How to meal plan for indulgent foods
If you’re reading this, you probably know what macros are and how to calculate your proper macro intake. If not, refer back to some of my previous posts and ask questions in the comment section below so that I can write more on that topic.
I treat flexible dieting like a budget. The goal is not to go in the red or have any leftovers in the black, but to meet your goals head on. If you go over your macro budget, you’re not on a restricted caloric intake and you will not lose weight. If you undercut your macros, you are trying to game the system and your body will respond by slowing your metabolism down faster than you’d like it to. The goal is to eat as much as you possibly can while still losing weight. Why? Well, because we love to eat numero uno. Number two, your body will plateau and when it does that, we need to have room to work with in order to make the adjustments necessary so that we can induce another round of weight loss. Number three, if you go too low too fast or for too long, you’ll get burnt out, binge and gain all that weight back plus some. Bummer. Let’s avoid that scenario altogether.
So, now that we understand that it’s not a restriction on WHAT you can eat, but only on how much of each thing, let’s take a look at a meal plan one of my clients put together. Her goal was to indulge in some of her mom’s adobo. Totally fair, however, it’s a bit challenging unless you know the exact recipe. Nonetheless, if you know what’s in it, you can account for it in your budget, which you are free to spend any way you please. If you’re trying to fit in a meal that is higher in calories, then start with the thing you’re trying to eat. So, in her case, she adds the adobo first and then adds in foods for the macros that she has left. Her first attempt is here:
Notice that she’s over on fats. She wasn’t sure how to make a change because each time she tried to change one food to meet one of the three macros, the other two would then be off. Fat is the most important macro to control. It requires the most precision. Remember: Fat has MORE THAN DOUBLE the calories per gram of Carbs and Protein. MORE THAN DOUBLE. So, one small slip up with fat and you’re toast for the day.
Here’s a little linear algebra tip for you guys, in order to make it work, it might require an alteration to a few of the foods instead of just one. It’s a linear combination. Who said you won’t use linear algebra in real life? Please. I’m putting that education to WERK.
So, here it is with a few modification to fit her macro goals. Notice that it took a few tweaks, but you can make it work. The easiest way to modify your meal plan is to focus on the foods that are pure carbs, pure fats, or pure proteins. You do it the first time for a rough cut solution, but the finer adjustments can be made relying on the foods that have most of their calories coming from only one macronutrient.
I like to weigh my rice because it’s pretty much a pure carb. There is some incidental protein, but for the most part, it’s just carbs. I like to also weigh almonds because that’s a rich fat source – yes, there are incidental carbs and protein, but it’s mostly fat. The easiest thing to tweak is the protein. Egg whites are straight up protein. Whole eggs have fat that comes from the yolk, which is good for you, but if you’re looking for an easy adjustment, add egg whites to the mix. Easy peasy.
Check out her version of the story here.