Longing for lasting weight loss? With unhealthy diet fads becoming a thing of the past, many people are now turning to the macro diet for weight loss. Instead of counting calories or restricting your food intake, this method requires you to carefully calculate your macronutrients, to ensure you’re giving your body exactly what it needs. Interested in finding your happy weight, without saying no to the foods you love? Read on to discover how to calculate your macros, plus some great meal ideas to get you started…

Nutrients are compounds in food that your body needs to maintain function and health. Put them together and you have macronutrients, the main sources of fuel your body needs every day. The Macro Method is a way of determining and tracking the optimum intake of macronutrients in order to meet your goal. Whatever your goal – weight loss, musclebuilding or simply fuelling yourself with a better quality of food – there’s a macro ratio to help you achieve it.

It’s not a one-size-fits-all diet though. You have to adapt the rules to fit your body’s needs. In return, you’ll be able to lose weight without deprivation, eating foods you enjoy and learn the skills you need to keep it off for life. One of the most common misconceptions about counting macros is that it’s just calorie counting under another name. That’s not quite true. Calorie counting assumes that all calories are equal and that 200 calories of sugar has the same effect on your body as 200 calories of chicken – but it doesn’t. If you eat 200 calories of sugar, it’s quickly metabolised into glucose. When glucose is released into the system, a hormone named insulin is released to move it to where it has to go. When glucose is released slowly, there is no problem with this.

Chicken is a high-protein food and protein is not turned directly into glucose, which means little insulin is released when you eat it. This prevents the blood sugar rise and fall that you’d get from sugar. Macro counting does start by working out your daily calorie needs, but once you’ve used them in this calculation, you don’t really think about calories again. You focus solely on the amount of protein, carbohydrates and fat you consume. On average, with a balanced macronutrient profile, you can expect a weight loss of around 0.45-0.9kg a week. It’s slow and steady, but what’s important is that it’s a plan you can safely sustain for however long you need to lose your desired amount of weight.

How do I calculate my macros for weight loss?

The key to making The Macro Method work for you is your personal macro calculation. These figures tell you how many grams of protein, carbohydrates and fat you should eat each day. There are five steps to working out your personal macros:
  • Calculating your basal metabolic rate
  • Adding in your activity
  • Calculating the calories to meet your goal
  • Determining your macros
  • Converting to grams of food
macro diet for weight loss
A good, sensible starting macro ratio for weight loss is 30:40:30. This means that:
  • 30 per cent of your daily calories come from protein
  • 40 per cent of your daily calories come from carbohydrates
  • 30 per cent of your daily calories come from fat.
If you aim to eat 1,490 calories a day to lose weight, here are the ratios in calories:
  • Protein: 30 per cent of 1,490 =447 calories
  • Carbohydrates: 40 per cent of1,490 = 596 calories
  • Fat: 30 per cent of 1,490 = 447calories
Macros are measured in grams, so you need to convert the number of calories you can eat from each macro into grams of food. The above macros come out at:
  • 447 = 112g protein
  • 596 = 149g carbohydrates
  • 447 = 50g fat

You can think of your personal macros as a bit like having a daily amount of money to spend. It’s up to you how you use it, but some investments might be better than others.

How to make counting macros easier as a beginner

  • Spend a Sunday or another day you’re free coming up with five or six days of breakfasts, lunches and dinners.
  • Batch cook for the week ahead. Calculate the macros for single servings of one-pot or cook-ahead meals, such as chilli, stews, soups, curries, burgers or Bolognese sauce, and make big pots of them. Freeze in individual portions and rotate through your week.
  • Make sure you have protein at every meal. It’s usually the hardest macro goal to meet. Breakfast is likely to be the meal you’ll have to tweak the most. Good high-protein breakfast foods include eggs, cheeses, Greek yoghurt, turkey bacon, tofu, protein-boosted cereals, protein shakes, nuts and seeds.
  • Always have 2% or full-fat Greek yoghurt in the house as it’s a good way of increasing all three macros fast should you need to. Cottage cheese is also a good emergency food that ticks a lot of macro boxes.

Best foods for weight loss

Macro diet: the best protein choices for weight loss

  • Eggs
  • Oily fish
  • Poultry
  • Reduced-fat milk, cheese and yoghurt – with no sugar
  • Shellfish
  • Tinned fish
  • Vegetarian/vegan proteins– Quorn, seitan, tofu and tempeh
  • White fish
Make sure you have protein at every meal. It’s usually the hardest macro goal to meet.

Macro diet: the best carbohydrate choice for weight loss

  • All vegetables
  • All fruit
  • Brown rice
  • Grains – barley, buckwheat, bulgur wheat, couscous and quinoa
  • High-fibre cereals
  • No-sugar granola or muesli
  • Oats and oatcakes
  • Pasta – particularly wholemeal or spelt
  • Sweet potatoes
  • New potatoes and other potatoes with skin
  • Wholegrain breads
  • Wholemeal and seeded breads

Macro diet: the best fat choice for weight loss

  • Avocados
  • Flaxseeds
  • High oleic sunflower oil
  • Olive oil and olives
  • Nuts
  • Rapeseed oil
  • Seeds
  • Sugar-free nut butters

Free macro diet plan UK: launch your macro journey!

This diet plan suggests three meals a day that average out at 1,400 calories and uses the starter ratio: 30 per cent of daily calories from protein, 40 per cent from carbohydrates and 30 per cent from fat – which means 105g of protein a day, 140g of carbs and 47g of fat. Try this three-day sampler to get you going…


  • Protein 102g
  • Carbohydrates 138g
  • Fat 47g
2 slices of wholemeal bread,1 tsp of butter and 2 slices of grilled turkey bacon, with 100g 5 per cent fat Greek yoghurt and a chopped banana.
1 serving of smoked salmon sandwiches with a big handful of watercress or other salad leaves.
1 serving of herby lamb chops with shredded greens and 125g cooked quinoa.


  • Protein 105g
  • Carbohydrates 135g
  • Fat 46g
Scrambled eggs with asparagus and 100g 5 percent fat Greek yogurt with 80g blueberries.
2 slices of toast with 120g can of sardines in tomato sauce and a big handful of mixed salad leaves or watercress.
1 serving of lentils and salsa verde topped with 125g Quorn Vegan Pieces, with 1 serving of bulgur wheat salad.


  • Protein 108g
  • Carbohydrates 144g
  • Fat 46g
1 serving of tomato, vegetable and egg tortilla.
2 slices of bread, 1 tsp of butter and 75g roast or grilled chicken, served with sliced cucumber, 7 cherry tomatoes and 1 serving of Moroccan spiced chickpeas.
1 turkey burger, 1 baked sweet potato and a bag of mixed leaves or watercress with 1 tbsp of sweet and sour dressing.