Developing your caloric plan for fat loss.
Probably the most important factor in any effective weight loss plan is to work out how many calories you need to consume to loose weight. I’m not suggesting you need to count calories for the rest of your life but to start with it is the most effective tool for weight loss and can allow you less restriction than you think. Increasing exercise and energy output is also very important but the old quote “you can’t out train a bad diet” holds true.
If your not great at math don’t worry I will break things down but get your calculators out cause you will need them. The first step is to work out your Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR) this is the base number of calories your body burns without doing anything. To work this out we simply take your body weight in kg and Women multiply it by 22 and Men multiply it by 24. For example I’m 85kg x 24= 2,040 kcals.
The next step is do add your Physical activity level (PAL) to the equation. This is where you need to be honest with yourself and select the exercise level that represents you best. Once you’ve selected which level represents you best multiply your BMR x PAL.
- Sedentary x 1.2
- Fairly Active (walking/light exercise 1-2 times per week) x 1.3
- Moderately Active (light exercise 2-3 times per week) x 1.4
- Very Active (intense exercise 3+ times per week) x 1.5
- Athlete (exercise every day) x 1.7
So if I continue using my example my BMR is 2,040 and My PAL is probably Athlete so 1.7 so 2,040 x 1.7 = 3,468. This represents my Daily Maintenance Calories (DMC). This is the number of calories I can consume on a daily basis to maintain my current weight.
So obviously for our fat loss program we need to reduce our calories.. the question is by how much. Most people will suggest a reduction of 500kcal, I would suggest 20% reduction for the more active person as any greater amount may affect training performance and a 30% reduction for the more sedentary person.
Select Caloric reduction 20 or 30% and multiply your Daily maintenance calories by that figure.
- DMC x 0.8 = 20%
- DMC x 0.7 = 30%
Continuing with my example my DMC is 3,468 if I select a 20% reduction I multiply 3,468 x 0.8 = 2,774. This is my Weight Loss Calorie Level. This is my target calorie level to reach in order to loose weight. With anything you need to be consistent and stick to this goal and give the program enough time to see results.
For most people a weight loss of between 0.5kg-1kg is the right speed to look for, although initial weight loss may appear greater as a reduction in carbohydrates usually leads to an initial drop in water weight in the body. Initial weight loss may also appear quicker due to a number of factors, from age, starting weight, physical activity volume, gender, amongst many reasons. After 2 weeks this initial rapid weight loss should slow and this is when we are looking for continued loss of 1,2 pounds a week.
This is still not the end product though, we need to then decide where these calories are coming from. Hopefully you are aware that calories fall into three different macro nutrients, Protein, Carbs and Fats, it is therefore important to split your calories effectively between the three macronutrients. There is much debate on these splits but below is my version of the how to split up your calories.
For Fats I suggest getting 20% of your daily calories from healthy fats (this is not a must only my recommendation) So my total calories being 2,774 x 0.2 = 554.8kcals from fat. (fat is 9kcals per gram so to work out total number of grams you only need to divide by 9- 554.8/9= 62g of fat)
For protein most experts recommend 1.5 to 2 grams of protein per kg of body weight, so I’m 85kg and I choose 2 grams per kg of body weight I get the total of 170grams of protein. Protein is 4kcals per gram so 170grams multiplied by 4 = 680kcals.
We are then left with our carbohydrate level. This is worked out for us since we already have two figures. Total Calories are 2,774 minus Fats 554.8kcals and Protein at 680kcals =1,539.2 (carbs are 4kcals per gram so again to get the number of grams we would divide this number by 4 giving us 384 grams)
My diet- 2,774 calories
Fats- 555 kcals or 62g
Protein 680kcals or 170g
Carbohydrates 1539 or 384g
This is a basic fat loss diet- there are many other diets from low carb to ketogenic diets that require a different manipulation of your macronutrients and calories but this is, in my opinion the best system for adherence to and therefore continued success.