This is a post to a super quick DIY guide on how you can go about setting yourself up to succeed with a ‘fat-loss’ style diet. They say knowledge is power, so get ready to feel…empowered? This is a framework to begin & nothing more – it’s designed to assist you with taking that first step.
1 – Set Your Daily Calorie Requirements Typically maintenance is calculated by multiplying your bodyweight in pounds (kg x 2.2) by 15. So, let’s create a starting deficit by setting our calories at anywhere from 10-12 x bodyweight in pounds. Remember to plan for longevity; we want this diet to be as sustainable as possible. Eat as many calories as possible whilst still getting the fat loss job done, so start near the middle or top of that range. E.g. 140-pound woman would end up with anything from 1400-1680 calories. Beginning from the lower end of the scale will obviously promote faster weight loss but also leaves her with less room to move should she hit a plateau.
2 – Set Protein Intake Set protein intake at about 0.86 to 1.5 grams per pound of body weight. If you happen to be particularly overweight, you can go a little lower than this (perhaps using a reasonable goal weight as a multiplier instead of your current weight).
3 – Calculate Fats & Determine Carbs Once you’ve accounted for your protein, you can essentially fill in the rest of your calorie requirements with fats & carbs depending on your needs/preferences. For fats, we recommend between 15% & 25% of total daily calorie intake, whilst carbs can then be allocated the balance. If you prefer a higher fat intake for whatever reason that is fine – it is important to note though, that the only two macronutrients REQUIRED by the body are protein & fats – so make sure you calculate those needs first. Remember, 1 gram of protein contains 4 calories, 1 gram of carbohydrate contains 4 calories & 1 gram of dietary fat contains 9 calories. This will help you figure out your intakes once you’ve allotted certain calorie numbers to each macronutrient. Despite old school myths, carbs don’t need to be dumped from your diet to lose fat so don’t feel you have to do this! Weight loss or weight gain is determined by calories in vs calories out – so eat carbs if you can fit them in there; they’ll help keep you satisfied, assist with training intensity & help you maintain thyroid function when dieting. Plus – they’re delicious.
4 – Create Your Meals Figure out how many meals you want to eat each day. Split your macros between your meals – you might prefer to eat greater percentages of your carbs around your workout to assist with intensity & recovery. Protein should be split fairly evenly. We typically recommend 4-5 meals per day, but do whatever works for you. Remember – make it sustainable. You don’t need to have a post workout shake – food will do the same trick – but if you do, obviously you will need to track this & count it in your daily macros. To help track calories and macros you can use Calorieking.com & the MyFitnessPal application are two of our favourites, but there are plenty of others out there.
5 – Execute Hold yourself accountable & determine a certain day each week where you will wake up, hit the can & jump on the scales. Measure your waist too. Keep it the same each time you do it so your results will be more accurate. Track your progress.
6 – Assess & Adjust Anybody can estimate their daily calorie needs. ESTIMATE. Trial & error is your friend here. Track your progress & objectively assess your results. Make necessary changes in order to optimise fat loss. Don’t aim for more than a 500g weight loss each week. If your weight is stagnant, lower your intake slightly or increase your activity levels. The key is consistency. If you consistently hit your macros, you will be in a position where you can make a fair judgement. If you aren’t consistent, you have no way of knowing whether or not the estimates you have made are on the money. Under no circumstances should you change a program that you haven’t been following consistently – it clearly isn’t the program that’s failing. Sort that out. Don’t be disheartened by slow progress. Slow progress is the only acceptable progress. You should be aiming for slow progress; lusting after slow progress. Why? It’s proof you’re doing it RIGHT. Fast progress doesn’t equate to a sustainable lifestyle. This is a journey; a marathon; a damn ironman – not some 50m sprint. Trust & enjoy in the process & turn little wins each day into something much, much bigger down the track.