Learn to track how many macro nutrients you eat, to help you chart out a sound nutritional and weight loss plan.  Foreverfit shares some pointers, on how to get the most benefits from this practice. 

If you’re confused about what “macro” means, take a pause, because there’s nothing to worry about. Macro is simply the short version of “macro-nutrients,” a term for major food groups. Namely, protein, carbohydrates and fats, which you already know about, and eat daily.

Typical imbalance of food groups

But, here’s the crunch.  Though you should eat a balanced amount of macros, in order to meet your nutrient and calorie needs, the chances are that you don’t.

That’s because it takes work to get the right amount of each food group, in every meal. In order to do this effectively, you must track what you eat in a more scientific manner.  Read on, to figure out how.

Guidelines to help with tracking

#1 Measure what you eat and how much
If you’re just starting out, invest in a food scale, a calorie/gram counting book, and keep a set of measuring cups handy in the kitchen. Also, read the label on food packs, to check what they contain.

Use these to figure out hidden calories, too. In addition, you can go online for tools to help you measure calories, and work out the content of your meals.

#2 Keep a record
Record your macros on a daily basis, so that you can work out your TDEE (Total Daily Energy Expenditure). Even if you don’t want to get too embroiled in the details,  it’s simple to learn about your basic macros.

Since macros may not work out as whole numbers, don’t bother to calculate right down to the nth decimal point. Instead, do a basic rounding off, like the one below:

1 large apple with skin
Calories: 116
Fats: 0 g
Protein: 1 g
Carbohydrates: 30 g

#3 Break down your nutritional needs
So now, you have an idea and record of the foods you eat on a daily basis. Next, go on to plan your diet, by determining the nutritional breakdown and planning the macronutrient content of each meal.

Your calorific requirement is based on your basic metabolic rate (BMR), age, weight, height and health status. Begin by dividing the calories based on macros, and move forward into creating a meal plan.

#4 Work out your basic requirements

Here’s an example of how you’d plan a 2,000 calorie diet. A simple 40/40/20 plan for a 2,000-calorie diet will work out to 800 calories through protein, 800 calories through carbs, and 400 through fat every day. You need to convert these calories into grams, to determine how many grams of each macro your daily diet plan can accommodate.

For a diet of 2,000 calories a day, in the 40/40/20 equation, it will come to 200 g of protein, 200 g of carbohydrates, and 44 g of fat.

#5  Plan your meals
Now that you have a number, use this only as a guideline and not a rule. Go ahead and add or remove something from this ratio, based on your needs. In case you still feel hungry, you can try to increase your protein intake. If your energy is low, however, you can try and increase the fats in your meal plan. The idea is to get all the nutrients your body needs.

Just remember that the art of counting your macros lies in taking a broad overview, rather than getting paranoid about the details. Ultimately, good nutrition is all about balance.

1 gram of protein equals 4 calories; 1 gram of carbohydrates equals 4 calories; 1 gram of fat equals 9 calories.