How to Count Your Macros

Counting macronutrients is one of the most common ways to help people reach their weight loss goals. Although you might be somewhat familiar with it, chances are you may not be aware of exactly how counting macros actually works. 

“If it fits your macros” or IIFYM is a common phrase to describe how people can use sustainability in their diets as a way to lose weight while still eating their favorite foods. Rather than focusing on whether or not a food is “healthy,” counting macros involves fitting all types of food into your diet while still losing weight and maintaining a healthy lifestyle.

We’ll dive into how macronutrient counting works and if it may be the right choice to help you lose weight and/or create a more healthy relationship with food.

What is a macronutrient

Macronutrients consist of carbohydrates, proteins, and fats. Each of these three dietary sources provide energy sources for food in the body. Carbohydrates are the brain and muscles’ primary source of energy – they also provide the body with glucose, which is converted to energy to support bodily function and physical activity (1). 

Fats are used for energy production and help insulate the body and support cellular function (2). Once upon a time, fats were widely considered bad for cardiovascular and overall health – however, newer research has proven those to be mostly fallacies.

Protein is crucial for building and repairing muscles and bones to make hormones and enzymes (3). Proteins are made up of many building blocks, known as amino acids. Protein also helps repair and build your body’s tissues while driving metabolic reactions.

Why you would want to count macros

People oftentimes find general diets to be too constricting when it comes to food choice and selection. Not every person wants to sit down and eat chicken and broccoli for every meal. Some find that having a variety of “fun” or “junk food” options in their diet can provide them with a better chance of diet success.

Let’s say you want to lose 20 pounds for summer time, but don’t want to follow a strict diet. Counting macros can provide you with an avenue to achieve better weight loss success without eating only lean proteins and vegetables. By simply sticking to macronutrient and calorie goals, people will be able to not feel constricted or confined to an overly restrictive diet.

How to count macros

Counting macros can sound complex at the surface level, but actually can be more difficult than you think. There are several different ways of counting macros and calories.

One of the most common macronutrient ratios is 20% fat, 40% carbohydrate, and 40% protein. However, this ratio can fluctuate depending upon a person’s specific goals and plans. 

Here’s how to count macronutrients:

  • Fats: 9 calories per 1 gram of fat in the body
  • Carbs: 4 calories per 1 gram of carb in the body
  • Protein: 4 calories per 1 gram of carb in the body

  • To count macronutrients, simply take the number of grams of fat (9 calories x amount of fat), carbs (4 calories x amount of carbs), and protein (4 calories x amount of carbs) and add the total amount of calories together. The end result will provide you with your total amount of calories for the day.

    Your total calorie goals along with macronutrients will provide you with a blueprint diet to follow. As you plateau in your weight loss journey, simply adjust your macronutrients and lower them as needed. Eventually once you reach your end weight loss goals, you can reverse diet up to a maintenance amount that is sustainable long term.

    Dieting doesn’t have to be boring or mundane. If you’re searching for a sustainable diet that allows you to incorporate a variety of different foods in your diet, counting macros may be the right choice for you.