To lose weight, we need to eat less then we need. That means we need to create caloric deficit and stay on it for some time. This is strictly related to the energy balance. When we use more energy during the day than we are getting in (in the form of calories through our diet), then we will lose weight.
The type of food would make a huge difference.
To be honest once you are on caloric deficit the type of food should not really matter but will be important.
In theory you could only eat chocolate and lose weight as long as you stay on the deficit. It would not be a lot of chocolate as it contains loads of calories. But the question is … would it give you enough vitamins and minerals? Would it satisfy you in terms of the amount of food you are eating?
When you are eating less to maintain the deficit you are getting less nutrients at the same time. The longer you are on your diet the more calories you will be cutting to maintain the process of losing weight. And that means even less food and hungrier you will be.
That is why we should aim for a good quality of food and food that make you satisfied. I am not talking about the expensive one but the food reach in vitamins, minerals are very important to our body and fibres which will make you full for longer.
Cut off the sugar and processed food. Cook for yourself as much as you can and aim for simpler ingredients food.
Eat plenty of vegetables. They are rich in vitamins and fibres and help you get through the dieting phase easier. You can eat fresh as well as frozen veggies. Just put them on the pan and within 10 minutes they are ready to be consumed.
Eat food which is less caloric dense. That means food which doesn’t have a lot of calories. The good example will be potatoes here. You can have quite big amount of them, and they quite low on calories. Additionally, they contain good amount of fibres. On the other hand, you would like to avoid the nuts. They are normally OK but in small amounts, you would get loads of calories. For someone on caloric deficit it might not be a good idea to eat loads of them as only 100g would give you somewhere around 400-600 calories.
Drink plenty of water
Eat good amount of protein and exercise.
Proteins are very good when it comes to managing your satiety level. They also protect your muscle mass from being lost once you are on caloric deficit for a longer period.
Exercise such as weightlifting will help you with maintaining your muscle mass, getting stronger and improving your posture.
Cardiovascular training will look after your heart, blood pressure, stress management and again will help you stay active.
Don’t forget the more active you are, the easier is to create the caloric deficit and that means it is easier to reach your goal of losing weight and body fat.
The number of calories we need to eat all depends on what we want to achieve, our body weight and how active we are during the day. Going more into detail, we would also consider our gender, age and height.
There will be loads of different formulas you could use to calculate your caloric requirements. Remember, though, that this is only an estimation. Once you know your number, you need to see how it works and adjust it accordingly.
Before we even start, we need to go through the basic terminology:
- Caloric maintenance – the number of calories you need to eat to maintain your body weight. You eat the same calories that you burn.
- Caloric deficit – the number of calories you need to eat to lose weight. You eat less than you need.
- Caloric surplus – the number of calories you need to eat to gain weight. You eat more than you need.
There are different formulas to calculate the calories. I have been using the Harris-Benedict formula for a long time now. Let’s present this one then.
Calculating BMR using Harris-Benedict (for kg and centimetres)
Men: 66 + (13.7 x body weight in kg) + (5 x height in cm) – (6.76 x age in years)
Women: 655 + (9.6 x body weight in kg) + (1.8 x height in cm) – (4.7 x age in years)
Calculating BMR using Harris-Benedict (for lbs and inches)
Men: 65 + (6.2 x body weight in lbs) + (12.7 x height in in.) – (6.76 x age in years)
Women: 655 + (4.3 x body weight in lbs) + (4.3 x height in in.) – (4.7 x age in years)
The above calculation is your BMR which stands for Basal Metabolic Rate. This is the number of calories you need to eat to survive without doing anything. Literally just lying down on the sofa and breathing. We need to add our activity level, training, walking, working and generally doing things during the day to BMR
We need to multiply BMR by the activity factor. It is a range between 1.2 – 1.9
The activity factor explained:
1.2 – little to no exercise/training now and then, a bit of walking
1.3 – light exercises (1-3 times per week) and a bit of walking (under 8000 steps a day)
1.4 – moderate exercises (3-4 times per week), more walking (over 8000 steps a day)
1.5 – harder exercises (4-5 times per week) and more walking (over 8000 steps a day)
1.6 – heavy exercises (6-7 times per week) and more walking (over 10000 steps a day)
1.7 – very heavy exercises (sometimes twice a day + extra heavy workout) and much more walking
(over 12000 steps a day)
How does it look in practice:
Man, 90 kg body weight, 180cm height and 40 years old
Woman, 73kg body weight, 164 cm height and 40 years old
BMR = 66 + (13.7 x 80kg) + (5 x 180cm) – (6.76 x 40)
66 + 1096 + 900 – 270.4 = 1791.6 kcal
BMR = 655 + (9.6 x 73kg) + (1.8 x 164cm) – (4.7 x 40)
655 + 700.8 + 295.2 – 188 = 1463 kcal
This is the Basal Metabolic Rate which we need to multiply by the activity factor.
Let’s say we do 3 resistance training sessions a week, plus 1h of cardio a week, and we do over 8000 steps a day. I would go for activity factor 1.4
BMR x 1.4 = 1791.6 x 1.4 = 2508.24 kcal
BMR x 1.4 = 1463 x 1.4 = 2048.2 kcal
This is your maintenance level. Having this amount of calories, you should not lose or gain weight.
Choose your deficit or surplus
Adding 300 – 500 kcal (surplus) – you will be building muscle mass faster but also gaining some body fat
Reducing 300 kcal or less – it is good for people who are already lean and got around 10% body fat on them.
Reducing 500 kcal – good for people who got the moderate levels of body fat
Reducing up to 1000 kcal – good for people who got high levels of body fat
Let’s say we are going for a 500 kcal deficit for man and 300 kcal for women
Man: 2508 – 500 = 2008 kcal
Woman: 2048 – 300 = 1748 kcal
In this case, a Man who wants to lose weight could start his journey with 2010 kcal and a Woman with 1750 kcal
Once you know your calories requirement, stick to it. Remember that this is just an estimation, and you need to watch how it works for you. If your goal is to lose weight, but you don’t lose anything within the first 2 weeks, and your waist size is still the same, you need to cut your calories a bit more or increase the output (exercises, cardio or simple being more active by doing more steps etc.).
On the other hand, if you are starving and don’t have the strength to carry on with your training, you should add at around 150 kcal and watch your body. This will work only if you control your calories and weight your food. You should weigh your food for at least the first 2-3 weeks to learn about the portion sizes you are consuming. Otherwise, you are just guessing, and it will take longer to reach your goal.
If you eat less than you need, you will lose weight. Consuming food which is reach in protein, fibre, vitamins, and minerals will make you reach your goals faster.
Be consistent, patient and stick to your plan, and you will be surprised how fast you can make the first changes in your body.
Alternatively, check the Calories Calculator on my website. Click the following link to get to the Daily Caloric Intake calculator
All the best
How to reduce belly fat? That is the one of the most common questions you can hear in the gym.
Unfortunately, there is no such a thing as spot reduction, which means you cannot choose the body part you want to lose body fat from. It doesn’t work this way.
The easiest answer to this question would be: “you need to eat less and move more”.
Where to start then?
Without making it too complicated and too difficult, let’s just start with following the next few steps:
- Calculate how many calories you need to maintain your body weight and then deduct 10-20% from it to create the caloric deficit. This is your new daily calories requirement that gets you closer to “reduce belly fat”, get leaner and lose weight.
(head to my website www.marcinfitness.com and go to Fitness Calculators to find the one to calculate your calories)
- Introduce Resistance Training into your routine (2-3 times a week) to get stronger, improve your posture and improve any muscle weaknesses you might have.
- Introduce Steady Pace Cardio Training (start 1-2 times per week for even 30 minutes each session) to improve your cardiovascular system.
- Eat more protein in your diet (around 1.7g per kilogram of your body weight)
- Eat less sugar and processed food
- Drink 2.5-3.5 litres of water per day to provide good hydration
- Eat vegetables in every meal to get vitamins and fibre.
- Make sure you got good quality sleep and aim for 7-8 hours per night.
- Be more active … in any form
- 8000-10000 step a day
- Use stairs rather than a lift
- Walk for shopping (if possible)
- Go for a walk after or before work. If you work at the desk go for a few quick walks very 40-60 minutes (if possible)
- Play favourite team sport on a weekly basis
The options are endless if it comes to extra activities outside the gym.
By following those simple steps and being consistent for a longer period of time you will reduce body fat, maintain muscle mass, get stronger and more confident and most importantly you will feel so much better. And as the “side effect” you will reduce the belly fat.
Everyone wants to know the best way to lose weight. There is no one way and for each person, it could be different but also very similar. The difference is hidden in details.
Everyone is different. Some people got no problems at all and by sticking to simple rules they can lose weight easier than others.
There will be people having very stressful life or work and because of that they might develop anxiety. That can lead to poor quality of sleep. Research says that poor quality of sleep can lead to poor food choices, and this might be a reason that the process of losing weight takes longer.
Everyone got different challenges in life which has the big impact on weight loss. By knowing your barriers and challenges you need to figure out and find your own way for weight / fat loss.
Let’s read below about a few quite important steps to take to lose body weight/fat easier:
- Find out your caloric maintenance level. That is the amount of calories you need to consume to maintain your body weight.
- Deduct 10-20% from the maintenance level to create deficit. The smaller deficit the better as it allows you to maintain the results for longer, although it might take a bit longer to lose weight.
- Track your calories for at least the first few weeks to make sure you are getting the right amount of food. At the same time, you learn about the portion sizes
- Be more active. The more you move the more calories you burn, and you can easier create and maintain the caloric deficitMake sure you have enough sleep.
- Drink enough water (2.5-3.5 litres a day)
- Make sure you sleep 7-8 hours, and that is a good quality sleep.
- Reduce processed food and cook as much as you can.
- Eat vegetables in every meal to provide good amount of fibres and vitamins.
Some people want only to lose weight and they will be happy with the less number on the scale. Don’t get me wrong it is fantastic and especially if you are obese person your first and main goal should be weight loss. That should be your priority from the health perspective. And then if you lose weight, you might start thinking more about body transformation and developing more muscles to change a body shape, improve your posture and get stronger. Also, for people who want to do this straight from the start, you should be adding another step … and that is:
9. Introduce Resistance Training into your routine. This will make sure you become stronger, fix all the weaknesses, and improve your posture. Apart from that whilst burning body fat you will be maintaining the muscle mass which visually will be better at the end. The kilograms might be dropping slower but you would be getting leaner.
During the whole process you need to be patient. DO NOT expect the results over the night. You change your body, and it is a process that takes time. Track your results in few different ways:
- Measurements (use tape measure)
- Clothing (if they fit on you easier that is a great sign)
- Mirror (you will see the body is changing)
- Your friends will tell you as well. Especially if someone hasn’t seen you for some time the one will spot the difference.
- Before and after photo. Because you are seeing yourself every day you might not spot the small changes. But if you take before and after photo every 4 weeks – you will notice a change.
- Scale – yes use it as well and see how numbers change alongside with the other ways of tracking mentioned above.
Good luck with any goal that you have got in mind.
Very often, when clients come to me for a consultation and I ask a question: “What is your goal?”, I hear the answer: “I want to lose weight”, “I want to lose body fat”.
There are quite a lot of tools that you can use to achieve it. Being more active, training in the gym, going for classes, eating less, jogging etc….
But before you even take the first steps in the gym, you need to answer one more and yet very important question
Why do you want to lose weight/body fat ?
…. now you should take a pen and write it on the piece of paper or somewhere where you get an easy access to. Write down the reasons WHY you want to lose weight/body fat.
For example: I want to lose weight because:
“ I don’t feel good in my body”
“ I want to improve my health, blood pressure and blood sugar level”
“ I want to stay healthy for my kids”
“ I want to prove to myself that I can do it”
“ I got enough and I am tired of being always big”
There are hundreds of reasons, and I am sure everyone has got at least a few.
Establishing WHY is so important. It is your main motivator when you start doubting yourself. If you start looking for the excuses, missing the workouts or eating more over the weekends, you take a look at this piece of paper to remind yourself WHY you have started your journey in the first place. It will get you back on track faster than you think.
In my opinion you must do it for YOURSELF and not someone else. And then you will be mentally ready and most likely you will succeed.
Once you establish your WHY’s and connect them with yourself, you can move to other steps.
THE JOURNEY BEGINS.
THERE IS A SAYING: THE BEST DIET IS THE ONE THAT YOU CAN STAY ON FOR THE REST OF YOUR LIFE.
You don’t lose weight and body fat because you exercise and doing enormous number of hours on a treadmill. You need to start thinking differently. You have to treat the exercises, weightlifting, cardio training as a tools to improve your strength, posture, cardiovascular system, make your heart stronger and more efficient and especially to start moving better and easier.
Weight and fat loss come from the CALORIC DEFICIT. So put it simple, you eat less calories than you need for your day-to-day activities. No fancy diets, just looking at your calories and/or portion sizes.
How to make sure that you stay positive and long enough on your, lets say “diet”…..
…. well, first of all I would not call it diet. The diet has a bad meaning by itself. People think, when they are on diet, they can not have this and that and it is for 3 months. After the “diet” is finished, I will go back to my old habit and old eating patterns. And that is the time when you start gaining weight again.
Sounds familiar? Yes, I know, I have been there too.
THE MAIN POINTS TO FOLLOW IF YOU WANT TO BE SUCCESSFUL AND ACHIEVE YOUR GOALS:
- Change your relationship with food.
- Learn about the food and start treating it as a fuel for your body. And start cooking if you don’t already.
- Make sure you are having enough carbohydrates, fat and protein in your diet. Watch your calories. By doing so you don’t need to follow boring diets anymore. You can have whatever you want as long as you stick to your calories and protein. The rest of the calories will be coming for fat and carbs. You only need to become more creative with food.
- Manage your stress level.
- Make sure you have enough sleep.
- Don’t forget about the Recovery.
- Ad training to your weekly routine. It can be gym sessions, playing your favourite sport, jogging, swimming, bike …. Anything you enjoy.
- Increase your daily activity levels by doing 8000-12000 steps, replacing your car for a walk when possible, taking stairs rather than lift etc.
- Drink enough water.
- If you overeat one day, just carry on with your diet … DO NOT start from Monday
- Work on your habits. Small steps towards the goal. Healthier habits will ensure that you will achieve your goals and will be able to maintain them.
- Learn, learn and learn. Once you know more how to …. and why ….. you will carry on with your healthier Lifestyle for the rest of your life
ALL THE POINTS ARE EQUALLY IMPORTANT AND PLAY THEIR ROLE IN YOUR SUCCESS.
I would love to say to lose weight and body fat, you just need to eat less and move more. And that could be a case with most of the cases, but not all the cases. And yes, in ideal world that would be the simplest solution to the problem. Eat less and move more …. but unfortunately, the world is not ideal.
Yes, in some cases you just need to cut your calories (caloric deficit), and move more (exercising, more walking etc). And then you loose weight. If you start doing Resistance Training and eat more protein, you will even lose fat rather than just weight. Because let’s be honest …. you want to lose body fat more than weight unless there is an obesity problem.
Let’s say that we are living in ideal world, and we want to lose body fat / weight
There will be a few steps to follow:
- Create the caloric deficit
Calculate roughly now many calories you need to maintain your body weight. Let’s say you need 2000 kcal to maintain your body weight. Create caloric deficit by having less then 2000kcal per day. 10% less would be safe to start with and seeing sustainable results. So it would be 200 kcal less, which would give us a number of 1800 kcal per day.
Other way of creating caloric deficit would be moving and exercising more. At the end of the day we want to use more energy (calories out) then we are getting in (calories in)
By exercising more, we are using more energy and in the same time creating bigger caloric deficit.
- Cut out on sugar and aim for whole grains.
When you cut on sugar and replace is with whole grain, your hunger level goes down and you control your food much better.
- Eat protein, fat, and vegetables.
Each meal should contain:
- Some fat
- Vegetables (aim for different colours)
- A portion or two of complex carbohydrates, such as whole grains
- Be active
Start moving more, jog, bike or join to the gym and start doing any form of resistance training. Resistance training and balanced diet will improve your body composition and help you to lose weight and burn body fat.
Note one very important thing … DON’T TREAT TRAINING AS THE CALORIES BURNER, but use it to improve your stamina, cardiovascular system by doing cardio training and strength by lifting weights. Of course, you will burn calories by exercising, but this SHOULD NOT be the main reason you are exercising.
Be more active outside the gym. Walk, jog, use stairs etc. Extra activity creates more and easier caloric deficit.
What if you follow the steps above and still can not lose weight?
Sometimes, there might be other factors, that prevent your fat loss. As I mentioned at the very beginning of this article, the world is not ideal.
Stress and especially the chronic stress can be very dangerous and should not be ignored or overlooked. It is like a silent killer and can mess up loads of systems in our body. Starting from the nervous system, cardiovascular and endocrine (hormonal) and even can affect our cognition and digestion.
Stress is huge and can affect weight loss.
And we just need to know HOW and try to manage it.
Sleep is so linked to stress. Stress can cause the sleeping problems, and lack of sleep can cause increased stress.
Again, we just need to make some steps to improve our sleep, and it will get easier to achieve our goals, when it comes to weight loss and body composition.
If you struggle with weight loss and need help and advice, don’t hesitate to contact me.