Turn on the TV and you see and hear too much information about fat loss workouts, nutrition regimes, what to avoid, and how the quickest way to achieve your goals, as if somehow these plans can apply to everyone. We view with intent, but more often than not try them out and then fail. And there’s a reason for this. Fundamentally there’s only one golden rule you need understand if you want to lose weight and no matter what, this MUST be followed.
The rule is relatively simple, in context. You must be calorie deficit to reduce fat. Within reason, it doesn’t matter what you reduce in order to do that, but if you take in fewer calories than you burn then you will lose weight. By ‘calorie deficit’ this means you need to consume fewer calories than you burn.
But, and this is where it does get slightly complicated, figuring out your calorie intake isn’t always an easy process, plus when we workout, we tend to feel we deserve a treat, feel more hungry more quickly, thus we consume more than we require, meaning we rarely lose weight, however hard you run on that treadmill.
You must be calorie deficit to reduce fat. Within reason, it doesn’t matter what you reduce in order to do that, but if you take in fewer calories than you burn then you will lose weight.
How many calories does your body really need? It depends on whether you have an active lifestyle and the amount of exercise you perform. Read on.
To calculate your calorie intake you need to break down your daily calorie needs from the basal metabolic rate (BMR). The BMR is the rate at which your body uses energy when you are resting in order to keep vital functions performing correctly. So, to lose weight you must use more energy than you consume.
To figure your basic metabolic rate there are several equations. One of the most accurate ones is the Harris Benedict equation, which takes in to account your age, gender, weight and height:
BMR (men) = 66 + (13.7 x weight in kg) + (5 x height in cm) – (6.8 x age in years)
BMR (women) = 655 + (9.6 x weight in kg) + (1.8 x height in cm) – (4.7 x age in years)
|Harris Benedict Equation based on lifestyle|
|Sedentary lifestyle (desk job and little/no exercise) = BMR x 1.2|
|Lightly Active (moderate exercise 3-5 days a week) = BMR x 1.375|
|Moderately Active (hard exercise 6-7 days a week) = BMR x 1.55|
|Very Active (hard daily exercise & physical labour job or twice daily exercising) = BMR x 1.725|
|Extremely Active (exceedingly active and/or very demanding activities: such as a physical labour job and daily training or an athlete training multiple times a day) = BMR x 1.9|
Now you’ve calculated your daily calorie needs, using the relevant equation from the table above, you know what you need to reach your goals. For example, to reduce fat you’ll want to decrease your calorie intake so it’s lower than your daily calorie needs. You don’t need any fat burning pills or expensive “fat reducing” juices to decrease body fat, just a calorie deficit.
To establish how many calories are contained in the food you eat during the day, you need to calculate the macronutrient breakdown so you are aware of the calorie content of each macronutrient. As an example:
Proteins contain 4 kcals per gram
Carbohydrates contain 4 kcals per gram
Fats contain 9 kcals per gram
Knowing this information will enable you to compile a plan of exactly the number of macronutrients you require during a day. The split between proteins, carbohydrates and fats can be manipulated and changed through trial and error for the specific individual and their needs.
For more information about how to calculate the macronutrient breakdown of your daily intake, Short Motivation has covered this in some depth within our Meal Maths article, written by our resident nutritionist, Emma Rushe.
The Meal Maths article will explain how to calculate your carbohydrate, fat and protein intake.
Are you trying to lose weight? Have you got stuck understanding this article? Either way, we’d love your feedback. Let us know in the comments below.