I talk a lot about macros, macro-friendly recipes, macronutrient goals. I go into more depth on what macronutrients are in this former post. However, today I want to dive deeper into how I personally count and track macros and the tools and tricks I use to do so. For starters, I use MyFitnessPal app. This is a super user-friendly app that has a plethora of food and options for tracking all types of foods. I used the regular version for years until I finally did upgrade to the Premium version about a year ago. It makes tracking macros much much easier as you can program your macro goals, and then as you enter your food it will tell you how many macros you have left.
As I take on new clients and walk them through counting macros, a huge step in counting macros is figuring how to track food. At first this process of logging and tracking food can be very time consuming – needless to say trying to calculate and hit macro numbers at the same time! I realize there are many things that I have learned along the way that has helped this process take me maybe five minutes a day. Here are a few things that I have learned that have made the process of logging food and hitting macros a minimal task in my day:
- PLAN AHEAD!!!! I know this sounds so hard and unnecessary. Trust me. I tracked my food and macros for months before buying into this – planning and pre-logging. Let me assure you – this will save you SO much time and headache in the end. Typically one eats the same breakfast. or at least one has an idea as to what he or she is going to eat. Log it. If you work outside the home – you either pack a lunch or you know where you will be eating. Log it. Dinner is either planned or you have a general idea of what you will be having. Log it. Stick those meals in your food log the night before. Factor in some snacks to meet your macro goals – and you are done. No more thinking. Sure some days get changed, your packed lunch gets forgotten, a friend calls you last minute to go to lunch. You may have to tweak some things – but tweak and move along. Planning will save you so much!
- Use the barcode scanner. So easy! There is a barcode scanner in MFP. Be sure to change the serving sizes if needed. Click and scan. Boom – done.
- Use a food scale. This is the easiest and most accurate way to track food. Also, you can use less dishes this way – without having to use measuring tools. Type in the food in the search bar and follow with “g”. This will pull up food in grams. This is the most accurate way to measure your food if you are being really careful. (i.e. “zucchini g”).
- Items with the ✅ are the verified listings. This means the nutritional information has been verified. If you see a list of options but one or two listings with the ✅ then go with the verified listing.
- Be consistent. Plan. Plan meals for the week so you can copy your entries from one day to the next. And did I say plan?
Decision fatigue is a real thing. I struggle with this in different areas of life – so I love to have one or several aspects of my life in which I can minimize the decisions. What I eat is an area in which I can minimize decisions.
I think you will find there is real freedom in this process of planning and pre-logging. You will find yourself less hungry, less focused on food or what you will eat, less emotional in what you are eating. You will lessen the opportunities and risk to binge, overeat, undereat, become too hungry or too full.
Eat well. Eat with intention. Focus your attention and energy on the things which matter most.