What is counting macros and how is it different from counting calories?
Have you heard of counting macros and wondered what it is?
First, you need to know that macros is short for macronutrients.
When you are ‘counting macros’ it means you are counting grams of macronutrients in your daily diet.
Macros Versus Calories
A calorie is a measure of energy.
The more calories in a food, the more energy it provides to your body.
All calories come from macronutrients.
There are three macronutrients. The amount of calories each macronutrient provides is different.
- Protein provides 4 calories per gram
- Carbohydrates provide 4 calories per gram
- Fats provide 9 calories per gram
So when you are counting macros, you are counting the number of grams of carbohydrates, fats, and proteins you are consuming.
Benefits to Counting Macros Instead of Calories
There are some definite benefits to counting macros versus counting calories:
- When counting macros, you ensure you are getting the important nutrients each macronutrient provides.
- Getting enough protein each day can protect you from losing lean muscle mass.
- Proteins and fats keep you feeling fuller longer. Making sure you are eating from each macronutrient throughout the day can curb cravings and hunger.
- Any food can fit into your macro count. When you can enjoy the foods you love, you are more likely to stick to your plan.
- Tracking macros applies to any diet: a clean eating diet, a vegetarian diet, a vegan diet, a Paleo diet, a Keto diet, or any other preferred way of eating.
Counting Your Macros
To illustrate counting macros in action, check out this picture of the Nutrition Facts Label from a pouch of tuna.
Every packaged food you eat has a Nutrition Facts Label on it somewhere.
The nutrition label shows you exactly how many grams of fat, carbohydrate, and protein is in a serving.
Using the tuna nutrition facts label photo above, you can see:
It states there are zero grams of fat in this package.
If you look at carbohydrates, the label indicates there are 2 grams of carbohydrates in this package.
The final macronutrient on the package is protein. There are 14 grams of protein in this package.
Using this package label, you would then count the following macros:
- Zero grams of fat
- 2 grams of carbohydrates
- 14 grams of protein
When tracking macros, you don’t care that the package has 70 calories. Instead, your focus is on the macronutrients.
Should You Count Macros for Weight Loss?
There are three simple reasons to track macros for weight loss:
- By tracking macronutrients, instead of calories, you are making sure you are eating a balanced diet that properly fuels your body.
- Tracking macronutrients allows you to eat whatever foods you want – as long as it fits your macronutrient goals.
- Counting macros works!
We’ve already talked about how gollowing a macronutrient diet means that every day you will be getting your calories from a balance of proteins, carbohydrates, and fats.
Just think of it! You’ll be giving your body all the building blocks it needs to be healthy!
But what about when your co-worker brings donuts in to work? How does that fit into counting macros?
If you want a donut, you can eat a donut.
You’ll track how many carbs, fats, and proteins are in the donut, then just adjust your macros for the rest of the day.
Isn’t that the best news?
When you count macros you can say yes to happy hour with coworkers, yes to ice cream with your kids, or yes to brunch with friends.
Any food can fit into your macros.
And when all foods are permitted, you remove temptation, you remove negative thoughts about “cheating,” and you get to enjoy all the foods you love. This is called food freedom.
I hope I’ve convinced you that counting macros is a healthy and sustainable way to lose the weight.
So why don’t you pop on over and read the Beginner’s Guide to Setting Macros for Weight Loss and get started on a healthy eating plan now.