How to Calculate and Adjust Your Fat Loss Calories
As you’ve learned so far, you need to be at a calorie deficit to lose weight, but how do you work out how many calories constitutes a deficit for you, and how do you ensure that you’re only losing the recommended amount per week?
Today’s lesson will answer these questions and look at a couple of useful strategies for losing weight.
The easiest way to determine your fat loss calories is to use the following calculation:
Bodyweight in pounds x 12 = fat loss calories
(Bodyweight in kilograms x 26 = fat loss calories)
This will put you in calorie deficit of about 300 kcals.
However, it’s important to keep in mind that this calculation is not exact and this may not be the number of calories you need daily.
This is particularly true if you are active daily or have a demanding job where you are on your feet most of the day. This will give you a good starting point, but just be aware that you could end up in a deficit of about 500 kcals.
If you remember from yesterday’s lesson, you should be looking to lose 1-2 lbs (0.5-1 kg) per week. To make sure this is happening, you need to weigh yourself daily and take a weekly average.
After tracking your weight for 2-3 weeks, you’ll notice that 1 of 3 things will be happening:
1. You will be losing weight too fast.
2. You will be losing weight too slowly.
3. You will be losing weight at the right rate.
If you’re experiencing number 3, perfect; carry on as you are.
However, if you are either losing weight too slowly or too fast, then either remove or add 100 kcals (25g of carbs) from your daily intake and track your weight again for 2-3 weeks.
If nothing changes or it doesn’t change enough, keep adding or removing 100 kcals from carbs until you are losing 1-2 lbs (0.5-1 kg) a week.
There are a number of strategies that can be helpful when eating in a calorie deficit:
Eat fewer but bigger meals. Eating bigger meals will keep you fuller for longer and help reduce hunger pangs. The best way (in my opinion) to structure diet when “cutting” is to use intermittent fasting to skip breakfast and eat 2 larger meals, 1 for lunch and 1 for dinner.
Include satiating foods. Another useful strategy is to eat lots of satiating foods. Things like potatoes, beans, vegetables, and fruit can be eaten in larger amounts due to their lower calorie value but have a high satiety factor.
Try including potato in your meals instead of pitas or wraps if you find you’re getting hungry, and always have lots of veggies with each meal.
Use black coffee and sparkling water. If you’re going to skip breakfast in order to have larger meals later in the day, you may find you get some hunger pangs. To help stave off hunger, try drinking black coffee and sparkling water, which works to blunt appetite and give the feeling of fullness.
If you don’t like coffee or sparkling water, then you can drink still water, black tea, or green tea. Essentially, any 0 kcal drinks are on the cards.
Clever use of cardio-walking. Cardio can be used strategically when “cutting” to allow more flexibility with your diet. On average, an hour of walking burns approximately 300 kcals. If you find that you’re always hungry and want to eat more, try introducing some walking into your lifestyle to give yourself an extra 300 kcal to play with.
This has the added benefit of being low intensity and not interfering with your training and recovery.
Calculating your fat loss calories is pretty straightforward, but managing your intake after is the real key to success. There are also a number of useful strategies you can use to make eating in a deficit easier.
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