All these fad diets such as Atkins, low fat, keto, slimming world, weight watchers, intermittent fasting and even juice plus diets will probably make you lose fat. WHY…the only reason they work is because they create one thing calorie deficit. Not because the diet itself is magical!For example a low carb diet will make you lose weight simply because you’re cutting out a whole macronutrient so say if you have 200g carbs on an average day and then cut them completely you will be 800kcal less for the day.
To get in a deficit you can do 2 things.. decrease calories, increase activity such as even walking to the shops will help or a combination of both!
I’m my opinion calories are the most important part of your diet. Whether you want to lose weight, gain muscle or simply maintain your current weight, how many calories you eat a day is always going to be the important thing towards your goal!!
I get plenty of messages a day asking what do I need to do to lose weight… It’s simple people create a calorie defect!!! Here are some of the most common questions I get asked on a daily basis.
Why do calories matter so much??
How many calories should I eat a day to lose weight??
How many calories should I eat a day to gain muscle??
I’m going to try my best to answer these for you.
Calories In vs Calories Out
The reason why your calorie intake is the most important part when it comes to your to your diet it’s a very simple and proven concept best summed up as calories in vs calories out. This is how it works…
This refers to all of the calories you take in each day by consuming the foods you eat and the drinks you drink. For the most part, everything you consume (except stuff like water and other zero calorie drinks) contains some number of calories.
This is all of the calories you burn each day. This includes calories burned during exercise… weight training, cardio or any type of exercise, including normal daily movement such as standing, sitting, walking to your car.
There are 3 possible factors that can take place:
- Caloric Surplus (someone gaining weight)
- Caloric Defect (someone losing weight)
- Maintenance (someone maintaining weight)
When you consume more calories than you burn so calories in is greater than you calories out you have what’s known as a Caloric Surplus. Leading to this person gaining weight!!
This means there are leftover calories that never get used for anything, and they now have to go somewhere. They can’t just disappear into thin air. Rather, your body will be forced to store them somewhere in itself for potential later use.
As it turns out, there are 2 storage options available within your body. 1)Fat cells and 2)Muscle tissue.
This is why a caloric surplus will always cause you to gain weight either as body fat or muscle mass, or a combination of both.
2. Caloric Deficit
This is when your body burns more calories than you consume calories out is greater than your calories in, you have what’s known as a Caloric deficit.
This means that you didn’t consume enough calories to support the energy needs of your body. Rather, your body needed some number of calories to burn in order to do all of the stuff we mentioned above, and you consumed less than this.
When this happens, your body is forced to find some alternative fuel source to burn for energy instead. Again new energy cannot just be created out of thin air. It has to come from somewhere else there are 2 fuel sources available within your body where leftover energy has been stored in preparation for this fat cells and muscle tissue.
This is why a caloric deficit will always cause you to lose either body fat, muscle mass, or a combination of both.
As you can already guess, a caloric deficit will primarily result in fat being lost.
This is the one way that fat is ever lost being in a caloric deficit.
When you consume the same number of calories that you burn calories in is equal to calories out, you’re at what’s known as a maintenance level.
Since there is no surplus that needs to be stored anywhere, and no deficit that warrants burning off a backup fuel source, what happens is that you don’t lose or gain anything you simply maintain your current state.
Now I know what you’re probably thinking
I don’t want to maintain my current state, I want to improve it!
This maintenance scenario is the one that’s going to help you figure out exactly how many calories you should eat a day to lose weight or gain muscle.
How and Why??
Being below maintenance will constitute being in a caloric deficit… which is needed for weight loss to happen and being above maintenance will constitute being in a caloric surplus…which is needed for muscle to be gained. Remember guys and girls don’t overcomplicate things and don’t leave it too late to start thinking about changing your life style it’s never to late to start, stop all the excuse and get it done!!
If you would like to no more on how I track calories with all my clients at AKA Tranformation’s I use an approach called flexible dieting.. Flexible Dieting the AKA!! All my clients are achieving there body goals enjoying foods they love and crave visit some of my client transformation’s here.
So What is Flexible Dieting?
Flexible dieting is a nutritional concept put into simply words…. It is the process of tracking your food intake, and aiming for certain calorie and macronutrient (macro) ranges.
Macronutrients being protein, carbohydrate and fats.
Food selection is left up to your own personal preference this doesn’t have to be the boring foods like chicken, rice and broccoli!! The concept I use with flexible dieting is that you eat mainly nutrient dense foods (the ones that people often refer to as healthy or clean) but you can consume other foods so long as they fit within those calorie & macronutrient guidelines! So yes Chocolate Bread Sweets and even ALCOHOL
This approach promotes healthy habits & moderation, rather than seeing your diet as something that’s on or off, as having ranges to work within means you never break or cheat on your diet. That little bit of flexibility allows you to reach your physique & performance goals whilst still being able to maintain a social life & satisfy those cravings
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