This is Part 2 of ‘How to track your macros’. If you haven’t read Part 1 and aren’t familiar with macronutrients and the concept of flexible dieting, I would suggest you go back and read that first. This post gives some general recommendations for setting a calorie goal and macro breakdown for weight loss, as well as some of my experiences with flexible dieting and whether or not it might work for you.
What numbers should I use?
If you’re new to tracking your macros and have no idea how much you *should* be eating, you can use an online calculator to determine your maintenance calories and then increase or decrease from there, based your goals. The first step is to calculate your basal metabolic rate (BMR), which is the number of calories you expend at rest to maintain your current body weight. I’ve included the Harris Benedict Equation below which calculates your BMR and factors in your activity level to determine your maintenance calories. You can also go here http://www.bmi-calculator.net/bmr-calculator/ to use the online calculator.
Women: BMR = 655 + (4.35 x weight in lbs) + (4.7 x height in inches) – (4.7 x age)
Men: BMR = 66 + (6.23 x weight in lbs) + (12.7 x height in inches) – (6.8 x age)
Yes, it should say ‘66’ for men and ‘655’ for women. Once you’ve determined your BMR number, using the chart below, multiply your BMR by the number that most closely corresponds to your current activity level. Be honest.
Sedentary – little to no exercise: BMR x 1.2
Lightly Active – light exercise/sports 1-3 days/week: BMR x 1.375
Moderately Active – moderate exercise/sports 3-5 days/week: BMR x 1.55
Very Active – hard exercise/sports 6-7 days/week: BMR x 1.725
Extra Active – very hard exercise/sports + physical job or 2x/day training: BMR x 1.9
We’ll use Lisa as an example and input her information into the above equation. Lisa is a 32 year old female who weighs 165 lbs and is 5 ft. 6 inches tall.
Lisa’s BMR (rounded): 655 + (718) + (316) – (150) = 1,539 calories
Lisa goes to the gym a few times per week and does low-intensity exercise classes so she would probably best fit in the ‘lightly active’ category. Based on this information, we are able to calculate her maintenance calories.
Lisa’s maintenance calories: 1539 x 1.375 = 2,116 calories