Counting your macros is a common and effective way to keep track of your food intake, to help you reach your body aesthetic goals. Your macros for weight loss depends on several variables. The food you eat, how much food you eat, and tracking your progress are all critical factors in achieving your weight loss goals.
What Are Macros
Macros, short for macronutrients are specific macro molecules that contain energy and nutrients, otherwise known as calories. Every calorie of food that you eat is broken down into three main groups, consisting of carbohydrates, protein, and fat. The quality and number of macronutrients you consume on a daily basis determines your body composition and your performance.
Your body breaks down macronutrients and uses their nutrient density to create energy, build your body structure, create biological reactions, and stimulate the healthy functioning and release of hormones. This is known as your metabolic rate. Your metabolic rate over a 24-hour period, is known as your total daily energy expenditure, or TDEE.
It’s not all about calories in, calories out.
What you eat can positively or negatively impact the way you feel, perform, your mood and even your behavior. That’s where counting your macros for weight loss, instead of counting calories can really benefit you.
Macros Vs Calories
Diet culture tells you that you have to cut calories to lose weight. Although this is not entirely false, cutting your calories too low will send your body into survival mode, and hang onto every last calorie for dear life, conserving energy and creating body fat, rather than burning it, lowering your basal metabolic rate (BMR).
It’s true that you have to be in a caloric deficit, to lose weight. However, cutting your calories too low can be detrimental. Often times, when you’ve been in a drastically low caloric deficit for a long time, or don’t eat or get enough food throughout the day, which can bring your metabolism to crawling speed, making you gain weight.
Therefore, you have to eat more food to get your metabolism back to a healthy speed, so that your body recognizes it has calories to burn and utilize for energy. Counting your macros, instead of your calories can help you achieve a healthy level of food intake, so you focus on quantity and quality of calories, not just calories in and calories out.
How To Count Macros For Weight Loss
Macros are broken down into percentages, distributed amongst three macronutrients: protein, carbohydrates, and fats. Typically for weight loss, we want to increase protein intake, lower carbohydrates, and have a low to moderate fat intake.
RELATED ARTICLE How To Calculate Your Macros
When you are counting your macros, there are three things you need to do
- Read The Nutrition Labels
- Use A Food Scale
- Log Your Food Intake
For weight loss a general macro nutrient split would be 35-50% protein, 24-45% carbohydrates and 20-35% fat.
Step 1: Calculate The Calories From Each Macronutrient
Here’s what you will need to know before calculating your macros:
- How many calories do you eat in a day (we’ll use 2300 calories as an example)
- Determine your ideal ratio of protein, carbs, and fat (we’ll use 50% protein, 25% carbs 25% fat for example)
- Multiply your daily calories by your percentages
- Divide your calorie totals by its calorie-per-gram number
Here’s how to calculate your macros based on 2,300 calories per day
- Protein:2,300 x 0.50 = 1,150 calories from protein
- Carbs:2,300 x 0.25 = 575 calories from protein
- Fats:2,300 x 0.25 = 575 calories from fat
Step 2: Calculate The Macros Needed Into Grams
Here's how to calculate your macros into grams
- Protein (4 calories per gram): 1,150 divided by 4 = 5g Protein
- Carbs (4 calories per gram): 575 divided by 4 = 75g Carbs
- Fat (9 calories per gram): 575 divided by 9 = 8g fat
The following sections are general estimates and recommendations that will serve you as a starting point, not an ending point. Even with all the information in this article, no online calculator or at home calculation can determine your exact needs. With that in mind, it’s normal to make adjustments from time to time.
We highly recommend working with 1:1 with a nutrition coach from The Swole Kitchen to eliminate the guesswork.
However, if you need a general estimate you can use The Free Swolverine Macro Nutrient Calculator Here
Step 3: Track Your Macronutrients With An App
Now that you know how much of each macronutrient you need to eat in grams, you’ll need to start logging your food. Using an app like MyFitnessPal, shows you exactly how much of each macro you’ve eaten throughout the day and all you need to do, is scan the barcode and adjust the quantity of the food you eat. It’s that easy.
Step 4: Choose Nutrient Dense Foods
Tracking your macros, is not the same thing as IIFYM (If it fits your macros). This is not a free for all, to eat whatever you want, if it fits within your macro calculation. Choose quality nutrient dense foods. That means lean proteins, complex carbohydrates, and healthy fats.
Macros For Weight Loss: Takeaway
If you'r ready to count your macros for weight loss, follow the guidelines above. It can seem overwhelming at first, but just take it one step at a time. You can't change every single lifestyle factor in a week. Calculate your macros and get a good idea of what you can eat per day, to lose weight. Go to the grocery store, looking at nutrition labels and planning your meals. Drink lots of water everyday to help the process along. Lat but not least, track your food and be consistent. Weight loss does not happen quickly. You have to be patient and consistent. If you find that you're not losing weight, not matter what you do, and you've given it your best effort, hire a nutrition coach. Better yet, hire a nutrition coach to start so you don't waste any time and get to your goals right away.
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