IIFYM and the Chef’s life

Many of us go day to day tracking with no problem. Weigh your chicken, calculate your rice, carefully pouring wine not to spill a drop. Routine sets in and all the sudden you think you have tracking down to a T. Sound familiar?  Seems easy right? What about going out to eat? Do you still par take, do you bring a scale, guesstimate portions, say F it and have a free for all?

I thought it would be fun to turn the tables and give you an insight into the life of a few chef’s that also track macros. Why you say? Well, think about it. A chef might make 1 dish a day, or he might make 100, but the common factor between is that they need to know what it tastes like. Without our sense of taste, as chefs we are running blind in the kitchen. So now you might start to see were tracking calories or macros and working in a kitchen could be hard, and or potentially problematic.

For this article I have teamed up with the great up and coming Chef Dana. Quickly advancing her skills and knowledge in the world of cooking. I really wanted to get a female perspective and side of this as I know macros are far lower for the male counterpart so I wanted readers to be able to relate to both sides of the coin!

 

The Perspective of Chef Dana

 

Hi everyone.

Before I go on with my blog post I would like to first thank Dustin

A little background about me, I live in Toronto and I am currently studying Culinary Management at George Brown College and have been into fitness for about three years right now and half way through my time doing so I started tracking my macros and then moved onto tracking my protein intake and just letting my calories fall through with the rest of my caloric intake.  As a person interested in both fitness and culinary many would question how I manage to balance being around food most of the time while still achieving the goals I want.  After tracking for quite a while it is now easy for me to guesstimate what I ate, however I am of course not going to track every morsel that goes into my mouth for example a bite of veggies or something that I know is low in calories. On the other hand, if I know what I ate is probably calorie dense I then would guesstimate what I ate.

One other thing to add is that there is more of a leeway with the amount of food eat since my time at school is active and as a result I’m increasing my daily NEAT which in turn gives me more calories to eat daily.

Being able to do this as a living has also taught me to have a better relationship with food due to the fact that I am still going where I want when it comes to my fitness goals while at the same time I am doing what I love and that is to cook and eat.

You may wonder what a typical week and day may look like for me both training and diet wise. Training happens four times a week with three falling during the week which means they occur during school days as well. I attend school four times a week and on those days I am pretty active with my steps ranging from 12-16k , with that being said I try to make my training days have higher calories than my non training days and on the days where I don’t train I usually go by feel of hunger and that means I don’t exactly worry about meal timings or how many meals I eat during the day. On the other hand, on days where I do get a gym session and have school I get a full meal in early in the day since my kitchen duty is pretty active and would need that energy in followed by another meal right after class and prior to training I usually get a fast acting carb source such as muffins, bagels etc. 1-2 hours before I start. My post workout meal consists of a regular full meal followed by one last meal before going to bed.

I personally prefer to eat out during weekends unless something happens during the week. When it comes to flexible dieting guesstimating is probably one of the most important thing one should learn because for one not all nutrition facts are exact and sometimes you don’t have any listed. When it comes down to me having to guesstimate something that does not have nutrition facts I just search for something similar to it on my fitness pal. However, if I feel something is off I just eyeball it and over estimate by increasing serving sizes on the entry. I think I struggled to eat out a lot in the past and the more I practiced guesstimating the more I felt comfortable eating out because at the end of the day chefs aren’t weighing out our food for us even if they do provide nutrition facts for us.

Being able to do this as a living has also taught me to have a better relationship with food due to the fact that I am still going where I want when it comes to my fitness goals while at the same time I am doing what I love and that is to cook and eat.

You can follow me on IG @shortcakefitness as well as the blog i have run by @kag1994 and myself www.flexible-aesthetics.blogspot.ca

 

 

The Perspective of Chef Dustin

Thank the lord I am gaining! Macros are high and life is good right? Wrong. I personally actually eat a lower fat diet. Currently I eat 65g of fat per day. Now, with 215p and 460c I need to make sure I have fat spaced out to make that all happen. In cooking you learn early on, specially from my gathering if you are french is that FAT IS FLAVOR. Now I might have 460g carbs but to cook with fat and survive on 65g of fat becomes challenging.

As a chef, you have to taste your food. You NEED to know how your dish is coming along, if it needs more seasonings, texture, and more. Now a small taste here, a small taste there wont make a huge deal, but if you are working a line and doing it over and over for 8-12 hours that mayo or cheese sauce will add up. So how do I approach this?

Well for starters I always say a diet must work for you, not force you to work for it so as a flexible dieter I don’t stress to much over the little stuff. For example if I was cooking in my home kitchen, or even in a professional setting and preparation was slow or limited and tasting was kept to a minimal amount. Those macros or calories I most likely would not account for unless I was getting close to a show or meet and needed every single calorie to count. Now if I was nibbling on cheese, freely tasting spoonfuls vs small tastes, licking spatulas when done with, etc then that’s when calories can and will add up. If I was in a situation were I had been snacking a bit more than I should be, I will typically think about the food I was consuming and the main macro it consists of. Cheese for example, I would track some fat grams separately and put them into my data tracking app. Depending on amounts, and types I might track 2/3 of the macro nutrients such as fats/proteins in the cheese example. I guesstimate the amount because I rarely have a scale handy at the time, or because its small amounts repetitively. From tracking over time I have become very familiar with what a typical serving size of certain foods look like, and with cooking I ‘eye ball’ ingredients all the time so I am use to ‘guessing’ the size/yield of things. Then it is as simple as adding that into the app to account for it. Another thing I always like to do as well, over estimate. Add a few extra grams of fat, and 10-30g carbs, depending on what you can offer just to give yourself some cushion room! After a day in the cushion I might take 20f/70c/10p depending on what I was doing that day. Now that’s a pretty good cushion to work with. Maybe I over estimate, or maybe I under estimate but if you under estimate to often you’ll have excess weight gain and if you track weight you will be able to tell and adjust for a bigger cushion.

Now, I’ve gone over how I would account for macros. Let’s talk about how to set yourself up for success when dealing with unknown macro situations. So, typically on a day where I will be working in a kitchen(these same principles can be applied to events, going out to eat, social outings, etc) I might choose to fast for the morning, or have a voluminous, high protein, high fiber breakfast designed to try and keep me as satisfied as possible as long as possible. Since fat is my lowest macro I always try to keep the fat low if I don’t know what I might encounter that day, so it just helps keep things open. A big missed key as well to remember is STAY HYDRATED. Loads of people eat just because they are bored, or dehydrated. Both of those causes are fixable. That honestly is my simple, straight forward strategy to tackling the day, any event, get together, etc.

Bullet Points –

  • Stay Hydrated
  • Eat High Protein
  • Eat High Fiber
  • Stay Busy
  • Overestimate to create a cushion for error
  • Don’t stress the little things

I hope you enjoy reading into the perspectives of the people responsible for the food you love and enjoy! It is an extremely rare pleasure being able to create something that can cause so much joy and happiness. Sometimes it can be stressful and tests your patience but the outcome is so worth it.

 

Here are a few other pages I think you might like!

Macro Counting Essentials Volume 1

High Protein Smores Pudding

Low Fat Vanilla Maple Pumpkin Spice Bars

 

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