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Looking for Macro Calculation Advice

mugginskatemugginskate Member Posts: 463 Member Member Posts: 463 Member
Hello friends,

I'm looking for some advice. I am 29 years old, 5' 3.5", and I weigh 139 lbs. For a long time I've been focusing on weight loss, and was even down to 125 lbs about 3 years ago. What I really want to focus on now is getting my body beach ready. I'd love to be able to wear a bikini in the summer and feel confident. I know the road to that goal is weight lifting, which I just started a program last week. I lift 3x a week, and I also run 3x a week (3-5km).

There are so many things on the internet that help calculate your macros and how many calories you need to take in. The problem is, I also get a lot of different results, including ones that have me eating way more calories than I'm used to consuming (2000+). I generally eat around 1400 calories per day.

Any advice on calculating macros is appreciated. :)

Replies

  • AnnPT77AnnPT77 Member, Premium Posts: 18,137 Member Member, Premium Posts: 18,137 Member
    I found these things helpful:

    https://community.myfitnesspal.com/en/discussion/819055/setting-your-calorie-and-macro-targets/p1
    https://examine.com/guides/protein-intake/
    https://examine.com/nutrition/protein-intake-calculator/

    And there's also a USDA site that estimates a bunch of nutritional needs in a personalized way:

    https://www.nal.usda.gov/fnic/dri-calculator/

    Personally, I think the USDA protein recommendation is lower than optimal, for reasons explained by the Examine.com article. IMO, if your goal is to progress via strength training, getting enough good-quality protein will be important for you. (If you're an omnivore, eating meat/fish routinely, protein quality is unlikely to require much explicit attention. It can be more relevant for vegetarians like me, or vegans.)

    I estimated my protein and fat minimums in grams, and eat to those goals, within my calorie budget. (For the protein/fat I just used round numbers near what I thought were good values, so I simply remember them vs. trying to get them exact via percentages. If my MFP totals are a mix of red & green, I just pretend it's Christmas. 😉). I try to ensure that my fat sources include monounsaturated/polyunsaturated fats (olive oil, nuts, seeds, avocados, etc.) not just saturated fats; and while I don't look for specific metrics, I think about Omega-3/Omega 6 balance in my overall eating, mainly by trying to get the O-3s.

    On top of the protein/fat minimums, I strive to get at least five 80g servings of varied, colorful veggies/fruit daily, ideally 10+, for micronutrients and fiber. If I have calories left after meeting my personal nutritional goals, I spend them on whatever I like. I don't pay any attention to sugar or carb intake (though some people may need to, either because of health conditions or because those things affect their individual appetite/cravings or energy level).

    When you use online macro calculators, you're getting the site's particular view of the definition of "good" or "optimal" (just as the above sources have become my definition of "good"), and opinions differ, sometimes wildly so. Humans are adaptable omnivores. Worldwide and across history, there have been a huge range of dietary styles that have resulted in reasonably healthy populations. I'm not discounting the value of good science, let alone good nutrition, but rather implying that hitting a given macro total *exactly*, every single day, isn't necessary. Pretty good values, averaging out to a reasonable level over a few day span, is likely to be just fine, absent health conditions that require a special diet. Probably the results of any reputable site's calculator would give you reasonable results, as long as they fit within your calorie goal. For most people, the MFP default percents aren't terrible, IMO, though for my taste protein can be too low for people who have really aggressive weight loss rates for their current body size.

    What I target is more structured than most people here, I think. They seem to be doing fine. IMO, none of this needs to be a matter of stress or anxiety.

    Best wishes!
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