First things first. “Counting Macros” sometimes is viewed negatively. Just because someone is counting their “Macros” doesn’t mean they are counting them properly, consuming the adequate about of nutrients and the right food sources. What you put in your body is much more important than just “Macros”. Discussing Micronutrients, vitamins, minerals ect. is entirely different than JUST “Counting Macros”. This Blog post isn’t to educate you on Macronutrients and the right/proper food sources to consume, but just to simply guide you to START counting your macros.
Realize, I have been working with some clients 4+ years and they JUST NOW are starting to count their own Macronutrients. It does take time and understanding to do it the right way. Do not get frustrated and begin to understand what certain foods make up their “Macronutients; ie: Protein, Carbs, and Fats”
Keep in mind: Based on your overall Health and Fitness goals will depend what percentages your Macronutrients will be and the total amount of calories you should be consuming on a day to day.
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Continue reading below to begin understanding What makes up “Macros” and How to Calculate your very own to begin reaching your health goals.
*Counting Macros is a way to “diet” while being flexible
Overall, Flexible Dieting can be summed up in three steps:
Step 1: Calculate your TDEE (total daily energy expenditure) based on your current weight and exercise.
Step 2: Calculate your macros in ratios that help you reach your desired goal.
Step 3: Track your food intake and try to meet your TDEE and macro limits each day.
Macronutrients or Macros make up most of our “diets”
There are three main macros: Protein, Carbohydrates, Fats. One gram of each macro has a calorie value.
1 Gram of Protein = 4 Calories
1 Gram of Carbohydrate = 4 Calories
1 Gram of Fat = 9 Calories
Rather than typical calorie counting (ex. Eating 2000 cals a day) Flexible Dieters track Macronutrients (ex. Eating 150g Protein, 80g Fat, 170g Carbohydrate = 2000 cals) which more effectively influences body composition rather than just weight loss or gain.
Benefits for counting macros allows individuals to eat with flexible while still able to be effective and reach their desired fitness goals. Fact is majority of our health goals comes from our nutrition. Counting macros is how we can be effective with our calorie consumption as well as stay on track for sustained results.
To find/calculate your Total Daily Expenditure Rate (TDEE):
Start off by multiply your body weight by 15.
For example: you weight 120lbs, multiply by 15 = 1,800 calories
Keeping in mind this number is just an estimate, it’s going to take a while to find this exact number.
Now it’s time to calculate your Macronutrients (Protein, Carbs, Fats)
Want to calculate the most important of the three; PROTEIN
To find protein:
1g/1 lbs of BW (1 gram per pound of body weight)
For Example: If you weigh 120 lbs (pounds) you would eat 120 grams of protein PER DAY.
Now we need to calculate FATS:
In order to do so we need to take 25% of your total calories (which is your TDEE) and Divide it by 9.
For Example: 120 lb female eats 1800 cals, 25% is 450.
That’s 450 calories that need to come from fats. Since there are 9 calories per gram of fat, we need to divide 450 by 9. This gives us 50g of Fat.
We have 120 g PROTEIN & 50 g of FATS. We now must fill in the rest of the calories with Carbohydrates.
This gets a little tricky, but that’s what I am here for. What we need to do is calculate the amount of calories consumed through protein and fats. Since we already know 450 calories are coming daily from Fats, that part is easy. To calculate the number of calories through protein, we know that 4 calories equals 1 gram of protein. Multiply 120 by 4 and that gives us a total 480.
480 cals (protein) + 450 cals (fats) = 930
This number needs to be subtracted from your TDEE (1800)
1800 (TDEE) – 930 (FATS) =870
This is the total number of calories we need to consume from Carbohydrates. Again, as we know 1 g of Carbohydrate is 4 calories. So, all we must do is divide 870 by 4 and that gives us 217 grams.
Our Example individual would Consume this to START OFF:
YOU ARE NOW READY TO BEGIN TRACKING YOUR MACROS!
This is going to take some time and patience in order to get the hang of it all. I like to say it’s a daily puzzle, but worth it because you can still achieve your health and fitness goals while still having balance in your everyday life. Eating what you want, when you want—well sort of, kind of, you’ll get the hang of things quickly. THIS IS WHERE FLEXIBLE DIETING COMES INTO PLAY. Refrain with a mindset of 80/20 with your “Diet,” meaning 80% of your overall calorie, consumption comes from clean, whole food sources; while 20% is not so clean, but just enough for you to be able to still enjoy the foods that you love but aren’t necessarily the best for us nutritional wise.
You will start to understand what foods are “worth having” vs. “worth saving your macros” for too. For Example: oatmeal—Notice it is a carb source but see if it’s made up of any protein or fats and you’ll begin catching onto food just like that.
It will be crucial to begin weighing all your food rather than just eye balling it—Invest in a food scale; it’s worth it! Weighing your food rather than using measuring cups and spoons is a way to be more accurate and consistent. I suggest investing in a food scale if you haven’t done so already and just get in the habit of weighing your daily food.
Keep in mind* Counting macros may not be for you; one may feel that way because of how much work and effort it tastes in the beginning—that’s just like anything else until we get comfortable and understand it. Even when you are a PRO at counting your own macros, you may feel living like this is still not for you, which is completely okay. However, to get to your current fitness goals this is completely necessary, it is the only true way to know how much we are in taking from a caloric standpoint—which is the ultimate answer for weight/fat loss. Once you reach your goals and are at a desired place both physically and mentally, perhaps you can decide if you want to continue counting all your meals. Personally, there will be days I don’t want to count, and maybe I won’t but then I CANNOT expect to reach any desired fitness goals. Something to keep in mind. But for now, counting macros is YOUR ROUTE to go in order to continue living your life with balance and achieving health and fitness goals through nutrition for both your mind AND body.