This is a pretty dense topic, and there's a lot to learn about macros. There are many complicated details due to everyone's body being different, but I will try to keep it as simple as possible. I learned all this from my boyfriend Garin, who does fitness competitions, and also some trial and error on myself. Most people are either carb sensitive, or fat sensitive. This will take some work on your end to determine what your body needs, and what it doesn't.
What are macros? Protein, Fat, and Carbohydrates
- Best app to monitor your macros: My Fitness Pal
Instead of just counting your calories, it's best to look into the composition of them. Your body breaks down and uses certain types of calories (macros) at different rates. When used correctly, it will fuel your body to make it run most efficient. Ultimately at the end of the day, calories are what make or break your diet; but looking further into them and figuring out what kinds you need will help your body get exactly what it needs. Here's the SUPER BASICS to start monitoring your macros if you want to lose body fat and gain/sustain muscle, basically look leaner. I find this to be a common goal most people have.
Note: The number of grams will not be the same everyday, and that's ok. Use the grams as a guide to help you understand your macros and what helps your body obtain your desired goals. You may find that some days work better for you with a higher fat percentage. You may find that lower fat and higher carbs work better for you. This also should not be the same every day. You need a higher carb day and a lower carb day to spike your metabolism. You should also aim to eat your carbs when you are active - either right before or right after your workout. Try to eat as little carbs as possible when you are stationary. More details to come. But until then, Good luck!
*Based on 1500 calorie diet (Low calorie day)
Protein - Each gram of protein is 4 calories - "building blocks"
How many grams of protein to eat in one day: Aim to eat your desired body weight in protein, or slightly less. I put 140. (560 calories)
Fat - Each gram is 9 calories - longest for your body to break down - "sustained energy"
How many grams of fat to eat in one day: I aim for 60 grams (540 calories)
Carbohydrates - Each gram is 4 calories - "bursts of energy"
How many grams of carbs to eat in one day: I am for 100 grams. (400 calories)
What Order should i eat my food in?
Surprise! A fun fact most people don't know is that the order in which you eat your meal DOES matter! Always eat your protein first, (meat, eggs, etc.) no matter what. This is the first thing your body will get to digest when you haven't given it anything for the last few hours. If you do the opposite and eat your carbs or fats first, (fries, potatoes, rice, bread, pasta, chips, etc.) it causes an insulin spike and blocks your body from absorbing the full amount of protein on your plate. Because your body is "fasting" between meals, it is waiting for the next source of energy you give it to use it, and you always want it to be protein. This is actually a terrible habit that restaurants encourage - bringing out bread or chips before your meal even comes out! Most restaurants aren't "health conscious" when serving people, so it' something you have to remember when you're out at one.
Below is screenshot example of food I logged into My Fitness Pal when I was monitoring my macros very intensely. Below is one of my lowest calorie count day. This was not my calorie count and "Total Daily Goal" every day. I also exercised regularly, I didn't make any special workout arrangements. This was not based off of a 1500 calorie diet, like listed above. This is neither a "high carb" or a "low carb" day.