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How to Make Sticking to Your Diet Easy

 

Let's be honest... I am no culinary expert. I see the cute recipe posts on Pinterest, and sometimes I even get hyped enough to pin a few to my teeny tiny, overly optimistic (I will probably never get around to cooking any of it) recipe board. But when it comes to meal prep... REAL meal prep... I like it simple, fast, and easy. 

I have burnt pop tarts several times... do not trust me with your extravagant healthy meals. 

And yet, I still manage to keep my weight down, my calories up, and my physique progressing. Your diet doesn't need to be complicated!

For anyone new here, hey girl hey! My name is Emily. I am an online health coach and national level bikini competitor with a side interest in pushing a squad of fiery, fit women over 40 through some kick ass indoor cycling classes!

It's safe to say, I know the meal prep struggle. I practice a flexible diet year round. This means I track my macros (protein, carb and fat intake) every day of the year, whether I am in a competition season or improvement season/offseason. 

It can be mind numbing to weigh and track and prep foods that fit your plan on the daily. So I've broken things down to make flexible dieting as easy as possible for you! Allow me to save you the time (I begrudgingly spent) in the trial and error phase and let's get you to your goals!

1. Set Meal Goals in My Fitness Pal

If you're not already using My Fitness Pal... WHATCHA DOING? It's going to make your life so much easier. I recommend getting the premium version as it will allow you to better customize your macro goals. It's worth it. Trust me, just do it. 

Once you've got My Fitness Pal up and ready to go, you will need to locate the "... More" button at the very bottom right of the app screen. Click here and then find the button that says "Goals." From here, you can enable Calorie Goals by Meal and Show Carbs, Protein, and Fat By Meal. 

This feature helps me so much whether I'm cutting, maintaining, or bulking. 

Basically, it allows you to distribute your macros and calories as evenly as possible throughout the day so you don't load up at one meal and then starve at other parts of the day. I've been there, and it's no fun... 

2. Load Your Meals in My Fitness Pal Ahead of Time

I am not going to lie to you. There are absolutely days that I free ball it and just eat whatever I have available until 4 or 5 o clock and then make some weird dinner combination with whatever macros I have left. Remember, this is the real girl's guide to sticking to your diet. Not every day is perfect!

However, planning will set you up for the most success. Even if it's just the morning of, load possible meals into MFP ahead of time and plan out your whole day's worth or week's worth of food. This ensures you can avoid those weird end of the day macro combos and eat well balanced, nutrient dense meals all day long without stress. 

3. 2 Proteins, 2 Starches, 2 Veggies, and Some Snacks

 This has been the easiest way for me to plan my grocery trips. Plus, it allows me to make sure I am set up for success meeting all three macros while giving me some variety. My cart usually contains some of the following:

Proteins:

Boneless, skinless chicken breasts

Cooked, frozen shrimp

93% Lean Turkey Patties

93% Lean Ground Beef

Starches:

Brown Rice

Jasmine Rice

Whole Wheat Pasta

Veggies:

Broccoli 

Vegetable Medley 

Green Beans

Asparagus 

Snacks:

Pistachios

Peanuts

Almonds

Blueberries

Bananas

Popcorn

Pretzels

4. Emergency Fast Food Options

Again, I am here to be real with you. Any diet that doesn't let me have Chipotle occasionally is just not the diet for me. I don't believe in removing any food I enjoy from my diet and I won't remove foods from my clients' diet either. It's not fun, it's not necessary, and it creates an unhealthy relationship with food. 

So... firstly, if you want to have that burger, go for it! As long as you mindfully plan your other meals around your splurge, it's not going to hurt your progress to enjoy the fun foods. 

That being said, it's always good to have some macro friendly go to's at hand for when you're on the go! Most restaurants post their nutrition information for the menu online. If it's a chain, it's probably also in My Fitness Pal. 

You don't have to lose your progress when you aren't home. If you know the macros in the restaurant meal, you can still track it and still stick to your macro targets. 

Here are some of my personal macro friendly fast food favorites:

Starbucks:

Spinach & Feta Wrap

Reduced Fat Turkey Bacon Sandwich

Egg White Bites

Chick Fil A:

Grilled Chicken Nuggets with a Side of Fruit and the Fat Free Honey Mustard Salad Dressing as my Nugget Sauce

Chipotle:

Burrito Bowl with Brown Rice, Chicken, Fajita Veggies, Mild Salsa, Corn, and Guacamole

With places that are more "Build Your Own" like Chipotle, you can always ballpark how much of each item is in your entree. OR some places, like Chipotle, have an order builder online that will tell you all of the nutrition facts for YOUR customized order. I used this to build my "healthy" bowl and then added my bowl as a custom food to MFP so that I can just plug it right in whenever I'm out and about. 

Just because you're not eating a home cooked meal, doesn't mean you're sacrificing your progress! Just be diligent about tracking it and the occasional meal out won't hurt you. 

5. Incorporate Re-feed Days

I am a huge advocate for using re-feed days to curb cravings. If you want to avoid a nasty weight rebound after you reach your goal, you should never fully eliminate foods you enjoy. 

Some people choose to incorporate a cheat meal. I find that this often leads to people going balls to the ball and eating like crazy for the rest of the day... or week... or they just give up after that because they lose self control. 

Refeed days allow for a controlled extra dose of yummy food. Basically, you're going to raise your carbs for a day or two each week and leave protein and fats the same (or decrease fats.) The spike in carbs will increase your leptin levels, which will make you feel full. Plus, you'll replenish your muscle glycogen so your muscles will look full and you'll have renewed energy in the gym! 

Want More of My Dieting Secrets?

These are just a few of my endless tips for making your diet as easy (and fun) as possible. I've spent over a year teaching women just like you to how to transform their bodies and have fun doing it.

Life is just too short to say no to yummy foods and feel miserable while trying to reach your goals!

If you're ready for the rest of my dieting secrets and want to lose weight the fun way, APPLY HERE for a customized training and nutrition program. I will be there to coach you every step of the way so we can get you better, lasting results. 

Not convinced? Check out some of these amazing success stories from women JUST LIKE YOU. Stop telling yourself you're too old, too far off, too busy, too tired. You are NONE of these things! 

No more waiting for the perfect time. There will never be a perfect moment. The time to make a change is always RIGHT NOW! I believe in you, missy! Let me show you what you can do. 

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