m a c r o s

Macros! You’ve heard this term everywhere, but maybe you’re not EXACTLY sure what people are talking about when they talk about macros. This post should help clear it up.

“Macros” is short for Macronutrients, which refers to the 3 basic components needed in the human diet. These are protein, carbs and fat.

Tracking Macros

Tracking macros refers to calculating how much your body needs of each component, then tracking the macronutrient content of everything you eat.

Tracking macros is good if you are confused on how much of each macro you should be eating or if you’re trying to dial in your nutrition and cut weight.

There are more complex ways to calculate macros, but I’m aiming for simplicity in these first posts for people who are just starting their nutrition journey. For someone who is trying to lose fat and not doing an intense workout program, start with your macros around here…

Protein per day = .75 x body weight

Carbohydrates = 1 x body weight (if you weigh more than 200lbs, keep it to 200 or less) 

Fat= .5 x body weight (slightly less is ok, just make sure you’re getting it from healthy sources like olive oil/avocados, etc…)

For example, if you weighed 128 lbs, you would be eating 96 grams of protein, around 128 grams of carbs on low intensity or no exercise days and around 192 grams of carbs on days that you work out. Your fat would be around 64g.

If even using this seems overwhelming, start by simply adding protein to each of your meals and seeing if you can eventually hit your protein goal. If you’re trying to cut weight, stick to mostly lean cuts of meat, like chicken breast. Protein will keep you full and leave less room for you to be hungry for carbs (if overeating carbs is an issue for you).

Once you have your protein in check, start paying attention to your carbs. Remember complex carbs (ex: grains, veggies) break down slower than simple carbs (ex: candy, coke) so focus on eating those if you feel like you’re eating enough protein and still craving junk food.

Finally, start paying attention to where you’re getting your servings of fat. Coconut oil, Olive oil, and Avocado oil are good ways of easily adding healthy fat to your diet.

Every 2 weeks, weigh yourself (if you’re not lifting heavy/building a lot of muscle), you should see your weight decreasing. If not, slightly lower the carbs and repeat the process the next 2 weeks. Also track how you’re feeling. If you’re hitting all your goals, but still feel hungry, up the protein. If after a few 2-week periods you’re starting to feel really tired/weak during workouts, maybe you cut your carbs too low and you can slowly start increasing them to find a good balance of weight loss while still having energy.

Can I eat whatever I want?

Technically, yes, but if you think about the amount of carbs in a donut vs. a bowl of broccoli, you will notice that you will be able to have a lot less of a donut than you will of the broccoli. Also, you’ll probably be left feeling hungry if you do that too often. I personally don’t completely buy into “if it fits in your macros” because even though eating crap within your macro goals might not make you gain weight, I believe the focus should be less about weight and more about being healthy. You can be skinny and unhealthy.

On that note, if you want a cookie, have the cookie. It’s not a problem if it’s not making you spiral out of control and eat an entire box of them. Ideally, you will have your sugar cravings under control so you can enjoy treats in a healthy manner. If you want more info on breaking your sugar addiction,  you can read my blog post on sugar here .

What’s the best way to track?

There are a ton of resources out there to track your macros. The easiest way that’s free is MyFitnessPal. On MyFitnessPal you can plug in food ahead of time to figure out what you need to eat to hit your macro goals. I have also included a link to a (cheap!) kitchen scale, which is the most accurate way to measure how much of each food your eating.

This was a quick and dirty on macros, so if you want to know anything more specific, or have any questions, please feel free to contact me!

Resources

http://www.myfitnesspal.com

https://www.amazon.com/Ozeri-Digital-Kitchen-Capacity-Stylish/dp/B003E7AZQA/ref=pd_lpo_vtph_79_lp_t_4?_encoding=UTF8&psc=1&refRID=5Q37E2PX210MW0SG0PXB

5 Comments

  1. So quick q… according to your calculations, i should be eating 161 grams of protein a day? But if i eat 5 oz of protein thats already like 140 grams of protein — that doesnt seem right… maybe something is lost in translation here. Could you please explain further? Thanks

    1. Hi Sung, great question! In my post I am talking about the amount of protein in the food, not the weight of the food. So if you eat a 5oz steak, there is not 5oz of protein in it. It’s not a direct conversion from the the weight of the food in oz to grams. Here are some examples…

      • Lean Meat and Poultry, 3 oz. = 24-27 grams of protein
      • Fish and Shellfish, 3 oz. = 18-22 grams of protein
      • Milk and Yogurt, 1 cup = 8 grams of protein
      • Cheese, 1 oz. slice = 7 grams of protein
      • Eggs, 1 whole or 2 egg whites or 1/4 cup egg substitute = 7 grams of protein

      Hopefully this makes sense!

  2. Just came across your blog Kate and wanted to ask: how would you change your calculations if you were doing intense workouts (aka crossfit) 4-5 times a week? Everybody I know around here that counts macros still eats garbage food and fake supplements. I’ve done a few W30’s and even when I’m not doing a reset I still try to eat whole foods. Unprocessed and unpackaged when I can. Do you think it’s possible to count macros, eat whole foods, workout, and NOT be hungry or feel weak all the time? Thanks for any advice!

    1. Hi Rachel!

      Yes! I completely agree, a lot of people who macro count simply take what they are used to eating and fit it into their macros. Personally, I am not on board with the “If it fits in your macros” because I believe our first priority should be health. Once we know what makes us the most healthy, then we can move onto more performance/aesthetic based nutrition.

      It’s 100% possible to count macros and eat whole foods! The way I would adjust the macros for someone who is doing intense training would be dependent on their goal. For example, if they were looking to put on muscle, I would set protein to about 1g * body weight. For carbs, they would be on the higher end during training days, around 200g and then around 120-140g on non-training days. I would also have them focus on eating a chunk of those carbs before and after their workouts. I would keep the fat moderate, the majority of it coming from the high quality cooking oils I listed above.

      Feeling weak and tired after switching to a whole food diet is pretty common. One common reason is not getting enough carbs. It can be harder to get a higher carb count while eating Paleo, however it’s very possible. Potatoes, yuca, starchier veggies + fruits are all great ways to up your carb consumption without resorting to processed foods to hit a macro goal (which I never recommend)!

      Hopefully this was helpful, let me know if you have any more questions!

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: