Calculating Macros For Weight Loss

Calculating Macros For Weight Loss

If you're looking to shed some pounds or get more toned, counting macronutrients is an effective approach to getting there. Counting macronutrients, or macros, requires identifying the right ratio of protein, fats, and carbohydrates in your diet based on your desired outcome. In this article, we'll provide you with a base formula to use when calculating your macros for weight loss.  

The Benefits of Calculating Your Macros  

There are many benefits to calculating your macros including improved body composition, flexibility in food choices, accountability through tracking, and the sustainability of this approach.

Improved Body Composition - Macronutrient tracking can help you achieve and maintain a healthy body composition. By adjusting your macronutrient ratios, you can ensure you're consuming the appropriate amount of protein, carbohydrates, and fats for your goals. This can aid in building and preserving lean muscle mass while reducing body fat. 

 Flexibility In Food Choices - Unlike restrictive diets that focus solely on calorie counting or eliminating certain food groups, macro tracking allows for greater flexibility. As long as you stay within your macro targets, you can enjoy a variety of foods, including those you love, without feeling deprived. 

Accountability Through Tracking - Tracking macros provides a sense of accountability and enables you to monitor your progress. By recording your food intake, you can identify patterns, track your energy levels, adjust your macronutrient ratios as needed, and make necessary tweaks to optimize your results. 

Sustainable Approach - Counting macros can be a long-term, sustainable approach to nutrition. It emphasizes balance and moderation rather than strict rules or temporary fixes. With a solid understanding of macronutrients, you can make informed choices that align with your goals while still enjoying a diverse and satisfying diet. 

Steps To Calculating Macros for Weight Loss 

  1. First, you need to determine your Total Daily Energy Expenditure (TDEE). TDEE is an estimate of how many calories your body needs to maintain its current weight. Consulting with a Registered Dietician would you give you the most accurate TDEE, but you can also calculate it on your own by multiplying your weight in kilograms by 20. 

Ex: Your weight is 200 lbs. Your weight in kilograms is ~91. 91 x 20 = 1,800. Your TDEE is 1,800 calories. 

  1. Next, set a calorie deficit. To lose weight, you need to create a calorie deficit by consuming fewer calories than your TDEE. A deficit of 500 to 1,000 calories per day is often recommended for gradual and sustainable weight loss. This would result in a weight loss of about 1-2 pounds per week. 

Ex: Your TDEE is 1,800 calories. 1,800 - 500 = 1,300 calories. You should be consuming 1,300 calories per day for weight loss.  

  1. Then, determine macronutrient percentages. Keep in mind that the ratios provided below are a starting point and should be adjusted accordingly based on your body’s response.  


Start by allocating 60% of your total daily calorie intake to protein. Protein is crucial for muscle preservation, satiety, and recovery.  


Start by allocating 30% of your total daily calorie intake to carbohydrates. Carbs provide energy and fuel for physical activity. Choose whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and legumes for nutrient-dense sources. 


Start by allocating 10% of your total daily calorie intake to fats. Focus on incorporating healthy fats such as avocados, nuts, seeds, and olive oil. These provide essential fatty acids and aid in the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins. 

  1. Finally, calculate macronutrient grams. Once you have your calorie target and macronutrient percentages, you can calculate the grams of each macronutrient to consume using the formulas included below.  


    Multiply your total calorie intake by the protein percentage (in decimal form) and divide it by 4 (since protein has approximately 4 calories per gram).  

    Ex: (1,300 calories X .6)/4 = 195 grams of protein per day 


    Multiply your total calorie intake by the carbohydrate percentage (in decimal form) and divide it by 4 (since carbohydrates have approximately 4 calories per gram). 

    Ex: (1,300 calories X .3)/4 = 97.5 grams of carbohydrates per day 


    Multiply your total calorie intake by the fat percentage (in decimal form) and divide it by 9 (since fats have approximately 9 calories per gram). 

    Ex: (1,300 calories X .1)/9 = 14.4 grams of fats per day 

    When Should You Make Adjustments?  
    Making changes to your macro breakdown should be done gradually based on your body's response to your initial macro ratios. Follow your plan for a minimum of 3-4 weeks before making any adjustments, unless you find yourself gaining weight instead of losing it. If this happens, start by lowering your carbohydrates by 10% and adjust the other macro ratios accordingly.  

    Tips For Success 

    • Make sure your calculations are accurate and track your daily intake  
    • Be honest with your tracking
    • Take progress pics and weigh yourself on a weekly basis
    • If you get off track, reset and restart  

     Summary For Calculating Macros For Weight Loss 

    1. Calculate TDEE 
    1. Set a calorie deficit 
    1. Use suggested percentages included above as a starting point for your macros  
    1. Use formulas included above to calculate grams for each macro 
    1. Track your progress and make adjustments based on your body's response  

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