BASICS OF COUNTING MACROS
Macronutrients, or macros, are proteins, fats and carbohydrates. Each macro has different effects on your body, which is why all calories aren’t created equal.
Protein: The leading champ of the macros. It helps you build or maintain muscle, stay full and keep you lean.
Fat: Essential macro to live. Fats store energy, insulate us, protect our vital organs, assist with brain functionality and more.
Carbs: Source of energy. They help fuel our bodies and keep our brains and muscles fresh.
Counting your macros to ensure you are getting the right amount of each is an excellent way to shed body fat, while maintaining or gaining strength.
Tracking may sound restricting, but it’s actually the opposite. Although your goal is to eat a set number of carbs, protein and fat each day, it’s up to you to decide how you fill those.
There are no rules to this type of dieting that say “no bread” or “no ice cream.” If it fits in your macros for the day, then you can feel guilt-free about having your treat.
That’s why it’s called flexible dieting.
How to get started:
- Set your macros. Try an online macro calculator. Myfitnesspal.com is a good starting place to do so.
- Buy a digital food scale.Whenever possible, have control over your food by preparing it yourself. Weighing out your food, rather than measuring with volume, is the most accurate way of tracking. Do not eat any food unless it has been weighed and accounted for.
- Track your food with an online program. We suggest using myfitnesspal.com for tracking. However, we find its database to be unreliable when it comes to macros. Double check any nutrition information on calorieking.com and, if necessary, create a custom food using the application.
- Go grocery shopping. The more you prepare for each week, the more success you will have.
- Include a fat, carb and protein source in each meal. In following this tip, you will constantly be working towards meeting your daily macro goals and won’t end up with a large amount of one macro at the end of the day.
- Count your macros before eating your food. Failing to do this can lead to detrimental errors and leave you with no other choice but to exceed your macros.
- Weigh your food raw before cooking. How you cook it will change its weight after it’s cooked.
- Understand nutrition labels. For things like pasta and rice make sure the label is clear on whether the nutrition info is for dry or cooked. This can make a huge difference.
- Feel free to use unlimited calorie-free foods.Examples: mustard, most hot sauces, sweeteners.
- Eat all your macros! Don’t fall victim to the “well I ate less than I was supposed to so I should make extra progress” fallacy.
- Fully commit to the program. Give it your all and it will pay off.
In the process of flexible dieting, you will learn an incredible amount about food and how your body responds to it. This knowledge and education helps create lifelong sustainable eating habits.
Understanding how to track your macronutrients will make a world of difference in getting in control of your body and navigating your relationship with food.