I’ve had a couple of people ask me what my day looks like for food. One of the questions was whether or not I adjust my macros for workouts. The short answer is no. When I meal plan at the beginning of the week, I plan meat-based meals on strength training days and leave plant-based meals for lighter workout days. This can affect my macros somewhat, but once I explain how I eat those meals you’ll see it evens out.
6:00 am – This is the time I generally like to get up. Sometimes it’s earlier than that, which is fine in the summer but not so fun in the winter. I get up, head to the kitchen to make coffee, then head into the restroom to pee. Yes, in that order. Then I return to the kitchen (because that’s where the scale is) and I strip down to panties and weigh myself. Yes, every day. I mark my weight on a wipe off calendar I keep on the fridge. No it’s not there to shame me out of eating, it’s there because it’s a convenient spot. At this point I pour myself some coffee and sit down either on the couch with my Chromebook or at my desktop in the office to start tracking my food. Usually I sync my Fitbit, then check the previous day’s deficit first. Afterwards, I log into Sparkpeople and go to the previous day’s food log. Since I always have last night’s leftovers for lunch, I copy that meal to today. If I have the same breakfast planned for today, I’ll copy that, too. Dinner is almost always more complicated.
6:30 am – This is the point where I generally get myself a second cup of coffee before I sit down with the Spark Recipes calculator and pull up the recipe I plan on making for dinner that night.
I spend about 10 minutes logging in the ingredients and making the calculations so I know exactly what nutritional value my dinner will have. I almost always keep this under 500 calories, and usually on the lower end of the 400s. I also try to balance protein and fat when I make a recipe, although this isn’t always feasible. I then log that recipe on Sparkpeople. At this point, I generally check the macro chart on my food log and see where I stand.
I almost always need to boost my protein at this point. If that’s the case, I generally plan to have a protein shake, some Greek yogurt or a packet of tuna as a snack later in the afternoon, and I also try to throw in some fresh fruit or veggies as a snack. Today I needed fat AND protein, so I planned to have an ounce of raw walnuts and a protein shake as snacks (if you want the most punch of protein from your protein powder for the least amount of calories, choose a low or no carb protein powder – I love Isopure Whey Protein Isolate). I also had some figs I needed to eat before they went bad so I tossed those in, too. At this point, I’d reached the lower end of my range for the day, still leaving me a couple hundred calories for an after dinner snack/dessert. My range is 1600-1900 calories and I almost always eat to the top of my range. I plan daytime meals and snacks to fit my macros and leave myself the freedom of 200-300 calories for “spontaneous” snacking.
7:00 am – Around this time I usually do my workout. If I’m really hungry or I have low energy, I will occasionally have a small snack or even eat breakfast before my workout, but this is rare. I usually workout with nothing in my stomach but my morning coffee with cashew milk and water. This works for me because my workouts are almost always 45 minutes or less and I eat my breakfast meal immediately afterwards. There’s one exception to this rule, and that’s running. I NEVER go for a run without eating first, and I almost ALWAYS eat a complex carb breakfast before running (banana, oatmeal or protein pancakes). Eating too much before running or not eating enough before running = miserable run for me.
8:00 am – Between 8:00 am and 9:00 am I do the following things in any random order: eat breakfast, take a shower, get ready for work. I leave for work at 9:00 am.
Somewhere between 10:00 am and noon – Sometimes I get hungry before lunch, so I’ll eat a snack here. Sometimes I don’t. I play it by ear. I also walk Bingley during this time. Gotta de-poop the pup and get my steps in!
Noon – I almost always eat my lunch within 15 minutes of noon. I’m usually hungry by then if I haven’t eaten a snack, and I guess after years of structured lunches I just got used to having a meal at noon. Today I ate at around 11:50 am, and I ate at my desk. Yes, they say that’s bad, but we don’t have a break room.
2:00 am – 5:00 pm – I walk Bingley once again during this time. If I already had a snack earlier, I eat my remaining snacks in this time frame, unless I’m really not hungry (this is rare). I try to save my last snack until at least 4 pm so I’m not ravenous while I’m cooking dinner. Today I ate half of my walnuts before lunch because I wasn’t feeling very well (turns out my blood pressure was low and some caffeine made me feel 1000x better) and at the other half of them around 2 pm, which is an incredible amount of self control for me. Normally I’d just eat the whole thing all at once. It’s now around 3:55 pm and I’m not hungry at all, so I’ll save my protein shake until almost 5 so I stay full while I’m preparing my Coronation Chickpea Salad Toasts. I’m looking forward to dinner!
5:45 pm – 6:30 pm – During this time I’m usually busy prepping dinner, making it look pretty on a plate, and snapping a snazzy photo of it for my Instagram account! Most of the time I really love this part, but if I’m super tired or hungry, all I want to do is shovel the food into my face. Let’s hope today it’s easy for me.
7:30 pm – 9:30 pm – Also known as, The Danger Time. If I overeat for the day, this is when it happens. If I’m tired, or stressed, or bored, this is when I can’t keep my hands out of the peanut butter jar. Glorious, creamy, salty & sweet peanut butter! Sometimes it’s potato chips (which I’ve been avoiding purchasing for this reason) and last night it was pretzel crisps. CURSE YOU, PRETZEL CRISPS! You’re so delicious and CRUNCHY. Why must you be so AMAZING?! (All my trigger foods start with the letter P: pizza, popcorn, potato chips, peanuts, peanut butter, pretzels. No joke.) If it’s a good day I’m right at my upper limit of 1900 calories, or even a handful over. If it’s a bad day… I do my best to log it anyway. Sometimes I need to just make myself go to bed. I also make sure I hit my step goal during this time.
So no, I’m not perfect. I have off days. But one day doesn’t ruin everything. It’s what you do over the long term that makes you or breaks you. You figure out where you’re currently going wrong, then you tweak and adjust until you’re back in working order again. That’s the trick to not throwing in the towel. Adjusting. View what you’re doing without the emotion involved (yeah, it’s difficult) and see where you’re going wrong, and work on fixing that problem. Right now my issue is stress. I’m stress eating before bed and it’s sabotaging me. I’ll work on it, I’ll adjust, then I’ll tackle the next issue when it arises. This is my plan for today, and tomorrow I’ll get up and do it all over again, one day at a time.