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The Basics of Macro Counting

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The universally accepted principle for weight loss is creating a calorie deficit, or eating less calories than you burn.  Every fad diet out there abides by this rule regardless of the approach - intermittent fasting, Ketogenic, Paleo, Weight Watchers, low fat, low carb, you name it!  Counting calories is great and it’s effective, but it doesn’t give you the entire picture of someone’s diet. Not every calorie is equal and your body does not respond the same way to every food you consume.  Protein takes more energy to break down and makes you feel fuller longer, while carbohydrates burn quickly and can leave you feeling hungry an hour later. This is where macros come into play in your diet goals.

Macros is just a nickname for macronutrients - protein, carbohydrates and fat.  Every food you consume is made up of these 3 main components which is how its calories are calculated.  Protein and carbs are 4 calories per gram and fat is 9 calories per gram. The combination of protein/carbs/fat in food is what we are talking about when “counting macros.”  This approach used in combination with calorie counting will give you the best results whether you’re trying to lose weight, gain muscle, or simply maintain.

The main difference between all the diets out there is the combination of macros you’re consuming within that calorie deficit.  Keto is very low to no carbs, minimal protein, and high fat, Paleo is low carb, moderate protein and fat, while “low fat” is mostly protein and carbs with minimal fat.  The number of calories you need consume will most likely be the same.

I am very much a diet agnostic - if it works for you then stick with it!  My only drawback with these extreme fad diets is the ability to maintain them for sustained results.  They are not lifetime guarantees! Many people struggle to stay on board and get frustrated when the weight comes back after they “go off” the plan.

Learning how to eat a well balanced diet is the most sustainable approach in health and fitness.  Your nutrition needs to be a change in lifestyle, NOT a couple months of deprivation and misery. Understanding the types of foods you consume and what they’re made up of makes it a lot easier to make healthier choices without extreme restriction.  Setting macro goals allows you to work in those snacks and treats you would otherwise try to avoid. Less restriction, less craving what you think you can’t have!  

The recommended guidelines for a healthy macro breakdown is as follows:

45-65% carbohydrates

20-35% fats

10-35% proteins

How you fit into those ranges is for you to decide!  For those working out on a daily basis, a higher carbohydrate and protein percentage may benefit you.  For those living a more sedentary lifestyle, maybe lower on the carbohydrate scale will help with energy and weight loss.  You have room to play around and see how your body responds.

Using an app like MyFitnessPal to track your calories and macros makes this a lot easier to visualize and plan ahead.  You can account for that slice of cake or glass of wine on the weekend without feeling the guilt! It is some work in the beginning (nothing is easy!), but you’ll learn fast and understand what your day to day diet looks like.

Bottom line for those looking to lose weight - find a ratio you can stick with, focus on healthy whole foods, and eat fewer calories than you burn.  Use counting as a general guide and this will be your key to long term success! 😉

I give you a very simple equation to calculate your daily caloric needs in my new Commit to Fit Workout Program.  The 2 week meal plan I include is built around a 40(carbs)/30(fat)/30(protein) macro ratio to give a kick start to your weight loss journey!  Check it out for FREE until 2/1/20.

Sign up here.

I challenge you to track your food for ONE day this week to see how it adds up.  If you need help or have questions, I'm a message or email away!

Join my email list and follow me on Instagram (nicole_getrxfit) for free meal plans, workouts, fitness tips, and crazy mom life with a toddler! 😉

 

<3Nicole

Eat. Train. Live

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