My objective here is to perform a 3 month weightloss period and provide insight, transparency, and reccomendations. Here you can follow along, learn, and apply some of the information to achieve similar results.
Calorie- unit of energy
Reducing calories is important, but it is far more important to understand macro nutrients.
Protein- Building blocks of body tissue including (muscle) can also serve as a fuel source, but less efficiently than fat and carbohydrates
1G= 4 calories
Fat- Dense source of energy. Also plays an essential role in structural and metabolic functions. (cell function, hair growth, etc)
1G= 9 calories
Carbohydrate- main function to provide your body with energy
1G= 4 calories
NOT ALL CALORIES ARE CREATED EQUAL
By just limiting calories and/or increasing energy expenditure you can lose “weight,” however by understanding macronutrients and maintaining enough protein to support your muscle tissue and while reducing your fat and carbohydrate intake while simultaneously strength training, and performing cardiovascular exercise you will achieve optimal results.
How much protein should you consume?
In my experience the short hand method for calculating the minimum amount of protein intake to maintain or build muscle mass is .8G or protein per LB of bodyweight.
For a 200lb person that would be 160G of protein per day.
(If you have any protein limitations due to any health conditions, you want to follow your physicians advice)
I personally feel better when my protein intake is a little bit higher, (closer to 1.25G of protein per LB of bodyweight). Though I would not recommend that for most people.
Do I have to count my calories or macronutrients to lose weight?
In short no, but you do need to have a good idea on how many macronutrients or (proteins, fats, and carbs) you are consuming.
In a weight-loss period I look at calorie (macronutrient) intake, cardiovascular exercise, and to a lesser extent strength training as levers you can pull to ramp up or slow down fat loss.
(A lesser extent strength training because the primary purpose of strength training is building or maintaining muscle tissue. A by-product of that just happens to be also burning calories.)
What foods should I eat?
A common misconception is there are good foods and bad foods.
While it’s true a piece of cake is not as healthy for you as a chicken Caesar salad.
But if you look at the macronutrients of each food you can begin to see how each fits or doesn’t fit into your diet.
1 piece of Chocolate Cake Chicken Caesar Salad
Let’s take the example of the 200lb person and look at his macronutrient or calorie break down and see how he can fit either of these foods into his diet.
Let's assume this person is eating 4 meals a day spaced evenly throughout the day.
There macronutrient breakdown looks like this
Total Daily Macronutrient Intake
In a perfect world they would eat 4 meals evenly divided and evenly spaced apart. However, we know that’s not realistic. Eating within the daily macronutrient/calorie goal is fine enough. To see what 4 evenly spaced meal looks like I will include it below
Most people don’t know how many macronutrients or calories they are consistently consuming. It is important to start somewhere if you don’t now how much you have been consuming. Then be consistent.
What if I don’t want to look at macronutrients and calories?
Another way stay relatively consistent is to have 1 serving.
1 chicken breast, 1 serving of rice, 1 serving of almonds
1 serving of salmon, 1 serving of green beans, 1 serving of quinoa
This gives you a very general idea of what your are consuming daily and allows you to stay consistent.
When should I step on the scale?
I recommend stepping on the scale 1x per week first thing in morning, without clothes and shoes.
This standardizes your weight and eliminates fluctuations based on different clothes, shoes, or time of day.
Yes, your bodyweight changes throughout the day depending on water/food intake, elimination, etc.
I know people stress about the scale, but it provides us with a valuable feedback tool.
I personally like to weigh daily, but for most people that is stressful and unnecessary.
It’s important to understand weight-loss is not linear.
Just like investing in the stock market. The stock price may go up and it may go down, but overtime if it’s a good investment it should trend up.
In our case, your weight may go up or it may go down, but over time you should look for a trend downward.
A Few Myths
A 500 calorie a day deficit should result in a pound loss each week.
1 pound of fat = roughly 3,500 calories so a 500 calorie per day deficit should result in a pound loss every 7 days.
This was a common theory first introduced in 1958 and in 2012 proved to be inaccurate in the longterm.
Over the longterm as your body begins to lose weight it becomes more efficient at utilizing calories, your metabolic rate changes, adding muscle alters your metabolism, etc.
Eating at night will cause you to gain fat
The important part of losing body fat is being consistent with the amount of calories or macronutrients you are consuming daily. It’s not important when you are eating your calories or macronutrients.
My Beginning Macronutrients
My Week 1 Adjustments
6 days per week 20 mins low intensity
5 Days per week 60 mins (each body part 1x per week)
What should you do for week 1?
This is highly individualized, but I will attempt to provide basic recommendations.
If you don’t know what how many calories or macronutrients you have been consuming, you consider
.8G of protein per pound of bodyweight
1G of carbohydrates per pound of bodyweight
.25G of fat per found of bodyweight
If you haven’t been doing any cardiovascular exercise. Try adding 2 days of cardio (light walking around your neighborhood, exercise bike, treadmill, etc.
If you have been doing cardio a few days a week. Try adding another day.