When it comes to weight loss, many people focus on counting calories or restricting certain types of foods. However, tracking macro-nutrients, also known as macros, can be a more effective way to achieve weight loss goals. In this blog, we’ll explore what macros are and why they’re important for people to track to lose weight.
What Are Macros?
Macronutrients are the three main components of our diet that provide energy: protein, carbohydrates, and fats. Each macro plays a different role in the body, and our body requires different amounts of each depending on our age, gender, activity level, and goals.
Protein: Protein is essential for building and repairing muscle tissue and is vital for growth and development. It’s also a key component of hormones, enzymes, and other important molecules in the body.
Carbohydrates: Carbohydrates are our body’s primary source of energy. They come in two forms: simple and complex. Simple carbohydrates are found in foods like sugar, fruit, and milk, while complex carbohydrates are found in foods like whole grains, vegetables, and legumes.
Fats: Fats provide a concentrated source of energy, protect our organs, and help regulate our body temperature. They also play a role in hormone production, brain function, and cell growth.
Why Track Macros for Weight Loss?
Tracking macros can be an effective way to lose weight for several reasons:
It Helps Control Calorie Intake
Tracking macros is essentially tracking calories since each macro has a different calorie content. By tracking macros, you can ensure that you’re not overeating or undereating. For example, if you eat too many carbs, your body may store the excess as fat, which can hinder weight loss.
It Helps You Make Informed Food Choices
Tracking macros can help you make more informed food choices. For example, if you’re trying to increase your protein intake, you may choose to eat more chicken, fish, or tofu. If you’re trying to reduce your carb intake, you may choose to eat more non-starchy vegetables instead of bread or pasta.
It Helps You Maintain Muscle Mass
When we lose weight, we typically lose both fat and muscle mass. However, by tracking macros and ensuring that we’re getting enough protein, we can help maintain muscle mass. This is important because muscle mass helps us burn more calories at rest and can improve our overall body composition.
It Helps You Identify Food Sensitivities
Tracking macros can also help you identify food sensitivities. For example, if you notice that you always feel bloated after eating foods high in carbohydrates, you may have a sensitivity to carbs. By tracking your macros, you can identify which foods may be causing digestive issues and make adjustments accordingly.
How to Track Macros
To track macros, you need to determine how many grams of each macro you need to consume daily. This can vary depending on your goals, but a general guideline is:
Protein: 0.8-1.2 grams per pound of body weight
Carbohydrates: 45-65% of total daily calories
Fats: 20-35% of total daily calories
Once you know how many grams of each macro you need, you can use a food tracking app like MyFitnessPal or Lose It! to log your food intake. These apps allow you to enter the foods you eat and will calculate the number of macros you’ve consumed.
Tips for Tracking Macros
If you’re new to tracking macros, start slow. Don’t try to change your diet drastically overnight. Instead, make small adjustments to your diet and track your progress.
Consistency is key when it comes to tracking macros. Try to eat similar meals each day, and log your food intake as accurately as possible. Don’t skip meals or forget to log your snacks, as this can throw off your macro count.
Planning your meals ahead of time can make tracking macros easier. Use a meal planner or prep your meals in advance, so you know exactly how many macros you’re consuming each day.
Use a Food Scale
Using a food scale can help you accurately measure your food portions, which is crucial when tracking macros. Eyeballing portions can lead to inaccurate measurements and throw off your macro count.
Don’t Obsess Over Perfection
While tracking macros can be a helpful tool for weight loss, it’s important not to obsess over perfection. It’s okay to have a treat or deviate from your macro count occasionally. The key is to stay consistent overall.
In conclusion, tracking macros can be an effective way to achieve weight loss goals. By controlling calorie intake, making informed food choices, maintaining muscle mass, and identifying food sensitivities, tracking macros can lead to successful weight loss. To track macros, determine how many grams of each macro you need, use a food tracking app, start slow, be consistent, plan ahead, use a food scale, and don’t obsess over perfection. Remember, weight loss is a journey, and tracking macros can be a helpful tool along the way.