top of page

Calories and Macros Decoded: The Essential Knowledge for Sustainable Weight Loss

This post will guide you through the fundamental concepts of calories and macros and how they contribute to achieving and maintaining a healthy weight.

What are Calories?

Calories are units of energy, measuring the energy content of the food and drinks we consume. They fuel our bodies and enable proper functioning. Calories are the major determinant of whether we gain weight, loss weight or maintain weight. When we are consuming more calories than our body requires, this is called a calorie surplus and will lead to fat gain. When we are consuming less calories than what our body requires, this is called a calorie deficit and will lead to fat loss.

Although calories are the major player when it comes to weight loss, you will need to combine a calorie deficit with healthy eating principles, in order to ensure you are nourishing and fueling your body appropriately.

Understanding Macronutrients (Macros)

Macronutrients, or macros, consist of carbohydrates, proteins, and fats and are essential nutrients the body needs in large quantities to remain healthy. Each macro plays a distinct role in providing energy and supporting various bodily functions.


Carbohydrates serve as the primary source of energy or fuel for your body and your brain (think about it like petrol for a car). Carbohydrates can include foods from our core food groups such as fruit, vegetables, milk, yoghurt, breads, cereals and grains. Carbohydrates can also include more refined foods such as cakes, sweets, baked goods and sugars.

For general health and weight loss, there is value in keeping your intake of more refined carbohydrates to a minimum and opting for higher fibre wholegrain options where possible. There is no requirement to cut out carbs or follow a Keto diet in order to lose weight; however, it is important to monitor your portion sizes to ensure your intake is matched to your fueling needs (so ladies with a desk job, you will need less carbs than someone who has a physical job).


Proteins are essential for building and repairing tissues, maintaining muscle mass, and supporting bodily functions. Protein can be found in a range of foods such as meat, chicken, fish, eggs, milk, yoghurt, cottage cheese, legumes, lentils and tofu.

Protein promotes satiety (it helps keep you feeling full!) and therefore is a useful macronutrient when it comes to weight loss.

Ladies going through perimenopause, your protein requirements increase, therefore this is a good macronutrient to pay attention to. Aim to include a source of protein at every meal.


Fats are a concentrated source of energy that support hormone production and nutrient absorption.

The different types of fats include monounsaturated, polyunsaturated, saturated and trans fats. It is recommended to obtain the majority of your fats from mono & polyunsaturated sources such as nuts, seeds, avocado, extra virgin olive oil and oily fish such as salmon.

When it comes to weight loss, including fats is important, however, due to their energy density (they pack a lot of calories into a small volume), you will need to be mindful of the amount you consume. Over consumption of 'healthy' fats can be a common mistake people make when they are trying to lose weight.

Determining Daily Calorie Needs:

Individual calorie needs will vary greatly. Your requirements will depend on a number of factors such as age, weight, height, activity level, and your goals. The fastest and most accessible way of estimating your requirements is to use an online calculator (like this one). However, I deliberately used the word 'estimate' as these calculators are a guide only.

Do I Need to Track Calories and Macros to Lose weight?


If you are a numbers person and you enjoy data then you might find tracking calories is a really great monitoring strategy for you.

If you find tracking calories overwhelming and it causes anxiety around food choices and eating, then I would suggest another form of self monitoring like a basic food journal or habit tracker might be a better fit for you.

That being said, I do think there is benefit to have a basic understanding of the calories in commonly consumed food and drinks. You might find it valuable tracking your calories for a short period of time or even just having a play around with a calorie tracker (popular options include MyFitnessPal, Lose It, Easy Diet Diary)


Having a basic level of understanding when it comes to calories and macros is beneficial for sustainable weight loss. However, counting calories and macros is only one of many self monitoring tools and is not essential in order to lose weight.

Be wary of diets with a 'one size fits all' approach e.g. 1200 calorie meal plan as they are not tailored to the individual and may not be appropriate for what you need.

Therefore I would always advise you to get personalised guidance from a Dietitian.



The information provided in this blog is for your personal or other non-commercial, educational purposes. It should not be considered as medical or professional advice. We recommend you consult with a GP or other healthcare professional before taking or omitting to take any action based on this blog. While the author uses best endeavours to provide accurate and true content, the author makes no guarantees or promises and assumes no liability regarding the accuracy, reliability or completeness of the information presented. The information, opinions, and recommendations presented in this blog are for general information only and any reliance on the information provided in this blog/article/handout is done at your own risk. Any third-party materials or content of any third-party site referenced in this blog do not necessarily reflect the author’s opinion, standards or policies and the author does not assume any liability for them whatsoever.


bottom of page