What I’m eating, when I’m eating, how I’m eating, where I’m eating, how much I’m eating, etc. etc. is something that is always being brought up to me and something I’m questioned about. I don’t mind talking about it with people who take it seriously, but I’d be lying if I said I enjoyed having the same conversation over and over with people that are just looking for a secret to success. Before I lost 135 pounds I ate like a five-year-old. I ate whatever I wanted, how much of it I wanted, when I wanted and where ever I wanted. I lost 50 pounds in the beginning by only changing my eating habits. Yes, I said 50 pounds with minimal changes. This goes to show you how much weight I had to lose and how poorly I ate. It might not work that way for you. You might not have as much weight to lose. We are all different. I went on to lose 50 more pounds this way.
For the past almost year and a half I’ve counted macros. Macronutrients are what our bodies use for energy – primarily fat, protein and carbs. It took me a good six months to get a handle on it. Maybe I’m a slow learner? Who knows, but for me, it wasn’t until I became very specific in my counting that I started to see results. What I love about counting macros is that I can eat whatever I want as long as it fits into my daily amount. This doesn’t mean I can fill my day with only chips and cakes and expect to see results. However, it does mean I can have the occasional bowl of ice cream and I’m fine. It does mean I can find a decent brownie recipe online and factor it in for dessert.
I sit in front of a computer for ten hours a day typing in numbers and answering emails so I have a lot of time to think about what I want to eat the following week. I eat a lot of the same things. I can go months eating the same thing, for every meal, Monday through Friday without getting sick of it. It makes planning and prepping a lot easier. Once I narrow down what I plan on eating I type it out with the macros for each item. I then add them up to make sure I’m not going over on my daily amount. I’ve been eating an 1800 cal meal plan every day since I started counting. My plan consists of 230g of carbs, 110g of protein and 40g of fat. Originally, I was eating 50g of fat a day, but after DNA testing I learned that my body doesn’t burn fat as well as it does carbs and protein. I take the extra 10g I took from my daily fat intake and add it to the carbs and protein.
Below is an example of one of my meal plans. I measure or weigh everything. The first line shows the meal, the time I eat it and the number of macros I’m trying to reach for that meal. I like to have a bigger meal for my fourth meal so I save fat and other things throughout the day for that meal. I list out what I’m eating for each meal and the number of macros in each item. I total them up and then subtract to find if I have any remaining carbs etc. to use or take away from the remaining meals. You’ll see at the end of this day I went over a few grams of carbs, but I have some protein and fat remaining. Some days I’ll get it spot on and other days it’ll look like this. As long as I’m not too much over or under I call it a win.
230g CHO, 110g Protein, 40g Fat
7:30-8:00 Meal One: (50g CHO, 30g Protein, 15g Fat)
2 servings Honey Nut Cheerios (44g CHO, 4g Protein, 3g Fat)
8 oz Almond Milk (1g CHO, 1g Protein, 2.5g Fat)
1 scoop Protein (0g CHO, 25g Protein, 0g Fat)
Total: 45g CHO, 30g Protein, 5.5g Fat
Remaining: +5g CHO, 0g Protein, +9.5g Fat
11:30-12:00 Meal Two: (65g CHO, 30g Protein, 10g Fat)
1 serving Loaded Baked Omelet Muffins (2.5g CHO, 14g Protein, 11g Fat)
Easy Bagel (26.5g CHO, 10g Protein, .3g Fat)
1/2 serving Brown Sugar and Cinnamon Cream Cheese (4g CHO, 1g Protein, 2.25g Fat)
½ cup berries (10g CHO)
Total: 43g CHO, 25g Protein, 13.55g Fat
Remaining: +27g CHO, +5g Protein, +5.95g Fat
3:00-3:30 Meal Three: (50g CHO, 25g Protein, 12g Fat)
1/2 cup chopped broccoli (6g CHO, 2g Protein)
1/2 cup chopped cauliflower (3g CHO, 1g Protein)
1/2 cup chopped celery (3g CHO, 1g Protein)
1/2 cup shredded red cabbage (5g CHO, 1g Protein)
1/2 cup shredded cabbage (4g CHO, 1g Protein)
1/2 cup sliced carrots (6g CHO, 1g Protein)
3 tbsp Light Italian Dressing (3g CHO, 0g Protein, 3g Fat)
2.6 oz pouch Light Tuna in Water (0g CHO, 17g Protein, .5g Fat)
Total: 30g CHO, 24g Protein, 3.5g Fat
Remaining: +47g CHO, +6g Protein, +14.45g Fat
6:30-7:00 Meal Four: (65g CHO, 25g Protein, 12g Fat)
1/2 cup Oats (28g CHO, 5g Protein, 2.5g Fat)
1 tbsp chia seeds (6g CHO, 3g Protein, 5g Fat)
Greek yogurt (6g CHO, 15g Protein, 0g Fat)
1 tbsp Honey (17g CHO)
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup Almond Milk (.5g CHO, .5g Protein, 1.25g Fat)
1/2 cup Strawberries (10g CHO)
2 tbsp 2 tsp Kind Granola (10g CHO, 1.5g Protein, 3.5g Fat)
Cookies ‘n Cream Brownie (22.7g CHO, 1.6g Protein, 2.9g Fat)
62g Banana (14g CHO)
Total: 114.2g CHO, 25g Protein, 12.75g Fat
Remaining: -2.2g CHO, +6 Protein, +13.7gFat
I find most of my recipes and meal ideas online. If a food blog or cookbook doesn’t have the nutrition information I skip it. There are apps and things you can use to calculate the nutrition for a recipe, but I find it to be a lot of work. Once I have the above figured out I go through my refrigerator and pantry and make a grocery list. I shop at Aldi and Giant Eagle weekly. I make a list for each in the order of how the stores are organized. I either prep as soon as I get home or first thing the next morning. Containers are key to meal prepping. I used to hate meal prepping and up until I started counting macros I didn’t cook much of anything. Now I’ll put on Netflix or a Podcast and I can be in the kitchen for hours cooking and prepping perfectly content. It’s what you make of it. Some weekends meal prepping is two hours, other weeks it’s five hours. It all depends on the meal plan. If I have a busy weekend coming up I plan a simpler meal plan that won’t involve as much cooking or prepping.
Hopefully, this answers some of the questions and helps you understand my eating habits a little more. Also, if I have plans to go out to eat I’ll research the restaurant ahead of time and plan my meal before I get there. A lot of restaurants provide the nutrition information online. I don’t drink alcohol, but I know people that do and easily count the macros for it. I only drink water. It should be noted that macros are different for every individual. You shouldn’t follow my daily intake. It all depends on your weight, age, how active you are, etc.