Eating with Macros: A Day in the Life

When I started posting about my macro tracking journey a while back, the questions started coming. Then after answering a few questions and posting in detail about my macro lifestyle (yes, I said “lifestyle,” NOT “diet”), the questions actually started?pouring?in! Among all of the requests, the most common was for a visual example of exactly what a day in the macros life looks like. HOW do I (and you) actually translate the principles of this way of eating into what to eat?

I was asked to do a news segment on the topic for a local station and figured what better way to teach than to show EXACTLY what my foods look like. Since I Facebook LIVEd the segment, you all can watch it too. Yay?love technology! Click HERE if you want to watch. It?s long (but super cute because Cash came along to help out!), so if you don?t want to watch, and you want the full breakdown of what and how-to, just keep reading?

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So, we’ve already covered the basics of the macros way of eating in my previous post.? But just to quickly recap before we get to the “meat and potatoes” of the post (pun intended), let’s talk about what a Macro Diet is.?Well, it?s not really a DIET, per se, but it?s the best?way to fine tune?a diet for your own wants and needs. I STILL carb cycle, and Chris STILL carb cycles, but we’ve actually taken carb cycling to?another level by tracking our daily macronutrient intake while carb cycling.

The plain and simple of it is that it is?NOT “clean eating,” but it’s not “unclean eating” either. Clean eating diets require you ONLY eat foods on the “healthy” list and deprivation is the name of the game. This is hard for most?people to follow, myself included.?The idea behind a macro-based plan, however, is that no foods are off limits, but instead we track our proteins, carbs, and fats for each day until we reach our?goal macronutrient numbers. So if I want a donut, I eat a donut. But I am aware (thanks to MyFitnessPal) of the exact macronutrient breakdown of that donut (high fat and carb content) and plan accordingly for the rest of my day.

This begs the question, “Is this easier or harder than clean eating?” While the food part is easier (because c’mon…allowing yourself pizza every now and then is MUCH easier than saying you can never eat it again), the actual calculating part is harder and much more tedious. I happen to love math, and I love treats…so this is a (marshmallow) dream (bar) come true for me. If you aren’t too keen on math?like Chris (ha!)?we can help you out. Download our free Macro Counting 101 Ebook now. Our simple guide will give you the basics of macro tracking and will help you figure out the appropriate macros for you and your goals.

Alright, so on to my sample day. This particular day’s goal for me is 120g protein, 250g carbohydrate, and 50g fat. While this happens to be my lower carb day, it actually has wonderfully balanced macros for the average person (about 50% carb, 25% protein, 25% fat). I’m not saying this is right for you, just giving an example. I’ll share info at the bottom of this post on how you can calculate your own macronutrient needs, but here’s a little breakdown of exactly what one of my recent days looked like.

Meal 1 (every single day for me, no joke) consists of a protein shake (1 scoop) and a Marshmallow Dream Bar. Starbucks should send me free MDBs for life with all the promo I give them. 😉 Ha!

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This meal contains 25g protein, 49g carb, 5g fat. Soooo, let’s do some math here and subtract those macros from my macros that I started with?remember, they were 120g P, 250g C, and 50g F. After meal 1, I have 95g P, 201g C, and 45g F left in my macro bank. You follow how I am doing that? Easy!

Okay, now on to meal 2. A few hours later I am eating 5.3 ounces nonfat plain Greek yogurt, 1 cup of strawberries, topped with 1/4 cup of THE best low-fat granola by KIND (Banana Nut Clusters).

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This meal has 18g P, 37g C, and 2g F. Back to math class here…subtracting these numbers from my macro bank means I now have 77g P, 164g C, and 43g F left over for the rest of the day.

Next up, one of my favorite convenience meals?1 cup of brown rice pasta with 3 ounces extra-lean ground turkey, 1/4 cup marinara, and 1 1/2 cups of steamed broccoli to keep me full. This meal is SO easy to make if you have the brown rice pasta and ground turkey meal prepped in advance like we like to do.

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My pasta perfection has 26g P, 52g C, and 3g F. Macro bank, after subtracting these numbers, is now at 51g P, 112g C, and 40g F.

Early afternoon, I will eat some more meat and veggies?this time with rice?to keep my hunger minimized and my blood sugar levels stable. This meal is 3 1/2 ounces grilled chicken, 1/2 cup jasmine rice, 1 ounce teriyaki sauce, and some mixed veggies.

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This meal has 25g P, 34g C, and 3g F.?After mowing this down in 3 seconds flat (okay, I’m not that fast), I have 26g P, 78g C, and 37g F left for the day.

Now you will notice I have been going super low fat for most of the day. Yes, I am aware of this…and this isn’t THE way to do macro counting, this is MY way of doing it. I do this because I want to bank my fats and a decent amount of carbs for my last meal of the day. I know that by saving these macros for night, I can enjoy a perfectly calculated, on-plan indulgence meal.

And my indulgence meal is….gluten-free, peanut butter-topped Eggo waffles. Yes…I am serious. The kid in me will never go away. I legit lick every. single. spot. off of this plate.

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To be exact, this meal consists of 3 gluten-free Eggo waffles, 3 tablespoons all-natural chunky peanut butter, 1/8 cup pure maple syrup, and 1 low fat mozzarella string cheese. Macros for the heaven-on-a-plate are 26g P, 78g C, and 37g F…which is EXACTLY what my macro bank had left!! Bingo, bango, bongo, baby. To summarize, I’ve put it all in one handy dandy printable graphic for you:HeidiMacrosBLOGopt

Now in full transparency, I rarely finish a day spot on. This happened to work out perfectly, but usually I am 1 gram over or under on each of the macros. Give it a try and be patient with yourself. I remember at the beginning I would literally be OVER my carb allowance by noon because I still hadn’t figured out the balance and proper way to divvy up my macros. Over time, I feel like I’ve become a macro queen, and you can too!

Now about that macro calculating and tracking for those of you who would like to get nerdy with me and start calculating macros…and eating peanut butter waffles at night. ;)?The Transform App?2.0 finally has macro tracking capabilities! ?So now you can track the foods that YOU eat.

 

 

And to help you calculate the appropriate macros for you, we?ve created our Macro Counting 101 ebook?available for FREE download now. ?Pick it up while you can because this baby won?t be free for long! ;-)? Click here to download!

Now that I’ve made us all hungry, let’s end this blog now and go eat some delicious, nutritious, and possibly-indulgent macros.

Hugs and (chocolate) kisses,

Heidi

Related reading:

Macro Tracking for the Win! All of Your Questions Answered
Carb Cycling 101
Heidi-Approved (& Macro-Friendly) Fast Food Picks
It Really Is All About the Promise

And click HERE for the GMAZ Facebook Live Segment in case you missed it above. 😉

207 Responses

    1. Hi Angela: There are links to a couple of macro calculators in this post, and they can help you figure out your macros. 🙂

  1. Great info Heidi! I’ve recently started eating IIFYM. I’m curious with your carbs being so high if u are dieting? I know you just competed and wow 250 for a low day is Uh-mazing!!! Did u just slowly start to increase your carbs? I’m trying to lose/tighten up now. I’ve competed before and I’m over the bro diet??. I’m currently taking 160 p, 149 c, and 36 f, 40, 5’6″ and 143 lb’s. I need more fats in my life! I’ll definitely look into the calculator u posted.

    Best:)
    Nicole

    1. I also wondered if this was a training day? And if so what was the pre and post meal? I mentioned my macros above and those were determined from another website. Using the calculator u provided my macros are 144g p, 207 g c, and 52g f with the lose 10% and higher protein option. I’d like this more, but not not how to transition into that without gaining fat from the increase in fats and carbs. I am trying to lean out and gain lean muscle.

    2. And one more question. Are the calories calculated the TDEE with any decrease for weight loss?

  2. Hi Heidi, when entering my info in both macro calculators suggested, the numbers are significantly different. Why would there be such a large difference and how do you know which one to follow for the best results?

    1. Hi Lorrena: Each calculator can come up with a slightly different result based on how each is set up and how your info/goals are input. I’d go into each and maybe tweak what you input and see if maybe that’s what’s causing the differences.

  3. Love the visual breakdown and sharing the realistic food items you enjoy! I’ve been eating clean and feeling great for over a year but have friends that have had amazing results from carb cycling and macro counting that I have not been able to achieve. It’s a bit mind blowing after being so so strict with my diet-to think I could still be fit and healthy by eating dream bars and pasta and rice daily-when kept in proportion and check of course! Thanks for making things simple and fun to follow. I could get use to sweets and pastas ? I might give it a try if I can get over my fear of too much food.

  4. Great post, thanks SO much! I really liked the visuals. Can you expand on carb cycling while counting macros? More specifically, how do you what to change your macros to on high carb vs low carb days? Thanks!!

    1. Hi CJ: If you’re carb cycling to lose weight, these numbers will be different than carb cycling for different goals, so there’s really not a one-size-fits-all answer to your question. If you’re following any of Chris and Heidi’s carb cycles, here are the recommended percentages: Easy, Classic, Fit, and Turbo Cycles: High Carb Meal (including EVERY breakfast):
      Protein: 40%, Carbs: 40%, Fats: 20%, Low Carb Meal: Protein: 40%, Carbs: 20%, Fats: 40%. Extreme Cycle: Breakfast (EVERY day): Protein: 30%, Carb: 40%, Fat: 30%, High Carb Meal: Protein: 40%, Carb: 50%, Fat: 10%, Low Carb Meal: Protein: 40%, Carb: 10%, Fat: 50%. If your goals are not to lose weight or if you’re following a different plan, then it would be best to have a macro coach help you figure out what will work best for you. Hope that helps!

  5. That was so great to read. I need to figure out what my carb, fats and protein numbers should be before I do this!! And when to have a high carb vs a low carb and what the two different numbers for those days would be:) thanks
    Ps. If you want to help me out I would love it lol

  6. Heidi,

    I love this article! Currently I am 413 pounds and my biggest road block to success is trying to over complicated nutrition and your approach gives me hope. My favorite part was the peanut butter eggo waffles with maple syrup. It was helpful to see how you created space for them in your plan.

    Recently, I joined your Powell Transformation site and I plan to follow the Turbo Cycle. My only frustrations with the site are that it’s set up for a Classic cycle, so I have to manually adjust all the days, and that all the meals are a little elaborate. Don’t get me wrong, good taste takes effort, but for snacks I would love more simple ideas like your yogurt granola snack.

    I get overwhelmed with meal planning and any simple solutions you could offer would be extremely helpful.

    Thank you again for this article. You have a gift with making food and fitness sound fun!

    1. Hi Krystal: Your first step is to use one of the macro calculators in the post to help you figure out what your macros may be. Good luck!

  7. Hi Heidi,

    Just curious how many carbs do you eat on a high carb day? Also, when you were gaining muscle recently (I assume you still are but when you made that huge progress from those progress shots on Instagram) what were your macros then? Your help is greatly appreciated!!

    1. Hi Charlene: I don’t have Heidi’s exact macros breakdown, what works for one person can be very different than what works for another. Your correct macro percentages are based off your body composition and goals, and so it can be very helpful to work with a macro coach who can help you get started and then tweak things as you go. We wish you the best!

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