Eating Out & Losing Weight | 7 Tips for Travelers Tracking Macros
When people ask about eating out at seminars, Jason always hands the floor over to me. If you don’t already know, I am a full-blown foodie! Which can be a blessing and a curse. I get a huge amount of enjoyment from eating delicious foods. The downside? Well, really tasty food often doesn’t come in a conveniently scannable packet! Nor does it typically come at the end of a buffet line – sorry Chipotle fans! And in case you’ve never experienced it, food envy is very real and depressing!
Basically, being a foodie means that I have high expectations for every macro I devour. Of course, before flexible eating this lead me down the path of weight gain, which lead to
restrictive dieting and avoiding social functions like dinners out with friends.
When I started flexible eating (for the third time!) I decided I had to make it fit my lifestyle. No more boring meals at home day-in-and-day-out, I needed variety and flavorful food. Plus,
I was heading out travelling for 3 months, so that meant finding a way to track food at places that wouldn’t be in the app – as convenient as Chipotle is, you can’t go to California and not sample some authentic Cocina Mexicana.
Based on my own first-hand
experience and success, here are my personal recommendations for what to do when you’re a travelling macro-tracker!
1. Pick foods that are easier to track
Maybe there’s two dishes on the menu that you’re torn between like fajitas and chilaquiles. The fajitas are by far going to be easier to track because you can distinguish and guesstimate each separate component. Typically, the rice, beans, chicken, peppers, guacamole and sour cream are usually all compartmentalized so that you construct your own tortilla wrap – you can also easily ask them not to bring you things you don’t want. The chilaquiles on the other hand, is a delicious, messy plate of tortilla chips, cheese, chicken, sauce and whatever else the chef decides to toss in there. Whether you eat it all or not, you are making a wild stab in the dark about the quantities of each component.
2. Break your meal down vs finding a pre-built meal in the app
It might be a bit cumbersome the first time, but if it’s a meal you enjoy regularly at one of your favorite restaurants, then it’s worth spending the extra time breaking your meal down, for the sake of a little more accuracy. Maybe the chilaquiles in the example before is your favorite meal. Instead of looking up chilaquiles and choosing any old random entry in the app, ask your server to find out from the kitchen the quantities of each individual ingredient so you can use the “Create a Meal” function in the app – if you’re not sure how, you should check out our step-by-step tutorial in our eBook guide
3. Horde Your Macros
This is kind of a no-brainer, but like we always say, carbs and fats are quick and dirty 😉 They’re very easy to come by, especially when temptations are high and your friends are ordering tantalizing dishes like they never experienced a fat-day in their lives! So, if you’re eating out for dinner, keep your other meals high in protein and low in carbs and fat. Things
like an egg white, veggie, omelette with a cup of strawberries, or a tropical
fruit, protein smoothie are great!
4. Limit the Amount You Eat Out
Whether you’re travelling, on vacation or your job simply demands that you entertain, try to make a concerted effort to balance eating out with meals that you can easily track on the go. When I was travelling, I would allow myself one meal a day where I knew that what I was tracking might not be entirely accurate. My other meals and snacks, I would make sure I could track and be on point. I’d eat things like protein bars, or a microwavable burrito or a bagel with deli meat. Things that I could easily track and prepare anywhere – so many grocery stores these days have cafeterias with microwaves and pretty much all hotels give you access to a microwave.
Try it for yourself. If you know you’re away for 5 days and you eat 4 meals a day, allow yourself one meal a day where you can eat out and not stress about inaccuracies. By the end of the week, only 20% of your meals overall will be slightly off. That’s nothing! More importantly, you’re tracking consistency will be 100%.
5. Plan ahead
I can’t emphasize enough how important this is! If you know you’re going out for lunch or dinner, before you eat anything, make sure you look up the menu of the restaurant you’re going to. If it’s somewhere fancy that probably has specials, then call ahead and ask them what they are. Now here’s the important part, make a decision on what you’re going to have and then commit to that decision! Even if your friends order something delicious, do not allow yourself to be swayed into changing your order!
6. Don’t Share Food
If you’re anything like Jason, then sharing your macros is probably the last thing you’ll do! But, it can be tempting and easy to get swept up in the food ordering excitement when people want to get appetizers for the table. My worst nightmare is going for sushi with friends because people ALWAYS want to share rolls. Sharing food makes tracking very difficult as it’s easy to forget how much you’ve eaten – kinda like trying to count your reps and rounds during a CrossFit wod without a whiteboard! If you must share, then put everything you’re going to eat on your plate and take a picture. That way when you’re home you can deliberate over what you actually ate and log a little more accurately. If you go this route, then you’ll want to make sure you leave yourself a good buffer of macros so you don’t go over your numbers.
7. Use a Travel Scale
This might sound obvious and also somewhat crazy, but if you REALLY want to be accurate, you can go to the trouble of carrying around a travel scale and weighing your food whilst you’re out. For some of you this may be overkill, embarrassing or just impractical. But if you’re eating 50% or more of your meals out and you’re not making progress, then it’s time to get over your embarrassment and prioritize your goals.
Do you travel a lot for work or pleasure? What strategies have helped you be successful whilst eating out and enjoying flexible eating? If you thought this post was helpful why not share it with your friends!? Hit us up in
the Tribe and share your tips for success!