Ooooookay, you’ve asked some questions about what I wrote in my Krissy Mae Cagney/Flexible Dieting blog post, which I think I better clarify, because those of you asking the questions actually dutifully bought the Flexible Dieting book, and are still confused.
(I also have an “oopsie” confession to make, after reading a third KMC book – one of those “D’oh!” moments.)
I figured out my
OK so here’s sort of the basics. From the Macro Cheat Sheet, you get your calories to maintain. There are 4 ways to figure that number, and also the whole “multiplier thing” – but I went into that before.
Once you have your calories, you figure out your protein grams, then calories, per day, to maintain. It’s easy and again – as an author, I never ever want to “spoiler-ize” someone else’s book by giving away things… if you have the book, you should know how to do this.
…but what about the fat v. carbs thang?
Here’s the deal and where folks have been sending me “scratching my head/can’t figure this out” emails.
The “rest of your calories” (after you subtract the protein ones) will be split between carb calories and fat calories. How they are split depends – ta da! – on you, personally.
My “partner in crime” in all this, Claire from Girls Gone WOD Podcast, gets more bang for the buck energy-wise from fat, so she has a higher fat percentage than carb percentage – by a good amount. I mean, we’re talking like her fat is 10-20% higher than her carbs (from my memory).
What the Flexible Dieting book recommends is if you haven’t got a CLUE where to start, to just match your carb grams to your protein grams. This will also mean that your carb calories equal your protein calories – because fat has a higher gram to calorie ratio (9 cals/gram), but carb and protein’s are the same (4 cals/gram). After you figure out your protein and carb grams, the rest will be fat.
Meaning, you take your total calories, subtract the sum of your protein and carb calories, which gives you your fat calories . . . divide that by 9, you get your fat grams.
It winds up being around 40%-40%-20% or so.
Unless, like I said, you already know you want your fat percentage to be higher – then you tweak your carb number to get “more fat” out of your allotment.
Then you need to stick on this for 2 weeks, logging what you’re eating in MyFitnessPal.com, and if you are blowing either your carb or fat number out of the water, tweak accordingly, so it matches what you’re more likely to be eating.
If you’re not eating enough protein, eat more. If you’re eating too much, eat less. (Don’t tinker with that number.) BTW, if you eat too much protein, here’s a little shocker . . . your body will store it as fat. Protein isn’t some magic substance where the calories disappear into the ether (or your poop) if you are overeating what your body needs. It either gets used to replenish your amino acid stores, or used for energy (like carbs are) or stored in your adipose (fat layer). Thanks for asking. And now after that commercial break…
But, I don’t wanna weigh my food…
Yeah, me either. So here’s the deal. If you use MyFitnessPal, they have just about every single food you can think of already listed. In reality, you should weigh your food, because density is different, blah blah. But you can also use the Dr. Oz-ish “make sure your protein amount is about the size of your palm/a deck of cards,” and then log what is already in the MFP database.
I know that will make Krissy Mae Cagney (and my buddy Claire) want to hit me with their food scales, but look: If it’s do it or not, and your gating item is that you “despise the idea” of weighing your food, then do it, and use your eyeballs and their database, and get going. It’s my opinion that when you actually start doing this, you’re going to get curious, and borrow a food scale, or start looking at the ounces on the package of steak you bought, or some such thing, and start moving toward more “real life” logging. But if you’re a scale despiser, just do this part.
I signed up to MyFitnessPal a LONG LONG time ago – when I had a personal trainer for the Ironman. Has to have been like 2010. He pointed me to it, and wanted me to log my food, so he could see where I was with my diet. He also was a big proponent of “meal timing,” and so my personalized MyFitnessPal logging diary actually doesn’t say “Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner/Snacks” but “6:00 a.m. – 9:00 a.m., 9:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m., 12:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m., 3:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m., and 6:00 p.m. on.”
This was instructive to me, because I came to realize (and am re-realizing) that if I don’t get something to eat in one of those zones – usually, for me, it’s the 3-6 zone – I am ravenous at dinner and eat everything in sight. Twice.
My doctor had me go back to logging a while back, too, when we did my hormone tests and they were so messed up.
So I have a track record with MyFitnessPal.
meals…bar codes…and recipes.
The thing is – MFP changed. Or, at least, the app has changed. (Maybe this all is old news on the non-app/browser version of MFP, but I always use the app.)
It used to be pretty straightforward – you logged your food from their database, or you could group together foods into a “meal” if you eat a certain set of things often. So, for example, I have a “meal” made of what I eat for breakfast plus my protein recovery drink after working out, so I can click on it and it “magically” logs that in my 6:00 a.m. – 9:00 a.m. slot (because I have the same breakfast before going to work out at 7:00 a.m., and the same protein/recovery drink when I finish at about 8:45 a.m.)
This was good – but the new additions are great.
Now, you can scan the bar code on a food – and it will suck in the calories, etc. from the nutrition label. If something wasn’t in their database before, you had to log all this in manually, and it put that food into a portion of the database called “My Foods.” You could mark that as private, but it defaulted to adding what you entered to their database. (A smart move as that means users are adding to the database and MFP doesn’t pay them anything for it.) Back in the day, if you wanted a certain food to really show up “legit” in their database (versus as “user entered/unverified”), you had to send them a URL that showed the food label from the actual website of that food’s producer, and they’d vet it out. Now, if you scan the bar code, it adds it to their database automatically. Again, smart of them since this means users are adding to their database without MFP having to pay for all this information.
But the best thing is their ‘recipe’ feature.
As an example, I typed in my egg muffin recipe.
12 medium organic eggs…6 strips uncured bacon…1 red bell pepper… 2 shallots…1/2 cup parsley… cup of spinach…1 TB seasoning.
Then, you can click on a button, and it goes out to its database and searches for the ingredients. If it finds them, you just say how many servings your recipe makes, and you’re done. So far, the only thing that it hasn’t found is a spice mix that I use – but it had Trader Joe’s “21 spice salute” which is basically like the one that I use, so I just chose that.
Since I make 12 egg muffins at a pop, I said that the recipe made 12 servings, and it automatically gives me the calories, grams, etc. for each muffin.
(Cool, eh?) I’ve now done this for my meatloaf recipe, a green smoothie I make the same every time, etc. This feature, plus the bar code scanner, is making me like MFP a heck of a lot more.
So now for my confession…
Well, this isn’t so much a confession as a “D’oh!”
I was reading Krissy Mae Cagney’s This Is Not A Cookbook (again, available at this website, and again, no, I am not getting a kickback) and she talks quite a bit about MyFitnessPal.
This is where I discovered I was “doing things wrong.”
As you know from my previous blog post, I decided on 1525 calories per day, for various reasons. But the thing is, on MyFitnessPal, you log your Food, but you also log your Exercise. As I pointed out previously, it will even “go get” your calories off of a BodyBugg or Fitbit, and then “automatically” subtract that number from your Food.
KMC pointed out in the book that I just read (this morning) that you’re not supposed to “spot yourself” the Exercise calories. You’re just supposed to eat the calorie number that you figured out, in your Food, period. No “gimmies” for Exercise.
Now, when I started on this odyssey this Monday, I told myself I would do the KMC Sexy Sculpt workout, and log in MyFitnessPal, but I wasn’t going to go crazy about the latter until 2 weeks from Monday. Meaning – I would log what I was eating, but from their database (no weighing . . . kinda allergic to weighing . . .), and I would check to see “how close” I was getting to the macro percentages that I worked out on the Macro Cheat Sheet. But I’d use the first two weeks to just get reacclimated to logging on MFP.
With my Exercise, I was (ahem) “right around” the 1545 calorie level. I was “right around” my macro percentages, too.
Note what I said.
With my Exercise.
If I look at the numbers without the Exercise subtracted out, I’m over by a lot. (Like around 400 calories, which doesn’t sound like a lot until you realize that 400/1525 is pretty significant.)
So now I’m doing a re-think. With the Exercise subtracted out, I was right around the right number, as I said. “Right around” being maybe 100 calories over. And I really am logging everything – including (hey, it was a tough week…) the wine. (And, if Claire is reading this, including the first glass of wine (smile).)
What should I do next week? (just next week – after that, I might stay with what I’m doing that week, or tighten it up, as that will be the end of my self-imposed “two week trial” period of easing back into logging.)
Should I stay on my plan of doing what I was doing for 2 weeks (which would have me using their database and my guesstimations for the food, plus subtracting out the exercise)?
Should I stay on my plan re. the Food, but turn off the “subtracting the exercise” part?
The former is currently bad enough – the latter might make me throw in the logging towel altogether or it might help me get my act together even more.