Macros vs Calories: Which should I count?

Everyone has heard that if you have a calorie deficit that you will lose weight. For example, if your body needs 2,000 calories as maintenance and you eat 1,500 calories, you will be in a daily deficit of 500 calories. To lose 1 pound of fat, you need to be in a deficit of 3,500 calories. So, it would take 7 days to lose 1 pound of fat. What is one fault in calorie counting? Balance and nutrients.

While it is true that being in a calorie deficit will help you lose weight, it is best to have a balanced diet to avoid feeling unsatisfied, which could lead to a binge later.

With macro or macronutrient counting, you are more likely to eat substantial and “cleanly.”

How can calorie counting go wrong?

As an extreme example, if someone was on a calorie counting diet, essentially he/she could continue eating cookies, cakes, etc. as long as he/she stays within the proper amount of calories.

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When someone eats those empty calories, he/she is most-likely going to feel hungry in just a couple hours.

NOTE: Empty calories are those foods that carry no nutrients. Examples of this are butters, cookies, fried foods, sugary cereals, etc.

This then leads to additional eating and calories. For your goal, this could be good or bad. If you want to lose weight but cannot feel full, check where you are getting your energy from. If they are empty calories, you should probably try a macro diet for a week to grasp the concept behind it.

Even a short span on time on macros can help emphasize the proper way of eating and help understand your diet.

How do I find my macros?

One way of doing so is to take the amount of calories you need to eat and do some math. Whether it is to maintain, gain or lose weight, you use the same method of finding the calorie amount through the maintenance or deficit number. You can find out your calorie count here.

For the example, I am going to use the same numbers from the beginning example. If you need 1,500 calories to lose 1 pound a week, you first need to figure out which type of macro diet you want. Some are higher in protein and carbs while others are higher in protein and fats. Which diet you choose is dependent on the type of exercise you are doing, and how your body handles certain macros.

If you notice that you tend to gain weight more quickly after eating carbs, I would go for the high protein and fats diet. Vice versa if you notice weight gain through fats.

NOTE: Fats should be the healthy kinds like nuts, avocados, fish, yogurt, etc.

Some options for dieting is a 40/40/20 approach of a 40/35/25 approach. For example, I am on the 40/35/25 diet for a high protein and fats. My diet is 40 percent fats, 35 percent protein and 25 percent carbs, so I am going to use that plan for the example.


Next, to find your numbers, take 1,500 and multiply it by eat percentage (40 percent should be converted to 0.4, 35 percent to 0.35, etc.).

1,500 x 0.4 = 600 calories

1,500 x 0.35 = 525 calories

1,500 x 0.25 = 375 calories

This shows you how many calories should come from each macro (600 calories from fats, 525 calories from protein and 375 calories from carbs).

To find how many grams of each those is a little more complicated. In fats, for everyone 1 gram of fat there are 9 calories. In protein and carbs, there are 4 calories per 1 gram. Take the calories you found above, and divide the total calories by the per gram calories.

600 / 9 = 67 grams

525 / 4 = 131 grams

375 / 4 = 94 grams

And you’re done! Now when you use the MyFitnessPal app, you can check eat meal for the macros.

How do macros help my dieting?

The best way to describe how macros will help you achieve your goals is to help you understand what you are putting in your body. After a couple days of a macro diet, you will notice a couple things:

  1. How much a proper portion/serving in
  2. Which macro(s) you are overeating
  3. How to incorporate a balanced diet into your lifestyle


A vital part of the macro diet is to know how many grams of each food source you are consuming. For that, you are forced to weigh/measure food to ensure the proper amount. With that, it is the beginning of understanding what your body needs.

Thing I learned through macros:

  1. I overate carbs – who doesn’t love them?
  2. I was over-portioning myself
  3. I didn’t count my snacking, which can lead to excess weight gain
  4. I felt empty trying to calorie count
  5. I am not hungry nor restricted
  6. I am getting a well-rounded diet


Now that you are a macro expert, go out there are achieve your dreams with a well-balanced diet!

How I Handle Macros:
I eat what I want, when I want

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