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Macros can be an intimidating word for many workout beginners. Or losing weight with macros for women, in general, can feel a little overwhelming.
In this post- I’m going to try my best to make macro learning as simple as it can get. The reason why macro counting is so popular amongst fitness-enthusiasts is that its flexible dieting. Essentially, you’re able to eat what you want that “fits” your macros while being conscious of the quality of food choices you’re making.
It’s similar to calorie-counting where you have a certain amount of calories you’re allowed to eat. However, macro-focused diets have a certain amount of carbohydrates, fats, and proteins, you need to meet rather than strictly having a caloric restriction. Also, macro-focused diets have an emphasis on protein intake (if your goal is weight loss) while choosing more nutrient-dense food.
For example, if you were to do a calorie-counting diet and you had 200 calories to use on a snack, you could eat a bag of chips or candy that was around or under 200 calories. But when you’re on a macro diet, you’d have to find a snack that is essentially healthier that meets (or fits) your macros.
What are macros?
Macros are short for macronutrients. And there are 3 main macronutrients: carbohydrates, fats, and proteins. These macronutrients are what make up calories we consume, burn, and even see on food labels. Grab a jar of peanut butter and look at the information on the back.
The food label above is for a serving size of Jif’s creamy peanut butter. I highlighted the macronutrients: fat, carbohydrates, and protein. And as you can see- it is the highest in fats.
Along with looking at the macronutrients on every food label, you’ll want to keep in mind that the amount of fats, carbs, and protein is PER serving size. For example, for every 2 tablespoons of Jif’s peanut butter, you’ll be eating 190 calories containing 16 grams of fat, 8 grams of carbs, and 7 grams of protein.
How many calories are in each macronutrient?
These macronutrients are not all created equally. Here’s how.
Carbohydrates contain 4 calories per gram (for example, if you are eating 5g of carbs then times that by 4 calories and you are eating a total of 20 calories).
Carbs also help fuel your body with energy.
Some examples of carbs are potatoes, rice, bread, pasta, beans, and oatmeal.
Protein contains 4 calories per gram.
And protein helps build muscle mass and your immune system.
Examples of protein are red meats, chicken, fish, greek yogurt, pork, and turkey.
Fats contain 9 calories per gram (for example, if you are eating 5g of fat then times that by 9 calories and you are eating a total of 45 calories).
Fat helps absorb micronutrients like vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.
Some healthy foods that contain fat are avocados, olive oil, cheese, peanut butter, seeds, and nuts.
Why Macro-Focused Diet Might Be For You
Counting your macros can not only help you lose weight but it can help build muscle. The reason being is because you’ll be eating the necessary amount of protein to grow lean muscle. And another awesome thing about gaining more muscle is burning more fat.
Other benefits of using macros to lose weight is the ability to be flexible in your diet and have room to occasionally indulge which in turn helps you stick to a diet for much longer.
Have you noticed when you pick up a fad diet like no carbs or keto diet, you don’t do it for long? Yeah you might drop a ton of weight in a short period of time by depleting your body of carbs. However, it’s not maintainable.
Macro-focused diets promote healthier eating by being conscious of the quality of food choices you make rather than simply seeing how many calories something with no nutrients has.
Do keep in mind that if your goal is to lose weight, you’ll be eating a caloric deficit while hitting your macro goals. I’ll go over more of this below.
Calculating Macros For Women
You just plug in your basic stats and your goals and it generates your macro ratio and daily calories.
There’s a lot of different information out there about macro ratio and what ratio is the best for weight loss. You’ll find some that’s higher in carbs than fats and others that are higher in fats and proteins than carbs.
The example macros for women I’m going to use is going to be 40 percent protein, 30 percent carbs, and 30 percent fats. In other words 40/30/30 ratio. Here’s where some people abuse macro-focused diets.
Say you were given this exact ratio for weight loss and an allowance of 1500 calories. You plug in your daily food log into one of those macro apps I list below (Myfitnesspal and My Macros +) and you nailed the macro ratio for the day but consumed 3000 calories.
This is where you’ll find yourself either not losing any weight or gaining weight gradually when on the macro-focused diet. You have to be on a calorie deficit, meaning eating less calories than what your body needs to maintain your body weight.
But by being conscious of your macros while being under a calorie-deficit- your body is able to burn fat while building lean muscle (as you incorporate working out).
Ways to make macro counting easier
The best way to stay consistent (as you already know) is by meal prepping. You’re most likely to stick to your diet when you have your meals planned for the day. Because believe it or not- finding foods to meet your macros can be a bit like a game of Tetris.
Invest in a food scale. This is a necessity to ensure you’re not overeating. This is like the scale I have that I measure out my rice and protein on. You can measure out food in different units like oz and grams.
And to measure out other things like fluids and seasonings- these are my favorite.
Download an app like Myfitnesspal or My Macros+ to log your food intake. You can even create a goal on these macro apps by answering questions like your current weight, how much weight you want to lose, and how quickly and it’ll generate your own personal macro count.
Personal Weight Loss Results Using Macros
I gained over 40 pounds during my pregnancy which was more than the recommended amount. And if it wasn’t for the help of macros and knowing my food groups, I would not have been able to lose all of my baby weight and more at the rate I did.
The only secret to losing my baby weight was eating high protein meals while focusing on eating what I enjoyed in moderation.
Learning about macros, training yourself to have self-control with food, and just practicing eating things you enjoy (even if it’s not the healthiest) in moderation is the key to creating a lifestyle change that is totally maintainable.
Always look at the food labels, measure out food so you can visually see how many calories or macros are in the portion of food you’re about to eat, and enjoy the process of learning and getting healthy.
Last Few Tips For Weight Loss
There are healthier ways to prepare meals. Which ultimately can cut down excess calories. Some easy ones include:
- Eliminate oil and add PAM spray
- Use an air fryer
- Broil or grill meats rather than frying
- Find alternative seasonings lower in sodium
This is the air fryer I bought that changed the way I cook my meals.
When working with the macros for women, you have to keep in mind that it’ll take at least 4 weeks of consistency to see a solid difference. Give yourself grace too and trust the process.
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