In recent years, I had a client who lost around 50 lbs. Things went so smoothly for her that it seemed like she would never hit a plateau. That being said; eventually, her weight stalled. So, we decided to make a change, and sure enough, it worked!
To keep getting results, we decided to switch to a different method of fat loss. Initially, she was using a habit-based approach. This is where we stacked habits every two weeks that consisted of eating slower, eating to 80% full, eating protein at each meal, etc. Once her weight stalled, we decided to track calories, and that is when her fat loss got a jumpstart!
Since you know that a calorie deficit is the primary factor for fat loss, we can now talk about the methods on how to get there. All methods and diets work under the same principle for fat loss. That is precisely why they work. A calorie deficit.
Methods are the tools and diets that get you into a calorie deficit. Over the years, I have seen people do the egg diet, grapefruit diet, keto, cleanses, detoxes, juicing, etc. These are methods that you can use, but the cons outweigh the pros, and I don’t recommend them to my clients.
Macro tracking, calorie tracking, portion tracking, meal templates, intermittent fasting, cutting out carbs, cutting out snacking, eating veggies at each meal, etc. are just a small list showing you what methods I might use with clients. You can be creative with this and create your own methods. As long as they help you manage calories overall, they will help you lose fat!
Today, I will teach you how to implement calorie tracking. Tracking has its pros and cons, but it is a solid choice for many.
Calorie and Macronutrient tracking
Tracking calories and/or macros is a very objective way to view your food intake and is the holy grail of results. I typically use MyFitnessPal with most clients, but you can use any app that you want on the app store.
Many times, the app itself will actually help you set up your calories and macros, but I will also give you some general guidelines. Remember, all calculations are estimates, and you will likely have to adjust after a couple of weeks.
For calories, you can multiply your body weight by 10-12. So, 200 lbs individual would start with 2000-2400 calories. Now, if this person isn’t getting any exercise in, this might be too high. However, it is better to start high because you can always reduce it later. The goal is to eat as much food as you can while losing fat. No need to be miserable, right?
For macronutrients, research heavily suggests that if calories are the same, fat and carbohydrate content do not matter for fat loss. However, protein seems to be very important in making sure you don’t lose muscle while losing fat. This is extremely important if you are wanting to “tone up.”
So, how much protein do you need? Barring no medical conditions, you should consume .8 grams to 1.0 grams per pound of bodyweight. For a 200 lb person, this is 160-200 grams per day. Now, you might be thinking, “That is a TON of protein, and there is no way I can get that amount!” No worries, you don't have to be perfect!
You won't lose all of your muscle if you eat a little less protein. .8-1.0 grams per pound of bodyweight might be optimal, but the key is to gradually work towards it if needed. Maybe you have to start at .6 grams per pound. Once you do well with that, try .7 grams per pound. As always, the key is adherence and improvement.
Adjusting calories for progress
I am sure you have noticed that fat loss slows with time, and sometimes, you might not see any weight loss initially. In this situation, the initial calorie targets might not be suitable anymore for you. This is because we burn fewer calories when we lose weight, and that can definitely slow your progress.
Before making any changes, you must make the unknown, known. It isn’t a matter of if you are under-reporting your calories, it is a matter of how much you are under-reporting. Studies have shown that people unknowingly under-report their calories by over 30%! So, make sure that you are doing your best to stick to your calorie intake and are not making any of the mistakes below, as they would definitely slow your progress down.
You don’t need to be perfect, but if you are struggling to see results, first look at the above points. The key here is to not make irrational changes. Remember, sometimes it takes 2 weeks to start seeing changes.
So, once you have identified that you are not missing many calories, you will now be able to reduce calories to get results moving. This is not an exact science, but cutting calories by 10% is a safe bet. Protein will be kept the same, and your other macros will naturally decrease. Remember, our goal is to have protein at .8 to 1.0 grams per pound of bodyweight.
Once your new calorie target is set, make sure you stick to that for at least two weeks before making any changes.
Now that you know exactly how to set your calories and protein targets get started today!
Go ahead and download my free high protein recipe pack HERE! It includes your calories, proteins, carbohydrates, and fats for each meal listed to get you started.