In Part I of ‘How to Count Your Macros‘, I talked about what macros are and how you can track them. As promised, I will now discuss how to keep on track with your macros despite eating out, holiday parties and alcohol. All are doable with planning and willpower!
What Do I Do When I Eat Out?
Example of a meal I had when I went out for breakfast
The strategy I’ve been adopting is simple but effective: plan ahead of time! If you know where you are going to eat at, look up their menu online beforehand, select several meal options and narrow it down to one. Then, work out the rest of your macros for that day to fit around the meal you selected. It makes it a million times easier when restaurants have calculated the calories and macros for you (thank you Rubios, Noodles & Co, and many others), but if not, you will have to add in the ingredients to your tracker manually (tedious, I know).
Oftentimes when I eat out, I’ll find that what I’ve ordered has a delicious sauce. Makes the meal tasty, but how on earth can I calculate the macros of an unknown sauce? I posed that question to Joshua, over at Real Life Nutrition, and he advised me to set aside 100-200 calories if I had absolutely no idea what was in the sauce.
What Do I Do At a Party with Unknown Foods?
This is definitely a little trickier. I’ve been to several holiday dinners with not much clue as to what was being served – but knowing that ice-cream was involved. As such, I did my best to eat very low-carb, low-fat and high protein throughout the day, so at dinner, I had a fairly good allowance to let myself indulge on carbier (carby-er?) fatty foods. I have a fairly good idea of how many calories, protein, fat and carbs are in what foods and I try
What Do I Do if there’s Alcohol Involved?
Again, planning is key. I love cocktails (particularly mojitos and cosmopolitans) and red wine, so if I do decide to drink it’s going to be one or the other. As per usual, I will put however much alcohol I am drinking into my macro tracker and then plan the rest of my meals around it. If you do not think you can stick to just 1 or 2 drinks, I would advise you to take the same course of action as you would when going to a party with lots of delicious and unknown foods – eat as low-carb and low-fat as you can throughout the day while filling up on protein rich foods. Alcohol is high in carbohydrates so this should help lessen the damage.
I’d love to help you out with any more questions you may have! I am still learning, and certainly not perfect at tracking my macros. For Christmas, I didn’t track them at all because I wanted to just enjoy myself and allow myself to be a little silly. Despite this, I have lost a pound this past week (3 pounds total in 2 weeks, yippee!) and I am pleased at how I am progressing. There are some days I am too short on protein, some days I go over my calories, but it is all a learning process and I am happy to be on it. I love being able to fit chocolate, ice-cream, honey and other goodies into my day without ruining my progress 🙂