When looking for a diet that suits you, you’ve probably come across the term “counting macronutrients”. But what exactly is that and how can you count macronutrients? In this blogpost, I will answer these questions and show, you that the whole process is a lot easier than it sounds at first glance.
If you want to know more about my approach to nutrition, be sure to read the following blog post: Nutrition – My approach?
Counting macronutrients is not about a specific diet, but rather a principle you can apply to any diet. It is easily explained:
- You define the macronutrients you want to consume daily (in grams)
- You track the macronutrients of the meals you eat and try to stay within your defined limit
If you do not know what macronutrients are, then be sure to check out my macronutrient series: Macronutrients: Protein.
That sounds very simple but you probably want to know now: How can I do that?
There are many ways you can count on macronutrients. From the nutritional information of each food you consume, you can theoretically calculate the macronutrients manually and count them.
Obviously, I never did that myself, because it would be very time consuming and impractical. A much easier way is to use one of many apps available. I use MyFitnessPal in the premium version for tracking my macronutrients. Alternatively, FDDB is supposed to achieve good results as well.
The benefit of these apps is that, counting your macronutrients will work so much faster and easier than doing it manually. You select from the extensive database the food or the dish and enter the amount. The rest is done for you by the app. Furthermore, you always see how many kcal and macronutrients you have left for the day at a glance .
If you cook for the whole week or just for a few days in advance, tracking your food will obviously be much easier. You simply need to weigh your food with a simple kitchen scale and divide it by the number of meals you cook.
You do not have a kitchen scale on hand? Then you can just try to buy exactly the amount of food you actually cook. Alternatively, you can try to guess the weight, but the results here (especially at the beginning) will probably not be too accurate.
Another benefit of the apps mentioned above is that they can be connected to many popular fitness trackers. Your workouts will be integrated directly and your daily needs adjusted accordingly!
After about half a year of daily tracking, I started to eat based on my intuition occasionally. Because of my experience in tracking my macronutrients, I have been able to achieve pretty good results that way as well.
The main benefit of counting your macronutrients is, in my opinion, the fact that you are becoming more aware of what you are really eating. You get an overview of how much fat, protein and carbohydrates you actually consume. In addition, you can see how many kcal you eat each day.
That was a very interesting experience for me at the beginning because I thought I had a different eating habits compared to what they actually were.
In addition, you can do this with any diet (for control purposes or just to get an overview). After getting used to tracking your meals, it takes only a few minutes per day.
Due to the awareness that is created, eating based on my intuition is much easier now, because I can classify the individual foods way better than before. Over time, you develop an intuitive sense of what macronutrients your body is missing. Even if I am on vacation and do not track my food with an app nowadays, I can still keep a rough overview of my diet.
Do you have further questions about counting your macronutrients? Let me know in the comments!
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