Want to lose some weight? Eat less. It’s a fact that you can’t burn body fat unless you’re expending more calories that you’re taking in. But all calories are not created equal.

How your body transforms on a diet is a direct results of what you’re eating and your macronutrient intake.

Macronutrients are all the energy you provide your body with in the form of protein, carbohydrates and fat. You need all three “macros” to achieve the best possible physique.

Your macros will determine your physiqueIf you decide to abstain from carbohydrates, your body will look flat and without muscle tone. While carbs can be eliminated from a diet (known as a ketogenic diet), it’s not smart. You’ll miss out on many of the most important nutrients in your diet, which are supplied by carbohydrates. Carbs supply energy and stimulate cell metabolism better than any of the other macros.

If you cut back on protein too much, you’ll lose muscle. Even in a caloric deficit, it’s best to try and get one gram of protein per pound of body weight. Losing weight by losing muscle is a worst case scenario. You’ll suffer the effects of a lower metabolism and look “skinny fat” after losing your desired amount of weight.

And finally.. cutting back on fats is the worst decision of all three macros. Fats are absolutely essential for overall health of the body. You’ll encourage fat storage by not supplying your body with fat to burn. Going too low on fats will cause your body to slow metabolism more than a deficiency of protein or carbs. Low fat also makes dieting very difficult. You’ll suffer extreme hunger, find yourself moody and get sick far easier.

What Macro Ratios Should I Consume?

The best fat burning plan of all is one that includes weight lifting or resistance training of some sort, such as crossfit also offers. If you’re expending more energy than you consume on a daily basis and lifting weights, you’ll want a moderate mixture of all three macronutrients.

A good rule of thumb is to consume one gram of protein per pound of body weight, 40 grams of fat for every 100 pounds of body weight and fill the rest up with carbohydrates.

An exception to this rule might be when a person is carrying a great amount of body fat as insulin resistance plays into the equation. In such a case, it’s best to lower carbs further for many months while insulin sensitivity is restored. The leaner a body becomes, the more important carbohydrates are to the diet, as fat is simply not used as efficiently at leaner levels and the body needs fuel for performance.

Get your macronutrients set right before beginning your diet. Many online macro calculators exist to take the guesswork out of the equation for you. Eating at a deficit with a proper balance of macros will lead to the body you’ve always dreamed of.