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What are Macros?

We use the word “macros” a lot. It’s short for “macronutrients,” the three nutrients all food is made of. The three macros are protein, carbohydrates, and fat. Read any ingredients label, and you’ll see how much of each macro is in the food you’re eating.

nutrition-label

Instead of thinking about foods as “good” or “bad”, we look at the macros they contain! There are no good or bad foods—there are only foods higher or lower in certain macros.

You may be surprised to find that some foods you’ve always considered to be “healthy” actually have a ton of carbs and fat:

nutrition-label
PROTEIN: 46gCARBS: 56gFAT: 51g867 Calories
nutrition-label
PROTEIN: 51gCARBS: 42gFAT: 45g777 Calories

This salad has more carbs, fat, and calories than the Quarterpounder cheeseburger from McDonald’s.

If you thought you’d lose more weight eating the salad, you’d be wrong!

When it comes to losing or gaining weight, your body sees things in terms of macros. Eat too many carbs and too much protein and fat, and it won’t matter the source...you’ll still gain weight!

How Tracking Macros Works

Because we focus on macros, you don’t have to cut out any specific foods!

You can eat things you like that would be off-limits on other diets, and by fitting the macros of those foods into your daily budget, you can do things like enjoy a donut at the office and still see progress!

So how does all of this work?

We’ll give you a budget of macros to spend each day, and you’ll get to pick the foods you’d like to spend them on. You’ll enter each food you eat into the Avatar tracker, along with its serving size. The tracker will calculate how many of each type of macro is in the food and subtract these from the total number in your daily budget, showing you how many of each type of macro you have left to spend. The goal is to get within the target range for each macro—you don’t have to be perfect, just get in the green zone for each circle and you’ll see progress!

Use the interactive tool below to see how different foods could fit into your budget:

Example Macro Targets

0
160
0
170
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65
Scroll down to see more food

As you can see, some foods use up more macros than others. To stay within your budget, you’ll need to make conscious food choices and pay attention to serving sizes. If you aren’t careful with how you spend, it’s easy to blow through your fat and carbs while underspending on protein!

Choosing an “expensive food,” like donuts or pizza, could put you in a bind with your macro budget. But you can still have these foods...you’ll just need to spend wisely, saving up on fat and carbs so you can afford them. Over time, you’ll learn which foods are good sources of protein, fat, or carbs, and you’ll look at food in a totally new and liberating light!

But Won’t Certain Foods Sabotage Your Diet?

You’ve probably seen people lose weight by cutting out certain foods like soda, candy, pasta, or bread—but that’s not because these foods possess some mysterious mechanism that hijacks the body’s metabolism and makes it impossible to burn fat!

In reality, the truth is much simpler than that:

When a diet works, it’s from cutting out calories...not specific foods.

Some food items, like chicken breast and vegetables, hold a weight loss advantage over other items, like pizza and donuts, because they have fewer calories and can help you stay full. Outside of that, there’s nothing magical about them! They may even be higher in vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and other compounds that are good for you, but none of these things have value as energy or matter for weight loss.

To lose weight, you need to eat fewer calories than you burn.

You can get fat eating “healthy” foods like chicken, broccoli, avocados, sweet potatoes, and almonds if you eat enough of them. And you can lose weight even when eating “junk food” like potato chips and twinkies if your overall calories are controlled.

Calorie intake is the determining factor in whether you lose or gain weight, not the specific foods you eat. And this is why so many different types of diets have the potential to work—it all comes down to calories.

When you’re burning more energy each day than you take in, your weight is going to go down.

It’s the laws of science and nature at work.

So, why do we track macros and not just calories? Let’s get into it...

Why Not Just Track Calories?

Sure, you can get results if you only track calories, but they won’t be optimal.

Each macro plays a key role in building your ideal body, so it’s critical to get the right amount of each.

Protein

Preserves muscle, boosts metabolism, and keeps you full while dieting

4 Calories per gram
Carbs

Help you train hard and provide fiber which can help regulate body weight and hunger

4 Calories per gram
Fat

Prevents changes to hormones that could sabotage fat loss and muscle building

9 Calories per gram

Without paying attention to the amount of protein, carbs, and fat in your diet, you may be leaving results on the table. By tracking your macros and eating the optimal amount of each, you’ll ensure that you’re maximizing your ability to burn fat, keep and build muscle, maintain energy levels, and stay full while dieting—helping you to get the body you want.

At the same time, you’ll be controlling your calories, since calories are a function of macros.

By eating the prescribed amount of protein, carbs, and fat set by the Avatar system, the calories will take care of themselves and you’ll be getting the best results possible.

What Hitting Your Macros Looks Like

The Avatar system will give you your target macros, but you’ll need to pay attention to what and how much you eat to get within range of your targets and make the circles turn green.

The easiest way to do this is to track as you go. By logging your food in the Avatar tracker right before you eat it, you’ll know exactly what you have left at any given time. If you see yourself falling short on one macro (like protein) and quickly burning through another (like carbs), you’ll still have time to adjust and get within range. You can also plan your meals and plug them in ahead of time if this makes things easier for you at first.

Watch the video below to see what a day of tracking your macros with Avatar looks like.

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