Calorie counting may be our weight loss go-to, but it’s not always the most effective way to shed pounds. That’s because chowing down on 100 calories of peanut M&Ms isn’t the same thing as eating 100 calories of broccoli (but you already knew that). Enter the macro diet plan, which skips calorie calculations and focuses on counting macronutrients instead.
Wait, what are macronutrients again? Biology 101 refresher: macronutrients (or macros) are the body’s major source of energy and include carbohydrates, proteins and fats. Proponents of the macro diet say that if you get the balance of these guys right, you’ll be better at losing weight, burning fat and building muscle.
So how many macros do I need every day? Your ideal macronutrients intake depends on a few factors, like your basal metabolic rate (basically the minimum amount of calories your body needs to function) and weight goals. Translation? Instead of aiming for the standard 2,000 calories each day, your target might be to eat 40 percent carbohydrates, 35 percent protein and 25 percent fats.
Sounds like a lot of math. Can I try it even if I flunked algebra? While there is some number crunching involved, it’s pretty easy once you get the hang of it. First, you’ll have to figure out what your target macro ratio is—something a certified nutritionist or online macros calculator can help with. Once you’ve got that part down, you’ll keep track of what you’re eating to make sure you stay within your macros. (Tip: apps like MyFitnessPal will count your carbs, proteins and fats for you.)