For many of us weight loss is an ongoing project something we work hard to achieve, and it can be a slow process. Sometimes it feels like you're making no progress at all. For many, calorie counting is a default weight loss strategy, but many of us simply don't understand our bodies and what they need. Simple reducing calories isn't enough to lose weight in a healthy manner. 1300 calories of pizza, white bread, and soda is not going to yield the same results as a balanced 1300 calorie diet will.
Let us help demystify body types, macronutrients, and calorie intake for you!
The 3 Body Types
There are three main body types: ectomorph, mesomorph, and endomorph. You can be a combination of body types, but will predominantly be one over the other. These body types are general groupings of body make-ups, as well as muscle and fat storage and distribution.
is characterized by long and thin muscles and limbs, naturally thin with lower fat storage and a have a harder time putting on muscle.
is characterized by larger bones, a solid torso, wide shoulders, trim waist and controlled body fat levels who typically puts on muscle easily.
is characterized by increased fat storage, wider waist and larger bone structure who typically gains weight easily.
Now that you know your body type it's time to figure out your macronutrients: how much protein, carbohydrates, and fat you should be eating per day.
If you are an ectomorph
your macronutrients are as follows 25% protein, 55% carbohydrate, and 20% fat. This body type who is naturally thin does best with a higher carbohydrate diet as are they are usually active and fidgety all day long.
If you are a mesomorph
your macronutrients should be 30% protein, 40% carbohydrate, and 30% fat. These folks are usually naturally muscular and athletic do best with a fairly even split of macros.
If you are an endomorph
your macros are 35% protein 25% carbohydrate and 40% fat. These folks are usually broad and thick, and usually have a low tolerance for carbohydrates and a high tolerance for fat intake.
So, How Many Calories Can I Have?
Now that you know your body type and your percentages of macronutrients, how many calories should you be eating per day? There's some math involved here so get out your calculators if need be and let's start computing your days’ worth of eating.
First, this depends on your activity level and your goals. We will use a 150 lb person as an example below.
If you are a fairly sedentary individual and your goal is weight loss, then you would multiply your bodyweight between 10 and 12. (i.e. 150 lbs x 10 = 1500 calories). If your goal is maintenance you multiply your bodyweight by 12 to 14. If your goal is weight gain then you multiply your bodyweight by 16-18.
If you are moderately active individual (you work out 3 to 4 times a week) and you're goal is weight loss then you would multiply your bodyweight by 12 to 14. (i.e. 150 lbs x 12= 1800 calories). For maintenance you would multiply your body weight by 14 to 16. And for weight gain you would multiply your bodyweight by 18 to 20.
If you are a very active person (you work out 5 to 7 times a week) and you're goal is weight loss then you would multiply your bodyweight by 14 to 16 (i.e. 150 lbs x 14 = 2100 calories). If maintenance is your goal you would multiply your bodyweight by 16 to 18. And of weight gain is your goal you would multiply your bodyweight by 20 to 22.
Now that you know the amount of calories you should eat each day then you can multiply your percentages of macros by your total caloric intake and figure out how many calories of each protein, carbohydrates, and fats you should be eating per day.
Let's use another example. Using the same 150 lb individual from above, and say she is an endomorph, moderately active and looking to lose weight.
Her calories for the day as we figured out above is 1800 calories.
Her macros as stated above are 35% protein (1800 x 35% = 630 calories), 25% carbs (1800 x 25% = 450 calories) and 40% fat (1800 x 40% = 720 calories).
Now you can take your own body type, goals, activity level, bodyweight and figure out your own macros and calories.
Of course these are just generalizations. There are exceptions to every rule. But hopefully this gives you a good starting point.
Do you pay attention to macros? Do you count calories as well? What works for you?