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Counting Macros on Vacation

That vacation you’ve been looking forward to forever is just around the corner! On one hand you love the results you’ve been seeing with Macrostax. But on the other hand you want to enjoy a few drinks and eat out stress-free. You can’t help but wonder: could your weeklong vacation derail six months of progress? 

Probably not! It’s nearly impossible to gain more than a few pounds in a week. You’d have to eat an extra 3,500 calories every day for a week to gain more than five pounds. A challenge for even the biggest appetite!

At Macrostax we want to see you achieve your goals. But we also believe flexibility is key to long-term sustainability and success. When you’re on vacation you have three options:

  1. Continue to track your macros as usual.

  2. Loosely “keep an eye” on your macros and aim for healthier choices, but don’t sweat the details.

  3. Don’t think about macros or tracking at all.

There is no right or wrong answer here! Which option you choose depends on what works best for YOU, your goals, and your vacation. Here are some factors to think about: 

1. How often do you travel?

Do you plan one or two vacations per year or do you head out of town every other weekend? If vacations are a rare and special occasion, whether you track your macros or don’t probably won’t impact your overall progress. But if it’s a regular occurrence you may want to keep a closer eye on your macros.

2.  What are your goals?

Do you have a competition, event, or other goal deadline approaching soon? If so, you may want to continue to track as usual to make sure you’re as prepared as possible. If not, you have more flexibility on your vacation!

3. How long is your vacation?

Five days? Or three weeks? If your vacation extends longer than a week, it may be a good idea to keep at least a general eye on your macros. If you’re heading out for a week or less you’re unlikely to significantly hamper your progress.

4. What will you most enjoy?

If NOT tracking your macros gives you anxiety, there’s nothing wrong with continuing your normal routine. If trying to track macros while traveling and socializing stresses you out, there’s nothing wrong with taking a more laid back approach. Ask yourself: what is going to make me happiest?

Whichever route you choose, we’re here to help! Here are some of our top tips for vacationing, whether you choose to exclusively track your macros, loosely track, or not track at all.

Counting Macros on Vacation weighing food

For exclusive trackers:

  1. Pack your food scale.

  2. If you can, pack some of your favorite non-perishable snacks for your trip. Protein bars, jerky, homemade protein cookies or muffins, protein powder, and nuts all travel well.

  3. When you arrive at your destination, find a grocery store and stock up on perishable healthy macro-friendly snacks like fruit, hardboiled eggs, milk, and individual Greek yogurts.

  4. Scout out restaurants that provide nutrition information in advance (hint: these are usually larger chains.) You can input these macros into your tracker using the Custom Food button!

  5. If a restaurant doesn’t have nutrition information available opt for easier-to-track meals with separate single-macro food items. For example, a lean protein, portion of veggies, and a healthy carb. Our favorites are lean grilled steak with a baked potato and broccoli or a green salad with chicken or fish.

  6. When eating out ask for sauces and dressings to be served on the side, and consume sparingly. Request that your food be cooked without extra oil or butter.

  7. Work on your portion size estimation: remember that a 3-ounce portion of cooked protein is roughly the size of a deck of cards. One cup of rice or pasta is about the size of a closed fist, and a half cup fits in your cupped palm. As for bread - stick with a small roll or single slice (which is usually around 15-20 grams of carbs). A large hamburger bun could have 40 grams of carbs or more

For loose trackers:

  1. Opt for lean proteins like white meat, white fish, egg whites, and shrimp instead of marbled steaks or pork. This will help keep your fat intake in check.

  2. Avoid oil or cream-based sauces.

  3. Choose foods that are steamed, grilled, or sauteed rather than fried.

  4. Practice eyeballing portion sizes (hint: restaurant portions are usually about double a “standard” size!). Check out #7 from the section above for portion tips.

  5. Remember that it’s about balance. If you eat healthy during the day, it’s okay to indulge in a cocktail or dessert at night. 

Counting Macros on Vacation woman stretching

For non-trackers:

  1. Stay as active as possible on your vacation. Go on a hike or a bike ride, or walk instead of drive. 

  2. Listen to your hunger and fullness cues. 

  3. Don’t go too overboard on the cocktails - try get most of your calories from food.

  4. Don’t be alarmed if you notice weight fluctuations during or after your vacation. Eating different foods than you’re used to (hello, sodium!) can cause water weight fluctuations and bloating. Check out this post on short-term weight changes for more info. 

Remember, the best diet is one that YOU can stick to. If sticking to your Macrostax plan means tracking, tracking loosely, or not tracking at all when you’re on vacation, then do what works best for you. Flexibility is just as important as consistency for long-term success!

Every body is different, and figuring out what is most sustainable for you is part of the process. For special occasions like a vacation, it’s okay to tailor your macro approach based on what works best for you. 

Aiming for those green thumbs 360 days of the year is what will help you achieve your goals. Not hitting your macros for the other five days is insignificant in the big picture. So enjoy that vacation and come back refreshed and ready to hop back on the Macrostax wagon!


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