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Calories and Macros – What should I be Counting?
Calories and Macros – What should I be Counting?
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If you’re new to the world of nutrition, you might be wondering where to start? You probably understand what calories are, and you might… Read More

If you’re new to the world of nutrition, you might be wondering where to start? You probably understand what calories are, and you might even recognise the word macros, but what do they mean for you personally? What do you need to track? Where should you be aiming?

First things first... some quick definitions.

There are calories.

The calories in food are measured. You don't need to know a lot about calories and what they mean. You have to understand that calories are an overall energy measurement and that you need to eat a certain number to live. Depending on your circumstances and goals, that number is variable.

Macros.

There are 3 big things you need to worry about in food.

There are some things that are calledProteins.

Fats

They are called the Carbs.

They make up most of the food, as opposed to micronutrients, vitamins, minerals and some other substances that don't fit in any other category, which you only need in trace amounts

What should you count?

This is dependent on your philosophy. Some people count calories, some people stick to a certain diet, and some don't worry about their calories at all. What you do depends on your goals, body and personality.

If you want my advice, focus on your macros and not worry about your calories.

Calorie counting alone is not likely to help you and will leave you hungry at the end of the day. Your body needs as much fuel as it needs, even on a daily basis.

Did you know that reading burns more calories than watching TV?

Is sleeping more calories than either?

Your intake will fall into line if you get your macros right. Over and under-eating are problems that can stop you from reaching your goals.

Let's break down how to achieve your goals and what you need to worry about.

Losing weight.

This is the most popular goal and it leads to a lot of misinformation. Old-fashioned advice said to limit calories if you want to lose weight. It can backfire and leave you with more excess weight that is harder to shift.

The best way to lose weight is to cut your intake of sugars to less than 30% of your daily intake.

Why?

If you don't use the energy right away, the body will convert carbs into fat for storage.

Most people don't use the energy they get from carbs right away because they work desk jobs where they have a lunch hour and then several more hours of sitting and staring at a computer screen before crashing in front of the TV at night. It is more difficult to change this than change our intake.

It helps to consume less calories than you burn if you want to lose weight.

Gaining strength.

bear with me on this one...

If you are a body builder, you're doing the opposite of weight loss.

For this particular goal, you need to increase your intake of sugars, cut your fat, and keep your weight in check.

Why?

You are putting a lot of stress on your muscles because of the vital role carbs play.

When trying to gain muscle, people tend to go one or two different ways with their diet.

If your body doesn't have the necessary fuel to fix your muscles after a workout, it'll just start using them as fuel instead. This is not what you want.

Or

They don't eat enough. This can be a factor in vegan and vegetarian diet. If you don't like meat or dairy, there are plenty of ways to incorporate vegan powders into your diet, especially if you like brownies, cakes, pancakes, cheesecakes, etc. There are all the latest offers on baking goods.

If you want to gain, you need to keep your food intake up. Under-eating will undermine your efforts. You should always eat until you are not hungry.

If you find your gains slow, you may need to check your calories. Try to boost it and see if that fixes the problem. If you are in tune with your body, you don't need to pay much attention to this.

A combination of complex and simple is what it is.

This way, you give your body all the fuel it needs, plus the things it will need to build muscle, and the amount of fat it requires to function. This is the hardest ratio to maintain, but it is also the one with the most dramatic results, as long as you keep building the difficulty of your workouts appropriately.

The weight is maintained.

There will be a point in your life when you hit your goals. If you have your heart set on becoming a champion, then you don't need to keep going for weight loss or muscle gain.

It is difficult because you are not moving in any direction because of maintenance.

Unless you don't have a good sense of your body and are not skilled in eating until you are satisfied, you should stop counting calories completely. It is a bad habit to turn your entire life into a spreadsheet after you have reached your goals. You should be proud of your efforts and not condemn yourself for every treat you consume.

Body goals do not stop with food.

This is just one piece of a larger puzzle. Your body type and exercise routine are important in how you approach and achieve your goals. It is easy to get caught up in worrying about what you are eating and not taking the larger picture into account. Maybe you are not gaining weight because you have been using five-pound weights for a year and never stepped it up, or maybe you're not getting enough sleep.

Taking aholistic approach to health and fitness can help you reach your goals. You will find it easier to get to where you want to be once you learn to see it as a part of life, rather than a numbers game.

Your body is the most important part of your life. It will take care of you as well.

References:

1. MyFitnessPal

2. Protein promo

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