Question from reader:
How do you go about eating 40% carbs, 30% protein, and 30% fat? I would like to try but I am confused on how I get started.
This is called counting your macronutrients (macros).
– Protein (4 calories per gram)
– Fat (9 calories per gram)
– Carbohydrates (4 calories per gram)
What is counting macros?
Counting macros means tracking the number of grams of protein, carbohydrates, and fats you consume on a particular day.
This is the only way I have found to lose body fat and actually see the scale move while maintaining strength and endurance. I wish I had before and after pics. As women, we all struggle with our midsection, especially after having babies. I lost 3 inches around my waist and 9 pounds in 4 weeks by counting macros. NOTICE: I did not say that I counted calories. There is a difference. If you want quality weight loss (losing fat for the long haul), counting macros is more efficient. Only counting calories can lead to nutrient deficiencies that cause you to lose muscle, lower your endurance during workouts, and fatigue.
How to count macros for fat loss?
You can do this a couple of different ways. You can buy a food scale and measure everything. Check out this site: How to Find Macro Amounts in Foods. It shows you how to read food labels, and how to use a food scale. It also shows you how to use MyFitnessPal.
I personally recommend using the app MyFitnessPal. I have tried to measure everything and make sure every meal had exactly 40% carbs, 30% protein, and 30% fat. It was exhausting and obsessive. I started trying to get my daily intake to meet the percentages. This was a good balance for me. At the beginning of the day, I would log my breakfast, snacks, protein shakes, and lunch. This would give me a good idea of where I was. Then, I could adjust my dinner to make sure my percentages were on point. Or, you could log all your meals and protein shakes and then just adjust your snacks. Dinner is not that important to me because I workout in the evening and have protein. Find what works for you.
How do I get started?
To get started download the MyFitnessPal app on your phone. I would log 3 or 4 days of foods that you are eating so that you know where your issue lies. Most will find that you eat way too many carbs. The first day I logged I had eaten 70% in carbs. Wow!
Go to the nutrition tab. This is where you can look at your macros.
Set your % on the goals tab. As you log meals and snacks, it will update. I used to try and make every meal a certain percentage but found that to be too much. I try to end my day at these percentages. Breakfast I usually have more carbs and fats.
After sticking with your macro percentages for about 2 weeks, start looking at your calories. I am not going to tell you how many calories you should be consuming because everyone is different. Daily activity and metabolism play a huge part in your caloric needs. I have found that about 2000 calories work for me. Some days I might need a little more if I am more active or have a longer, more intense workout. Adjust your calories needs as needed. If you consume 1700 calories and meet all the macro percentages, but feel like crap, then you need more calories.
The best thing about MyFitnessPal is most restaurants and foods are programmed already. You just need to input the serving amount. This allows you eat stray from your prepped meals when needed. Sometimes I like to eat at Dairy Queen on Friday night. I can choose a meal that fits within my macros and even have ice cream.
What I learned from counting macros?
I was eating too many carbs.
I was not eating enough protein to sustain the workouts I was completing.
It is possible to lose fat without losing muscle.
Good Sources of Macros-
Protein: chicken, beef, eggs, protein shakes, lunch meat, turkey, ground turkey
Carbs: vegetables and fruits
Fat: nuts, peanut butter, almond butter, almond milk, avocados, vegetable oils
Here is my August 1st and 3rd logged meals and nutrition/macros percentages.Not perfect but close enough for my goals.
Sources and Resources