How to Count Macros for Weight Loss
- If you’re looking to lose weight, counting macros can be an effective way to do so because it allows you to be more in control of your food intake.
- Macro-counting is the practice of tracking your daily caloric intake according to whether it comes from carbohydrates, proteins, or fats rather than by the usual method of tracking your calories as a whole.
- If you want to count macros and start losing weight, here’s how to do it effectively and make sure that you’re getting all the nutrients your body needs.
Step 1: Calculate Your TDEE
In Count Macros: The first step in counting macros is figuring out your total daily energy expenditure (TDEE). Your TDEE tells you how many calories you need to maintain your current weight and activity level.
To calculate your TDEE, multiply your current weight by 11 if you’re moderately active or 14 if you’re very active. Take that number and add or subtract a few hundred calories based on whether you have a very high or low body fat percentage, respectively.
Once you have your TDEE number, subtract 10 percent of that number from it; that’s how many calories you should consume per day while trying to lose weight.
Step 2: Eat 25% less than your TDEE
By Count Macros To figure out how many calories you need each day, plug your information into a calculator that uses TDEE. This one by LIVESTRONG is simple and easy to use. It also gives you information about how much protein, fat and carbs you should be eating each day.
So all you have to do is plug in your height, weight, age and activity level and you’ll get an accurate number of calories needed every day. Once you know how many calories you need to eat each day, subtract 25 percent from that number.
For example, if your TDEE is 2,400 calories per day, eat 1,600 calories per day (2,400 x 0.75 = 1,600). You can adjust these numbers based on whether or not you want to lose weight slowly or quickly.
Step 3: Do this every day!
This is where most people fail, but if you stick with it you will find yourself counting macros every day. Your first few days are going to be rough and that’s ok.
Keep with it, don’t quit and before you know it counting macros will be part of your daily routine. Good luck on your fitness journey!
Step 4: Limit your calories, but don’t starve yourself
In order to start counting macros, you’ll need to pick a calorie goal that’s sustainable for you. The truth is, there isn’t really a perfect number—instead, it depends on your gender, age, weight and activity level.
For example, a very active 20-year-old male that weighs 200 pounds should shoot for about 2200 calories per day (12 macronutrients) while an inactive 75-year-old woman who weighs 120 pounds shouldn’t eat more than 1400 calories per day (9 macronutrients).
A rough guide is 12 -15 calories per pound of bodyweight. As long as you don’t go below 1200 calories per day or above 1600 calories per day you’ll be fine!
Step 5: Choose the right macros.
Now that you know your caloric goal, it’s time to decide how much of your intake should come from carbs, protein and fat.
That depends on several factors: your sex, weight, and activity level; whether you’re more interested in losing fat or gaining muscle; and what kinds of foods you typically enjoy.
(To learn about calorie counting specifics for women vs. men, read How Many Calories Should I Eat?) Here are some general rules of thumb to get you started
Step 6: Track everything. EVERYTHING.
Tracking everything you eat is an essential part of losing weight safely and effectively. It will help you stay on top of your calorie intake and give you a good indication of how much fat, protein, and carbs you’re eating in any given day.
I personally track all my food on MyFitnessPal, but there are several other great options out there: FitDay, LoseIt!, SparkPeople, etc.
And apps like MyFitnessPal make it easy to keep tabs on what you’re eating while on-the-go! Just be sure to set goals that work with your schedule and lifestyle.
If counting calories isn’t something you enjoy doing, then don’t do it! But if tracking helps you maintain awareness of what’s going into your body (and why), then go for it!
Just remember that counting macros is more about making healthy choices than restricting yourself from certain foods or limiting portions.
Step 7: Measure your success with a photo
If you’re losing weight, you should be able to see it in your face and arms. Measure your body once a week, then take a picture of yourself wearing undergarments only.
You may be surprised how quickly progress is noticeable when it’s visualized. If you’re not losing weight, measure your body in other ways such as waist size or neck size.
Take pictures of those areas too every couple weeks so that you can track your changes visually and make improvements if necessary. A picture really is worth a thousand words!
Step 8 : Rebalance your diet when you reach your goal weight
When you’ve reached your goal weight, it’s time to re-evaluate your food intake. You want to make sure that what you’re eating still fits with your goals and personal macros, but now you should also pay attention to how much of each macro in your diet is healthy versus unhealthy fat.
The recommended ratio of omega-6/omega-3 fats is between 2:1 and 4:1, meaning that even a slight overconsumption of one type can throw off ketosis.