Tracking Macros (aka IIFYM or flexible dieting) gets a bad rap. People think this is a way to eat as many “bad foods” as we can as long as it fits our macros.
The truth is, foods can’t be good or bad, they can be more nutritious or less nutritious. We still eat nutritious foods 80-90% of the time, and having that 10-20% for not so nutritious but tasty foods helps us stick to our diet longer and makes it fit our lifestyles.
“The truth is, foods can’t be good or bad, they can be more nutritious or less nutritious.”
Do you want to be that person that can’t enjoy a night out with their friends for months while dieting, because some fitness guru told you that you need to eat 100% clean? I didn’t think so!
In this article I want to take you through some game changing steps I follow and advocate to my clients.
Step One is Preparation
As with anything you start, you want to have the right tools and knowledge to be successful.
Look up recipes online, or get some cook books. I find Pinterest very helpful for finding recipes! You’ll also want to do some research on what foods are high in proteins, carbs and fats. I will share some in this post.
A food scale, tools for food preparation (pots, pans, baking sheets, slow cooker, blender, whatever you want to use) and Tupperware are a must!
Figure out how strict you need to be with your diet. If you’re the type of person that can’t just eat one donut, aim for the 90/10 rule (90% nutrient dense foods, 10% fun foods).
You’ll most likely go over which will end up being 80/20. 90/10 would also come in handy if you have a weight loss deadline that is approaching soon.
Everyone else, go with the 80/20 rule.
Step Two is Figure Out How Much of Each Macro to Eat Per Day.
But first, you need to figure out your maintenance calories (the number of calories you eat per day to neither gain or lose weight).
This is where the math comes in…
Take your bodyweight and multiply it by ten
125 x 10 = 1250
That’s roughly the calories I would need to keep my body going without any activity. Now we take that number and multiply it by 1.3(sedentary lifestyle)-2.2(very active). I’ll do 1.8, because I’m pretty active (on my feet most of the day and work out about 5 days a week).
1250 x 1.8 = 2,250
This isn’t exact, but will give me a starting point. I will eat this many calories for 2 weeks while tracking my weight and see what happens. If I gain or lose weight, I will either add or subtract 100 calories.
If you’re a guy whose number is way higher than mine, consider adding or subtracting 200 calories. Keep tracking your weight and calories to see what happens, but wait at least 2 weeks.
Also, the best way to weigh yourself is to do it every day then take a weekly average. Weighing yourself every few days can work too.
Next you’ll need to figure out your macros…more math…
PROTEIN(meats, egg whites, Greek yogurt)
.8g-1.3g per pound of bodyweight
Aim lower for maintaining or adding weight, aim higher for cutting weight
The higher protein will help you feel fuller and maintain muscle in a calorie deficit
FAT(oils, nuts, seeds)
15-30% of your total calories
Fats and carbs are all about preferences and what works for you. I crave peanut butter, so I like my fat intake to be a little higher, and I can still get plenty of carbs due to my high activity level.
“Fats and carbs are all about preferences and what works for you.”
CARBS(fruits, veggies, grains)
For example, my total calories is 2,250
Now let’s say I want to lose fat, since I’m pretty active and don’t want to add more cardio, I will be in a 500 calorie deficit. This number is based on the fact that we need to be roughly in a 3,500 weekly deficit to lose a pound of fat a week(this is not exact, but it gives us a starting point).
If you want to add cardio, opt for a 250 calorie deficit and make the rest up with cardio.
Since there are 4 calories in a gram of protein, multiply number of grams by 4 to get calories.
Fat: (1750(total calories)x.25(percentage of calories for fat)=438(calories for fat/9=49g
Carbs: Add up your total calories from protein and fat and subtract it by your total calories.
So my macros are:
If you check my math, you’ll realize I’m rounding up or down. If it’s .5 or above, I round up, otherwise I round down.
Setting all of this up can be a daunting task, that’s why I have a nutrition guide for my clients. I not only give them custom macros based on their body types and goals, they also get a lot of tips on what foods to eat, supplements, and what to do while going out to eat or traveling!
Either way, it’s going to take some time to get in the flow of this, so don’t get discouraged!
Here are 5 action steps you can take right away!
- Find your macros! Either do it on your own, or hire a coach. You need a starting point.
- Figure out what foods you need to reach these macros! A coach can also help you with this, or you can do some research and figure it out on your own.
- Write up your grocery list and find some recipes to make! One thing that makes dieting hard is not learning to make a variety of dishes. You definitely don’t want to be eating the same thing every day!
- Get your stuff! Download a macro-tracking app, get any kitchen supplies you need, and go get your groceries!
- Start preparing your foods and tracking! MyMacros+ will let you enter recipes and how many servings, then all you have to do is enter one serving for your meal, instead of entering all the different foods you used and how much is in each serving.
Starting something new is never easy, the best thing we can do is be as prepared as we can be and get help when we need it! Sure, you can do it on your own, I did, but I also wasted a few years trying to figure it out on my own.
“Starting something new is never easy, the best thing we can do is be as prepared as we can be and get help when we need it!”
In the land of the internet(and real life too), there is a lot of misinformation, and a lot of companies and trainers that want to get rich quick and don’t really care about anything or anyone else.
My goal is to teach you the basics and set you up for long term success! Once you have a strong foundation you can build up from there and you will be unstoppable!
If you are interested in learning more about how I can help you with your weight loss goals, Contact me, I’d love to talk to you more about it!