How many macronutrients are there?
The textbook answer is three: carbohydrates, protein & fat. BUT, if you really want to lose fat, you may want to think of five: carbohydrates, protein, fat, fiber, and water. While fiber and water are not technically macronutrients, you’ll treat them as such and track them right along with the others if you are smart.
If you are going to lose fat, and more importantly, sustain that fat loss (the more challenging thing to do), it requires two things: lowering calories & balancing hormones.
1) Lower Calories: Weight loss and fat loss require you to consume less energy than you burn. You know this already. There is a problem, though. It’s near impossible to predict your actual caloric needs, and it’s just as difficult to accurately assess the calories you are consuming. The only true way to know if you have achieved a calorie deficit is if you have lost weight. If you haven’t lost weight, then you haven’t achieved a calorie deficit.
More importantly for this discussion, cutting calories almost always leads to increased hunger and cravings and downregulation of metabolic output due to hormonal changes. This brings us to the second part of the equation, balancing hormones.
2) Metabolic Hormonal Balance: it’s an admittedly unscientific term. What does “metabolic/hormonal balance” mean? It’s simply a term I use to describe the control of all the hormonal regulators of hunger, energy, and cravings (HEC). If you can control HEC, then you can sustain the calorie deficit. This is where the addition of fiber and water comes into play. To control HEC and keep calories low, you need to focus on eating foods rich in protein, fiber, and water and less concentrated with carbs & fat.
What does this look like?
I always encourage clients to eat 90% of their meals in the form of lower-carb, lower-fat soups, salads, scrambles, shakes & stir-fries/skillets—basically, water and fiber-rich vegetables along with lean protein.
Then I encourage them to add just enough fat, sugar, salt, alcohol, starch, and spices to enjoy their food enough, but not too much (just like goldilocks)
When clients are able to do this, nutrition becomes a whole lot easier, and far more enjoyable. And they are able to achieve the two factors required for fat loss.