As most of you know, I’m currently following the Designed to Fit Nutrition Plan because I really wanted to learn more about macronutrients, or macros.
In case you’re unfamiliar with macros, they are the types of foods you eat throughout the day and include protein, fat, and carbs. Science is showing that tracking your macros and hitting macronutrient “targets” – or specific ratios of protein, fat, and carbs – can help keep you feeling satisfied throughout the day (limiting cravings) and help your reach your physical goals (burn fat, increase muscle mass, etc.). Everyone has different macronutrient targets based on their body type and goals.
I’ve been wanting to learn how to set targets for my macros and track my intake for ages, but I didn’t know how to do it! Though I read a couple of articles online, I guess I was just too lazy to really figure out how to implement it on my own. Thankfully, Designed to Fit Nutrition was the catalyst I needed to learn more, and I now feel like I understand them pretty well!
Unfortunately I won’t be on DTFN forever, so this past weekend (admittedly, during the Super Bowl!) I decided to try tracking macros on my own so I wouldn’t feel so lost when this meal plan is over.
And you know what? It was totally easy! In fact, the answer was lying in an app that I already had on my phone that I hadn’t used since about 2012. 🙂 It was MyFitnessPal!
Back in the day, I used MyFitnessPal to log what I was eating every day, which was mostly processed crap left over from the days when I followed Weight-Watchers like principles and ate a lot of 100 calorie pack nonsense. I remember that logging my food was a pain in the butt and it didn’t really change my eating habits, so I stopped after a while. I did remember that MyFitnessPal tracked all sorts of data about what I was eating – including my macronutrients – but it wasn’t something I wanted to use long-term.
Then after revisiting the app over the weekend per a recommendation from both DTFN and a friend who already tracks his macros, a lightbulb went off.
What if instead of using the app to track what I’m eating, I use it for meal planning?
I thought this could be the perfect solution, so I tried it out with next week as an example. I started with what I already knew I wanted to make for dinner on Monday (a random recipe that I imported), and then scheduled my breakfast, lunch and snacks to fill in the rest of my macro and calorie goals for the day.
Instead of using the app to track my food in real-time, I’m going to use it to plan out my days and weeks to ensure I’m reaching my goals!
Maybe this is obvious to some of you and you already do this, but it was a really big revelation for me.
So when planning out a sample day next week, I was able to add and subtract foods until I had reached a number close to my goal (by the way, MyFitnessPal also helps you easily create your goals, so you can do everything in one place). It took some guessing and checking and a lot of tries, but eventually I got five solid days of meal planning that are pretty close to my targets.
You can also enter the exercise you plan to do that day and see how it will affect your overall targets! So helpful!
I should also mention that there’s a SUPER easy recipe import function where you copy and paste the URL of a recipe you see online, and it will instantly add the recipe to your saved recipes folder and calculate the nutrition for you.
Basically, everything about the website was incredibly easy to use and the functionality was much better than I remembered. While I can still use the tool to track food in real-time, thinking of it as a meal planner was a total game-changer for me.
Next week will be my first week trying out my own meal plan based on my target calorie and macronutrient goals, so I’m excited to see how it goes!
Question of the day: Do you track your macros? If so, how?