For weight loss, restricting calories is crucial
One of the first topics that people learn for weight loss is the idea of Calories In (food/drink intake) must be less than Calories Out (metabolic rate, exercise, etc). So this blog post will go over a few tips on how to manage your calories for weight loss.
1. The original ONE pound fat loss per week (Just subtract 500 calories daily)
As a male at my height/age, using this calculator, my basal metabolic rate is about 1,700 calories a day. This metabolic rate is assuming that I am laying in bed all day, that I would need 1,700 calories from food to maintain my current weight of 185 lbs. Assuming that I live a very active lifestyle, including a walks, hikes, workouts and more, then my maintenance calorie intake jumps up to about 2,500 calories a day to maintain.
So if I want to drop that one pound per week, then I just subtract 500 calories a day on my food intake.
Starting with 2,500 calories for an active person –> Drop calorie intake from food to about 2,000 calories. Over the week, this should create a 3,500 calorie deficit by the end of that week which should result in about a pound lost every seven days. This is a very sustainable, and moderate approach to fat loss.
Benefits: Easier to sustain, you learn about what is in your food, you look at labels and check calories
Cons: Some people want their results to come faster…
2. Intermittent fasting days (Certain days VERY low intake)
Here is another tool you may add to your arsenal of Fat loss Playbook & ultimate tools of success. Intermittent fasting has grown in popularity because quite frankly it seems to work pretty well.
Intermittent fasting works best for people who regularly strength train at least a few times per week. On an “off” day or recovery day, a person will cut their calories below 500 and then go back to normal calories on the next day.
Going back to my example from above. If I consume only 500 calories (in) and I still have 2,500 calories (going out), then I’m left with a 2,000 DEFICIT at the end of the day, which is potentially more than half a pound of fat.
Benefits: You can create a massive calorie deficit on certain days of the week that you know you won’t be tempted by bad foods or social occasions. You can speed up the weight loss process significantly.You plan these days appropriately and limit access to temptations.
Cons: It’s possible to have lower energy that day, to have more cravings, or even to lose lean muscle. It’s challenging for most people. May become nutrient deficient over time. If you live a stressful life, this may not be the best approach for you.
Overall, intermittent fasting, IMO, seems to be improved by consuming extremely nutrient dense foods. An example would be salmon+chard for dinner, or a fresh carrot/beet/ginger/lemon/kale juice in the morning. Even green tea will support more fat burning during these days.
If you choose this route, it’s crucial to have a diet high in fresh foods so that you don’t become nutrient deficient. If your nutrient status is not optimal, it will become harder to lose additional fat.
3. Carb Cycling (Carbohydrate cycles)
Carb cycling is a method for utilizing the benefit of a low carb diet without the stress of a low carb diet.
The principle of carb cycling is that you plan your week for three low carb days, three moderate carb days, and one high carb days.
Monday: Moderate carbs so about 100-200 grams carbohydrates in the day, Should have some exercise on this day
Tuesday: Low carb, so this one would be LESS than 50 grams per day
Wednesday: Low Carb, again LESS than 50 grams carbs per day
Thursday: Moderate carb, this day should have strength or cardio
Friday: High carb, this day should have High Intensity Interval Training, 200+ grams carbs –> bonus points if eaten within 1 to 2 hours pre or post workout
Saturday: Moderate carb 100-200 grams
Sunday: Low carb, Less than 50 grams a day
Benefits: By cycling the carbs, you naturally will consume less calories on your lower carb days. That is one crucial part of the strategy. Another key benefit is that you can get serious fat burn on your low carb days, while having awesome, energized workouts on your high carb days since you are appropriately fueling your body when it needs it the most.
More benefits: Carb cycling can help you restrict your carbs, which over time will improve your sensitivity to insulin and therefore have a more “carb-friendly” body. Fact of the matter: The leaner you are (lower body fat), the easier it is for your body to handle carbohydrates properly. The greater body fat that you have, the more you should restrict carbs (especially sugars) so that you can reset your system.
Cons: Not much negative to this approach.
Tips: Carbs should be as nutrient dense as possible, including vegetables, legumes, fruits, and pretty much anything that is high in fiber.
4. The Opportunity Cost approach (Must eat THIS at least once a day)
Everytime you eat a food, there is an opportunity cost. The food you consume literally takes up space and is essentially taking the place of whatever other foods you could have eaten.
For example, a primary reason why diet soda is so harmful for the body is that it takes up space inside the gut (while causing an inflammatory response–but that’s for a whole different article), and so you have less room for actual nutritious foods.
So my tip here for restricting calories is not even about restricting calories. This tip is about prioritizing the most valuable foods.
Goal: Consume one pound of fresh green veggies per day.
By eating this fresh veggie goal, you will limit the amount of bad food that you could possibly fit into your body.
If you were to have one single, fat loss, and health goal, perhaps it should be to consume a pound of fresh veggies per day. By making the effort (and actually caring about yourself), you will fill up your gut with some of the healthiest, nutrient dense (and thus best fat-burning) food on the planet.
Once you have eaten your pound of fresh vegetables, then you can go ahead and eat the other foods you would like to eat. If this is not-so-healthy food, then so be it. But I’ll wager to say that once you eat these fresh veggies — on a daily basis — your bad habits will tend to fall out of habit as you start to see the waistline melt away.
There is always an opportunity cost. By eating fresh veggies, there is LESS opportunity for bad foods. Simple as that.
5. Decrease your eating window (Less hours in the day for you to eat)
Instead of a normal day starting at 8AM, eating, snacking, lunching, snacking, dinner, dessert, and snacking till 10 PM, try to decrease the total hours in a row that you are eating.
Perhaps start your eating at 8AM, and then stop your eating at 6PM so that your eating window is only 10 hours instead of 14 hours. In one sense, yes I am asking you to pack more of your food in shorter amount of time. However, I’m wagering that you will be less likely to eat as much food in a shorter overall eating window.
Perhaps you wish to start your eating window in the afternoon and only have an eight hour eating window. (If you do so, I suggest in the morning to take a greens superfood powder).
Pros: Has some supported evidence that this strategy (shorter daily eating windows) will promote more weight loss even if calories are equivalent
Cons: You may be hungry in the evening… but if you haven’t learned how to enjoy being hungry then maybe you’re not ready for weight loss.
Bringing it all together for serious weight loss and fat loss
If you are just starting off, you’re better off sticking with one approach a time and seeing how your body responds to it.
If this ain’t your first rodeo, try combining multiple approaches in order to fine tune and tailor it to your own lifestyle. Ultimately it’s about how your body responds as well as how sustainable it is for you to adjust your lifestyle appropriately.
Good luck in fat loss, take it one day at a time, and plan for success!
Learn how to take care of yourself, and you will discover how to make it work for you.