Forget Counting Calories: Why Your Family Should Start Counting Macros

For years, dieters were told if they wanted to lose weight, they needed to count calories. However, many health experts now believe the idea behind counting calories is flawed. Instead, they recommend tracking macronutrients. If you’ve never heard of macronutrients and you’re not sure where to start, keep reading to discover everything you need to know.

What Is a Macronutrient?

Image via Flickr by wuestenigel

Macronutrients, usually shortened to macros, are the three large and basic components that every diet needs. They are carbohydrates, fats, and proteins. You need these three components in your diet for energy and substance. Get too many and you can start to gain weight. Don’t get enough and you’ll begin to feel tired and sluggish. Instead, the idea is to get your proportions of each one correct so you can either lose or maintain weight.

Calories Versus Macros

If you’ve done any type of dieting, you’ve heard about calories. Calories give our bodies the energy they need to survive. You see them on the nutrition labels on your food, and you’ve been told that counting calories is the best way to lose weight. The problem with counting calories is that it doesn’t take into consideration what you’re eating.

Therefore, for someone counting calories, a 200-calorie pack of cookies is the same as a 200-calorie snack packed with healthy fats and proteins. However, those cookies won’t leave you feeling full or satisfied. Your self-control will eventually break down, which will lead you to grab another snack. When you count macros, you’re not only making better food choices, you’re following a plan that will help you reach your health goals faster than counting calories alone.

How to Count Macros

The first step to counting macros is calculating your total daily energy expenditure. Your total daily energy expenditure (TDEE) is a measure of how much energy your body needs, or how many calories you need to consume, to stay active during the day. If this sounds difficult, you can use a TDEE calculator to help you determine your daily energy needs. 

Once you’ve calculated your TDEE, you can then build a diet based on your calorie and marco needs. Apps like Lifesum can help you track your macros, count calories, and manage your workouts easily. The Lifesum app uses your weight loss or weight gain goals to provide you with a percentage of each macro that you need to consume on a daily basis. For example, the average person could benefit from a diet that is 50% carbs, 20% protein, and 30% fat. Luckily, the Lifesum app allows you to input what you eat and how much you exercise, and it handles all of your calculations. 

Why Counting Macros Is Better for Improving Health

Since every person has different activity levels and health goals, counting macros offers a completely customizable diet that’s adjusted to the results you want to see. People who count macros say they don’t feel as hungry, they don’t crave as much sugar, and their energy levels are higher. Even better, people who follow a customized macro diet can lose between 2 percent and 5 percent of body fat in a month, and they average around 10 pounds of weight loss in the first month.

Whether you’re trying to lose weight, gain weight, maintain weight, or simply eat better, forget about counting calories. Instead, put together your personalized macro-counting plan and discover the difference it can make.

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