Majority of us, on commencing our weight loss journey we were not sure of what was good for us. Not to even talk of what macros were or how to count them according to our goals.
Now, if you are at a struggling point in understanding all these calculations then the following will help you out.
Counting macros is not as hard as people put it but in essence it is all about knowing what they are in addition to what calories are while understanding how they are related and set them according to your goals.
Once you have had the grip of it, it becomes very doable.
First things first, let us understand the terms Macros, Calories and how they are related to each other.
Macronutrients also known as macros are the three subcategories of nutrients found in food. These subcategories are:
Also known as Carbohydrates.
So carbs can be classified as complex and simple.
The complex ones are the rich nutrient carbs such as broccoli, sweet potato, Irish potato, buckwheat, brown rice, air fried potatoes and plantain and all that good healthy stuff.
The simple ones are all the processed foods such as burgers, deep-fried potatoes and plantain, sodas, cakes, cookies, sweets, and all-around over-processed food items.
Now, a lot of people are afraid of consuming carbs because they believe they won’t lose weight when they consume them but the TRUTH is, you need complex carbs to lose weight.
How so you may ask? Carbs give you that energy that you require to work out and put your all in, especially while focusing on weight training and expecting gains from it.
What you don’t want to eat as OFTEN would be the simple one’s.
However, there is a certain percentage of carbs that is recommended to eat in a day and that would be 40% of your total calorie intake in a day.
These include fish, chicken, seeds such as chia, eggs and nuts.
Protein is good for those who weight train and are looking for gains but not limited to those who don’t weight train.
It is a good recovery macro and it’s best taken just after training.
The advised intake of this macro would be 30% of your total calorie intake in a day.
These include avocados, omega 3,6,9, cheese, fatty fish, butter, e.t.c
Do not be afraid of fats because if you are looking to lose extra fat in your body, then indulging in this glazed solution is the best idea.
Just be sure to portion control it as well, because fats hold the highest calories among carbs & proteins.
The basic percentage is 30% as well.
This is an energy-related unit of food and is related to macros.
WHAT IS THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN CALORIES &MACROS
Macros can be converted as follows and this is how they become relatable.
1gram of protein=4 calories
1gram of carbs = 4 calories
1 gram of fat = 9 calories
This conversion is very important because as you track them, so are you tracking the calories that assist you to understand how much you should eat to attain your goal calorie intake.
SO WHY IS IT IMPORTANT FOR ME TO COUNT THEM?
Well, counting these has a whole lot of benefits.
Some of them include:
- Limited restrictions hence the body has no sudden shock in eating habit changes.
- Leaner muscle
- Less visceral fat
- Promotes healthy eating
In addition, for one to lose weight or gain weight, you have to understand the amount of energy being input in your body and the amount of energy expenditure. This will assist in attaining your goals.
NOW THAT I KNOW WHAT MACROS & CALORIES ARE, HOW MUCH CALORIES DOES MY BODY NEED?
The best way to understand how much calories and macros you need to consume in a day, the easiest and most reliable would be to download a simple online calculator such as My Fitness Pal, Lose it and many more.
I find My Fitness Pal very easy to use because it is very direct. And that is what we need.
But most importantly, you need to know your current weight and height and the rest of the calculation will be done by the app.
What it does is, calculate your BMI and distribute the number of macros you need according to your daily activity I.e if you are light, moderately or very active in your daily activities.
SO HOW CAN I ADJUST MY CALORIES & MACROS TO FIT MY WEIGHT GOALS DESCRIPTION?
Looking to gain weight?
After the app calculates the number of calories you need to eat, onto it ADD 300 to 700 calories and distribute them equally to the three subs of macros. Again if you feel like it doesn’t fit your description, adjust the macros, they don’t have to be equally distributed.
If you feel you need more proteins, fats or carbs than the rest, feel free to do so.
Then, you don’t stop there..gradually increase your calorie intake up until you are delighted.
Looking to lose weight?
One thing to set clear is NEVER eat below 1500 calories because then you will have a very bad relationship with food. You will end up binging and yo-yo dieting and it’s more of harm than good.
Do the same as above but this time around SUBTRACT 300 to 700 calories from your required calories. Again in a gradual manner. Beginning from 300 as you progress to 700 calories.
Even if you are doing a caloric deficit, it doesn’t mean you should eat 800 calories a day or so. Hey! That is too low even for a growing child.
It’s all about eating fewer calories than you burn and not starving your body.
SO I KNOW HOW TO COUNT USING AN APP BUT WHAT IF I DON’T HAVE ACCESS TO ONE, HOW CAN I COUNT THESE MACROS & CALORIES?
Using the Mifflin-St Jeor eq, we can achieve how to count calories and macros.
- Men 10x W(kg) + 6.25 x h(cm) – 5 x age(y) + 5
- Women 10x W(kg) +6.25 x h(cm) – 5 x age(y) -161
Then multiply by your activity factor:
- Lightly active x1.375
- Moderately active x 1.55
- Very active x 1.725
This results in the amount of calories you need in a day.
Or better still in a more scientific way the result is your Total Daily Energy Expenditure (TDEE)
TDEE= REE(Resting Energy Expenditure) + NREE( Non-resting Energy Expenditure)
Give it a try and let me know in the comment section.
SO I KNOW HOW TO COUNT MY CALORIES, WHAT OF MY MACROS?
Given that now you know the number of calories you need to take in a day, say 2500 calories, and you also know the recommended percentage of macros you need to get in, in a day, with the understanding of the conversion of calories into grams then:
Carbs: 40% of 2500= 1000 Cal/day divided by 4 so as to acquire it in grams which equals to 250 g of carbs in a day.
Proteins: 30% of 2500 = 750 Cal/day divided by 4 brings us to 187.5g of proteins on a daily
Fats: 30% of 2500= 750cal/day divided by 9 bring us to 83.33 grams of fat on a daily.
Notice that the amount of fats has been greatly reduced on a daily and this is because it has a lot of calories in a gram and should be moderately consumed.
Now calorie and macro counting are not that hard yeah☺.
Always find balance in everything you do.