How to Count Macros: Hawaii Edition

When I started writing these little “how to” type blogs, I felt strange thinking “no one wants to know this stuff about me”.  After your feedback, it seems like some things I may think are my mundane life details help the rest of you as you are starting out in the wonderful world of how to count macros.  Come to think of it- the majority of my questions as a coach come from clients wondering what to do when they go out of town, eat out at restaurants, and are surrounded by temptations. 

I stayed on point in Hawaii, and I want to tell you how you can stay on point on vacation too. 

Before I get into the details of how I navigated vacation, I want to cover a few mindset topics that I have pondered over the past few weeks- namely, the week leading up to my vacation, the week of, and the week after.  Many of us, myself included, believe that the only way to possibly have ANY fun at all would be to consume mass amounts of all foods and drink when on vacation.  Or at least some of everything available.  Really, in the United States in general, it seems like all social events take place around eating and drinking.  No wonder we all make the connection with fun and food.  I want to make a point for the reasons why eating in moderation and selecting healthy choices for my body allowed me to have MORE fun than if I went hog wild.

I had a better time eating in moderation and making good choices on vacation verse going hog wild like I did last year.

  • I didn’t have a day where I felt bloated or uncomfortable, at dinner, after dinner, when I woke up- not at all.  A lot of the bloating most people experience is related to an overconsumption of macros and the time it takes to digest the food from an overly large meal.  And I always feel like a slug in a bikini when I have “eat belly.”  So there’s that.
  • I didn’t have a sleepy feeling after meals that were unusually high carb.  When I eat a meal that is primarily carbohydrate, I get sluggish afterward.
  • I didn’t have that guilt of “what am I going to weigh when I get back from Hawaii” feeling during the trip, the next morning after pigging out, or when I got home.
  • I wasn’t craving sugar during the trip from having meals that spiked my blood sugar levels and then caused them to crash leaving me craving sweets to bring the level back up.  I always said “I just have a really bad sweet tooth, ” but when I started doing low carb/ high fat I realized how much that had to do with my blood sugar dips and spikes.  I still believe I am reactive hypoglycemic.  That is when too much insulin is released after a high carb meal, and it ultimately causes a drop in blood sugar.  When that happens, it is common to feel hungry very soon after you have just eaten.  For me, I’ll be hungry in only an hour making dieting extremely challenging. 
  • I wasn’t hung over.  I hate feeling hung over on trips, and sugary frozen drinks in Hawaii are the number one culprits for me to cause a killer hangover and ruin a full 24 hours. 

Also, believe it or not, nothing tastes as good as the first few bites of something. 

You can enjoy small amounts, be satisfied, and avoid all the negative associated with overeating if you practice mindfulness.

Slow down, enjoy, put your silverware down in between bites, converse.

So what are my macros currently and what tricks did I have up my sleeve to accomplish my goal without suffering?

Evan and I decided to keep my macros the same on vacation (my choice) and my week looks like this:

M 90P/50C/130F

T  90P/50C/110F

W 90P/50C/ 90F

TH 90P/50C/90F

F 120P/150C/ 80F

S 120P/150C/ 80F

SUN 120P/200C/ 60F

As you can see, I’m doing low carb during the week.  I decided to eat less frequently during the day.  I would have BCAAs when I woke, train, and then eat after.  We stopped at a grocery store to avoid the expense of 4 meals per day purchased at restaurants although these tactics will work even if you do have to consume all meals on the go. When I order out at a restaurant, I will look up a similar entree item from a comparable restaurant and ask the server the amount of protein per dish.  Trust me; they weigh it.  Restaurants are very conscious of the protein amounts per dish.

I chose vegetables with my protein source and skipped out on the starches- except for wine, of course, ha! I ate Onaga pan seared a few times and added the oil that was likely used to sear the fish in My Fitness Pal.  I had shrimp cocktail often, lobster, ceviche that was lettuce wrapped, coconut crusted shrimp, and filet.  As you can see- I was hardly suffering! For dessert, Hawaii is known for their shave ice.  They have about a dozen sugar free flavors.  I had a different shave ice every night (sometimes 2!) very low carb. 

The second half of the week was much easier as I could rely on protein bars a bit more with the extra carbs.  When I had extra carbs I used them on frozen yogurt, wine (shocking!), and after looking at the carb count in frozen drinks and hula pie, I decided against it- but I could have fit it in if I wanted to! To me, 70 carbs on one drink that I don’t like that much isn’t worth the giant Froyo I could have instead. 

Major grocery store lifesavers: Shirataki noodles, Halm’s kimchi (look that up!), and macadamia nuts to get my fat grams in. 

How long did it take me to figure this out?

It didn’t take more than 60 seconds. 

I saved most of my macros, had the same breakfast, and then picked from a few foods at night that I knew would work with my plan.  We made reservations and with basically all restaurant menus available online it was easy to glance one over beforehand. There will always be a selection that will work with your plan even if you modify a few ingredients. When you know the basic composition of foods, it takes very little time to slot in meals on  My Fitness Pal.  Trust me- I have used all the reasons why it won’t work too! These include: my friends are eating something different, I don’t want to be on my phone when I’m out (which makes me laugh because I can’t tell you how often I am ok with reading random Facebook statuses out but not ok with My Fitness Pal and determine that Fitness Pal ruins my quality of life), that it’s too hard to have the willpower… the list goes on. 

Bottom line: you will have to prioritize what you want. For me, I’m ready to get this cut going.  Yes, it is give and take when you are in a deficit but IIFYM (if it fits your macros/ flexible dieting/ tracking macros) makes it so much easier and Tupperware free! Plus, I promise you won’t be in a deficit forever. When the consistency gets lined up, and you reach maintenance you are going to have even more flexibility! A pound, keeping things simplified, is approximately 3500 calories.  To make a 1-2 pound deficit per week is 7000 calories.  That is a lot of room when you are at maintenance to enjoy more food and drink. For part of the year, I am off My Fitness Pal, I am not tracking, and I am intuitively eating using the knowledge I have learned from tracking.  This is a tool to allow for avoidance of strict meal plans and to be able to keep your quality of life while you are cutting. 

Vacation doesn’t have to be a time to gain weight; overeating isn’t the only way to have fun.  When moderation becomes a habit, and you change your mindset to focus on all the positives and what you are gaining, not what you are losing or missing out on, you will be amazed at how refreshed, happy and energized you can be!