Should you count your macronutrients or calories?
Perhaps the easier question to determine the answer is, What is your goal?
If your goal is to simply lose weight, keep things simple and count calories. No matter what food you eat, if you eat too much of it, you’re not going to lose weight.
Too often you get caught up in the What’s the healthier option? dilemma: wheat bread vs white bread, processed vs unprocessed, organic vs not organic…
A life of healthy eating is led by good habits, and habits are developed and maintained most often by small steps.
So what’s baby step #1?
A healthy eating lifestyle always starts with not eating too much.
For example, are you going to get fitter by exercising on machines 6x week or doing functional movements 1x week?
Or are you going to live healthier by having fragmented sleep for eight hours a night, 7x week or sleeping uninterrupted for eight hours on a nice mattress 1x week?
Your health clearly prioritizes quantity before quality. Quality is certainly important, but not at the exclusion of quantity. Keep it simple and count calories if you want to lose weight.
If your goal is performance, start counting your macronutrients. Performance depends on good fuel — and you can’t be fueling your body with cheap gasoline.
In reality, counting macros is a fancier way of counting calories. It just has an emphasis on the quality of food. For example:
One gram of carbohydrates = four calories.
One gram of protein = four calories.
One gram of fat = nine calories.
In our nutrition visits at RxFIT, we like to start athletes focused on performance out on a 40/30/30 split — which means 40% of their calories should come from carbohydrates, 30% should come from protein, and the remaining 30% should come from fat.
When we establish consistency in the quantity of food, we then want consistency in the daily intake percentage of macronutrients. And once we have consistency in both of these, we get particular about the quality of those macronutrients.
In general, we want carbohydrates to be clean. Vegetables, fruit, sweet potatoes, whole-wheat breads, and brown rice are staples.
We want protein to be lean. Beans, fish, chicken/eggs, and cow meat are staples.
And we want fat to be natural. Nuts, seeds, avocados, and some dairy are staples.
If you’re trying to lose weight, count your calories.
If you’re trying to increase performance, count your macros.
But remember that health is given to those that are consistent. Don’t overcomplicate things. Keep it simple and do just one thing.
If you need additional help, schedule a free call with an RxFIT nutritionist here.