouldn’t have, like pizza, a doughnut, or some ice cream – there’s no need to fret! Simply log it and move on. If you can, try to still stay within your macros but whatever you do, no longer beat yourself up for eating “unclean” sometimes. Start fresh the next day and don’t try to make up for yesterday. Everyday fuel yourself what the macros your body needs. One thing I’ve found is that I feel very satisfied at the end of each day eating this way, as if my body is getting just what it needs.
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