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.
Vitamin D is very important for human survival. The same like vitamin A,E and K , also vitamin D is fat-soluble nutrient. The main source of vitamin D is sun.
Vitamin D is very important for our health and give us a lot of benefits:
It is very important for your immunity, cognition, bone health. Supplementing vitamin D might reduce the risks of cancer, diabetes, heart disease as well as multiple sclerosis.
Vitamin D is produced in the body from the cholesterol. But this process can go ahead only when the adequate amount of UV light is available, and this would be coming from the sun.
You can hear everywhere that most people are not having enough vitamin D in the body. The truth is that they don’t have an optimal level of vitamin D, but they are not deficient in this nutrient.
Vitamin D has many benefits and if optimal level is not present in the body, then supplementation is really recommended.
VITAMIN D AND DEPRESSION
Vitamin D insufficiency has been associated with depression. If you suffer from severe depression the supplementation might help. But if the level of vitamin D in your system is sufficient and you still suffer from depression, then supplementation might not help.
Saying that it doesn’t mean that low levels of vitamin D cause the depression. Most likely, when people are depressed, they don’t go outside as much, they are not exposed to the sun and therefore they produce less vitamin D. So that mean that depression might be a cause of lower levels of vitamin D.
Also being less outside means that most likely we exercise less. Lack of exercises affect our mood in a bad way.
Lower production of Vitamin D during the winter months, might be a possible cause of SAD (seasonal affective disorder).
There have been studies carried out about the correlation between the level of vitamin D and depression. Some studies found there is a correlation, and some have found, there isn’t.
HOW MUCH AND HOW TO TAKE VITAMIN D
The best way to find out the level of Vitamin D in your body is to run a blood test and being more specific you should undergo a 25-hydroxyvitamin D blood test. It does make sense to check your vitamin D level twice a year, in the middle of the summer and winter where we have the most and least sunlight.
Score less or equal to 20 ng/mL means that there is insufficient level of vitamin D in our body. It might affect 50% of the population worldwide.
The recommended daily intake of Vitamin D is set at 400 – 800 IU per day. This amount might be way too low for an adult especially in countries where the exposure to the sun is quite low.
In the USA and Canada, the upper tolerable intake is 4000 IU per day. But the research suggests that the real Upper Tolerable Intake is 10000 IU per day.
The lowest effective dose range to meet the needs of most of the population would be
1000-2000 IU per day.
We have got two forms of vitamin D when it comes to supplementation.
Vitamin D2 (ergocalciferol) and D3 (cholecalciferol). D2 is not as bioavailable as D3 and that is why we should always choose D3 over D2.
It should be taken daily, with meals or any source of fat such as olive oil, fish oil.
- Nearly 50% of the world population have low levels of vitamin D which is less or equal to
- Low levels of vitamin D have been linked to depression.
- Sufficient level of Vitamin D is very important and beneficial for immune system, bone health, cognition, mood. It might reduce the risks of cancer, diabetes, heart disease as well as multiple sclerosis.
- Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) might be a cause of decreased vitamin D production during the winter months
- If your vitamin D levels are OK, supplementation is not going to improve your mood, but if the level is insufficient or low, there is a big chance that supplementation will help with depression
- If you want to check the level of Vitamin D, you can do it through a 25-hydroxyvitamin D blood test
The problem nowadays that we are facing when it comes to nutrition and eating is our relationship with food.
How many times you were starting the diet and after a few days you had something you “shouldn’t”. You were disappointed with yourself, felt guilty and decided to start diet again, in the best case scenario… tomorrow, but most of the time from the next Monday. I have been there in the past so many times.
And now I know that this approach to food is just WRONG. We should not feel guilty after consuming any type of food. We also should not categorize food as BAD and GOOD. Food is just a food. Of course that will be food which is healthier and better for our body, our health and one that is not as healthy. Some food has got more and some less vitamins. Some food is more caloric dense and some less. Some food will be more beneficial for our health and some less. That is the fact.
The worst thing we can do to ourselves is to feel guilty because we have eaten something which in our opinion is “bad”.
We have to change our thinking about the food and in the same time, change our relationship with food.
Rather than saying ..
“I have eaten this product A, and I feel like shit because it was a bad food, all is ruined now and I need to start my diet again from tomorrow or even next week ” .. , instead you should be saying:
“I have eaten this product A, which is not the best choice for me now, and for what I want to achieve with my health or body composition. It is still OK but I have to have it less. I carry on with my nutrition plan and probably eat less for dinner to still stay within my caloric allowance.”
There will be food which is healthier and food less healthy for us. We should answer the question .. What is my goal now ?
Is it a body composition? Improve health ? Gain weight ? Loose weight ?
And after knowing your goal, you should aim for food which will get you closer to achieve it.
Stop blaming yourself because you had slice or two of pizza or ice creams. This is still food but probably not the best option for you at the moment.
Most of the time the relationship with food is getting worse with people who want to loose weight. That is because you have to stay on caloric deficit and eat less than you would normally eat. You will miss the food that you like and food that makes you happy. Because you are being told that you MUST NOT EAT the food you enjoy. All of the sudden you binge on food you like to satisfy the psychological aspect and you feel guilty, hate yourself and food you have just eaten.
When dieting you can still have food you like, but others telling you to not to have or you won’t loose weight. Have it in moderation and maybe only once per week. Sticking to your plan in 85% will still give you a great results and the chances that you follow your diet for longer are higher. The rest of 15% should be allowed for the food you enjoy.
That is why go for a food which is a better choice for you right now. Don’t look at the food as Bad and Good. If you are on a caloric deficit, you eat less (that is obvious). Because you eat less you will be getting less vitamins. You will be getting less good nutrients that is required for your body for the optimal health. That is why in the time when you are on caloric deficit you should be having nutritious food which is also less caloric dense because you still need to be on caloric deficit to loose weight. So when you have for example pizza .. it is not bad food, but not the best choice at the moment. It contains more calories, saturated fat sources and not a lot of vitamins. And having this less nutritionally blessed food and packed with calories, you are leaving yourself with fewer calories left for the rest of the day. And with not a lot of calories left for the rest of the day you will be getting less food and less good nutrition in the same time. But the thing is .. it is not the end of the world. You DID NOT do a bad thing, the food you have eaten is NOT BAD, you only made a wrong choice. Choices that will delay the process of achieving your health / body composition / fat loss goals. What you have to do now is to stick to the plan and be more aware about the next meal and carry on.
KEEP CALM AND CARRY ON ..
The food which is not the best healthy option still has its place in our diet and our life. If you want to loose weight you need to avoid it at the moment as it contains too many calories and it is not the best choice if you are on caloric deficit. When you will be in a better position and can afford to have more calories in your diet .. you can definitely have this food. Otherwise the process of loosing weight will be delayed.
Sample Diet Plan
Omelette with porridge oats and banana
Handful of nuts (if you are not allergic to it)
Sweet potatoes with the meat of your choice and vegetables
Protein shake with banana or any other fruit
Salad with tuna, mozzarella cheese, tomatoes and olive oil. Slice of the bread on the side
I will always recommend food rich in minerals and vitamins. Food which contains good amount of fibres, protein, good sources of fat and less sugar. This food comes first because it is highly beneficial for our health and it should take 80-85% of our diet.
The rest 15% should be allowed for food that we really enjoy and the food which contains fat which is not the healthiest one (saturated), less fibres, more sugar. Something we enjoy but should not have too much of it.
Having both types of food (85% healthy and 15% not so healthy) in our diet will make sure that we can stay healthier for longer and won’t be reaching or binging on the food which is not nutritionally dense.
Healthy bodies come in all shapes and sizes. While weight loss is not a magic bullet for health, and not everyone needs to pursue weight loss, it might be something you want to work toward to feel your healthiest.
Coupled with regular movement, activities and exercises, your diet can affect your health outcomes. (Just make sure to talk with a healthcare professional before making drastic changes!)
If losing weight is your goal, these 15 foods may help support a healthy weight loss journey, according to science.
15 FOODS RICH IN VITAMINS, MINERALS AND ARE INCREDIBLY FILLING
1. Boiled potatoes
7. Greek yogurt
9. Cottage cheese
14. Olive Oil
THE FINAL THOUGHT
There is no “bad” and “good” food. There is a better choice of food according to your fitness / health goal. If one day you have a food which is not right for your current goal, carry on and your next meal should be a better choice.