A Nutrition Q&A with Dylan Miller, Director of Macros Inc and Senior Nutrition Coach.
1) What is Macros Inc. and how does it differ from other nutritional platforms or general nutritionists?
We’re a team of certified nutritionists who teach science-based nutrition with coaches based in Canada, the United States, Europe, and Australia. We’re different because we teach people about the science of what causes weight loss and weight gain, and how food influences this.
By understanding the relationship between food and the body, you understand how to manage your weight and how to eat healthy. Our approach is different because through what we teach, people learn how to manage their weight for life. The easiest way I can summarize this is to say that we teach science-based nutrition.
2) Why do people use Macros Inc. method versus something like the Keto diet, Paleo, Weight Watchers and others?
When it comes to diets like Keto, Paleo, etc., you can lose weight on those diets, but they don’t teach you how to manage your weight. For example, you can lose weight with Keto, but you only learn how to do so by cutting out carbohydrates. This leaves people confused on what to do after they are done dieting and have lost weight. How do I reintroduce carbohydrates? Am I supposed to never eat carbs again?
By teaching science-based nutrition we set you up with an understanding of how to eat for life so that you are always prepared for how to manage your weight and maintain your health. Certain diets like Keto can leave people afraid to eat carbohydrates. This can also lead to a poor relationship with food. Is it sustainable and realistic to never eat carbohydrates again, to cut out entire food groups forever? Sustainability is the key to success for a lot of people when it comes to dieting and losing weight. Without sustainability, people often go back to their prior eating habits, and the weight comes back on.
3) You use the term, flexible dieting. What does it mean?
At its core it means you can be flexible with what you eat and still lose weight. You don’t have to eliminate any foods you enjoy or food groups. You can keep eating chocolate and Ice cream.
We can show you how to incorporate these foods into your diet in a healthy way, accomplish your goals and still be a healthy person. Our philosophy is the 80/20 rule, which means we recommend that 80% of your diet come from nutritious whole foods, and if you wish, 20% can come from whatever else you want, such as your favorite “treat foods.”
4) What are macros and how do you calculate them?
The word “macros” is short for macronutrients. Food is made of 3 things: carbohydrates, fat, and protein. Those are your macronutrients. We teach people about all 3 macronutrients so that they gain a much better understanding of food and what it means for their body.
There are various ways to calculate your macronutrient requirements. The easiest way is to use our macro calculator: https://macrosinc.net/macro-calculator/. You first set your goal (weight loss, muscle gain, or maintenance). Then, you enter your height, weight, age, gender, and activity level. Using these factors, our calculator determines your calorie requirements to accomplish the goal you chose. Then it takes your calorie requirement and breaks it down into the 3 macronutrient categories and gives you a target to hit for each (in grams).
5) What advice do you give to someone who wants to lose weight versus someone who wants to maintain a healthy weight?
For someone wanting to lose weight, you have to take a look at the habits and behaviors that caused them to become overweight in the first place. What do their diet and physical activity look like? Once you understand the problems that caused them to become overweight, you can begin teaching them new, healthier habits that will lead to sustainable weight loss.
For someone who is already at a healthy weight and they just want to maintain that, you would want to talk to them about proper nutrition to fuel their exercise or training, or whatever activity they are involved in.
Typically, with individuals like this, adopting the 80/20 rule is sufficient, because by eating 80% whole foods and limiting the “snack food” or “junk food” to 20% or less, they are not consuming enough total calories to gain weight. It’s the amount of calories you eat versus the amount of calories you burn that determines your weight, and it is more difficult to overeat whole foods, as whole foods tend to be high in volume, making it difficult to eat a lot of it.
6) Does weight gain affect people differently, for example do genetics affect if and how someone loses weight?
Genetics play a large role in where your body fat is stored. When someone consistently eats too much food (more calories than they are able to burn), they will store those excess calories as body fat in different areas depending on things like gender and genetics.
When it comes to losing weight, some people suffer from a lower-than-normal metabolic rate, known as hypothyroidism. This means a person’s body may not burn as many calories as a person of equal height, weight, and gender who does not have hypothyroidism. Individuals with a metabolic disease can absolutely still lose weight, by eating fewer calories than others.
So, while genetic factors and certain health conditions can and do influence a person’s weight loss or weight gain, the basic underlying principles of weight loss still apply, which is that it’s all about how many calories you consistently burn versus how many calories you consistently consume.
This is a matter of physics known as the First Law of Thermodynamics and has been proven time and time again in metabolic ward studies.
We teach people how to take advantage of this law of physics by counting their macros, as counting your macros is really just a more precise way of counting your calories and thus controlling your energy intake.
7) Does losing weight become more difficult as we age? If yes, why? And how do we fight that?
As we age, our metabolic rate decreases. This is due to a reduction in muscle mass, a reduction in certain hormones and a reduction in our overall physical activity level. Luckily there are ways to combat this. One way is to engage in resistance training using weights. Lifting weights ensures you build and maintain muscle, which is critical to being a healthy, functional human being. The more muscle mass you have, the more active you can be, thus the healthier you can be.
In addition, we can still apply the same principles of the First Law of Thermodynamics. We simply have to calculate our calorie requirements, and consistently adhere to that. If we can remain physically active as we age and maintain a healthy diet, that’s what will give us the best chance to not only lose weight when we want to, but also to maintain a healthy weight into old age.
8) During this time of COVID-19 when people are spending most of their time at home and perhaps eating too much, what advice would you give to fight the temptation of overeating?
Invest your time and attention into something that will keep you from thinking about food. We often use food as a means of comfort or as a coping mechanism to deal with stress. A lot of people simply eat out of boredom because there’s nothing else to do. This is why it’s so important to do your best to find other things to focus your attention on.
In my opinion, now is a really good time to read books on self-improvement and habit building, to develop a home workout routine or exercise routine. There are many possibilities on how someone might choose to spend their time, but the goal should be to get wrapped up in things that take your mind away from food, and learn to engage in healthier behaviors and habits to manage your stress and boredom. This is easier said than done, but like any new skill you learn in life, practice makes perfect. If you can consistently practice new habits and behaviors, they become easier and easier.