Understanding Macros for Weight Loss

What are macros and how are they the answer to your weight-loss goals?

Woman sitting on her couch eating a healthy protein bowl, counting macros for weight-loss.

If you’ve tried every diet from keto to intermittent fasting and you aren’t seeing the weight-loss results you want, consider the macro diet.

What are macros?

Macros (short for macronutrients) are the fats, proteins, and carbs that make up food and help create energy for your body.

Does that mean calories don’t matter anymore?

Daily calories still matter. But when you are “counting your macros,” you are keeping track of which sources of macronutrients the calories are coming from.

Related: Ways to Save 100 Calories Per Day

The benefits of counting macros

• You have more flexibility in what you can eat, which may make this diet plan easier to stick with than others. You just have to pay attention to the fat, carbs, and protein contained in your food and stay within the limit of your plan each day to see results.

• Counting macros requires you to be more mindful about what you eat, which will likely help you make better, more wholesome choices.

• If you constantly overeat, or you punish yourself for eating something unhealthy, macros can promote self-management of balanced nutrition and help you build a healthier relationship with your food.

How to get started

One way to start calculating macros is by first determining your goals. How much weight do you want to lose? How quickly do you want to lose it? This will help you determine how many calories you will cut from your diet. It is recommended to work closely with your provider or local dietitian to determine a healthy goal as losing too much weight or losing weight too quickly can be harmful to your overall health.

Once you have that number, you can enter your calorie intake, activity level, and other goal information in this free online macro calculator. This will give you your personalized macro ratios.

Aim for 35% of daily calories from carbs, 40% from proteins, and 25% from fats. The percentages will all depend on your body type and what your goals.

Related: 3 Habits That Can Ruin Your Weight Loss Plan

If you need help sticking with it, you can download helpful free apps like My Fitness Pal or Fooducate to help you count calories, measure food quality and macro percentages, and stay on track. If you have questions about dieting, weight loss, or if the macro diet is right for you, visit with your primary care provider or a registered dietitian.

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