I've been seeing a personal trainer for a few weeks, and he recommended I start trying to get my diet under control if I want to see any serious weight loss. He suggested I shoot for the following targets:

1700 calories, at least 100 grams of protein per day, at least 50 grams of fat, and whatever's left over can one of those two macros, or carbs as long as it's not too refined.

I get that proteins are good for satiety, as are complex carbs, and fats are necessary for some other bodily functions and sanity, but I still just have no idea where to start. I program for a living, and it feels like trying to learn a framework before learning the language it's coded in. It's overwhelming.

My attempts so far have been to log what I'm eating into lose-it or one of the other calorie trackers, but it doesn't help that what I habitually buy at the grocery store tends to have a lot of carbs, so I'm left to find out I shouldn't be eating what I own, and I quickly revert back to my habits as soon as I walk into the grocery store.

Improving my self control is an obvious answer here, but is there any one-stop-shop for clueless people to get a grip on macro tracking? Having some kind of a meal plan could be another easy solution, but putting one together has been incredibly tedious and I'm left with the same issue of not know where to start. Any tips are appreciated!

  • It seems that your goal is to lose weight. How much weight are you planning on losing? Commented Apr 28, 2014 at 0:53
  • Ah sorry, I guess that wasn't clear. I'm 5'8" and 210 lbs right now, I'd like to get down to 170 eventually. So 40 lbs.
    – user8496
    Commented Apr 28, 2014 at 1:13
  • What I recommend is making a spreadsheet and preparing your meals beforehand. Find some meals you like to make (e.g., chicken, broccoli, and brown rice, seasoned to taste), put them together in a spreadsheet and calculate the macros. Prepare and freeze meals for the week on a Sunday (or if you're really ambitious, for the entire month). Put them in the freezer and grab them at mealtime, or take them to work. The whole idea here is to account for the calories in a way that's convenient and easy to track. Have a cheat meal once in a while too. Good luck!
    – Daniel
    Commented Apr 28, 2014 at 1:24
  • Is there any reason for you to do macro tracking ? Have you asked your trainer (or read articles) about alternatives? This, this, this, and this explain dangers of calorie counting. Commented Apr 28, 2014 at 1:43
  • The reason I ask is because doing something you're comfortable with is more likely to produce long-term results. But if there's no other alternative, you've got to do what you've got to do. Commented Apr 28, 2014 at 1:45

1 Answer 1


Someone just showed me this site, and it's probably the closest thing I've seen yet to the one-stop-shop for dieting:

Eat This Much, the automatic meal planner

It basically just spits out some random meals that match your preferences (after you enter a calorie amount and get the first meal plans, you can click the "Meal options" button and customize everything). Some of the recipes are a little wacky, but it's really easy to randomize things until everything looks good. It also doesn't include very many vegetables on its own, but in the FAQ there's a suggestion to just eat as many lean, non-starchy vegetables as you like because their calorie contribution will be mostly negligible.

As a heads up to anyone else that looks at it, there's a paid version of the site, but the free version is still 100x better than the "guess and check" meal planning I was trying to do before. So far, I've just made a few free meal plans and added up the grocery list by hand.

The more I think about it, the more I realize that I'm just bad at feeding myself and I'm probably not the only one. I grew up with fast food and prepackaged meals because my family never took the time to cook, and I feel like all I really need is someone to hold my hand through the baby steps until I can walk (/cook) on my own.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.