How To Set Up Vegan Macros For Fat Loss (Pt 2 of 3)


Welcome to part 2 of my how to set your macros blog series. 

Today we are going to be getting into the body of setting macros so that you can start the process.

If you have done the foundation and mindset work in part 1, be sure to check that out here -

Once you have been through that, you are ready for part 2. 

4. Determine Your Maintenance Calories

Okay, so before we can get started with any type of ratios or calorie intake, you need to work out your maintenance calories.

And rather than guessing we are going to do two things at once…

Get used to logging our food
Work out your maintenance calories

You will need to download an app like myfitnesspal or chronometer to get started.
Now, please don’t eyeball your food and guess quantities. This is a recipe for disaster, as a lot of time you will get your portion size very wrong.

It is best to weigh and track the exact amount of each item you eat.

Yes, it is tedious, I didn’t say it was going to be easy. But, if you are like me and eat similar things regularly it will become easier. Also, as you get into the habit of tracking it will get easier too.

The more precise you can be with your measurements and quantities, the more accurate that data will be and the less ‘guesswork’ you will have to do. It is also easier to adjust what you are doing in the future to keep making progress if you log accurately.

In fact, I would say that if you aren’t going to track accurately that this is probably not the right method for you. You might be better off with a done for you plan, because this is a lot of work to not do it right.

So, if you still macros are for you - let’s work out your maintenance!

I want you to track and log your food for 1 week.

On the first morning you start tracking (let’s say it is a Monday morning) I want you to wake up and take your weight.

Then I want you to track for 7 full days.

Be sure to log EVERYTHING!

Drinks, tea, coffee, snacks, that little bit of food you ate while you were preparing dinner… everything gets logged.

Miss something and the equation can get messed up.

I would try and avoid eating out or getting take away this week, unless you are 100% sure what the nutrition breakdown is for the food you get.

Then the next Monday morning take your weight again.

Did it go up? Did it go down?

Let’s say for example you weighed yourself at 140 lbs, and the next Monday you went up to 140.5 lbs . That is a 0.5 gain.

Next you work out your average calories over the week. Let’s say you ate 20,000 calories over the week.

That would be 2,857 calories per day.

So you put on 0.5 lbs

1 lbs = 3,500 calories roughly

So 0.5 lbs = 1,750 calories too many that week.

So your maintenance calories would be 20,000 - 1,750 = 18,250 or 2,607 calories per day (rounded down).

Now, for weight loss you should need to eat in a smallish deficit.

Depending on what your current calories are for maintenance will depend on what your deficit will need to be.

Most commonly it is believed that for 1 lbs of weight loss per week you need to eat 3,500 less calories per week.

But if you are already eating 1200 calories, you can’t reduce that intake further.

This is where you may need some extra help planning your macros. Cause less is not best.

And the reason you aren’t seeing progress might be because you are micronutrient deficient, your hormones are out of whack because you aren’t eating enough or a number of other things that could be linked to chronic undereating.

If you have tracked for a week and come out at 1,400 or under, you need to first do some work to build your metabolism up before you can focus on a macro fat loss strategy. If you do this right, you should actually still start to see some weight loss progress, as you take some of the hand breaks off in your body. If you want help with this, click here.

Or look at this strategy for weight loss for now as this one is not right for you at the moment, click here

But if you are like the example and are eating a good amount of calories per day, you have room to move and can proceed.

I would aim for no more than 1 lbs weight loss per week. Some weeks you will have more, some less… but that is a good amount to work with.

So to do that you will divide 3,500 / 7 = 500

So take 500 off your total daily calories (2,607) and you will get 2,107 calories per day. That is what you should put in your Myfitnesspal or chronometer and aim for every single day.

Note - do not try set this up if you are due for your period. Wait until it has passed to get an accurate baseline.

5. Determine Your Macros

Now we move on to working out your macro ratios.

Just a note

Protein = 4 calories per gram
Carbs = 4 calories per gram
Fat = 9 calories per gram

For protein you want to aim for 0.8 grams per Lean Body Mass.


Lean body mass is not your overall weight. You will need to find out your body fat percentage to work out your lean body mass.

You can do this with a Dexa (most accurate), an In Body scan or body fat scales (Omron, Tanita). The more accurate the better though.

So let’s just say your body fat % is 30%.

Take 30% from 100 = 70

Then divide by 100 = 0.7

Then times by your weight so 0.7 x 140.5 (weight at end of maintenance tracking) = 98.35 lbs of lean body mass.

98.35 x 1.2 = 118.02 g (472 calories)

Then fat is 15% of total calories so 316 calories (or 35g)

Then the balance is made up of carbs…

1,319 calories from carbs or 330g

Did you follow that?

You may be wondering where I got the 15% from for fat or the 1.2g for protein, now that’s where a bit of trial and error can come in.

These are typically fairly well accepted numbers when it comes to building lean muscle and also plant based nutrition.

Now I have seen protein a lot higher in some of the heavy bodybuilding world, and also much lower in the plant based world. I have also seen fat much lower and much higher.

But these are the numbers I like to typically get a baseline off and you can adjust from there depending on the changes in your body later on (please don't go adjusting every week or two, as you won't notice accurate changes by then). 

6. Start tracking

Once you have got your initial baseline, it is time to get started.

You want to accurately track your food every single day.

I would also suggest weighing in and doing measurements at the same time each week, or each fortnight. Do this for at least a month as there can be a lot of fluctuations with hormones, water retention etc throughout the month.

There is no point going to all the effort to do this if you are going to chop and change each week. Macros are a strategy that take time to get right, especially if you are doing it yourself and figuring it out as you go along. 

That's it for part 2. This should give you enough so you can get started ASAP and we can go through part 3 once you are underway here -

If you have any questions, please ask below.... 

Or feel free to post them in the facebook group.  


Download Your FREE Copy of How To Transition To A Plant Based Diet!

(enter your details below)

Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published