If you’re brand new to tracking macros, there’s a good chance that you are:
- A little confused about where to start.
- Looking to accomplish some kind of body composition goal, with weight loss is the number one reason why people get started with tracking macros.
So if you’re looking to lose weight while eating in a macro-friendly way and hitting your daily personal macro goals, this macro meal plan for weight loss will help you to get the ball rolling and give you an idea of where to start.
Before we dive into our macro meal plan, I want to preface this article by saying that we all have our own unique bodies and sets of macro targets - that’s the beauty of tracking macros! Our personalized goals are unique to us, so keep in mind that you will need to tailor your daily macros and meals to fit your personal goals.
The information presented here is to be used as an example of what a macro meal plan for weight loss might look like, but your daily macros and portion sizes will be unique to you. We’ll walk you through some critical macronutrient meal plan information before inviting you to download our 100% free macro meal plan that will help you kickstart your weight loss journey.
What Are Good Macros For Losing Weight?
If you see someone recommending a standard, one-size-fits-all macro ratio for weight loss, consider that a major red flag. When it comes to following a macronutrient-based diet, there’s no standard formula that can be prescribed for every unique person. In fact, most people will need to do a little exploration and experimentation before finding their best macros for weight loss.
The best answer? Good macros for losing weight are the ones that 1. Put you into a calorie deficit as that’s king for fat loss, and 2. Are sustainable enough for you to stick with long enough to see results. Let’s take a look at these two concepts a little closer.
Finding Your Caloric Deficit
In simplistic terms, a calorie deficit is a concept of consuming fewer calories than you are burning. There are a couple of ways to achieve a calorie deficit; you can reduce your calorie intake or you can combine a reduction in calories with an increase in exercise to achieve this negative energy balance that’s required for weight loss.
To find your calorie deficit, you’ll want to first get to know your current calorie intake so that you have an idea of where to start. You can do this by tracking your normal food intake in a macro tracking app like MacrosFirst, MyFitnessPal, or 1st Phorm app. During this phase, it’s important to just track what you’re eating as accurately as possible on a daily basis, don’t worry about restricting your calorie intake at this point. Do this for a solid week or two to see what your current consumption is at.
From here, you can use a macro calculator to calculate your daily macro targets to meet your goal. We offer a free macro calculator to help you get started quickly and easily. Our macro calculator uses the Miffin-Saint Jeor Formula which considers your height, weight, sex, age, and activity level, making it a bit less generic than some other calorie calculators you’ll find on the internet. This calculator will give you a great set of macro targets to get started with. Make sure that you select “lose weight” to get your weight loss macros.
Assuming that you took the time to track your normal dietary intake, you will have the opportunity to compare what you’re currently eating to what your macro targets for weight loss will be, and the number of calories should be less, thereby creating a calorie deficit if followed.
Optimizing For Health & Sustainability
While anyone can put themselves into a caloric deficit, it’s vitally important to consider the long-term sustainability of the macro plan and its safety of it as well. First, keep in mind that we aren’t meant to live in a calorie deficit for a long period of time. Depending on how much weight you have to lose, you can plan on a dieting phase lasting anywhere from 4-16 weeks on average. We need breaks in between to allow our bodies to restore from a health and hormonal standpoint.
That said, a general rule of thumb for diet plan macros is around a 500-calorie deficit. By eating around 500 fewer calories per day, the average person can expect to lose around 1lb per week, which is highly stable and healthy for most individuals. Of course, there are ways to play around with your calorie deficit by factoring in the exercise portion, but keep in mind that our exercise calories burned are much lower than we think (and than what our fitness trackers are telling us). However, theoretically, you could reduce your calorie intake by 300 calories a day and increase your exercise by burning an additional 200 calories a day and still be in that same 500-calorie-per-day deficit.
When optimizing your calorie deficit and diet plan macros for your health and longevity, it may feel like it’s taking longer than you’d like, but that’s the key to long-term weight loss that is maintainable. Too big of a calorie deficit can lead to:
- Mood swings
Pay attention to your biofeedback and make adjustments as needed. Remember, when it comes to fat loss macros, it’s better to start high and work your way down as needed and as your body adjusts. Many people are surprised to realize that they can eat way more food than they thought while tracking macros and achieve weight loss simply due to the fact that they are being more aware, consistent, and fueling their bodies with high-quality, nourishing foods.
What’s the Best Macro Ratio For Weight Loss?
There’s no cut-and-dry answer here as the best macro ratio for fat loss will depend on your unique body, training style and frequency, and preferences. In general, a good macronutrient diet plan for weight loss will have a ratio somewhere between:
- 20-40% carbs
- 40-50% protein
- 30-40% fat
When it comes to weight loss, I typically recommend a macro ratio of 35% carbs, 35% protein, and 30% fat. This ratio ensures that you’re getting a good balance of all three macronutrients with an emphasis on protein to preserve muscle mass, increase satiety, and burn more calories and on carbs which are your body’s preferred fuel source for your workouts and training.
How to Create a Macro Meal Plan For Weight Loss
Once you’ve established your unique macronutrient goals for weight loss, it’s time to put those targets into action by creating a macro meal plan, and there are so many ways you can slice and dice your daily macros to fit your unique and specific needs and preferences.
Your macro meal plan will differ based on how many meals and snacks you prefer to eat each day. Some people enjoy eating 4 meals per day, with no snacks, while others enjoy 3 meals per day and 2-3 snacks in between. Take some time to figure out what your ideal day looks like from a meals and snacks perspective so that you can plan your macro meal plan accordingly.
For the purpose of this article, we’re going to use the example of an 1800 calorie per day goal with the following macros:
- 140 protein
- 161 carbs
- 67 fat
Let’s say you want to consume 3 meals per day and 2 snacks. You could calculate your macros per meal and snack by dividing your total daily targets by 4 to give you your targets for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks. Then, you would divide the snack number by 2 to give you your target macros for your 2 snacks. Here’s what that would look like:
Meal Calories: 1800/4 = 450kcal per meal
- Protein: 140/4 = 35g per meal
- Carbs: 161/4 = 40g per meal
- Fat: 67/4 = 16.75g per meal
Snack Calories: 450/2 = 225kcal per meal
- Protein: 35/2 = 17.5g per snack
- Cabrs: 40/2 = 20g per snack
- Fat: 16.75/2 = 8.4g per snack
This is meant to be a general guideline, not a hard and fast rule, your daily meals and snacks will vary depending on the day, but having this loose framework will help you stay on track and make the best macro meal plan for weight loss for you and your goals.
Tips and Tricks for Creating a Macronutrient Meal Plan For Weight Loss
As you’re defining your macro goals, narrowing down your daily targets per meal, and preparing to create your meal plan, keep these macro meal plan tips and tricks in mind:
Consistency is key! Tracking macros and sticking to them will not be easy in the beginning. There’s a learning curve and there will inevitably be days where you fall off track or have a hard time fitting your macros - just keep going! If you fall off track, get right back on the next meal or the next day.
Don’t be afraid to eat the same meals and snacks consistently. Find the foods that you love and plan to eat them on repeat. This will make not only tracking your meals easier (hello, copy/paste) but you’ll also get to consistently enjoy meals and snacks that you love and know exactly how they fit into your macros.
Don’t add in extra calories from exercise. This is a big mistake that I see people make a lot when tracking macros, especially if they are using a macro-tracking app that encourages this. Your macro targets were created with your activity level in mind, don’t add more calories on based on the exercise calories burned according to your fitness watch - you’ll be taking yourself out of your calorie deficit.
Find what macro ratio works best for you. The biggest keys to fat loss from a macro perspective are calories and protein, these should be consistently met in order to achieve your results, however, you are more than welcome to play around with your carbs and fats to find the ratio that works best for you. Some people prefer/need more carbs and others prefer/need more fat. Find what works for you while maintaining your calorie deficit with consistency.
Free Macro Meal Plan For Weight Loss (7 Days of Meals & Snacks!)
Now that you’re armed with all of the information we shared in this post so far, we can get to the good stuff: our FREE macro Meal Plan for Weight Loss. We put this plan together to help you get an idea of what a macro meal plan could look like when you’re trying to lose weight.
The meals included in this macro plan are all well-balanced, nutrient-dense, and protein-packed, helping you to adhere to your macros and make strides towards your health and fitness goals without feeling restricted in any way. We offer a week (5 days) of meals including breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks.
Remember, this free macro meal plan for weight loss should be tailored to your specific and unique macros, but feel free to use this resource as a guide to get you started on your journey.
For immediate access to our macro meal plan for fat loss, download the PDF below.
Once you download our macro meal plan, you’ll find that we’ve outlined 5 full days of eating. Each day contains recipes for 3 meals (breakfast, lunch, and dinner) and two snacks. We encourage you to meal prep a couple of recipes at the beginning of the week to save yourself some time and extra cooking (and dishes!).
The macros for each meal are displayed along with the estimated daily macros based on the meal plan for that day. Keep in mind that these recipes are very tailorable to your macronutrient needs. For example, if your weight loss macros are less than our example targets, you can adjust the serving size, make some swaps, or even switch out the recipe. This meal plan is to be used as a general guide and starting point so that you can get familiar with what a full day of macro-friendly eating looks like!
And, yes, there’s a decent amount of cooking involved with our meal plan, however, all of our recipes are simple to make and require minimal ingredients. All recipes are linked and can be printed out for your convenience.
For many, the idea of a macro diet is liberating, however, they just aren’t sure where to start or how they’ll “hit their macros” which is why we decided to create and share a macro meal plan for weight loss to help you get the ball rolling.
Before you download the meal plan, though, be sure to read through the information at the beginning of the post to ensure that you’re set up for success. Macro tracking is one of the least restrictive, most positive, and intuitive ways to eat for weight loss, but going into it with the right mindset and tools will ensure that you get the best results possible.
Macro Meal Plan for Weight Loss (PDF)
Get a free, 5-day macro meal plan for weight loss!