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Counting Macros Tips: How To Count Your Macros

Medically reviewed by Martha Juco, MD · Aesthetics

Written by Jason Inocencio · Updated Jul 26, 2022

Counting Macros Tips: How To Count Your Macros

In the constant search for “the perfect diet,” one of the most challenging truths is that we can’t eat everything we want. After all, that goes against the idea of a diet in the first place. But what if we could eat whatever we want yet still keep the weight off? Does a diet like that actually exist? That is the premise behind counting macros. Read on to learn more.

Counting macro basics

The philosophy behind the macro counting diet is that it is the quantity of food that we eat that is the most important factor in losing or gaining weight. That argument goes against what many diets have pushed for, namely avoiding or limiting entire food groups altogether.

Counting macros means counting the three macronutrients or nutrients that the human body requires in large quantities to survive. These are carbohydrates, protein, and fat. It prescribes individual macro goals that are based on your resting energy expenditure (REE). This is combined with your daily activity to form your total daily energy expenditure (TDEE).

To lose fat, we must consume fewer macros than our body requires. This is usually set at 20% depending on what the person’s unique goals are. By only promoting a moderate calorie deficit, we are more likely to have slow and steady progress long-term. This is better than quick weight loss short-term followed by a weight loss plateau.

Macro counting tips

The actual counting happens once you’ve determined your TDEE and macro ratios. You simply need to keep eating until your macro goals for the day have been met.

There are now apps that can help you track how much of each macro you eat. These apps offer large nutritional databases to keep track of everything for you. These apps include MyFitnessPal, MyMacros+, and MyNetDiary.

A digital food scale can help weigh portions of vegetables and meat. This is because their nutritional information is connected to the weight of the food.

Planning food ahead of time allows you to distribute your macros throughout the day. This is in contrast with just winging it, which might leave you with fewer choices by the end of the day. Once you’ve hit your fat and carbohydrate macro requirements for the day, that just leaves you with protein, leaving less choices as the day ends.

Goals to achieve when counting macros

Perhaps the biggest promise that counting macros offers is that you can eat any food you want with no restrictions. While other diets list food that is off-limits and create a caloric deficit in the process, that sometimes results in people wanting the forbidden food more. What follows is craving, blaming yourself for a lack of self-control, and giving up on the diet altogether.

When counting macros, you make your own decisions about what you want to eat and what you want to give up. An argument for the macro counting diet is that it is the one diet you don’t have to cheat on to have a treat. That’s because treats are always there for you to eat.

This does not mean, however, that you should splurge on junk food. Advocates of counting macros apparently still encourage consuming 80-85% of one’s diet being comprised of healthy food. That means 15-20% as allowable junk food.

Flexible dieters should also be mindful of their fiber intake. This helps ensure that they are eating enough healthy foods. Vegetables have such a large volume to calorie ratio, which means you can eat a lot with little risk of consuming extra calories. As with any diet, consistency and sticking to what the diet prescribes is key.

Key takeaways

Even though the idea of dieting can seem like an exercise in restrictions, limits, and self-control, one recent diet trend goes against this way of thinking. Counting macros, that is your macronutrients of carbohydrates, fats, and protein, allows you to eat almost whatever you like until your macro goals for the day are met.

Consult your doctor or nutritionist to better decide if this is the right diet for you. For more healthy eating tips, click here


Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Medically reviewed by

Martha Juco, MD


Written by Jason Inocencio · Updated Jul 26, 2022

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