Calorie counting has long been the staple of the fitness industry. It has been ingrained in us that if we want to lose weight, we must reduce our calorie intake. But this is misleading.
Consider this. You are told you need to eat 1,500 calories a day to lose weight. So, you eat half a chocolate cake each day, hitting your goal of 1,500 calories. But inevitably, your chocolate-cake diet does not help you lose weight.
A Better Way to Count
This is because counting calories leave no room for assessing what food you are putting into your body. Your body needs a balanced, healthy diet to lose weight. Therefore, you should be counting more than just calories.
Instead, count macronutrients or macros. Macros are carbohydrates, proteins, and fats, the three things your body needs to produce energy. All of these macronutrient groups produce energy, but your body uses them in different ways.
For example, excess carbohydrates (like chocolate cake) are stored as body fat. But your body does not store excess protein in this way. This is why many people who are looking to lose weight and reduce their body fat will reduce their carbohydrate intake.
Counting macros also allow for more flexible dieting. Instead of restricting foods and cutting out certain food groups, counting macros allows you to go out with your friends and eat a dessert and not feel guilty, providing you are still maintaining a macronutrient ratio that will promote weight loss.
The Right Macronutrient Ratio for Your Body Type
So, we know your body needs carbs, proteins, and fats, but how much does it need of each to lose weight? The answer is; it depends on your body type.
Ectomorphs are people who are naturally thin. You know the person that invokes jealousy because they can eat whatever they want but always seem to keep the same skinny physique? That is an ectomorph. Given their body shape, it is unlikely that these people are counting macros to lose weight.
Mesomorphs have a naturally athletic physique. Their weight may fluctuate, but they aren’t particularly large and have a fairly high metabolic rate. A mesomorph looking to lose some weight and reduce their body fat should consider a carb/protein/fat macronutrient ratio of 4:3:3.
The final body type is an endomorph. Endomorphs are typically broader and thicker. They usually have a slower metabolic rate and more readily store carbohydrates as fat. As a result, to lose weight, endomorphs have to significantly reduce their carbohydrate intake.
A macronutrient ratio of 25% carbs, 35% protein and 40% fats will allow endomorphs to begin reducing their body fat and bringing their weight down.
Timing your macro intake is also important. For optimal weight loss, consume protein and carbohydrates after a workout. The protein will help with the recovery and the carbs will help replenish energy stores.
Getting a handle on your macros is the best way to lose weight. Stop counting calories and hoping for the best but dig deeper and think about what you’re eating. Once you do this the pounds should start falling off.