I imagine you are here on this blog because you want to lose weight (lose fat to be specific).
And I’m sure you’ve heard all of these things in the past…
- “Dr. OZ Recommends this Miracle or Magical Diet pill proven to burn fat.”
- “Green Coffee Extract, Raspberry Ketones…”
- “Low Carb High Fat…”
- “High Intensity Interval Training…”
- “Body Wraps”
- “Green Smoothies”
- “Reduced/ Low Fat foods”
- “No Sugar Added”
- “Gluten Free”
- “10,000 steps a day”
- “Lose weight with 6 small meals a day…”
Ok… I’ll stop now. This list could go on probably forever, and for good reason, marketing works. Some of these things will actually help you lose weight too, but not without the one secret people are leaving out.
It amazes me to no end to see people get caught up in the minutia of health and fitness with never taking a step back and seeing the 10,000 foot view. Why bother tackling the small stuff that will have little to no impact on your overall journey to get lean without tackling the elephant in the room.
So What’s the secret?
That’s really it. Eat as much carbs, fat, and sugar as you really want. As long as you calories are below your Total Energy Needs for the day then you will lose weight. If you are not losing weight, you are not more than likely not consuming at a deficit.
So to tackle the statement I said earlier… “Marketing Works”
Words like Organic, Gluten Free, Low Carb, Carb Smart, Reduced Fat, High Protein, and No Sugar Added are just buzzwords used by marketers to make you feel like you are making a great healthy decision. Look at a bag of regular chips and a bag of “reduced fat chips” … Reduced fat 140 calories per serving, regular 150 calories per serving. Is 10 calories really reducing your caloric intake. Looking at the front of the package to make decisions on food is a big mistake, read every label of every product you buy. You’ll be surprised to see the little to no difference in foods marketed as healthy. There is a great trainer who does an almost daily youtube show where he attempts to educate people on what they are really eating. Mike Vacanti at Ontheregiman.com, here is his Youtube Channel check it out.
Now, the bulk of that list above may come into play when we are talking about overall health and fitness, if you are overweight (or obese) the number one thing we should be concerned about is getting rid of fat. It’s hard to run a 18-wheeler on a 4 cylinder engine.
When I first started taking my health and weight issue seriously, the first thing I did was start counting calories. I needed to be accountable and see what a normal diet would look like. I downloaded Myfitnesspal on my phone (Android / iPhone) . It’s a great handy (free) app that makes counting calories easy, and they have great forums that really help with support through your weight loss journey. MyFitnesspal or a service like that is essential in my battle to regain my health. I think anyone with a health or fitness goal of any kind needs to be tracking calories and macros (carbs/fats/proteins).
Well to create a calorie deficit you have to spend a bunch of time in the gym right?
Actually, No. Well… you could and that would be great for many reasons, physical fitness is an important component of overall health.
The truth is what you eat is going to be the most important factor. You will lose weight in a calorie deficit regardless of how that deficit is created, with working out or through proper nutrition. I suggest proper nutrition. For many reasons nutrition is what should be handled first. First, it’s much easier to track calories consumed then to guess at calories burned.
There is a saying I’ve heard a dozen times “You can’t out run a bad diet.” The NY Times recently had an article that talks about this concept, it’s a good read with good sources.
Creating a calorie deficit through working out is very hard to gauge. There is no 100% accurate measure of calorie expenditure for working out. There are guides and estimates, like using the Compendium of Physical Activities to gauge METs and convert that do calories burned. No worries about doing advanced math… MyFitnessPal, and a ton of other tracking apps do that for you. I like MapMyFitness personally, it’s easy to use and syncs the data to MyFitnessPal. You can use these figures an estimate, or you can even closer by using a heart rate monitor.
A heart rate monitor will allow you to monitor your heart rate during physical activity and give you a closer estimate of calories burned while exercising.
How Do I Know How Many Calories I Am Really Eating?
Well this can be fairly easy, and fairly difficult. First and foremost read the label on the back of the package, that’s the easy part. I recommend using a kitchen scale for measuring all of your portions. Without a ton of practice you will not be able to eyeball a proper portion. So get in the habit of putting your plate on a scale and measuring all components of your meal. It will take a bit of time to get use to it, but once you do it will be second nature. It has become part of my normal meal prep.
Restaurants… unless you are dining at a chain and can use your smartphone to look out the nutrition info, this is going to be tough. Butter and oils are used unsparingly in the professional kitchen and for good reason, they make things taste better.
So if you are eating out you may need to be a pain in the ass… meaning ask that they grill something instead of fry it. If you choose veggies as a side, a good start but don’t stop there, ask for them steamed not sauted in butter. Most kitchens are happy to oblige, treat a restaurant like you would your own kitchen. They have all the tools back there to make a tasty healthy meal, just tell them how you want the food prepared. If they are not happy to do it, eat somewhere else.
So how do I know how much of a deficit I should have?
Great question… and this is where it may get a bit “technical.” Safe weight loss is suggested at the rate of 2lbs/week. A pound of fat is 3500 calories, to lose 2lbs per week you need to have a deficit of 7000 calories. Which breaks down to 1000 calories per day.
Find your Resting Metabolic Rate or Basal Metabolic Rate.
How do I know that? Using a BMR Calculator . So the BMR is how many calories I burned If I did absolutely nothing in order to exist. Thankfully I do things to maintain an existence. Like go to work, eat food, workout, and any other daily activities.
So use that number, and this information below to gauge your total daily energy expenditure.
This is your activity level not counting intentional exercise.
Sedentary (Up and walking around less then 30 minutes a day )= (Male 1.28, Female 1.24) x BMR
Low Active (On the feet equivalent to walking 2 miles per day) = (Male 1.51, Female 1.52) x BMR
Active (On the feet equivalent to walking 7 miles per day) = (Male 1.74, Female 1.74) x BMR
Very Active (On the feet equivalent to walking 17 miles per day) = (Male 2.08, Female 2.07) x BMR
MY BMR is 2418 Calories per day. I have a desk job that typically does not require much walking around so I am Sedentary.
2418 x 1.28 = 3095 Calories Burned per day just by living. This number is what they call your total daily energy expenditure, or TDEE for short.
I should consume 1000 calories less. So 2095 calories per day is my suggested goal. To maintain an average of a 2 pound weight loss per week.
So, you get it… right?
Reduce calories, reduce your weight. They type of calories will eventually matter for you, and fitness will play a role in a well-rounded weight loss plan. The first step to losing weight is always going to be nutrition. Proper calorie intake to create a deficit. Overtime your TDEE will change and need to be adjusted based on your weight loss. As you lose weight your body will burn less calories so keep that in mind and adjust as you lose weight. You will know when to adjust. When you start to stall for multiple weeks it’s time to reevaluate.
Hopefully this was helpful. If you have any questions, need some feedback. Comment here, or on my facebook page . I will answer any questions the best I can.