Macros: Everything You Need To Know
Weight loss can be daunting for a lot of people. Every diet ever concocted is accessible via the good-old internet now. But which one is the best? It’s difficult for those trying to lose weight to find what can really work for them. However, I have here a guide that could help you understand the basics of two of the most common and effective methods. These being counting macros and calories.
What Are Macros?
To begin, it’s important to understand what macros are. Macro is a shorter version of macronutrient. Macronutrients are made up of three components. All of which can help you maintain a good and balanced diet. However, there is such a thing as too much or too little of each of these. And, by counting macros for weight loss, you can improve your health significantly.
What Are The Three Types Of Macros?
In a nutshell the three things you will be measuring are:
- Carbohydrates (carbs)
I understand that the word ‘fat’ came up in this list. It is not to feared. It is to be consumed! Just be aware that some fats are worse than others. For example, we all know an avocado is a super-food. That’s because avocados are full of healthy fats, with little caloric value. Same goes for nuts and eggs. Fats are equally essential for a macro-counting diet, as any other members of the trifecta. However, as with all good things, the key is to consume them in moderation. Of course, this also applies to carbs and protein.
The above image is a brief example of what some foods fit under which category. A point worth noting here is that there are foods that aren’t exclusive to a particular type of macronutrient so it’s worth taking the time to find out what your meals contain.
Are Macros Important to Weight Loss?
Really, this comes down the individual differences. Personally, macros are extremely helpful, in line with keeping an eye on the caloric intake of each day. On a more general scale, others may find keeping track of macros is too restricting – especially as it lies so closely with calorie counting. Others may prefer to do away with numbers altogether, and opt for the Keto diet, which has the benefit of unlimited food. As long as it has a low carb intake, of course.
In other words, understanding macros is not essential to weight loss. However, many find that their quality of food increases dramatically, when using macros. This is because people gain greater awareness of caloric density and the overall nutritional value of their food. If this is something you are interested in, but aren’t sure you can keep up with the maths behind the diet, a good way around this is through counting apps, such as My Fitness Pal.
How Do Macros Work?
It is important that these three nutrients are measured. Too much or too little could be damaging, so reaching your long term fitness goals can be impacted. You will need to measure your protein, fat and carb intake by how many grams are in each. By doing so you could choose to lose or maintain weight as well as bulk up.
As mentioned above, it is common that varying foods will contain more than one macronutrient so it’s worth taking note of how many grams your meal contains for each macro. By counting your macro intake, you could have your eyes opened to how much you were consuming before the diet and potentially understand where you were going wrong in the first place. Personally, this is a revelation that hit me quickly when I began my diet journey.
Does Counting Macros Really Work?
As long as you use this method responsibly and reasonably the results will show. Just remember to have patience with yourself. Nothing worth having comes without a struggle. Just make sure you’re understanding the requirements to make this method as effective as possible. The main thing is that you’re happy and health in maintaining your wellbeing and fitness.
For some, dieting is the most difficult aspect of their weight loss journey. Not all of us can shed weight by exercise alone. Nor are some of us gifted with the an impeccable metabolism. Not only can you count macros to lose weight but you can also utilize this method to maintain your current weight or muscle mass and improve your health.
Do I Still Need To Count Calories?
Counting calories and macros to lose weight can help you understand that it’s not just about the quantity of your consumptions but also the quality. It is important to ensure we are not over eating but it is also necessary to keep track of what we’re eating.
As an example, you can eat chicken that equals 240 calories, which is has around 38 grams of protein. Then again, you could also eat 240 calories of chocolate and this won’t supply you with nearly as much protein or other nutrients.
Therefore, if you’re counting calories and not macros you can deprive yourself of the nutrients you need to be healthier in your weight loss journey.
How Do I Figure Out Macros?
If you aren’t keen on using one of the many macro-counting apps, then you may wish to know the maths behind the macros. Do bear in mind, that your intake will vary depending on factors of your current lifestyle. As such, you will first need to work out your BMR (Basal Metabolic Rate). This is for you to understand how many calories your body burns when you are not doing anything. This will include your height, weight and age.
Calculating BMR For Women:
BMR = 655 + (9.6 × weight in kg) + (1.8 × height in cm) – (4.7 × age in years)
Calculating BMR For Men:
BMR = 66 + (13.7 × weight in kg) + (5 × height in cm) – (6.8 × age in years)
Following this you will need to take into account your activity level and how much of each macro you would like to consume. Women’s Health share an example where if you would prefer to stay lean you would consume 10% more protein than carbs or fats. With these details in mind, it could be useful to understand macros for keto diets if this is an option you are yet to look into.
In summary, it’s a method worth trying for those who have struggled trying to lose weight. Personally, I have been counting calories for some time and have recently introduced macro counting into my diet. So far the results have been positive. Albeit, slower than I would like. However, this is the first time I’ve seen results. I’m happy to say that when I weigh myself, the number is getting smaller. And, soon enough, there will be a time where it’s just a case of maintaining my weight instead of losing it.