With the new six-week Commit To Be Fit program starting up again this week, I wanted to take this opportunity to discuss macros, calorie counting and how to diet without starving yourself or giving up three days in.
Let me preface this post by saying this: I love carbs. Pasta, pizza, fruit, potatoes, rice, fibrous veggies, muffins and baked goods of all creeds– they’ve been my undoing during every attempted paleo or low-carb diet plan. It wasn’t until I recently heard of the concept of macros- of fitting in a certain percentage of nutrients into your diet that I realized I could have my cake, and eat it too.
Macronutrients, to put it simply, are those little pieces that make up every calorie that you consume. Even that hamburger you’ve been eyeing has its macro positives– lean red meat is full of protein, hamburger buns a source of carbs. The key is to find the best balance for your body, the body you’re aiming for, and your eating habits.
For some, this means sticking to a 40/40/20 split: 40% of your diet in carbohydrates, 40% in proteins, and 20% in (healthy) fats. For me, I delineated from the usual ratio to tailor my body’s needs: 45% carbs, 30% protein, and 25% fats. How did I get there? It’s pretty simple.
First, figure out your maintenance caloric intake: figure out your weight, multiply by 14, then multiply your weight again by 18. The range between those two numbers is what your body needs just to maintain your daily functions as they are right now. If you’re moderately active or have a fast metabolism, err on the higher side of the spectrum. If you get little to no activity, bump the number down to the lower side.
Next, figure out whether you want to lose weight or gain mass. Since most women are striving to lose fat, we’ll run with that goal. Take your maintenance caloric rate (the one you decided on above) and multiply it by 20%. Then subtract that number from your maintenance rate. Ta-da! You now have your goal number of calories to consumer per day in order to lose weight.
But what about all those macros I was talking about? Now we can figure out how many grams and calories of protein, carbs and fat you should be eating.
Protein: You want to eat, on average, .8 and 1.5 grams of protein per pound you weigh. A pretty good (and easy to remember) estimation of this rule is to aim for the amount you weigh in grams of protein. That way, if you weigh 150 pounds, you eat 150 grams of protein. There’s our first macro goal.
Fat: First of all, I want to stress that this isn’t your typical idea of “fat”– I’m talking the good stuff: the nuts and avocados and peanut butters and olive oils that are chock-full of omega-3’s and the kind of fat your body needs to function. I’m not talking about a Big Mac. Now that that’s out of the way, we can determine how many fat grams you’re going to aim to consume in a day. Take the number we found above for your average caloric intake in order to lose weight. Multiply that by 25%, and then divide by 9. And there’s your number. If you want to eat less fats in your diet (maybe you’re cutting), then strip that number down to 20% and multiply, divide by 9. (We divide by 9 because there’s 9 calories in every gram of fat.)
And then all that’s left is carbs! My favorite. This one is pretty simple: just take the rest of the calories you’re allotted from the average weight-loss rate and boom. You’re done.
Aiming for those goals ensures that your body is getting its ideal mix of macronutrients for what you’re trying to do with it. Losing weight? Bump up your protein, and keep your carb/fat ratio lower. Bulking up? Hit those carbs! It’s also an easier way to diet, because instead of restricting certain foods (like carbs or fats), you’re aiming instead for simple goals that mean you can still eat AND ARE SUPPOSED TO EAT those carbs and fat!
The downside to this diet plan is that it’s necessary to count calories. Get an app like MyFitnessPal for the easiest way to keep track throughout the day, and if you’ve struggled with an eating disorder in the past, this may not be the best option for you.
If you want more information or a plan to stick to yourself, call us and set up an appointment with Kelly, Lauren or Pamela. Combine this diet with proper exercise and you’re all set to be toned up in no time. Good luck!
*All nutrition advice is taken from the internet and in no way reflects the opinion of a medical or licensed professional. Please seek professional help with any questions or concerns about your diet and nutrition.*