Macros: How much should I eat?

I read alot of Figure competitor training blogs (http://siouxcountry.com/ has many) and they always mention fitting in their “macros”.

Also a couple people have commented on my meal plan saying I should focus more on my Macros than on calories.

Well when you have over 100 lbs. to lose, you HAVE to focus on your caloric intake, for many different reasons. One being that you probably have a overeating problem and you probably don’t know what a proper portion size is. So weighing and measuring and checking your calories is a MUST.

However, I was still very curious about “fitting in my Macros”. I’ve taken several nutrition classes to get my Bachelors degree so I do know that the primary Macronutrients are: Protein, Fat, Carbohydrates. Your Micronutrients are vitamins and minerals.

But what do they mean when they say “fitting in my macros”?

One of the figure competitor blogs I follow from siouxcountry, Roxie Beckles, has a good explanation and a great blog to help you figure out your macros.

Calories: According to Roxie, to figure out caloric levels for fat loss use this basic formula.

Multiply your Body Weight by 14 or 15 (14 if you are more sedentary during your day, 15 if you are more active) and that will give you a rough amount of maintenance cals for your current stature.  Then subtract 250-500 cals from that (depending on your lifestyle, if you’re more active, subtract less, if you’re not as active, subtract more), and this will give you a good starting deficit in which you can begin to build a plan.

So for me, I decided to use the sedentary calculation of 260 lbs x 14 = 3640 calories per day would be my maintenance calories if I want to stay 260 lbs without exercising.

Subtract 500 calories from 3640 and I get 3140 calories/day would give me a deficit and I should lose 1 lb. per week at that calculation.

Protein – if you’re  a little more on the overweight side, then multiply .8xBW. For me that is .8 x 260 = 208 . According to this I should be eating 208 grams of protein per day.

Fats – For our purposes let’s try a low/moderate fat amount for our plan and have you between 45-50 grams/day to start.  Keep in mind fat keeps you satiated, so if you lower this too much, then you can stand to be starving almost all of the time.

Carbs – the remainder of your calories will come from carbs.

260×14 = 3640 cals to maintain my weight

3640 – 500 = 3140 to lose 1 lb. per week.

I’m trying to lose 2.5 lbs. per week so I need a 1250 calorie deficit. So 3640 – 1250 = 2390 . Eating 2390 calories a day should result in me losing 2.5 lbs per week while sedentary.

So I have 2390 cals to play with for my macros.

Protein: 260*.8 = 208 grams per day.  There are 4 calories per gram of protein, so that is a total of 832 cals per day

Fat: I’m going to keep this at 50 grams per day.  There are 9 calories per gram of fat, so that’s a total of 450 cals per day.

Carbs: There are 4 calories per gram of carbs.  The calorie totals of my protein and fats combined is 1282 calories.  To figure out my carbs, I’ll subtract this from my daily deficit total.  So, 2390-1282= 1108 cals.  I’ll now take this and divide by 4 (1108/4) = 277 grams per day.

Keep in mind again, the equation above doesn’t lend to specific metabolism, training protocol, lifestyle, and a host of other factors that will effect fat loss and required calories.

So in summary I’ve learned:

  1. According to Roxie’s formula I am undereating.
  2. I should be eating  2390 calories to lose 2.5 lbs. per week. Of that 2390 calories, 208 grams should be protein, 50 grams should be Fat and 277 grams should be Carbs. I’m going to add these goals to my Spark People page to track them.

I’ve been eating a average of about 1500 calories per day and losing an average of 2.5 lbs. per week. If I raise my calories to 2390 will I still lose 2.5 lbs. per week?

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3 thoughts on “Macros: How much should I eat?

  1. Roxie Beckles September 2, 2012 at 3:15 pm Reply

    Hey Vicki! I posted this on Facebook as a response to your question, but I wanted to make sure you saw it and so I’m going to post it here as well! I’m very excited for your journey and wish you all the best in getting to that goal. You CAN do it girl, just keep focused like you have been and keeping pushing forward no matter what. You’re an inspiration to many. Here’s what I said:

    Hey there chica! Thanks for your question. You know with everything, you’ve got to adjust things to how they work for you personally. When you have more weight to lose, seeing some initial loses of more than 2 lbs a week can occur, but normal weight loss is about 2lbs a week on average. And at this rate you see less of that loss coming from muscle, when you start getting more than that, then you can run into issues. But again when you start off needing lose more that average can change. Now as to your caloric intake, if you’re losing that much initially that’s of course expected if you’ve gone from eating what you normally were to a reduced amount. But to give you the overall picture, I’m on a 1600 calorie diet while prepping for my next show (and I’m around 138 lbs). So you can see how you may well be on the very low end calorically for what your body needs. You’re well below basal calories, so you would have to see how your body responds and adjust accordingly. Once you stop losing at that rate, you may want to consider raising calories a little bit, while maybe increasing activity so you have more of a relative deficit (exercise and basal calories minus food intake) than an absolute one (being well below basal calories from eating too little and adding activity/lifestyle to the equation). In this way, you’re not forcing your body to starve itself, you’re still feeding your body and giving it the energy it needs to perform daily activities, but your caloric burn can then be shifted to exercise and training which will get you a better result at the end of the day. Wouldn’t you rather eat a little more and just train a little harder to safely get to the same result? That’s always the better way in my opinion.

    • Fat to Figure GIrl September 3, 2012 at 6:08 am Reply

      Thank you so much Roxie, I think I’m going to raise my calories a lil bit and add maybe 30 more min if exercise per day.

  2. ion sys March 26, 2013 at 4:50 am Reply

    hi, i browse your site and feel that you have interesting articles to read. I have bookmarked this article and shared with my friends on facebook account.

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