The Complete Guide to Calculating Your Macros (for Weight Loss)

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Macros for weight loss

The time has come. 

It’s time to calculate your macros for weight loss. 

You see, some people calculate their macros for weight loss and are jumping for joy because two weeks later, they’re down 7 pounds. 

But, then, some of us are here.

Still digging through the internet, wondering why we see zero changes.

What’s going on?

macros for fat loss

You don’t know how to calculate your macros, and the thought of wasting another two weeks for zero results is leaving you feeling overwhelmed, confused, and with a desire to call it quits. 

For all I know, maybe counting macros isn’t for you, after all.

Or it could be that you’ve just been impatiently, loosely, and lazily (is that a word?) trying to reach your weight loss goal with your flip-floppy numbers.

Luckily, you’re here.

And in this article, I’m going to help you calculate your macros for weight loss. No fluff or details that don’t matter.

Let’s get to it. 


If you haven’t read The Complete Guide to Calculating Your Macros (for Beginner’s), that’s where you want to start if you’re going to get things right.

This is part two.

Do macros really matter for weight loss

The word weight loss is already a tough enough pill to swallow. But I think this is because of all the ridiculous rules that have seemed to attach to it over the years.

And because of that, this is WHY I love the macro approach to weight loss.


  • There’s no naughty list for foods you love
  • There’s no “I just have to be good and diet for a month” or “I just need to lose these 15 pounds then I can stop dieting” approach
  • counting macros isn’t a trend, so you don’t need to hand over loads of cash for empty promises


  • There’s a learning curve, but I always say if you’re not learning, you’re not growing.
  • Not everyone will understand why you weigh your food.

Related Post: Crash Course in the 9 Benefits of Counting Macros for Anyone Who’s Sick of Hearing About Macros

Is it better to hit macros or calories

I’m talking to all the beginners here.

So if this you, listen up (ok, ok, I’m talking to anyone not prepping for a bikini competition).

Your goal here is to lose weight and to lose weight; you need to eat fewer calories than you burn in a day. 

You need to be in a deficit.

If your body burns 2,306 calories a day (per our example in The Complete Guide to Calculating Your Macros (for Beginners)

You need to eat less than this.

So, yes, you need to hit your calories.

But also your macros, here’s why.

how to count macros

Why hitting your calories is Important

At the end of the day, you want to hit your calories.

Why? Because the goal is to lose weight and if you eat at your maintenance calories or surplus calories, you’ve made zero room for weight loss to happen.

But just so you know, if you hit your macros, you will also hit your calories.

Yes! This is because if you total your macros, your macros will equal your calories.

Check this out

2,306 calories a day (maintenance calories per our example in The Complete Guide to Calculating Your Macros (for Beginners) 

Macros: 138 Protein / 58 Fat / 308 Carbs 

138 grams of protein x 4 = 552

58 grams of fat x 9 = 522

308 grams of carbs x 4 = 1,232

Protein calories + Fat calories+ Carb calories

552 + 522 +1,232 = 2,306 

Total calories = 2,306

2,306 = 2,306 calories, CHECK!

But what if you’re not ready to hit your macros to the gram or find it exhausting? You don’t have to (see, I told you I’d make this easy).

Why hitting your MACros is Important

Do you want to know why people fail at things? Because you want to be perfect at everything from the start, and when something feels overwhelming, you quit.

Please don’t be one of those people that obsess over hitting your macros perfectly to the gram (I’ve done this, sort of) because you can still reach your weight loss goals if you don’t hit your macros to the gram (I’ve also done this).

Here’s which macros you should focus on first

Second, to hitting your calories, focus on hitting your protein goal, and the remainder of your calories can come from fat or carbs, whichever.

But do keep in mind to eat at least the minimum recommended fat.

weight loss questions

Related Post: 5 Easy Ways to Eat More High Protein Foods (Even If You’re Plant-Based)

What is the best macro ratio for weight loss


There’s a lot of talk about how much protein you need; in general, females need 46 grams per day, and males need 56 grams per day.

But you, my lady (or gent), are here because you have some goals you want to accomplish.

Weight loss goals.

So you want to take the recommended protein up a bit to maintain as much muscle as possible during your weight loss journey. 

Ok, DNICE, but by how much? 

Before I go there – I want to say that you have absolutely no control over what part of your body you drop weight or fat from the fastest. Oh, hey, genes (yes, they play a role here).

Recommended protein intake:

The recommended protein intake, for anyone more active than the average person, ranges from 1.6 to 2.2 grams of protein per K.G.

But because we want to maintain as much muscle during this weight loss journey, you need to aim for the higher end of the spectrum.

I say 2 – 2.2 grams of protein. 

How much fat to lose weight

Ladies – fats have a way of controlling our hormones; it’s true. And you want to keep them out of whack. 

How do you do this? 

By hitting at least a minimum amount of fat per day. 

Can you eat more? Absolutely!

I just recommend eating no less than this, especially while trying to lose weight.

The recommended is .8 grams of fat per kg.


Carbs are last on the list because there is no carb limit.


There’s no minimum amount of carbs you need to eat to lose weight, and there is also no maximum limit to the number of carbs that will put you out of your weight loss journey.

Unless, of course, you eat so many carbs that the calories total you out of your calorie deficit.

Then, in that case, yes, carbs will not help you lose weight. But again, this is because you are no longer in a deficit, calorie-wise. Not because of the bread, flour tortillas, or piece of brownie you ate.

So how many carbs do you need to lose weight?

Carbs are flexible.

Once you figure out your protein range and fat minimum, your carbs are whatever is leftover.

counting macros for beginners

Setting your weight loss goal

It’s easy to get caught up in wanting fast results (guilty), but is that really your goal? I’ve made the mistake of setting the wrong goals before, and trust me that it’s not going to make you happy in the long run.

Do you want to be healthy enough to go hiking with your friends?

Healthy enough to make it to the top of that indoor rock climbing wall?

See past the physical; those changes will automatically happen when you start living a healthier lifestyle.

Do you want to wake up every morning and love the body you’re in?

Maybe it’s not to care about the number on the scale.

Whatever your goal, maybe start small and work your way up. 

Related articles: 10 Effortless Tips to Start Your Fitness Journey

how to determine macros for weight loss

After we calculated our maintenance calories in The Complete Guide to Calculating Your Macros (for Beginner’s)

We ended up with the following maintenance calories and macros.

2,306 calories a day

138 grams of protein

58 grams of fat

308 grams of carbs


Let’s use our 160 pound, 5’6, 29-year-old female as our example again.

She’s in no rush to lose weight and wants to create a healthier lifestyle. And to do so, she knows she needs to lose about 20 pounds.

Can she realistically lose 20 pounds in 12 weeks? That’s 1.6 pounds per week and a healthy weight loss goal between .5 pounds and 2 pounds is realistic. So, Yes, her goal of losing 20 pounds in 12 weeks is achievable.

But honey, this isn’t a race, so if she doesn’t, that is perfectly fine.

How many calories should you reduce your maintenance calories by?

To lose weight at a moderate rate, we will set her weight loss calories at a 20% deficit.

2,306 *.20 = 462

2,306 – 462 = 1844 calories

How to calculate your protein macros:

Recommended protein range: 1.6 – 2.2 grams of protein per K.G.

Recommended protein intake for weight loss: higher end

Recommended protein intake for our example: 2 grams of protein per KG

For reference 1 pound = .45 KG

Our Example:

  • Woman
  • Weight: 160 lbs.
  • Age: 29
  • Height: 5’6 

Protein: 160 x .45 = 72 KG

72 K.G. x 2 grams of protein = 144 grams of protein

How many calories is that?

Remember that for every gram of protein there are 4 calories

Grams of protein x 4

144 x 4

576 calories

Result: 144 grams of protein and 576 calories

How to calculate your fat macros:

To keep your body healthy, set your fat at a minimum of 0.8 grams per K.G.

Weight (kg) x 0.8

72 KG x 0.8

58 grams of fat

How many calories is that?

Remember that for every gram of fat there are 9 calories

Grams of protein x 9

58 x 9

522 calories

Result: 58 grams of protein and 522 calories

How to calculate your carb macros:

After calculating your protein and fat, the calories leftover all go towards your carbs!

Weight Loss Calories: 1,844

Protein calories + fat calories

576 + 522 = 1,098 leftover calories

Weight Loss calories – Leftover calories

746 calories

How many grams of carbs is that?

Remember that for every gram of carbs there are 4 calories

Calories / 4

746 / 4

187 grams of carbs

Result: 187 grams of carbs and 746 calories

Let’s double-check our work:

Protein calories + Fat calories + Carb Calories

576 + 522+ 746 = 1,844 calories

Weight Loss Calories: 1,844

They both match perfect!

What are her macros:

For our 29-year-old, 160 lb. 5’6 Woman her macros are.

1,844 calories a day

144 grams of protein

58 grams of fat minimum

187 grams of carbs

1,844 calories are how many calories she will need to eat daily to lose weight

Her deficit calories.

Have you tried this and still not losing weight counting macros?

It’s not uncommon that even after you’ve set your calories for weight loss, the dang scale still won’t budge.

Is this happening to you?

Check out this post on 4 Reasons Macros Are Not Helping You Lose Weight.

Calorie tracking app

There is a ton of macro calorie-tracking apps out there. Are they free? Easy to use? Or worth it?

Honestly, from day one, I’ve used myfitnesspal; it’s free, yes, easy to use, and definitely worth having to help you track what you eat. 

myfitnesspal app

Related Article: Your Simple Beginner’s Guide to Myfitnesspal

The conclusion of calculating your macros for weight loss

Calculating your macros for weight loss can feel a little intimidating, I know, and I’m not a fan of how crazy it looks to get those numbers, but I promise you that it’s all trial and error.

Stick to your weight loss calories long enough to see if they work

Hit your protein goal

Move your body

And, more importantly, be patient and consistent.

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Counting macros for weight loss

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