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If you are looking to lose fat and maintain your lean muscle mass then counting macros is a great way to achieve your goals. Tracking the macronutrients that you are eating helps you to get the right amounts of protein, carbs and fat that your body needs. It is a flexible way of eating real food and not depriving your body. To get started with counting macros you need these five things…
Food Scales – A Necessity When Counting Macros
Many of us are used to using measuring cups and tablespoons or just guessing amounts when making our meals. The problem with this is that some foods are denser than others so the actual amounts will be off. And more than often our guesstimates can often be way off!
If you not convinced measure out a serving of 16g peanut butter on the food scales and compare it to the amount that you normally put on a tablespoon. In most cases the tablespoon amount is actually double what it should be and therefore twice the amount of calories and fat. Now do the same with other foods that you normally eat..
When you start tracking calories and counting macros you do need to know exactly how much you are eating and a food scale takes away all the guesswork. You can buy a decent set of food scales fairly cheaply on Amazon.
Meal Prep Containers
One of the simplest ways to eat healthier meals and count macros is to get into the habit of meal planning and prepping for the week ahead. If you haven’t already got some it’s a good idea to buy some meal prep containers. That way you can easily prepare and portion out your meals to keep in the fridge or freezer for the week ahead.
Food Tracking App
While you can keep track of the food you eat and start counting macros with just a notebook or a spreadsheet, it’s a lot easier if you just download one of the many online apps available.
Best Food Tracking Apps for Counting Macros
Remember that while these apps are fairly accurate, none of them are going to be exact. However they are a great tool to provide you with fairly realistic breakdown of the amounts of food that you consume each day. Plus they will show you if we are making huge errors in your food choices such as eating far too little protein or way too much fat. Studies have shown that many people are terrible at miscalculating the amount of calories they actually consume each day.
Body Weight Scales for Tracking Progress
You need to know your body weight when entering your details in a macro calculator so that you can get personalised macros that are right for you. Also body weight is also one of the ways to track your progress along your journey and see how your food and drink intake affects you.
Whether you weigh yourself one a week or everyday is entirely up to you. Some people find it demoralising to get weighed everyday as weight often fluctuates daily. This is quite normal and is due to things like what you consumed the day before, water retention, your menstrual cycle and how often you pooped. However there have been some studies to suggest that daily weighing can result in greater weight loss. So if you do decide to weigh yourself daily I’d take the average weight over the week to use in tracking your progress.
The best time to weigh yourself is when you first get up, after you’ve been to the loo and before you eat or drink anything. You can just buy a basic set of body weight scales or use a pair of Smart Body BMI scales that give you a whole range of other great tracking data such as your body mass index, body fat percentage, muscle mass and more. Whatever type of scale you decide to weigh yourself on, stick with that one throughout your journey as other scales may be up or down a few pounds.
Tape Measure – See The Inches You Lose…
It is important to remember that when you are working to lose body fat the scales aren’t always the best indicator of your progress. If you are exercising along with counting macros you may well not see any weight loss on the scales. Yet you have probably lost an inch or two from around your waist or hips. So a tape measure is a must have when you start counting macros to lose body fat or to gain muscle. You want to take measurements of the following body parts each week, or you can just choose the ones that are most important to you such as chest, waist and hips.
- Upper arms
While you are measuring it is a good idea to take photos so that you know the exact places that you measured.
Finally it is a good idea to take a few ‘before’ photos so that you can look back on them and see how far you have come. I know the thought of taking pictures of yourself when you need to lose fat is not the most appealing. But they are just for your benefit and will prove to be a great motivational tool to help you continue on your journey and achieve your goals.