Maybe you’ve heard of macros before. Some people love them. Some people hate them. But what exactly are they and how can they help you reach your fat loss goal?
Let’s start by defining what macros are. Macronutrients (a.k.a. macros) are categories of food that our bodies require in large quantities. These core groups of essential nutrients are divided into three main sections: carbohydrates, proteins, and fats.
Though it’s important to eat foods from each of these three groups, the amount of energy (or calories) that should be consumed from each group will vary from person to person, depending on their goals.
Before we move on to discuss each macronutrient in greater detail, it’s important to note that for every gram of a given macronutrient that is consumed, it yields a certain amount of energy (in calories).
1g carb = 4 calories
1g protein = 4 calories
1g fat = 9 calories
Carbohydrates (a.k.a. carbs) often have a bad rep for being unhealthy for you, but that’s NOT true. In fact, carbs are the body’s default source of energy and so, our bodies actually require a large percentage of our daily calories to come from them. Typically this can be anywhere between 40-65% of your caloric intake for the day.
Though not all carbs are created equal. Here are three subcategories of carbohydrates that you should be aware of:
Simple Carbs: these are easily digested by the body and a great source of quick energy (ex. table sugar and fruit)
Complex Carbs: these are your starches that require the body to work a little harder to be digested, resulting in you feeling fuller for longer (ex. rice, oats, and potatoes)
Dietary Fiber: this isn’t digested by the human body however it’s still important to consume a minimum of 25g daily (on average for an adult woman) to regulate blood sugar and ensure that your digestive processes run smoothly (ex. beans and dried fruit)
Protein’s primary role is to aid in the growth and repair of body tissues, including our muscle tissue. Common examples of protein sources include meat, fish, poultry, lentils and eggs.
Your fitness goal will dictate how much protein you should ideally be consuming on a daily basis. Since this post is specifically framed from the perspective of sustainable fat loss, starting with 0.6g of protein a day per pound bodyweight is a great place to start. Let’s do a quick example to make sure we’re on the same page here.
Using a woman who weighs 180lbs and is consuming 0.6g of protein per pound bodyweight:
180lbs X 0.6g per lb = 108g/lb
Therefore, she should be eating 108g of protein daily.
Unlike carbs and proteins which each yield 4 calories per gram, fats yield 9 calories per gram, making them the body’s most concentrated energy source. For those looking to lose fat, 25-30% of your daily caloric intake should come from fats.
Contrary to popular belief, the consumption of fats doesn’t cause your body fat percentage to increase. The OVERCONSUMPTION OF FOOD does that (along with other contributing factors).
The adequate consumption of healthy fats is important to keep our organs protected, insulate our body, transport vitamins throughout the body, and regulate various cell processes.
Similarly to carbs, not all fats are the same. There are healthy fats and not so healthy fats. Examples of healthy fats include salmon, cheese, olives, avocados and coconut oil. On the other hand, saturated fats, which are considered to be less beneficial for the body have been linked to increasing the risk of cardiovascular disease.
Alrighty, now that you have a better understanding of what macros are, I’m sure you’re more than ready to find out the role they play when it comes to fat loss.
The key to successful fat loss is being in a caloric deficit (for more on what that means, you can check out my Calories In vs. Calories Out blog post here). Once you’ve determined what this deficit looks like for you and calculated how many calories you should be consuming throughout the day, you then need to figure out where those calories will be coming from. That’s where macros come into play.
I breakdown the whole process for you in short video trainings delivered straight to your inbox daily for just 5 days. After that, you’re left with the tools you need to successfully lose weight and reach your fitness goals!
If you’re interested in signing up for this mini course, you can do so here:
I’m a firm believer that tracking macros shouldn’t be forever, which is why I created my signature approach, the Macro-to-Mindful Method. This method takes you from macro tracking to mindful eating. Having a solid understanding of macronutrients provides you with a great foundation and sets you up for success to reach your fitness goals. However, after a while, you’ll become so familiar with how best to fuel your body in order to support your goals, that you’ll no longer need to track every meal. That’s when you can slowly start to transition from consistent macro tracking to implementing more mindful eating practices.
I’ve successfully implemented this method with all of my 1:1 clients in my coaching program helping women say goodbye to restrictive dieting for good so that they can live their best lives with TOTAL FOOD FREEDOM!
If you have questions about my method or how you can work with me 1:1, feel free to send me a DM over on Instagram (@kairahjames).
p.s. Don’t forget to sign up for my 5-Day mini course, First 10. It’s FREE and will teach you how to use macros to lose your first 10lbs…and keep it off!