If the question at hand is losing fat and keeping it off, most people would search for an easy solution, such as a weight loss pill or a promising program a famous coach made for everyone.
The truth however is that an approach like this more often leads to eating disorders and loss of motivation, rather than sustainable results.
Think of it this way - Your body is a machine and it’s YOUR responsibility to understand how that machine functions and what you can do to maintain it.
In this article, I’ll give you the best tips you can use in your daily life to start cutting weight (and keeping it off).
Humans have existed for hundreds and thousands of years and for most of that time, we as a species have gone through starvation.
Starvation is something the body knows very well and that is the reason why it can go through metabolic adaptations, which allow it to survive on little to no resource.
And here comes the big but…
It’s only been the past 40-50 years of human existence (out of 200,000+), that we’ve had such easy access to a multitude of foods.
Furthermore, those foods, many of which are bad, can be delivered right to your door, without having you do anything else besides standing up to pick up your delivery.
If we follow that train of thought, we can conclude that the modern-day lifestyle is quite literally, fattening!
At its very core, it robs you of movement and gives you a ton of junk food to choose from.
What I’m trying to tell you here is that the very first steps you should take towards your weight loss journey, is to take care of your physical activity levels, as well as your nutrition.
The fundamental principle of weight loss is referred to as “eating in a caloric deficit”.
This essentially means giving the body a lesser amount of energy (food) than it needs to sustain its body weight.
What this means for you is that the primary factor for weight loss is the AMOUNT OF FOOD and not so much the type of food. (Yes, you can lose weight with burgers.)
Now, the amount of energy you need daily to maintain your body weight and bodily functions, is referred to as “Total Daily Energy Expenditure (TDEE)”.
Your TDEE is individual and it depends on the following factors:
5. Non-exercise activity
6. Exercise activity
7. Food consumption (digestion uses energy)
Quite simply, if you consume more than your TDEE, you will gain weight.
If you consume less than your TDEE you will lose weight and if you’re around your TDEE, no massive changes in weight will be observed.
You can calculate your own TDEE using this TDEE & Macro calculator –
NOTE: No TDEE calculator is 100% accurate so don’t take these results for granted - Monitor your progress and adjust along the way.
Now, though you can eat any food on a diet and still lose weight, the choice of food sources is important.
During a period of weight loss, you lose not only fat but also lean body mass (LBM).
In order to avoid a biological disaster, you MUST do everything possible to retain that lean body mass.
The first thing is to secure a moderate caloric deficit, made up of complete, nutritious food sources with sufficient amounts of protein and fats.
The second thing is to secure enough energy (carbohydrates) for good training sessions.
Finally, you have to make sure that your rate of weight loss is adequate, at around 450g – 900g per week - This will ensure that most of the weight you lost is fat.
Not only that but with a moderate deficit, you will still be able to sustain the healthy functioning of your body and you will also have enough energy for any daily activities.
So to put it simply - If you are in a moderate deficit and primarily eat nutritious foods and train well, you will be able to retain most of your lean body mass and your energy levels will be high.
In terms of quantities, this is how you can spread your macros across the nutrition plan:
Protein (4 calories per gram) – 1.2-2.2g per kg of body weight.
Fat (9 calories per gram) - 0.5- .75g per kg of body weight.
Carbohydrates (4 calories per gram) should make up the remaining caloric intake.
- If your TDEE is 2200 calories, you’d need to consume 1700 calories to burn fat.
- If you’re 81kg, that would mean you’d need about 180 grams of protein and 60 grams of fat
- 180 grams of protein are 720 calories and 60 grams of fat are 540 calories, making a total of 1260 calories
- 1700 calories - 1260 calories = 440 calories remaining
- These 440 calories go for carbs and to calculate the exact amount, you simply divide by 4 because carbs have 4 calories per gram (110g of carbs are 480 calories)
Alright, so we now know that a moderate deficit that favors nutrient dense-foods is the best way to sustainable fat loss.
But how do you actually keep the weight off?
The majority of people who go on a diet, re-gain 100% or more of their weight back in twice as less time as it took them to actually lose it...
And this is the EXACT reason why you shouldn’t think of your diet as something that has a start and end date.
It is a healthy habit that you should create and keep with you for the rest of your life, in order to meet the needs of your organism.
If you want to keep the weight off, after you’ve hit your goals, do the following:
1. Reverse dieting - Gradually increase caloric intake by 50-80 calories per week
2. Keep monitoring weight - You shouldn’t gain weight drastically.
3. Continue training - Increase your working weights, sets and repetitions
Additionally, throughout the period of eating at a caloric deficit, you should resort to diet breaks every 2-3 weeks.
This essentially means going back to maintenance calories and what this will do is it will help you keep your metabolism up, making the whole process more bearable.
Losing your fluff and keeping it off starts at the very fundamentals of what you put in your body.
To achieve sustainable weight loss, you must resort to a moderate caloric deficit and nutrient-dense foods.
Remember this should not be a drastic, quick process but rather a gradual change in time.
In the second part of this article series, I’ll tell you more about training and how you can use it to speed up your fat loss and keep the body healthy.