Health & Fitness Tools – Part 2: Calories & Macros
By Chandra Lynn
There are thousands of diet books and resources for helping you lose weight, and honestly, I find it all confusing and contradictory at times. This is the most simple method I’ve found to break it down for real results.
1. Figure out how many calories you can eat each day to meet your goals.
2. Eat according to the proper macronutrients (macros) for your goals. Macros are the percentage of your calories that come from protein, fat and carbohydrates.
3. Eat as much whole food as possible. Try to stay away from processed food, sugar and flour.
4. Chose your style of eating based on your own personal ethics and standards.
Whether you eat meat, go vegan or fall somewhere on that spectrum (I once knew a baco-vegan…imagine eating all vegan except for bacon!!), its up to you. Personally, I am vegetarian which means I don’t eat meat but allow dairy. I eat vegan whenever possible but have allowed dairy for added protein while weight training.
IIFYM Macro Calculator
To figure out your calories and macros, use the free IIFYM macro calculator. It is the most comprehensive and easy to use macro calculator I have found. It takes the guess work out of calculating macros for flexible dieting. All you have to do is enter your details, select your fat loss or muscle gain goals and retrieve your macros.
MyFitnessPal by Under Armor
I would be lost without tracking my food everyday to see my calorie and macro numbers. There are a lot of apps out there to help with this but I personally use My Fitness Pal mobile app. I like it because the database for tracking food is super robust and easy to use. If something I’m eating isn’t in the database, it has a barcode scanner which pops in all the nutritional information instantly. You can also create recipes in there so you don’t have to enter every ingredient in every time you go to eat a slice of lasagna. If I am diligently tracking my food intake on MyFitnessPal – and being really honest in the process – I will lose weight and reach my goals, and have been successful with this method.
MyFitnessPal syncs with Fitbit to give you credit for your steps. I also use the Fitbit HR to track my heart rate for High Intensity Interval Training (H.I.I.T) workouts. This type of training requires me to peak my heart rate multiple times so I have to know where my peak is and when it happens. Fitbit allows you to calculate your heart rate levels at rest, fat-burning, and peak cardio. I don’t think the Fitbit is worth getting without the heart rate feature. If just tracking your steps is valuable to you, then that’s great! For me, I can do a serious lifting session at the gym that combines H.I.I.T and see a dismal number of steps. So, although I love it when I get over 10,000 steps a day, I don’t base the quality of my training on it.