Favorite beef jerky

What are some good tasting (read: not scary) kinds of jerky. What are your favorites?

Great question! I’m a diva about jerky--not that I know best for everyone, but I know what I like, I have decent luck at Costco with their selection.

I like Kirkland steak strips

Golden Island jerky is good, they have a korean pork jerky that’s good, I like their chili lime beef

I also like Jack’s links pretty well, but I favor the big and meaty varieties--when it comes to the one serving packs of regular jerky--I don’t love those, the pieces get so small and shreddy :(

Weight increase with increase in exercise

For the first 4 weeks of the challenge, I scaled back on working out. It was a good time for me to take a break from Crossfit and I thought it would be good to get up and running on the macro challenge too. So, during that time I lost 2 lbs (in the full 4 weeks) and I worked out maybe 1 or 2 times each week. I started working out again almost daily at my Crossfit gym at the beginning of this week... I'm super hungry and I've gained 1 lb already. I know I probably need to give it more time, it's just a little frustrating to have gained. What should I do? Do you think I need to adjust macros at all?

Ok--so it totally makes sense that your appetite would increase since you are increasing your energy output right? And...dramatic pause for also makes sense that you would see an increase in weight. But notice I said weight NOT fat. The bathroom scale cannot tell the difference. And as ironic as it may seem, upping your workouts (particularly weight lifting) can increase your weight because your muscles are absorbing more glycogen and with the increase of the stress hormone cortisol (which increases when we increase strain on the body physically or mentally) also causes some water retention! This is why it is CRUCIAL that you pay more attention to your measurements than to your weight.

So. What to do. If you find yourself hungry--the first thing to do is to check your water, sleep and stress levels. Are you around period munchy time?

When we are dehydrated, our bodies can send us hunger cues to compensate.

When we don’t get enough sleep 7-8 hours our hormones get out of whack and we have more cravings and less satisfaction from food.

Stress can increase cravings and reduce our will power.

Make sure you are staggering your protein. See if you can create more volume in the foods you’re eating--cauliflower rice, vegetables--chicken vs a protein shake. On a particularly hungry day, add in 100-150 calories (around +3F 15C is what we recommend). See how that feels. If you feel you need to do this 3x a week or more, consider upping your macros to this level.

Cutting is great--but remember that this is NOT the only phase of macros where you will see results. Whenever people are cutting calories their overall activity typically goes down because you’re tired! So you’re eating less but you’re also moving a bit less. I always have to put in a plug for reversing to maintenance because think of it this way: you’ll be eating enough to build muscle, and eating more yes--but you’ll also have more fuel for greater levels of activity and performance.

Binging on candy and junkfood

I really want to sit and eat junk (mostly candy and cookies) just one day a week, lol! I haven’t caved to this mainly because I know I will feel like crap afterwards and it’s really not worth it but the desire is there and some days it’s really strong! What can I do about this desire? (Can I have a junk day lol?) I’m moving pass my viscous episodes of bingeing and punishing myself. So what are your thoughts? I love how physically strong I’m feeling and how good I feel when I eat balanced but the mental and emotional balance is a little harder to maintain or reach some days. Thank you for your help!

Ok so a couple things:

A lot of people like to incorporate an untracked meal, a “joy eat” or a “cheat day”--and it there isn’t a problem with it--it just depends on a lot of factors. You are more than welcome to incorporate a “junk meal” (not a day lol) but how do you think your mindset will respond to that? Will it mess with your head? Will it be a nice break? Will one meal turn into a day or a weekend? It really depends on your personality. And it’s similar with your physical progress also--if you notice you’re not making the progress you want--it’s tightening up the weighing and tracking and eliminating these kinds of extras that is your first step!

As far as the desire--(and we actually sent an email about this today--Wednesday)--you have to just allow it. It’s called riding the wave. Just allow it, don’t judge it, don’t make the presence of this desire mean anything about you as a person--or make it mean anything about your progress. The more you allow it and don’t judge it and don’t act on it--the less these desires will have power over you in the long run. Allowing the discomfort of cravings or negative emotions of any kind--and not acting on them or judging yourself for them--IS the secret. You can just say, man I am really craving cookies and candy right now, that’s interesting.

And perhaps consider building them into your day, like an end of day treat for example! It could be a good thing for you to understand what they cost and how to fit them in--you won’t be in a cut forever and when you reverse and count in maintenance they will easier to fit. You don’t have to live the rest of your life without cookies and candy to see or keep your results--it’s just a question of what’s worth it to and when/how to fit them into your day in a way that works for you physically and mentally.

Adding exercise in MFP

Do I need to input my exercise into tracking each day? The last program I did, it was already accounted for in my macros so I didn't touch that part in MFP but I want to make sure I'm not missing anything! Thanks!

Your macros are also calculated for with the activity accounted for! You do NOT need to input your activity. Adding in your activity is often unreliable.

Exchanging Macros

I went over on my carbs but still have 23 grams of fat left over. Can I exchange them? I still have calories left over and I've hit my protein. Thanks!

Short answer is yes you can exchange them! Calories are king when it comes to weight loss but you don’t want to do that constantly. 23g of carb is also a lot to under shoot your fat. We recommend that you atleast get in 40g of fat to keep hormones regulated. Fats are good for you! Dietary fat does many good things for us!

When I haven't hit my protein by the end of the day, but I hit my calories...

When it is coming to the end of the day and I haven't hit my protein (but have hit or are close to other macros or calories), do I have something like a protein shake so I hit my protein (or get a lot closer) and go over on calories? Or stay under on calories and protein?

We always say to aim for your macros first and foremost. But let’s say that you go over on some macros, and maybe they weren’t as balanced as they usually are throughout the day, then stick to your calorie range as a gauge. So don’t hit your protein for the sake of hitting your protein if it means that you go way over on your calories. Either aim for macros as close as you can, or aim for hitting protein and overall calories. Also try to spread your macros out evenly at each meal and snack, so you don’t have a huge amount of macros left in one macro. For example you’ve hit your carbs and fats but you have like 40-50g protein left. That’s a tough one. Try to view your macros as 3 things that should work TOGETHER to build a well-balanced meal or snack. But keep playing around with it! We promise the more you practice, the more you’ll see how you can better hit those macros throughout the day, so you’re not left with wonky macros at night.

How to prepare for social outings when you have no idea what the nutrition facts are?

Was wondering how to handle when a family invited your family over for dinner- not necessarily in how to log it- but how to prepare for it, esp when you have no idea what is going to be served. This happened yesterday- so I tried to make sure I was already close to my protein (which as a vegetarian is my hardest macro to hit) and had plenty of carbs and fats to play with. It worked out fine I think but was just wondering if you had any tips in this kind of situation since you can’t look at a restaurant menu and plan and pre-log. And I offered to bring some food but hostess did not want me to, so I was going in blind :-)

More times than not this is going to be the trickiest situation! Go into the situation with a lot of protein. Most of the time you’re not going to get more than 20-30g when you’re eating at someone’s house, and that’s at the most. Grabbing a protein shake ahead of time can help cut the appetite down a little, so you’re pacing yourself and making educated decisions about the spread. Plus it’s nice to go in not being starving. The longer you wait to eat, your decision making goes down, and you want to make sure you spend it the right way. Most of the time going out to eat or going to a friend’s house is going to cost you 600-1000. We don’t mean to frighten you and don’t want you necessarily starving yourself all day to fit it in, but just be aware that you’re probably not heading into a 300 calorie meal. Ultimately what we really want to convey to you though is to enjoy your life. Don’t say no to outings with friends and family. Just do your best to troubleshoot it!

Do macros change when you're on your period?

Do your macro needs change during your period? I can be just fine the rest of the month but for that week, I feel like I’m starving!!

This isn’t news to any of us, but Premenstrual Syndrome can definitely impact our fitness goals--it hits us with a double whammy! We have food cravings that drive us towards carb & fat laden foods, and we experience increased bad moods, lack of energy & bloating that leaving want to say “To hell with it!" But a week’s worth of worth of indulging cravings, comfort eating and skipping exercise can overshadow the hard work we’ve put in hitting our numbers! The result: we don’t lose any weight – or worse still, actually gain a little. So what can you do??? Here are a few ideas/useful facts!

TRACK YOUR CYCLE: If you have a regular cycle, mark out the last week in your calendar so that you are mentally prepared for what is about to happen. SO many times we have been caught off guard asking: Why do I feel like this?...Why am I so hungry... Why do I just want carbs? Why is my digestion off? A few days later… oh that’s why…(maybe you can relate?).

PLAN AHEAD & MANAGE STRESS: Knowing when Aunt Flow is coming to town can help you game plan. Avoid planning stressful activities during this *special* times...anything that exacerbates stress fuels yearnings for high-calorie comfort foods. Prioritize stress management with the following tools:

Meditation and/ or deep breathing


Get enough sleep & rest

Get a massage

Don’t over commit yourself

Make time for fun & relaxation

Connect with others or spend time alone!

Avoid becoming overly hungry, eat regular meals and snacks throughout the day. Skipping a meal will only make you more irritable as blood sugar levels plummet!

If you find yourself having cravings you can’t beat then for that week, just go ahead and have an extra snack 200-300 calories. One that you ENJOY, and one that will satisfy your hungry or munchies! Sit down to enjoy it and truly savor the snack!

How to alter recipes to make them macro-friendly

Any tips for altering “normal” recipes to be macro-friendly? I know doubling the protein is an easy one; any others?

Our daily email from September 22 (check your inbox!) talks all about healthy substitutions and some macro hacks that you’ll find very helpful! A snippet of the email is to consider trading:

Ground beef for ground turkey

Sour cream for cottage cheese or greek yogurt

Heavy cream for skim milk + cornstarch or evaporated milk (comes in fat free too!)

Regular rice for cauliflower rice

Mayo for greek yogurt

Refried bean for fat free refried beans (they exist!)

Regular bacon for turkey bacon

No one says it has to be an all or nothing swap: mix 1/2 cauliflower rice and 1/2 regular, 1/2 pasta and 1/2 zucchini noodles!

Thoughts on cheat meals!

How do you guys feel about a once-a-week cheat meal? Should it really be “needed” when you could (theoretically) fit anything into your macros on a daily basis?

This is one of those questions that your answer is going to vary depending on who you talk to! Whether it’s “needed” or not is up to the individual! If you feel it’s needed, then go for it! If you feel like you can fit in a treat and aren’t deprived on your current numbers, then skip it! We will say over and over again that the bottom line is what can you be most consistent with. Ashton always enjoyed date night out or one untracked night a week. She stayed on target the rest of the week, and was more flexible on that one night a week. Most people want to know if they can have a “cheat” meal and still see progress. It just depends. You’re definitely going to be able to track your progress better the less cheat meals you have. But mentally to be in it for the long haul sometimes a “cheat meal” goes a long way! Some macro coaches give clients a refeed day. This is a scheduled high carb day and can be beneficial if you’ve been cutting for a long time. The purpose is to replenish your glycogen stores and also serves as a tracked mental break which some people do well with. We hesitate to give two sets of numbers, especially if you’re having a difficult time with one set of numbers, because one set of numbers is really all you need to see great success. Ashton has played around with high carb days, and she loves the mental break that it provides her when cutting. But it’s not a day to completely go A-wall and eat all the things. It still keeps you accountable as a tracked day, it just has higher carbs than normal. We strongly recommend not adding in refeed days until you get the hang of all of this!

“Cheat” meal is also not our favorite because it implies that you’re doing something wrong, and we couldn’t disagree more with that. We’ll say it time and time again that this is meant to be FLEXIBLE nutrition. So find a way of life and a way of eating that feels good that you can maintain and enjoy. Find an approach that will get you from A to B without an overwhelming amount of stress or hunger! You should never be hangry!

Be sure to listen to the Facebook Live for Heidi and Natalie’s personal take on “cheat” meals as well! Listen HERE.

Pregnancy and being in a "cut"

I found out I’m pregnant! I don’t have an appointment for a few more weeks so I haven’t talked to my doctor about food at all. Do you know if I can stick with my cut numbers for now or should I move up to my maintenance? I’ve been feeling good so far with my cut numbers.

Congratulations! Talk with your doctor about it. We typically recommend and encourage that you be in maintenance when you’re pregnant.

Macro adjustments for marathon training

I'm marathon training. I did a long run Sunday and added 50 grams of carbs per hour of running. I had another hour long run today and am really hungry! Should I add another 50 carbs since I ran an hour? Fitbit says I burnt 933 calories. I know last challenge you said to only do this once a week.....

Sure, add in another 50 grams of carbs if you’re hungry! We don’t really go by apple watches or how much they say you burn. They’re not always reliable and vary a lot depending on which device!

At-home weight training tips?

Hey! So I love all your info on cardio and weight training. I don't have a crossfit membership or a gym membership. I do have a Peloton that I ride and home. What are some good "weight" training or muscle building exercises I can do at home? I want to build more muscle, I just don't have any machines at my disposal. Thanks!

You don't have to have a gym to start building muscle! Do body weight exercises or get a set of resistance bands to start. You can purchase a set of adjustable dumbbells off Amazon to have a variety of weight! Or even just one lighter sets of dumbbells and one heavier set of dumbbells!

How is macros flexible?

I am having a hard time hitting my macros every single day +/- 5g. And find it hard to figure out how this is "flexible" if I have to hit those numbers so exactly. Also, because i'm not hitting the macros +/- 5g every single day, does that mean no progress is being made at all?

One of our favorite quotes about flexible dieting from Krissy Mae Cagney is:

“Flexible Dieting is the scientific approach to nutrition by finding a system that works for you in order to achieve your current phyusical and training goals. True flexible dieters shouldn’t live by any set of rigid rules but by a relaxed set of flexible guidelines. This is a lifestyle and it needs to be treated as such. Try not to think of flexible dieting as counting and tracking system, but as a simple and effective way to reach your goals with minimal angst and maximal potential. All the while consuming foods you love.”

There is no definition for flexible dieting that all flexible nutrition advocates can come to an agreement on, but that is the beauty of it! Flexible nutritionists agree on the general guidelines, but then apply them to suit their individual needs. You create your own rules from the guidelines. If you don’t like +/5g, then no need to feel stuck to that parameter. The reasoning for that parameter is because this whole process is meant to be an experiment of sorts. You need to treat individual journey as a research study that may last for several years! The closer you can get to your numbers, the more accurate your research will be so to speak. If you hit your numbers consistently for 3 weeks and aren’t seeing any progress, then you know that your TDEE was an overestimation, and you’re not eating in enough of a deficit to see results. But you can’t know that information if you don’t stick to your numbers.

On the flip side, if that makes your head spin, and you’re not interested in being so precise about it and instead are looking for a healthier relationship with food, and want to take it at a slow and steady pace, then aim for a goal that seems suitable to you! Maybe your goal is getting within 10% range of your macros goals. For example your protein is 130g, so you want to get within 13g under or over of your macros. OR maybe getting within 20g of your protein is a win. Macros are flexible guidelines. The key word is FLEXIBLE. Bend so you don’t break. If you find yourself on the verge of a break, it’s time to reassess and rethink your approach. What are your expectations? Are they realistic? Do your actions align with your goals or expectations? What things are going well that you could do more of?

New version of The Macro Challenge

My cousin did the macro challenge and said that I’m supposed to be doing a weekly weigh in and measurement and I don’t see an email that’s taking me to a place to do that.

The Macro Challenge has significantly changed over the course of the past year. This recent upgrade is our 3.0 version, where we are offering a lot more! If you signed up for the “Elite” package then you get weekly check-ins with a coach as well as received your custom macro count. If you signed up for the V.I.P. package then you received a custom macro count from us. If you signed up for the “Insider” package, then you receive access to all challenge materials as well as our “How to Calculate Your Macros Guide” which can be found by clicking that image on your home page. As far as tracking progress, we highly encourage you to be checking in with yourself and taking your measurements. You can use the weekly progress trackers & reflections in your “TMC Workbook” that is also on your home page.

Tracking & Logging Family Meals

How do you figure out how much you ate when making a family meal? Example tonight I made a stir fry for the family. Beef, zucchini, pepper, onion, broccoli, frozen corn, garlic in a little olive oil. All that got mixed up in the stir fry so How figure out how much I ate of the cooked meal? I measured/weighed all the stuff before but how do I put it in mfp?

You can watch our video on How to Calculate a Recipe HERE.

Surgery and Macro Adjustments

Next Wednesday I'm having surgery to repair my meniscus and ACL in my right knee. I expect to not be mobile or do any kind of workouts for a couple of weeks. What changes do I need to make with my current macro count?

After your surgery, you can reduce -3 fat and -15 carbs and see how that feels. You don’t want to immediately slash a bunch of calories. Exercise makes a difference in your TDEE for sure--but there’s not a ton of room to go below your cutting numbers--more than one or two subtractions of -3 and -15 and you’re getting TOO low.

Thoughts on Diet Soda

Thoughts on diet soda ... okay in moderation or if I’m really looking for results skip it?

Our thoughts are drink it if you like it!! There are of course plenty of people that have a problem with artificial sweeteners etc., but our perspective is just moderation in all things. Make sure you are drinking plenty of water to offset the diuretic effects...Some people feel like it increases their sugar cravings but I don’t find that too be true.

Tips for Traveling

What are some of your best tips for traveling?

Let’s talk about what not to do--before we get to what TO do.

Don’t drive yourself crazy trying to control everything.

If you’re on vacation--don’t live in deprivation the entire time. Your goals will still be here for you when you get back. Enjoy yourself--employ some moderation if you want to but understand that you’re far more likely to wreck your mindset than your physical progress.

So let’s talk about what you can do:

We find breakfast & snacks are the easiest meals to control while traveling. It’s typically lunch & dinner that are the wildcards. Pack or plan reasonable, satisfying or protein-packed portable breakfast & snack solutions for this! Our favorites to grab or bring along are McDonald’s Egg mcmuffin or a Egg White Delight, a Premier Protein Shakes, beef jerky or ½ a G2G bar.

If you know the plans for meals or restaurants, pre-log your meals so you can build your day around it! If you don’t know, remember that most meals are heavier on fat & carbs than we’d like them to be--so pre-game by staying high protein and rationing your fat & carbs. Use the sister account @butteryourmacros_restaurants, we’ve calculated the macros on over 60 restaurants!

If you are headed out what will likely be a decadent meal, take the edge off of your hunger so you can order wisely. Once again, we love to hit a protein shake or beef jerky--a snack high in protein but low in fat & carbs!

Whether it's taking the stairs, walking to the restaurant, find ways to move as much as you can—even if it means taking a bit of a detour (an adventure in itself!).