So we’ve been buzzing all about the amazing world of counting macros and how it’s been so successful for us and so many of you, but some of you are still wondering what the heck counting macros is and how you do it. I want to explain the very basics of macronutrient counting to you today so you can decided if it’s something you think might work for you.
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Counting maros is very similar to counting calories in the fact that you track every single thing you put in your mouth. However, instead of just focusing on hitting a certain amount of calories each day, you’re aiming to hit a certain amount of protein, carbohydrates, and fat grams.
Protein, carbohydrates, and fats are the three major macronutrients your body needs to function at an optimal level, so finding the right balance for you will lead to fat loss, toning, or muscle gain depending on your goals. Here is an example of what someones macronutrients could be: 155 grams of protein, 160 grams of carbohydrates, and 74 grams of fat (This is totally random, everyone’s macro Rx is different. Learn more about that here.).
Another thing to keep in mind is that you can essentially eat any foods to hit your prescribed macros, which is why we often refer to it as flexible dieting. Although we like to stress the importance of quality over quantity in this area we also know that being flexible and living life is just as important. You’re never going to be able to hit your 155 grams of protein each day by eating pizza and ice cream so you can just forget that right now. Paleo, Vegetarian, Vegan, Raw Food, it doesn’t matter, you can still count you macros and would likely benefit greatly from it.
You’ll learn to find foods that you like that have a good balance of protein, carbs, and fat for you. As time goes on you’ll start paying closer attention to food labels and learning what the macros are for certain foods without even looking. Here is an example of a good balance of the three for a healthy mid day snack:
Once you have your macros figured out you simply start tracking everything you eat in MyFitnessPal or some other similar app. Yes you could do this with pencil and paper but let me save you a few hours of your day by strongly suggesting you use a phone app. If you use the premium version of MyFitPall you can adjust the home screen to always display exactly how many of each of the macronutrients you have left to eat for the day. This is extremely helpful and makes it so easy! You can see in my screenshot below what I’m talking about. Now hitting your macros perfectly (ending up with three 0’s) is almost impossible so what we consider a perfect day is +/-5 grams of protein, +/-5 grams of carbohydrates, and +/-3 grams of fat.
A big trend among most women in our coaching groups is protein deficiency. Learning to eat more protein is always a little tricky but it can be done. Tracy and I are not shy about our love for meat so we don’t have a problem hitting our protein grams each day. We always recommend getting most your protein grams from real, whole foods however using supplements to help hit your protein goal each day is very beneficial. You can see the different supplements we use and recommend to our clients here.
Another important thing to mention is the Food Scale. If you’re serious about counting macros and want optimal results you have to invest in an extra set of measuring cups and a food scale. Counting macros requires you to be very particular about exactly how much of everything you’re eating. So if you’re having some chicken breast for dinner you must weigh it and input exactly how many ounces you ate in your macro tracker. If you cook large meals for your family (ex: casseroles) you have to learn to create recipes in MFP so you know exactly how many macros you’re eating per serving.
Counting macros is basic math. You start with your allotted amount of macros for the day and subtract as you go. Now, it’s not exactly that simple because in order to consistently hit those macros we recommend you plan ahead. This means you lay in bed at night and input (MFP premium has a copy feature that is awesome!) what you want to eat the next day so you aren’t trying to wing it and then end up with 50 grams of fat and nothing else at 10 p.m.. Our most successful clients meal prep, plan ahead, avoid eating out, and consistently hit their macros within the range mentioned above.
I think I covered the basics here but if you have any questions feel free to ask in the comments below, we love your questions and would love to help. If you need help calculating your macros get more info here. Counting macros has been a life changer for both Tracy and I as we are continuing to lose our post baby weight. If you think counting macros would work for you we strongly urge you to take the plunge and give it a try! Join our free Macro Nutrition Support Group today!
We offer macro coaching services. Our coaching services are conducted through a private Facebook group and include one-on-one nutrition counseling tailored to your diet, macro adjustments as needed, meal ideas, as well as high levels of accountability and support. For more information visit our page here.