So Confused - How do you hit your calorie target WITHOUT exceeding the macro limits?

Options
jellybaby84
jellybaby84 Posts: 583 Member
edited February 2022 in Food and Nutrition
If I eat what I'm planning to eat later today, I will be on 951 calories and need another 249. But I am already over on protein and sugar and have only 10g of carbs left. I've got quite a lot of fat left but there's nothing I can think of that has fat but not loads of carbs and sugar too?!

I've got:
Breakfast - apple
Snack - babybel light
Lunch - jacket potato, ham, cucumber, lettuce
Snack - dried mango
Dinner - diced chicken breast, wholemeal pasta, bell pepper, sprouts
Snack - snack a jacks, babybel light

Totals:
Calories - 951/1200, Carbs - 140/150, Fat - 16/40, Protein - 62/60, Sugar - 49/45

So it seems to me that there isn't enough allowance within the macros to allow you to hit your calorie goal?

Or have I just made bad choices?

Replies

  • cwolfman13
    cwolfman13 Posts: 41,865 Member
    edited February 2022
    Options
    You can change your macros to whatever you like...there's nothing special or magical about MFP's default macro ratios and there is no universally optimal macro ratio...and your macro ratios don't really matter for weight management. Macros can be important to physical performance, satiety, and to some extent body composition...but all of that is pretty individual. Doing a bunch of hand wringing over your macros is a waste of time and energy.

    MFP has to have some default ratio as your macros are what make up your calories. 4 calories per gram of carbohydrate and protein...9 calories per gram of dietary fat.
  • Lietchi
    Lietchi Posts: 6,470 Member
    Options
    Fat is an important nutrient, especially for women, and 16 grams is very low.
    I would suggest: avocado, nuts (or nut butters, for example with your apple) and/or some olive oil on your veggies.
  • jellybaby84
    jellybaby84 Posts: 583 Member
    Options
    Ok, fair enough if the macros don't matter, that's easy. I assumed mfp would set them at some kind of generally advisable level though so didn't want to ignore them.

    Lietchi - I don't like oils or spread unfortunately, which are the only fat only options that are, I think. Also dislike avocados and all nuts except macadamia nuts (I'm ridiculously fussy!) Avocado would also take me way over on carbs but, if that doesn't matter, then I have less of a problem!

    Thanks - I did used to use mfp a lot years ago but not for healthy reasons. I'm trying to do it better this time but feel like I'm failing on days 1-2!
  • lynn_glenmont
    lynn_glenmont Posts: 10,037 Member
    Options
    You could add fat to what you're already planning to eat -- a little peanut butter or other nut butter with your apple; some butter or sour cream with your potato; some olive oil with your pasta and veggies at dinner.
  • sijomial
    sijomial Posts: 19,809 Member
    edited February 2022
    Options
    But you don't have to make them limits.
    Or you can make them minimum limits.
    Or you can just treat them as rough guidelines to get reasonably close to, most of the time.

    It's often not a great strategy to go out of your way to make a hard job even harder by adding rigid rules and restrictions with little or no benefit. Worth spending some time thinking how to make dieting easier.

    Personally I preferred to treat both protein and fats as minimum goals which were perfectly fine to exceed (within my overall calorie limit) and carbs as the "filler" to take up the slack.
    I also had zero reason to track both sugar and carbs (sugar is a subset of carbs).

  • cmriverside
    cmriverside Posts: 34,162 Member
    Options
    How about a handful of walnuts? An egg? A slice of cheese with that apple.

    A full-fat yogurt, a burger or a bacon lettuce tomato sandwich. You really do need fats.
  • jellybaby84
    jellybaby84 Posts: 583 Member
    Options
    sijomial - thank you; that's a more reassuring way to look at it. I really don't want a diet controlled by numbers in too many ways. I get very easily obsessed (have a long history of eating disorders but am now probably too lax with what I eat and am at the top end of what is healthy for me or borderline overweight (not sure which and too scared to find out!) )

    Thank you for the healthy fat suggestions. I'm sooooo fussy, that's the problem. Eggs would work. I eat a lot of babybel lights. I could buy the full fat versions. Same with yogurts - I get 0% fat ones but could switch. I don't like butters, oils, nuts or red meat (apart from ham). I'll start with full fat cheese and yogurt.
  • wilson10102018
    wilson10102018 Posts: 1,306 Member
    Options
    Ignore macros. Waste of time.
  • AnnPT77
    AnnPT77 Posts: 33,085 Member
    Options
    sijomial - thank you; that's a more reassuring way to look at it. I really don't want a diet controlled by numbers in too many ways. I get very easily obsessed (have a long history of eating disorders but am now probably too lax with what I eat and am at the top end of what is healthy for me or borderline overweight (not sure which and too scared to find out!) )

    Thank you for the healthy fat suggestions. I'm sooooo fussy, that's the problem. Eggs would work. I eat a lot of babybel lights. I could buy the full fat versions. Same with yogurts - I get 0% fat ones but could switch. I don't like butters, oils, nuts or red meat (apart from ham). I'll start with full fat cheese and yogurt.

    Would it help to consider that you don't have to be spot-on each and every day, but to try to be close to your goals, then averaging out where you want them over the week?

    For most nutrients, it's not like they're instantly excreted if not needed in the moment. Full digestive transit can take 50+ hours (per research), plus the body has mechanisms for retaining some nutrients longer-term . . . humans are adaptive omnivores, with a genetic profile conditioned by a food-scarcity history to survive in a variety of conditions. We're lucky to live in a time when we can pursue optimization, but there's no need to do that to the point of obsession.

    Over on some macros is fine (absent any medical condition dictating otherwise), if within calories, and as long as other essential macros aren't consistently low day after day. It's about balance, not a tortured, stressful exactitude.

    It's probably obvious: I disagree with those who say macros are unimportant. They're not directly relevant to weight loss (can be a bit so indirectly via fatigue or appetite), but they do matter for body composition and general health. Even so, getting close to reasonable goals on average over time is going to be fine - stress is bad for people, too 😉, so no need to stress over this.

    P.S. I agree with those suggesting you bring your fat intake up a bit given this particular day. We need some fat for cellular health, absorption of fat-soluble vitamins (A, D, E, K . . .), and hormonal balance. Our bodies can't manufacture it out of any other nutrients, so we need to eat some: Technically, in that sense, it's an "essential macronutrient". So is protein.
  • scarlett_k
    scarlett_k Posts: 812 Member
    Options
    I don't pay much attention to mine but I eat a balanced diet and for the most part my weekly averages do more or less follow the default macros MFP suggests. I'm usually a bit over on fat but not by a great deal. I'm healthier than ever and over 50kg down. I don't really think of them as a limit, they're just a suggestion or guideline really.
  • jellybaby84
    jellybaby84 Posts: 583 Member
    Options
    Thank you AnnPT, that is helpful, yes.
  • Bridgie3
    Bridgie3 Posts: 139 Member
    edited February 2022
    Options
    You may need to switch your babybel from lite to full fat, any milk products should be full fat, bacon has fat and pretty much no carbs, remember that avocado, with 13g carb, has 10g fibre (indigestable) so that's only 3 g carbs in reality.

    Good quality sausages have no carbs but have fat.

    I think people turn to bacon really, because it's all to hard when you just start. It is important to have your macros, which will have been set for a reason at the beginning I assume? advice from a nutritionist, or a diet programme? - and it take a number of goes to get it right. It's a process, a journey. every day I look at my macros and think 'i could have some of this, instead of that, and fit my macros better' and I give it a whirl.

    Oh snacks: a salami stick, a tin of sardines or tuna if you like fish... a cheese section, but not babybel lite. Go get a full fat cream cheese like laughing cow. That has like 1 carb.

    Perhaps swop your dried fruit for some roast beef or similar?

    :)
  • Strudders67
    Strudders67 Posts: 984 Member
    Options
    I'm another who sees the protein and fat as a minimum figure to aim for. The only number I really pay attention to is carbs, but that's because I'm diabetic. I also keep an eye on my fibre number to ensure I'm eating enough; apparently most people don't.

    Full fat Babybel would give you another 3g of fat over the babybel light. I was going to add that they're more calories too, but you need more calories anyway. Look at other cheeses as well, for variety. A small amount of grated cheddar or thinly sliced Stilton on your potato would be good with your ham and side salad. Diced cheddar goes well with a chopped apple. Oatcakes go well with cheese and have some fat in them too.

    You could also consider sprinkling chia seeds and/or mixed seeds into your yoghurt. That's my typical breakfast, along with two hard boiled eggs. 15g of chia seeds gives me 5g of fat and 19g of Tesco's 4-seed mix gives me 9g of fat, although that's also 175 calories just in seeds! However, that gave me 9g of fibre, of my 30g target.
  • ahoy_m8
    ahoy_m8 Posts: 3,053 Member
    Options
    I consider the calorie goal a maximum and the protein, fat and fiber goals minimums.

    Fat is important for hormone synthesis and some vitamin absorption. I had struggles with atopic dermatitis almost all my life and it resolved when I upped my fat intake. Nominal guideline is 0.35g dietary fat per pound body weight. Good luck finding balance in your diet.