Macronutrients is the caloric content of your food.
If calories were a cake, macros would be the ingredients (eggs, butter and cake mix) to make that cake.
Macros are proteins, dietary fats, and carbohydrates. Each of these play a key role in proper body function.
Contains 4 calories per gram
Example: 25 grams of protein x 4 equals 100 calories
Research shows the majority of the population can follow a recommendation of 0.7-1 gram per pound of bodyweight.
Protein is used for growth and repair of muscles, tissues, and cells. It does not matter if you sit all day long, your body is constantly repairing tissue and cells throughout the day. It doesn’t stop there though, protein also helps with immune function, making essential hormones and enzymes, energy and preserving lean muscle mass.
Contains 9 calories per gram
Example: 20 grams of fat x 9 equals 180 calories
Healthy Fat is very important in your diet. It is needed for organ regeneration and hormone regulation. It is also needed for absorbing certain vitamins. Think of your hair, skin and nails, fats play a major role in giving them nourishment and moisture.
Contains 4 calories per gram
Example: 25 grams of carbs x 4 equals 100 calories
Carbs are your body’s preferred source of energy. However, carbs are not essential like protein and fat. That is why you can go “low carb” and still have proper body function. They are the main source of energy used by your body in the form of glucose. Your brain, kidneys, central nervous system and muscles all need glucose to perform at an optimal rate.
Now, let’s calculate your own macronutrients for weight loss.
First step: figuring out your maintence level of calories. This is where you are maintaining your current weight.
Why? Because you need to have a starting point. This number tells us where you are now, not gaining weight and not losing weight. So, from there, we can put you in a caloric deficit (shortage of calories) so you are losing weight.
Your calories in (food consumed) needs to be LESS than calories out (calories burned by your metabolism and daily activity).
Take your current body weight and multiply it by 14, 15 or 16 depending on how active you are.
14- Not active
16- Very active
Example: Body weight 130lbs
130 x 16 (very active individual) = 2,080 this number would be your maintence calories
To be in a caloric deficit you need to subtract calories from your maintence number (2,080)
Subtracting 500 calories per day puts you in a caloric deficit of 3,500 calories for 1 week
3,500 calories is equal to 1 pound of body fat, so essentially you will be losing 1 pound per week. Taking into account water weight and hormone fluctuation.
Maintence calories 2,080 – 500 calories for your deficit = 1,580 calories per day
Next step, breaking 1,580 calories into protein, fat and carbs
Studies show, that we require about 0.7-1.2g of protein per pound of body weight. The higher or lower end of the spectrum is dependent on how much lean muscle mass you have, if you’re in a caloric deficit you may require a bit more protein.
I personally take in 1 gram of protein per pound.
Example: 130 x 1 = 130g of protein
130g protein x 4 (because there are 4 calories per gram of protein) = 520 calories from protein
Subtract 520 calories from your caloric deficit number 1,580 = 1,060
1,060 is what is left for fats and carbs
Next, we will calculate how many fats per day
We require 0.3-0.5 grams of fat per pound of body weight. If you are someone who enjoys peanut butter, nut and oils more so than carbs you would want to go more towards 0.5
Example: 130 x 0.4 (we like peanut butter, but also like carbs) = 52 grams of fat per day
52 x 9 (because there are 9 calories per gram of fat) = 468 calories from fat
Subtract 468 from 1,060 = 592 calories leftover for carbs
592 / 4 (because there are 4 calories per gram of carbs) = 148 carbs per day
This would be our macronutrients for losing 1 pound of body fat per week.
You can track your macros in MyFitnessPal, that is the app I use and I LOVE IT! You can scan your food in with the barcode option or you can type in your food. Either way, it is simple and the more you use it the more you will be aware of how much you are eating. Use the macros you calculated here to track your food for the next 2 weeks. Be consistent if you are not seeing the results you want, adjust your macros. That’s the best part of tracking your macros, you are in control and can change them depending on how your body reacts.