Hitting Your Macros While Traveling

This weekend Eric and I went to see my best friend and her husband as they just had a new baby (Godmother status!).  I wanted to break down a day of the trip and show that it actually is possible to not completely derail from your fitness endeavors as well as provide some evidence that I practice what I preach.  I want to clarify that at no point in my trip did I “feel like I missed out” with my friends because I did not eat in excess.

One day of the weekend

That morning I had my usual Lenny and Larry cookie, some Skinny Pop popcorn and a piece of chocolate and then we were off to lunch.  Did I know where we were going? No.  Did I ask? No.  When we arrived, we ended up changing our mind after seeing the wait at the first restaurant and went somewhere else.  The lunch establishment had mostly burgers and sandwiches but I noticed some shrimp cocktail and veggies and hummus.  Done.  I ordered that knowing I would prefer to save macros for dinner that night when we were all together (and have a glass of wine of course!) I did not open Fitness Pal at lunch until I wanted to see about having the full amount of hummus and that was only because I rarely eat hummus and I am in the process of leaning out.  This tracking did not deter from my conversation or detract from my time with my friend and husband.  I ended the lunch full and happy.  Carrie had a burger and Eric had a chicken sandwich with avocado.  Both had fries.  Of course, I wouldn’t mind having fries but at the moment, I would rather have saved space for dinner and met my goals.  I prioritized my goals and made a decision which meal I wanted to have more wiggle room.

I prioritized my goals

We left and checked in to our hotel.  We made plans to have dinner around 7 pm.  Eric and I worked on client plans, I got a training session in, had another 1/2 a Lenny and Larrys, and got ready for dinner.  All I brought with me on this trip were Complete Cookies, Metabolic Nutrition MuscLean and Protizyme, PSP, and BCAAs.  Is it ideal to have half of my meals out of wrappers- not really, but the vast majority of the time I chose whole, unprocessed foods so a day here and there or the occasional trip is not a need for worry.

I had no idea where we were going to dinner.  We went to Pacific Catch- seafood and more.  I ordered a glass of wine and took my time enjoying it having already decided I would have one glass.  We ordered edamame as a table and I ordered two tacos with flank steak, removed the creamy dressings after I asked what was in them, and had a side salad with dressing on the side so I could make sure it wasn’t doused.  EASY!  When the tacos came, I had the tortilla of one and ate the insides of the other.  Had the salad with what I eyeballed was 1 T of dressing- now that I have weighed items often I don’t stress when I eyeball the portions- and enjoyed every last bite! It was delicious! After we left, everyone decided they wanted dessert.  This would have sent me into a frenzy in the past.  We found a place that had frozen greek yogurt.  Since I left enough macros in my day, I could enjoy the 1/2 cup of frozen greek yogurt.

Leave enough macros in the day for your time out with family and friends in the evening.

Ignore “no carbs after dark”.

We returned home and I glanced at My Fitness Pal- I was only over carbs by 10 grams.  Just by eyeballing and understanding the composition of foods and making decisions according to my goals I navigated the day without an ounce of stress or worry.  Off to sleep after a wonderful day!

The next two days were exactly the same pattern.  I fit things in and made choices accordingly.  The next night everyone ate dessert at a local place that makes donut ice cream sandwiches.  I had a bite of Eric’s as I would have rather housed my rainbow roll (it was huge!) from one of the best sushi places I have ever been to.  That was my choice.  Your whole day on the go is full of choices and you are in control.  There are options everywhere!  If I had wanted dessert more, I would have ordered sashimi and saved the macros for a larger portion of dessert.

One thing I will mention that makes eating out and on the go enjoyable for me is that I spent 18 months- yes- one and a half years- working on my metabolism.  Now that I am leaning out, I’m not on poverty macros and I can fit restaurant foods in my day.  If you don’t want to take the time to work on your metabolism, and you are forcing a fat loss phase prematurely, you may be very low calorie to get your body to respond and will have a horrible time attempting to fit your favorite restaurant meals in your macros.  You will be frustrated that it seems you “work so hard all week to have just one meal ruin it all”.

If you are in an uncomfortable calorie deficit with a handicapped metabolism, you are likely going to feel that way.  I am shedding body fat while having days like the ones I mentioned above.  This took patience.  I whined about it, I wanted to cut sooner than later.  I got frustrated and wanted results this very second.  Looking back and having a weekend like this, I am finally thankful that I took the time to consume more calories and spend months on months focusing on NOT being in a fat loss stage.

Check out my client Kira who can cut while eating out regularly since we built up her metabolism.

Clients come to me and they want to immediately shed body fat.  They usually have an ideal image of what they want to look like in 12 weeks or less.  Unfortunately, much of how the program goes is how your body has been treated up until this point.  It has a lot to do with the lean tissue you have or have not established.  It has a lot to do with how many calories you have allowed your body to see on a regular basis.  It has to do with how many crash diets you have attempted and how frequent those stints have been.  Even if you have been on the less desirable end of all of these statements, you can still change things, but you have to put in the time.  You’ll have to stop trying to do things in a way that your body will fight you on.  It is extremely difficult to eat out on less than 1000 calories per day.  Those are typically the folks that swear flexible dieting doesn’t work.

If your body has adapted to eating next to nothing and training for high calorie burn daily, you are going to have a hard time shedding body fat as now this regimen is simply your maintenance.  Going over in calories from a measly 1000 and taking a few days off of training can cause you to gain body fat.  The low calories will also prevent you from building lean mass and if you are adding crash dieting to the mix, you will be decreasing lean mass.  What do we have now- weight gain and softness even after all that hard work!

I want to show you a photo of me when I was eating only about 1000 calories per day.  I would literally decide to drink wine OR eat dinner.  I would do a cardio based training session daily.  If I didn’t burn a zillion calories I felt like it was a waste.  I want to compare this photo to one where I am eating around 1550 calories, cutting back on cardio, and limiting alcohol and watching my protein intake.  I achieved my desired look with more food, less cardio based training, and with less suffering than I was when I would skip meals to have drinks out to make sure I didn’t consume too many calories.  I want you to also note my weight in these three photos.  While I was trusting the process, I only weighed one time per week and sent photos and a weight to my coach every week- actually photos every 2 weeks and weight weekly.  If he said everything was going well, I didn’t spaz if the scale went up and between these photos I actually gained 10 lbs.

Body composition is more important than scale weight

Below on the left I weighed 115 lbs, center 122 lbs and right 125 lbs.  I prefer the tightness in my tummy in the photos where I weigh more.

Pic Stitch Weight and Macro Blog

Moral of the story: This can be done.

Why you are probably feeling it is not possible: You are on poverty macros to shed body fat and don’t have any wiggle room.

What you should do next: Let go of the scale, stop chasing fat loss and be open to a reverse diet.

This weekend I achieved what many say is “impossible” and you can as well.