The number 1 rule encompassing everything you do to lose weight comes down to this…
Energy expenditure VS Energy consumption
With energy in regards to the way our body’s use it typically measured in Calories or Kilojoules.
Energy expenditure is how much energy your body uses on a daily basis, so this will basically be your resting metabolic rate (how much energy/calories you burn at rest) plus any other activity you do like walking around, exercise, weight training etc.
Energy consumption is basically the food you eat. So to lose body fat you need to be in what’s called a calorie deficit, you need to be consuming less calories than your body uses every day, in which case your body has to dig in to it’s reserve fuel source – body fat.
And if you wanted to put on weight, then you’d eat more calories than your body needs.
Have a look at the super hi tech diagram ive made…
Now I should tell you that this is putting it at its simplest and all calories are not created equal and the actual types of food you eat will make a BIG difference, 2000 calories of vegetables isn’t going to have the same effect on your body as 2000 calories of chocolate – but just know this is the big umbrella rule that encompasses everything for your fat loss – without this you will not lose body fat…
You have to be in an energy deficit.
Getting in this deficit is done in two ways…
Speeding up your metabolism and therefore expending more energy.
And / Or
Consuming less calories (energy) through the food you eat.
Obviously if you get both happening together your results will be better.
So the consuming less calories is easy enough to get your head around, this is done by making better food choices and eating food with less calories in it, and for some people eating a lesser amount of food.
But how can we speed up our metabolism?
Here are the main ways we do this, (in no particular order of importance – they are all important!)
- Eating meals more frequently will keep your metabolism running high
- After a bout of weight training, research shows your metabolism will increase for around 24-36 hours.
- After some high intensity interval cardio training research shows your metabolism will increase for around 24-36 hours
- During your strength training/cardio sessions you will burn through a lot of calories
- In the long term actually adding some muscle to your body will permanently increase your resting metabolism (double whammy short term and long terms effects of weight training!)
OK – NOW HERE’S WHERE THIS MAY GET CONFUSING
I think I encounter just as many people who have to actually EAT MORE FOOD. If you eat well below your ‘break even’ maintenance range for a long time (approx 30% or more under), you may lose a bit of weight initially BUT you’ll find your body will start fighting back, your metabolism will drop, and you’ll go into almost like a starvation mode where you’ll find it nearly impossible to lose body fat.
If your body thinks its starving and not getting enough food and nutrients, this will affects hormones and your metabolism, and your body is not going to get rid of its back up energy source – BODY FAT, as this would not be a good survival strategy for an intelligent organism. When you do have a bit of an eating splurge a couple of times per week and suddenly give your body a big surge of calories in the form of a pizza or chocolate or booze in one big hit after starving yourself all week – guess what it wants to do with it?
Eating well under your maintenance or weight loss range will result in muscle loss as well, which will slow down your metabolism further and typically result in more fat storage when you’ve decided you can’t starve yourself any longer and increase your food intake again.
The end result is you’ll look worse than you did previously because you’ve got more body fat, less muscle (& a slower metabolism as a result) and a worse body composition. On top of that people get confused (understandably) as to why the hell they can’t lose weight because they don’t even eat much at all!
In either case, eating too much or too little, the first step is to get you in the fat loss calorie range for YOU, based on your body size and activity levels. So some people will need to eat less, and some people will need to eat more.
BUT ONE THING IS FOR SURE – you need to be eating within this calorie range to get fat loss results, it is basically a mathematical certainty. (Unless you have some sort of underlying issue with hormones or Thyroid).
To work out your fat loss calorie range here’s the formula, so work it out right now. It’ll take about 33 seconds…
- Bodyweight in pounds x 10-12 (for sedentary person) – (if you fall in to this category, you need to do some exercise)
- Bodyweight in pounds x 12-14 (for someoones who exercise 3-4 times per week)
(Weight in pounds is kilo’s x 2.2)
So for a 65 kg female who trains at The Fit Stop 3 times per week it would be:
65 x 2.2 = 143 pounds
143 x 12 = 1,716
143 x 14 = 2,002
So for a 65kg female their fat loss range is somewhere between
1,716 -2,002 calories per day.
So again, some people will need to increase food intake, and some will need to decrease food intake to get to this range.
Typically you’d start at the high end, see if you’re losing weight over a couple of weeks then drop calories if you need to. If you’ve been undereating for a while, it may take a few weeks for your metabolism to adjust and get back up so give it some time, it’ll depend on how long and how much you’ve been undereating for.
Ok so once you’ve worked out your calorie range, you’re probably asking…
‘How the hell do I know how many calories im even eating now and how do I know what to eat to get IN that calorie range?’….
Well with some help from our very own super trainer Amy, I’ve got some meal templates for you to download which will give you a good idea of what a perfect day of eating roughly looks like based on your bodyweight and calorie range for fat loss. I find this is where alot of people drop the ball with their eating, you might be making good food choices, but you just need an idea of the amount you need to be eating. The templates are divided up into different bodyweights, starting from 60kg and going up to 100kg in 10kg increments.
If your weight falls somewhere in between (like 63kg or 78kg) just get the closest template to your weight and either add or subtract some food (calories) accordingly to meet your calorie range you’ve worked out for yourself. (or if you didn’t spend 33 seconds to go through the formula just add or subtract a couple of hundred calories). In fact most of these template are on the lower end of the calorie spectrum.
There is also a little food database to download, with the calorie content of some different foods which are commonly eaten, that way you can tweak the meal templates by taking out, adding, or replacing foods of your choice. If replacing foods – just try and keep it the same type (so replace a protein with a protein, a veg with a veg etc), and obviously you want to try and match the calories.
(Note: after finishing these up – I realised alot of the templates are titled with ‘female’ – if you’re a male just ignore this – everything still applies to you!)
Donwload the closest meal template to your weight, and the food database.
Just right click and ‘save target as’
And remember, all of this info is useless if you don’t TAKE ACTION on it! – Enjoy! 🙂