“So I decided to track everything down, but I'm not sure what should my macros be to lose weight?” There's plenty of these macros for weight loss guides online but yet, you are here. Let me guess why. Because all those guides are too freaking complicated? I feel you, when I was doing a research for myself years ago I was so overwhelmed because there are so many complications going on, and when I figured everything on my own, I realized it doesn't have to be that complicated.
Calculating your macros for weight loss is a very simple process. You do need a simple calculator but you don't need 15 steps. In fact, you can do it with a piece of paper and your phone calculator.
But first of all, let's briefly cover this…
What are macros and why is it a good thing to track them?
Macros stand for “macronutrients”, which present 3 main categories of every product out there: proteins, carbohydrates, and fats. We won't get into details and cover types of fats and carbs, but the main point is that you know what are macros actually.
By the law, in every country in the world, every food needs to be labeled with macros on the back. So it doesn't matter if you are in the US or in Zimbabwe whenever you want to see the macros of the yogurt (for example) you can do it simply by just looking at what is says on the back of the pack. You might face different languages but you'll figure it out.
The biggest mistake people are making is everyone looks at calories but not so many people look at macros. That is a mistake because calories are made from macros! So for the beginning, you need to know:
- 1 gram of protein has 4 calories
- 1 gram of carbohydrates has 4 calories, and
- 1 gram of fat has 9 calories.
Make sure to remember this or write it down because you will need it when you start calculating.
Another important thing to remember is that there's no general rule. Everyone is different and therefore your macros won't be the same as mine are.
By tracking macros you are ensuring proper tracking of everything you eat. The flaw with tracking calories is that 5oz of sugar and 1 pound of chicken can have the same amount of calories, but the difference is their content, sugar is carbs and chicken is protein. (this was used only, for example, I didn't check the calories of sugar and chicken)
How to calculate macros for weight loss?
First, you will need your caloric deficit number. That's easy.
Head over to Calorie Calculator by Free Dieting and enter your age, gender, weight, and height. In the field “Exercise level” leave it to be “Little/no exercise”. Click on Calculate and you will have your numbers. A number you will need is the “Fat Loss” number.
Let's say your Fat Loss Calorie number is 2000 calories per day. So if you get every day 2000 calories you will lose weight.
First, we calculate the carbs. There's no official rule, but in my opinion, if you are trying to lose weight your carbs should not exceed 100 grams per day. The best option is probably to have a maximum of 70-80 grams but in order to make this simple, we will say our carbs will be 100 grams per day.
Reminder: 1 gram of carbs has 4 calories
So 100 grams X 4 = 400 calories.
Our daily fat loss calorie intake is 2000, so 2000 minus 400 = 1600. That means we have 1600 calories left. Let's separate that on protein and fat.
Protein number can be a little bit confusing but I'll do my best to make it as simple as possible.
The ideal protein number is 1lbs of lean muscle mass x 1 gram of protein. If you are like 95% of people, then you probably don't know that number. I'm coaching other people for years and still don't know that number for myself, so no panic, it's fine.
Imagine your goal weight. Let's say you want your weight to be 160 pounds. Take that number and you will have your protein number. So the formula would be:
Your goal weight x 1 gram of protein –> in this case 160lbs x 1 gram of protein = 160 grams of protein.
Reminder: 1 gram of protein has 4 calories
160 grams of protein x 4 calories = 640 calories.
Saying that: 2000 calories daily intake minus 400 calories of carbs and minus 640 calories of protein = 960 calories left.
(pssst! You will balance your protein intake much easier with protein powder! Make sure to check out what's the best protein powder for weight loss, it's been my secret for years!)
So you are left with 960 calories of your daily intake. Those should all be fats.
Reminder: 1 gram of fat has 9 calories
960 calories divided by 9 = 106.6 grams of fat.
Summary of calculation
For a person that needs 2000 calories a day for weight loss, and has the desired weight of 160 pounds, macros would be 100 grams of carbs, 160 grams of protein and 106 grams of fat.
Pay attention to this
Even though this works for most people, this is not a scientific method to calculate your calories.
The best way to calculate your macros is to visit a place that has a Dexa scan. Dexa scan will tell you most precisely how much fat and lean muscle you have and what your macros should be. This method is a simple bro-science that seems to work
You can modify this formula however it suits you. If you want a lower number of carbs that's fine, but just make sure your desired weight is healthy.
There's plenty of mobile apps that can help you track your macros and even suggest some good things. One of those apps is MyFitnessPal, which didn't pay me a dime to say this, and they don't need to, because I'm truly in love with their app. Just scan the barcode of the product you are taking and let the MyFitnessPal do the rest. It's also great because you can put percentages of macros you want, and it will calculate everything for you.
When you start tracking your macros you might face a problem like you don't have many calories left but you need more protein. That can be very tricky because basically whatever you eat will have carbs and fats, and you can go over your recommended daily intake for weight loss.
That's exactly why I encourage using supplementation and especially protein powder. It has a small number of calories, 1 gram of carbs, and magnificent 24 grams of protein. So balancing your macros is a lot easier with proper supplementation!
If you decide however for a strict diet such as Keto, make sure your carbs don't go over 20 grams per day, because that will throw you out of ketosis. The ideal ratio of macros in the Keto diet is 5% carbs, 20% protein, and 75% fat.
A ketogenic diet is extremely effective when it comes to weight loss, but it's not for everyone. However, I do recommend everyone trying it out at least once in their weight loss journey. The benefits of keto are undeniable!
Calculate your weight loss caloric intake. Decide how much carbs you want (less is better here). Calculate your proteins and with remain number of daily caloric intake calculate your fats. Craft your own plan and stick to it, this pattern will give you results. Make sure your goals are healthy because health always comes first. If you decide to take a Ketogenic diet, just pay attention to carbs (don't go over 20g per day). Consider using supplementation and MyFitnessPal to ease the whole process. Don't cheat.
- 8 Honest Reasons Why You Should Start Keto Diet
- Best Protein Powder For Weight Loss Diet
- 5 Best Supplements for Weight Loss and Muscle Gain
That's it, folks!
Hope this was helpful and simple!
Founder at Extreme Loser