Skip Nav
100 Burpees a Day For 2 Weeks
workout challenges
I Did 100 Burpees a Day For 2 Weeks and This Is What Happened
Ways to Get Happy
Stress Relief
20 Ways to Feel Happy (Almost) Instantly
How to Gain Muscle
Fitness Tips
5 Reasons You Aren't Making Any Muscle Gains

Macros For Weight Loss

This Macro-Counting Formula For Weight Loss Is the Tool We've Been Missing

We recently learned all about the power of counting macronutrients and why it's so much more efficient (and healthy!) for your body than simply focusing on a calorie count. By focusing on carbohydrates, protein, and fat, you can better optimise your diet for your physical and personal needs, whether you're boosting your metabolism, cutting fat, or building muscle.

Many of us want to know what it takes to lose weight, right? What's the optimal diet for weight loss and fat cutting? What does that day look like? Our macro-counting expert, wellness coach Carrie McMahon, breaks it down for us and shows that slight adjustments can make huge differences in weight."[Counting macronutrients] is a concept that is fairly new to most women," said Carrie. And just like LISS workouts, macro counting has "existed in the bodybuilding world for years, but it can be applied to real, everyday life."

Related: Why You Should Be Counting Macros, Not Calories

Counting macronutrients can be tricky, but there are tools to help you stay on track (and do the math). Here's what you need to get started:

ADVERTISEMENT

The Tools

  • A meal tracker. Figuring out all these numbers can be tough (and mentally exhausting). To focus more on your diet and how you're feeling, Carrie suggests the My Macros+ Tracker (£2).
  • Your optimal caloric intake. Find your number with a calorie calculator online (many of them are free, including this one from FreeDiet that Carrie suggested).
    • Carrie tells us to take the total amount of calories you need to consume for maintenance, and reduce that by about 10 to 20 percent, depending on goals. That will be your caloric target for the day. Example: if your maintenance number is 2,000 calories, your target will be somewhere from 1,600 to 1,800.
    • Don't try to make huge cuts to your calories as it can have an adverse effect. "I never like to make huge jumps to cut calories." she said. She suggests slowly cutting calories, little by little, to see how your body reacts. "There's no point in cutting off a huge chunk, feeling like crap and rebounding, when in fact you may only need to cut slightly to see weight-loss results."

The Formula

Once you have your total caloric intake, it's time to break it up into macros — how many grams of fat, carbohydrates, and protein do you need each day?

Carrie's formula for weight-loss macro planning, or "cutting": 20 percent fat, 45 percent carbohydrate, 35 percent protein split. These percentages stay the same, but the calorie breakdown below will be different from yours based on your weight, height, age, and level of activity (how much you work out). Make sure you apply the 20-45-35 breakdown to your own numbers, as calculated via the FreeDiet calorie calculator.

Here's how you calculate macros: use the target number of calories, and plug it into these formulas. Let's say your target is 1,400 calories — this is how that number looks plugged into the equations.

  • (.20) x 1,400 = 280 kcal / 9 (since there are 9 calories in every gram fat) = 31 grams of fat per day
  • (.35) x 1,400 = 490 kcal / 4 (4 calories per gram of protein) = about 123 grams of protein per day
  • (.45) x 1,400 = 630 kcal / 4 (4 calories per gram of carbohydrates) = about 158 grams of carbohydrates per day

Example total macro targets for the day: 31 grams of fat, 123 grams of protein, 158 grams of carbohydrates. That's a low fat, very high protein diet.

The Meals

This is how Carrie breaks up meals: breakfast, lunch, and dinner include all three macros (carbs, protein, and fat). There are two snacks built into the day: the first snack (between breakfast and lunch) is just protein and fat (no carbs), and the second snack (between lunch and dinner) is carbs and protein (no fat).

What does that looks in terms of foods? Use this guide to get a glimpse into what your days will look like (and think of this as a shopping list!). Keep in mind, you'll need to track all your foods in your app, in order to reach your target numbers. After a while, it'll start to feel like second nature and you'll have a much better idea of what your meals will look like on a day-to-day basis.

Good Carbohydrate Sources:

  • Oatmeal, oat bran
  • Sweet potato
  • Brown rice
  • All veggies
  • All fruits
  • Whole-wheat breads, wraps, pitas
  • Cereals

Good Protein Sources:

  • Chicken, lean beef, fish
  • Egg whites
  • Cottage cheese, strained Greek yoghurt
  • Protein powder (Carrie says you can make protein pancakes, stir it into oatmeal or Greek yogurt!)
  • Tofu, tempeh
  • Beans (be aware that they're also high in carbs)

Good Fat Sources:

  • All nuts and nut butters
  • Avocado
  • Seeds
  • Egg yolks
  • Oils
  • Cheeses
  • Dark chocolate

What you choose to eat is up to you — there's no elimination with counting macros, it's just about being aware of your distribution and knowing if you're getting enough of the right kind of calories. It'll take some work to get the hang of it, but in Carrie's words, "the results are life changing."

Image Source: POPSUGAR Photography / Sheila Gim
From Our Partners
How to Burn Fat and Build Muscle
Is the Keto Diet Bad For Your Heart?
How to Overcome a Weight-Loss Plateau
Can the Glycemic Index Help You Lose Weight?
BMI vs. Body Fat vs. Waist Circumference
How to Eat Out and Lose Weight
Will the Keto Diet Help Me Lose Belly Fat?
Benefits of Intermittent Fasting
Facts About Belly Fat
What is 16:8 Intermittent Fasting?
How to Get Lean Without Cardio
How Long Does It Take to Get Into Ketosis?
From Our Partners
Latest Health & Fitness
All the Latest From Ryan Reynolds