Fat Loss 101
The ONLY way to lose fat!
EAT FEWER CALORIES THAN YOU BURN EVERYDAY!
Non negotiable. This is literally the only way you can lose fat. I don’t care whether you’re intermittent fasting, doing Keto, 5-2, vegan, carnivore, etc. If you’re eating more cals than you’re burning then you WILL gain fat and visa versa. It’s literally the first law of thermodynamics.
The Numbers broken down:
1lb of fat is approx 3500 cals.
Therefore if you are in a 500 cal deficit a day, over 7 days you’ll be in a deficit of 3500 cals or 1lb of fat.
Honestly it’s that simple.
Your daily calorie expenditure broken down:
BMR (basal metabolic rate). 70% of the cals you burn everyday is just to keep you alive. You could spend the day in bed not moving and still burn 70% of your daily calories. Not much we can do to change this number so don’t worry about it- just good to know.
TEF (Thermic effect of food). 10% of your daily calories get burnt off as your body processes the food you’re eating. Again not really worth worrying about too much but helpful tip: protein burns more cals in the digestion process than carbs and fats. Approx 20% of the cals you eat from protein gets burnt of in the digestion process.
EAT (exercise activity thermogenesis). Only 5% of your daily cals get burnt of doing the average 1 hour workout. We’ll discuss this in a bit.
NEAT (non activity thermogenesis). 15% of your daily cals get burnt off moving around when you’re not working out (eg walking, fidgeting, talking, etc.) this is the one we can really take advantage of. We’ll discuss more below.
2 parts: exercise/ daily activity and nutrition.
Exercise/ daily activity:
Realistically trying to burn 500 cals a day solely through exercise isn’t doable. Very hard to give exact numbers but 500 cals is roughly equivalent to running hard for an hour straight and even if you have the ability, what psychopath is gonna be doing that 7 days a week. And even if they were, they’d be so hungry from all the exercise they’d almost certainly eat at least the equivalent number of cals given their hunger hormone (Grehlin) will be through the roof.
Likewise a typical strength workout will burn even fewer (maybe 200 cals).
Also, don’t fall for the HIIT cardio bollocks. Sprinting on and off on the treadmill for 20 mins or jumping around your living room doing an easily marketable home online HIT routine won’t burn anywhere close to the number of cals required for a serious deficit and all that’ll happen is you end up so tired afterwards that you’ll spend the rest of the day on your sofa, not moving, not burning those calories you would have burned just walking around doing those household chores that you’re now too tired to do.
Bottom line, we don’t train to lose fat. We train to get stronger, more mobile and flexible, to build muscle, improve our heart health and performance. Basically all the really important things.
NEAT is where to put your focus. For the average person 1000 steps = 50 cals. Therefore if you aim for 10000 steps a day, you’ll burn approx 500 cals and because of the low intensity, chances are it won’t result in your appetite getting out of control and you’ll be able to better stick to eating your correct number of calories. Bear in mind that the more overweight you are, the more cals you’ll burn as simply you’re walking with more weight.
If you can, take a rucksack on your walks filled with approx 10% of your weight for an extra calorie boost.
Because I’m always on my feet in this job I average 20000 steps a day (1000 calories) and as a result am able to eat more than the average bloke.
Bottom line: buy a step tracker (doesn’t need to be a fancy one. A £20 Fitbit will do the job). It’ll give you a more accurate result than just having your phone in your pocket. Don’t just try and “walk more”. It never works in my experience.
Any opportunity to take the stairs instead of the lift, walk around the office, etc you should take. You’ll be surprised how your steps ramp up with relatively little effort.
Whether you’re walking on a treadmill or just in circles around your living room, for our purpose, it’s the same thing- BURNING CALORIES!
This is the hard one.
You can lose weight without tracking your calories but honestly, good luck. To do it this way really requires a good deal of nutrition knowledge which most people don’t have and as I said earlier, even if you were to perfectly stick to a certain diet eg keto, you’ll still end up gaining weight if you’re in a calorie surplus even if you’re following the diet to the letter. Calories in, calories out. That’s all that matters.
Download a calorie counting app. The most popular is My Fitness Pal but I personally use Calorie Counter from Nutracheck available on the App Store. Like all these apps it’s a subscription service but is definitely worth spending the £5 a month.
After you’ve typed in your details (current weight, height, activity level, etc) it’ll give you a number of calories your body needs to eat in order to put you in a calorie deficit.
IMPORTANT: this number isn’t likely to be 100% accurate but it’s a good place to start.
Most of these apps have a barcode scanner and also a Google search function so logging your food has never been easier.
Log your calories religiously. If you’re unsure about how many calories is in what you’re eating, Google “how many calories in…”.
Also make sure to include things like condiments, cooking oils, etc. Try and be as accurate as you can. It’ll still only be an approximation but it’ll be good enough. If you’re eating out, again just do the best you can even if it won’t be exact.
When you start tracking your calories you’ll be giving yourself an education on nutrition that you’ll have for the rest of your life. Eating is a personal thing and has to work for you. You’re unlikely to adhere to a generic online diet plan for long so you have to make how you eat work for you for the long term.
Initial tips for reducing your calories:
Research online the foods you currently eat and find low calorie alternatives.
Diet Coke instead of regular coke, low calorie ice cream, low cal rice and pasta. These days there’s a low calorie alternative for almost any food you can think of. It won’t taste quite as good as the real thing but if it tastes 80% as good, then that’s good enough for now.
Plan your meals at the beginning of the day. It’ll take 5 mins in the morning and will remove all the stress throughout the day in regards to your eating choices.
Play around with different ways of eating and find a way that works for you personally. Doesn’t matter whether you eat 6 small meals over the course of the day or fast all day and have a massive dinner. It’s all the same equation: calories in verses calories out.
Don’t restrict foods that you really love, just plan accordingly. By all means if you’re craving a large Dominos stuffed crust, then go for it. Just make sure you know how many calories you’re consuming and plan the rest of your eating day around that one meal. Again- calories in, calories out!
Putting all this in action:
Weigh yourself at least every other day. It won’t change dramatically over such short time periods but it’ll keep your mind focussed on the job at hand.
Track your daily steps and aim to increase whatever your average daily number is by 1000 steps a day each week until it becomes unsustainable.
Track your calories and don’t exceed your daily allowance.
If after 2 weeks you’re weight is decreasing by an amount that you find sustainable, then do nothing. You’re on track and it’s working.
If after 2 weeks your weight isn’t decreasing, then you either have to increase the calories you’re burning (more steps/ movement in general) or decrease the calories you’re taking in (by 500 cals a day if you want to lose a pound a week). Or do both ideally for maximum benefit.
If after 2 weeks your weight is increasing, then you simply have to lower your calories further. If this is the case, best to talk to me personally and we’ll come up with a suitable battle plan.
Remember, how ever you decide to go about this you will have moments (most days) of hunger. You’re feeding your body less than it needs. Plan ahead of time, anticipating problem moments. If (when) you mess up, don’t get disheartened- you’re human. Don’t try and overcompensate by starving yourself the following day, just get back on track and pick up where you left off.
IF YOU KEEP GETTING BACK ON TRACK WHEN YOU MESS UP, THEN YOU CAN’T FAIL LONG TERM.