“How I did it” – Post #1

Every time I share a transformation type post I get private messages asking, “How did you do it?” These conversations blow my mind still. I’m not an expert, I didn’t have it all figured out when I started, I just committed to me and paved the way through trial and error. It’s really cool to see my experience moving others, and I’m happy to help in any way I can!

I’m going to do a few blog posts this week with various topics related to “How did you do it?” This post was originally going to be app recommendations and how I used them to help me. As I began typing, it turns out there was enough dos and don’ts to share on MyFitnessPal alone. I will have a separate post for other app recommendations, and keep the novel-writing to a minimum.

This post is my advice, based on my experience on how to use the app. I’m not a medical professional or an expert. I’m a regular, everyday person who had no idea what I was doing but was stubborn enough to figure out what works for me. Try my advice, if it doesn’t work, find another way–but for the love of gawd stop trying to make keto a thing.

MyFitnessPal

Groan, right? Counting calories, boooooo. Go ahead, throw tomatoes, roll your eyes, close this window and carry on if you want. But that was my go-to app when I started. I logged everything. I measured everything. I weighed everything on a food scale. If I had a cookie I logged it. If I went over my calorie goal for the day, guess what? Nobody died. I just continued on the next day. It doesn’t have to be perfect.

To which brings my next point on this app. Some people say it’s too tedious, or hard to find the exact thing they ate in the database. It’s not too tedious. Take the five minutes you’d normally spend scrolling through your Instagram feed and log your food. If you have a poor memory, take a photo of your food so you can log it later. The app will also recognize your most frequently logged foods and keep those items easily accessible when you’re logging. It’s not that hard, I promise.

Pro-tip: If you pack a lunch for work, log what you pack into the app as you put it together in the morning.

Again, it doesn’t have to be perfect, if you can’t find the exact food item, do your best and find something that is equivalent.

Dos & Don’ts

DO:

  • Log EVERYTHING. The cookie, the PBR, the Halloween candy, the grapes, the apple, the food sample at the grocery store, everything. You only cheat yourself and your progress if you won’t own up to what you really ate.
  • Measure/weigh for correct portion sizes. For the first week just keep your measuring cups/spoons left on your kitchen counter so they are visible. It’s NOT that hard, you can do it.
  • If you have snacks like crackers, count out the serving size from the box and put that quantity in a bowl or ziplock bag. Eat just that quantity or log more than one serving if you have more.
  • I promise the last two bullets are not something you have to do forever. You’ll get the hang of portion sizes after two weeks of doing it.
  • Experiment with serving sizes/portions. You don’t have to have a full serving of a food item. Example:  a greek yogurt portion size is 1 cup, I often measured 1/2 cup and filled it with fruit. The key is to experiment with what works for your appetite.
  • When you dine out, it’s OKAY to guesstimate and log the closest thing you can find to what you ate. It’s not going to be perfect.
  • Look at the macros tab on the mobile app. Get familiar with what foods are of value to your diet. Photo example below.

DON’T:

  • Don’t cheat yourself. Don’t be ashamed of logging the cookie, you ate it, THAT’S OKAY.
  • Don’t set your daily calorie goal too low. You’ll be tired, you’ll need naps, you’ll be cranky, and you’ll probably give in and overindulge because you’re hangry. Be reasonable with yourself!
  • Don’t eliminate foods. Knock it off with the “I can’t eat apples because they have sugar in them” Apples are better for you than Oreos.
  • Don’t underestimate calories when you dine out. A cheeseburger is probably not 100 calories. Select one that’s 400-700 depending on your toppings (cheese, mayo, bacon, avocado, etc). Be honest with yourself.
  • Don’t set your goal weight to be something outlandish and seemingly unattainable. Start with a 5 or 10 lb. goal to get you started.
  • Don’t give up because you had one off day. A cheeseburger and fries won’t end your efforts, you end it by not following through.

 

How to find your daily macros:

In your daily diary tab, scroll to the bottom. Tap the black Nutrition button. Tap Macros. Look at the graph! You can then tap each macro to see which meals you’re getting them in.

macros

You can adjust the daily macro goals as well. In the bottom right corner top the three dots where it says More. Tap Goals. Under Nutrition Goals tap calorie, carbs, protein & fat goals. Edit goals as desired.

Resources for counting macros:

How to Count Macros: A step-by-step guide

Counting Macros for Losing Weight Without Starvation

Macro Calculator 

 

What’s so important about these macros, and why should you care? 

You don’t have to care, but it is an escape from the dreaded calorie counting. In my journey, when I hit the 10 lb loss mark I also hit a plateau. I was stuck and finally gave into the truth that my daily calorie goal was set too low. I transition from counting calories to macros, which ultimately made getting protein a priority. It’s surprisingly hard to get 25% protein. There was a day I was so pissed I threw peanuts on every meal. When I made my primary goal of getting 25% protein the other calories fell into place.

This was a lot of info, based off of my experience. Again, I’m not an expert or a medical professional. There is no science included in this blog post. Take my advice and experience with no guarantees. Trust yourself and trust the process. There will be days when it feels useless, and then there will be a day when you notice a change.

The biggest takeaway I hope you get from this post is that you need to be honest with yourself, don’t give up, and if you want it you need to put in the effort. If those things don’t work, visit a medical professional!

 

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5 comments

  1. Thanks so much for sharing this! Question: Did you determine your daily goal factoring in your exercise calories, or did you chose a lower goal and eat back exercise calories?

    Liked by 1 person

    • I did a low goal not factoring in the exercise and had to adjust it because I plateaued and was so tired and cranky. With Ironman training I had 1-2 workouts a day, I needed more calories. I just used the settings in MyFitnessPal to adjust the calorie goal. I set mine to 2200 a day and when I set it to that I was able to wean myself off tracking because it wasn’t challenging to stay in that range after building better food choice habits and knowing portion sizes.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Thank you so much for all of this information!! Question: Did you go with the goal of 50/30/20 C/F/P because that is what was set in the app, or did you seek advice from someone to get more information on what you should strive for?

    Like

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