What You Should Be Counting Instead of Calories

calorie-countingWhile counting calories in, calories out can be a great way to help manage your meal choices, the results you achieve are much more related to the types of foods you choose than the calories alone. To this end, I’ve developed a better “counting” method for accurately determining the amount of food you should eat each day to support your body transformation goals.

It’s called the 1-100-1/2 method:

 

  • 1 gram of protein per pound of body weight
  • Less than 100 grams of carbs per day (less than 60 grams for women)
  • 1/2 gram of fat per pound of body weight

 

This is a much simpler and alarmingly more effective way of keeping track of your day to day food intake, and it’s a heck of a lot easier than writing down and adding up every ingredient you eat in a day and subtracting calories burned. This is called macronutrient counting, and it works for just about anyone looking to lose weight.

Why is it so effective? Because it’s relative to your body size, it ensures that you’re getting enough metabolism-boosting protein each day, it keeps your carbohydrate intake moderate, and it doesn’t discount healthy fats (which actually promote weight loss and muscle gain.)

By using this method, you’ll end up controlling your calorie intake simultaneously, but with a more balanced, nutrient-rich diet. A calorie from a Philly cheesesteak and a calorie from a greek salad are measured the same when you’re counting calories alone, but you’re getting very different nutritional make ups from these two meals, so you’re not getting the full picture. When you look at calories alone, your diet can actually end up really imbalanced.

If you’re looking at this and thinking.. but I’ll miss my carbs too much! Don’t worry. I still advocate a “cheat” day where you can lax on the counting for a day after you’ve put in your weeks worth of hard work, just make sure not to go overboard. Everything in moderation, including moderation.

Count Macronutrients instead of Calories

If you are trying to meet your weight loss and body transformation goals by counting calories, then you know how difficult and tedious it is. In the end, it starts to feel more like a chore to have to be mindful of the calories contained in what you eat and that leads many people to give up too soon. But what if there were a better, more balanced way of taking into account what you eat? Counting macronutrients, not calories, is that way. Unlike counting calories, counting macronutrients requires no more than simple math and can help a person eat more balanced meals rather than trying to hit a daily calorie intake goal. A greasy burger can help you stay within your calorie goals for the day, but it won’t be very good for your body overall.

Counting macronutrients is simple. The 3 macronutrients a person needs to track in order to drop body flab are protein, carbs and fat. Each macronutrient has a set caloric value and they are:

Carbs = 4 calories per gram.

Proteins = 4 calories per gram. 

Proteins, Carbs and Fats are 3 essential Macronutrients.

Proteins, Carbs and Fats are 3 essential Macronutrients.

Fats =  9 calories per gram.

If you can determine the number of grams you should eat of each macronutrient, you will also be effectively controlling your daily calorie intake but in a way that will allow you to maintain a healthier diet than just counting calories alone. The great thing is that the formula needed to figure out how many grams of each macronutrient a person should consume is very simple:

First you must multiply your body weight by 10 to figure out what your daily calorie intake should be. If you weigh 180 pounds, that would be 180 x 10 which is 1,800.

After that, it is time to break down the 1,800 calories you should consume into a ratio of 40% protein, 30% carbs, and 30% fat. Protein is the most metabolic nutrient, so it should be what a fat burning diet is built around. Your body will also benefit from carbs and fat, so 30% of each is a great start.

To break down how many grams of each macronutrient you need, just multiply your daily calorie intake target by the percentage of each nutrient that you should consume.

For protein, for example, that would be: 1800 x 40% which equals 720 calories. But how many grams should that be? Just divide 720 calories by 4 grams (there are 4 calories per gram of protein) which will give you 180 grams.

An individual weighing 180 pounds should consume about 180g of protein. If you follow the same math for the other macronutrients, that same individual will have to consume 135g of carbs and 60g of fat daily.

The information provided on this site is for informational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for advice from your physician or other health care professional or any information contained on or in any product label or packaging. You should not use the information on this site for diagnosis or treatment of any health problem or for prescription of any medication or other treatment. Always consult with a healthcare professional before starting any diet, exercise or supplementation program, before taking any medication, or if you have or suspect you might have a health problem. You should not stop taking any medication without first consulting your physician.