If you’re into health and fitness, you will have probably heard about “tracking macros” or “counting macros” in your diet by now. But if not then don’t worry, although I knew what macros were before, I had never thought about tracking them in my diet until a few months ago, when I saw the fitness blog posts and Youtube videos about the craze and now I’m all about it! So what are macros and why do we need to count them? We’ll break it all down for you and show you how to count macros for weight loss.
What Are Macros?
Food is the main source of energy for our body. The term “macro” is short for macronutrient. These nutrients, collectively known as macronutrients, are contained in food and when consumed can be broken down and provide energy for the body. Nutrients contained in food are a source of energy, essential for growth and maintaining a healthy body. All three of these macronutrients, protein, fat and carbohydrates, should be included as part of a healthy, balanced diet. Whatever your goal is, whether it is to lose or gain weight, there are certain amounts of each of these macros that you should have in your diet.
Why Should I Count Macros?
On any weight loss journey you should set goals in order to stay motivated and see results. You should have a plan and be consistent in trying to achieve your goals, so that you can get the results you desire. Counting macros in your diet is a great way to do this. It will ensure your body is equipped with plenty of energy sources to fuel high-intensity workouts, and when macros are consumed in the right proportions it can help you shed fat. Counting macros can allow you to effect a lifestyle change that improves your relationship with food, and you will start to see food as fuel, with the occasional treat thrown in for good measure!
How Do I Count Macros?
You can use macro calculator websites to check your macro requirements by clicking here or here. They make calculations based on details that you enter about your bodily measurements, e.g. your height and weight. Once you are given your recommended macro requirements you can always alter them slightly if you feel that your body needs slightly more or less of something.
You can then download the free Lifesum app for IPhone or Android. It is one of the best health apps that we have tried and will make it easy to track your macros. To count your macros in the app, you enter the foods that you are eating for breakfast, lunch, dinner or snacks by serving size or weight, or even by scanning the barcode, and it will tell you how many macros are in these meals. If you eat a certain meal or snack often, it will save it so that you can easily select it next time. You will have already entered your personal macro requirements so the app will be able to tell you how many macros you have already consumed for the day and how many you have left to consume.
You can set goals within the app such as “Lose Weight” and it will help you reach certain milestones that you set. You can adjust any of your requirements at any time in the “Settings”. The app lets you track exercise and water intake, which is a neat added feature. There are also different plans and recipes included.
How Will Counting Macros Help Me?
After I tried tracking macros in my own diet and exercise regime, I saw quite a few changes after just a few short weeks. Now counting macros is not something that you have to do every day, of course tracking your macros all day every day may not be something you want to get excited about, but it can be addictive once you start! Just give it a go a few days a week and you will start to get an idea of the amount of macros in the food you are eating and the amount that your body needs. You will notice that you then start choosing foods based on their macronutrient value and your waistline will thank you!
1. You Will Become A More Conscious Eater
You will start to notice that foods that you thought were moderately healthy may contain more fat or carbs than you thought. Or seeing your food broken down into calories and nutrients in the app, may make you more mindful about protein, fat and carbs next time you are at the grocery store. It can also help you be more conscious about snacking, instead of picking the first snack you see it might encourage you to have a high protein snack, in order to meet a macronutrient goal for the day.
2. You Will Beat The Battle Of The Bloat
If you are prone to bloating when you eat too much sugar, bread or dairy, then you will likely find that you no longer have this problem when you start counting macros. Since you are naturally eating more nutritious and wholesome foods you won’t be overloading on carbs or having a sugar overload and then craving more. After just a few days I found that I was feeling healthier and fitting into my clothes better.
3. You Will Have Way More Energy
A healthy balanced diet includes a good amount of protein, a moderate amount of carbs and a low to moderate amount of healthy fats. As you will have started following a diet that is rich in protein, it will mean that you have higher energy levels, fueling you throughout your day and during tough workouts. You can read more about it in this article.
4. You Can Get Out Of A Weight Loss Rut
Counting your macros can give your weight loss the extra boost it needs. You may have fallen into familiar patterns of diet and exercise that don’t seem to be doing the job, and for you this could be a game changer. It can be a more sustainable way to “diet” by simply making you more mindful of what you are putting into your body. You can actually look forward to meeting your macro goals each day!