How To Count Macros For Weight Loss In The Right Way

Counting macros is a popular method to use to keep on top of your nutrition alongside your fitness journey and it can also be a great approach to weight loss. This article gives you popular splits of macros and explains how focusing on splits can lead to weight loss while not getting any weaker!

From evolveyou-team | Apr 22, 2024

Counting macros prioritises the quality of food, focusing on the balance of macronutrients - carbohydrates, proteins, and fats - instead of merely calorie counting. If you're wondering about this method, this guide will walk you through the essentials of counting macros for weight loss, and how to do it correctly for long-lasting results. 

What are Macros?

Macronutrients, or "macros," are the nutrients your body needs in large amounts for energy and overall health. They consist of carbohydrates, proteins, and fats, each providing a different calorie amount:

  • Carbohydrates: 4 calories per gram
  • Proteins: 4 calories per gram
  • Fats: 9 calories per gram

Why Count Macros?

When it comes to weight loss, counting macros goes beyond the simplistic view of 'calories in vs. calories out' as instead you also focus on:

Balance and Variety: Counting macros ensures you're getting a balanced mix of nutrients, not just cutting calories. This method encourages a varied diet, which can help meet all your nutritional needs.

Customisation: Everybody is unique, and counting macros allows for personalization based on individual goals, lifestyle, and dietary preferences.

Greater Understanding of Food: By counting macros, you may gain a better understanding of what's in your food, which can lead to healthier decisions long term.

Flexibility: This method offers flexibility, as no food is entirely off-limits. As long as it fits your macro targets, you can incorporate it into your diet.

In essence, counting macros is about consuming the right balance of nutrients to fuel your body efficiently, aiding in healthy and sustainable weight loss.

PB&J Protein Shake

Calculating Your Macros

The first step is determining how many calories you need each day to reach your weight loss goals. Remember we’ll automatically set this up for you in the app, based on the information you provide us with when signing up. 

Once you know your daily calorie target, you can distribute these calories across macronutrients. A common macro split for weight loss is 40% carbohydrates, 30% protein, and 30% fat. However, these ratios can be adjusted based on individual needs and goals.

For example, if you're aiming for a daily intake of 1800 calories with a 40/30/30 split:

  • Carbohydrates: 40% of 1800 calories = 720 calories, divided by 4 (calories per gram of carbohydrate) = 180 grams
  • Protein: 30% of 1800 calories = 540 calories, divided by 4 (calories per gram of protein) = 135 grams
  • Fat: 30% of 1800 calories = 540 calories, divided by 9 (calories per gram of fat) = 60 grams

If your goal is to also maintain muscle while you lose body fat, then this requires that you keep your protein levels high whilst in your deficit, in order to support and maintain your muscle mass. Here's how you can calculate your macros for this goal:

1. Set Your Protein Intake: After you’ve set your calories, it’s important to set your protein to make sure that a higher proportion of your calories comes from it. A commonly recommended range is 1.0-2.2 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight (or around 0.45-1 gram per pound of body weight). This amount supports muscle recovery and growth. If you're very active or trying to maintain a significant amount of muscle mass, aim for the higher end of the range.

2. Set Your Fat and Carbohydrate Intake: The remaining calories should be split between fats and carbohydrates. A common ratio might be 25-30% of calories from fats and the remaining from carbohydrates.

Here's how you could distribute the same 1,800 calories for weight loss, whilst also maintaining your muscle mass. 

  1. Protein Intake: As an active individual, you should aim for the upper end of the recommended range. Let's say you choose 1 gram of protein per pound of body weight. If you weigh 150 pounds (68kg), that's 150 grams of protein. At 4 calories per gram, that equals 600 calories from protein.
  2. Fat Intake: You could aim for about 25% of your total calories from fat. That's 450 calories (since 25% of 1,800 is 450). Since each gram of fat has 9 calories, this equals about 50 grams of fat.
  3. Carbohydrate Intake: The remaining calories will come from carbohydrates. After accounting for protein and fat, you have 750 calories left (1,800 total - 600 from protein - 450 from fat). Divide this number by 4 (since each gram of carbohydrate has 4 calories) to get approximately 187 grams of carbohydrates.

So, for an active individual on a high-protein, 1,800-calorie diet for weight loss, a potential macro breakdown could be 150 grams of protein, 50 grams of fat, and 187 grams of carbohydrate

Tips for Counting Macros

Prep Your Meals: Planning and prepping meals in advance can help you stay on track with your macros. Bulk cooking can make counting easy as you take all ingredients added and divide by the number of portions. 

Quality Over Quantity: Remember, the type of macros matters. For example choose whole grains over refined carbs, lean proteins over processed meats, and healthy fats over saturated ones.

Adjust as Needed: Everyone's body responds differently to dietary changes. Be prepared to adjust your macro ratios based on your progress and how you feel.

Remember all of our recipes state the calories as well as the macro split, to make your journey to success as simple as possible!

While counting macros can be a helpful tool for weight loss, it's essential to combine this approach with regular exercise and an overall healthy lifestyle.

Opt for quality versus quantity and remember that any approach takes patience, time and consistency. You’ve got this! 

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Alice Fontecilla
Alice Fontecilla is a qualified personal trainer and sports massage therapist with over 7 years of experience in the world of health and fitness. She also holds a Gestalt counselling certificate as she believes true health stems from a harmonious mind, body and soul.

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