Macros are short for macronutrients and are categorized as protein, carbs, and fat. Macros contribute to the calories in the food we eat.
1g Protein = 4 calories
1g Carb = 4 calories
1g Fat = 9 calories
When categorizing food, we focus on what the food mostly consists of. Some proteins will have small amounts of carbs, some fats will have some amounts of protein, and some foods will consist of all macros.
Examples of protein: chicken, turkey, fish, beef, pork, protein shakes, and egg whites. Other protein sources include Greek yogurt and cottage cheese which also contain carbs.
Examples of carbs: bread, potatoes, noodles, rice, fruits, and sugar. Low carb veggies have very little carbs & calories so to make counting macros easier we suggest excluding them from your count. We suggest choosing a certain amount of veggies and staying consistent each day.
Examples of fat: butter, olive oil, nuts, salad dressings, cream cheese, and avocados. Other fat sources include high fat meats, cheese, and whole eggs which also contain protein.
Why Count Macros? Energy Balance = Calories In – Calories Out
At the most basic level, your weight is dependent on the amount of calories you take in compared to the number of calories you use.
To lose weight, you must have a negative energy balance (consume less calories than you use). For weight gain, you need to have a positive energy balance (consume more calories than you use).
Counting your macros is a way of measuring how much energy you are taking in. Staying consistent with your intake and exercise is the best measure of your metabolism. For example, if you take in 2000 calories every day for 1-2 weeks and your weight does not change then you know you are at equilibrium (energy consumption is equal to energy used). If your goal was to lose weight you would decrease your intake or increase your exercise. If your goal was to gain weight we would increase your intake.
Macros are easiest to count when using an app to count your total daily intake. The best approach to counting your macros is to make sure you are calculating how much you are eating by weighing & measuring everything you eat and then entering it into your app (exclude low carb veggies).
When counting carbs we only count net carbs because net carbs are broken down and used for energy by your body. Net carbs = (Total carbs – Fiber). Keep in mind that sometimes your macros will be slightly over or under which is okay. The most important factor is consistency that way if you hit a plateau in progress you can make adjustments to your macros and continue to towards your goal.
Now that you have a good understanding of what macros are, why to count macros, and how to count macros, its time to start working towards your goal!