Setting Up And Tweaking The Macros

Recently, someone asked me about how to set up their macronutrients. It seems that losing a bunch of weight makes people think you know a little something about how to lose weight.

Go figure.

Anyway, I said I’d write about it, so here we go.

First, we need to understand that protein and carbs are four calories per gram while fats are 9 calories per gram. While this won’t come into play immediately, it’s going to matter later.

Next, let’s look at you.

If you’ve already accounted for your total calories like I’ve suggested before, you already have your basil metabolic rate and your calorie count for the day.

Now, let’s talk about protein.

There are a lot of ways to calculate protein, and they almost all seem to require a whole lot of protein. This sounds good, and as a proud meat-eater, I really like the idea of eating a ton of protein.

However, it’s also expensive and almost requires supplementation to reach.

Protein is important since it helps you retain lean body mass, thus helping you maintain a better metabolism. But, it’s also difficult to get enough.

The guideline I tend to use is one gram of protein per pound of bodyweight. If your lean body mass is 150 lbs, then you try and get 150 grams of protein per day. That accounts for 600 calories of your daily diet.

With that said, a lot of recommendations state to set up your diet as 40 percent protein, 40 percent carbs, and the remaining 20 percent as fat. This is by calorie, though, not gram.

In other words, if you get 150 grams of protein (600 calories) and 150 grams of carbs (600 calories) that leaves about 33 grams of fat (300 calories). That’s a 1500 calorie diet.

Let me be honest, that’s not a whole lot of food, especially if you’re used to eating a whole lot.

So what should you do?

In this case, I’d actually tell someone to adjust everything up at those ratios until you get to the right amount of calories for where you need to be.

Additionally, there are sites like My Fitness Pal that will help you calculate your macronutrient needs, and that’s extremely helpful.

Personally, I’ve found that what matters more than anything is that you consume sufficient protein and maintain a caloric deficit. Couple that with a good workout plan and you should be just fine.

Now, all of that said, here are a few things to keep in mind.

Most importantly, I’m not a nutritionist. If you’re making use of a nutritionist–and if you can, you should–and they tell you something completely different, listen to them before me. If you’re paying an expert, listen to them over some random guy on the internet.

Second, your body is yours. It’s unique and you may need to make adjustments. If that’s the case, my recommendation is to titrate carbohydrates downward until you start seeing results.

However, be careful not to drop anything too far. Believe me, you do not want to jack up your metabolism like I did way back when. I’m paying for it now and trust me, it sucks.

With that, I hope this helps a bit. The reason there aren’t concrete recommendations of the “do this and POOF!” variety is because it’s complicated and nutrition doesn’t work that way.

Author: Tom

Tom is a husband, father, novelist, opinion writer, and former Navy Corpsman currently living in Georgia. He's also someone who has lost almost 60 pounds in a safe, sustainable way, so he knows what he's talking about.

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