While there are countless diets and supplements out there that promise weight loss, nothing beats directly changing your eating habits. This starts with the portions that you eat. Indeed, in a previous post here at Portions Master, we’ve stated that the road towards achieving weight loss and other health goals is paved with "portion control" or consuming the correct portion sizes for every nutrient that you eat.
A huge part of portion control is rationing your macros or macronutrients. Here's everything you need to know about that. Click below to save money on an adjustable portions plate.
What Are Macronutrients?
Healthline defines macros as the three bulks of nutrition: protein, carbohydrates, and fat. These nutrients supply energy and serve as the building blocks for muscles and tissues. Removing any of the three will increase your risk for illnesses. For example, you need fat to generate enough energy for the day.
Since these are available in most foods, consuming them will not be a problem. The challenge lies in determining how much of each you should be eating.
How many macros should I consume?
You should adjust your macro consumption depending on how you're going about your weight loss goals. Because if you're performing high-intensity exercises frequently and building muscle, you need to up your protein and fat consumption.
On the other hand, those who live a sedentary lifestyle can afford to stick to the federal dietary recommendation of daily macro consumption of 45% to 60% carb, 20% to 35% fat. Though, they'd have to eat small portions.
How do I calculate my recommended macro intake?
To calculate your recommended macros intake, consider two things: your recommended daily calorie intake and macro ratio. When aiming to lose weight, it's best to consume calories that are 500 fewer than what your body needs to maintain its weight.
To know many calories your body burns to do this; you can input your height and weight into the calorie counter at calculator.net.
For your macro ratio, you can, again, stick to the federal suggestion above or use a macro calculator like the one on precisionnutrition.com.
Let's dive into an example. Let's say you consume roughly 2,000 calories per day and have a macro ratio of 50% carbs, 25% fat, and 25% protein.
You will then need to multiply your total daily calories by those percentages. So, for carbohydrate intake, multiply 2,000 calories x 0.50, which gives you 1,000 calories. For protein and fats, 2,000 x 0.25 equals 500 calories each per day.
Lastly, divide the calorie amounts by their calorie-per-gram number. For the record, carbs and proteins contain 4 calories each per gram, while fats contain 9 calories per gram.
In this hypothetical scenario, your recommended macro intake should be 250g of carb (1,000/4), 125g of protein (500/4), and 55.6g of fat (500/9).
How do I prepare my meals?
Again, portioning macros is not a type of diet. Rather, it is the recommended balance of nutrients that you should be consuming. You can prepare any dish as long as you stay within your recommended macro intake per day.
For example, a busy mom who needs a good serving of all three macros could benefit from a rice cooker-prepared chicken avocado rice dish. After all, nearly everyone owns a rice cooker these days; the more versatile models will even drastically cut your cooking time.
Plus, rice is a great source of carbs, avocado is rich in healthy fat, and as a type of meat, chicken checks protein off the list — it's totally balanced!
If you're more of a pasta person, then that's okay too. Pasta is rich in carbs. If you pair it with cheese and sausage, which are rich in fat and protein, you have a full meal. If you're too busy to cook, you can also toss boiled pasta and all your other ingredients into the microwave and bake them.
The most important part is not the meal but how much of each ingredient you're putting into them. Get a digital scale and weigh your ingredients before you cook them.
Portioning macros allow you to lose weight with none of the restrictions. Instead of skipping meals or depriving yourself of your favorite food, your weight loss journey will become a more pleasant experience. You'll even see results in a few weeks.