What do we really need to be doing in order to lose weight?
In principle, weight loss is easy. In practice, it can be the most difficult and frustrating thing ever for a lot of people.
Firstly lets clear something up.
Do you want to lose bodyweight or lose body fat?
Most of the people we work with will be looking to lose body fat. They want to keep as much muscle as possible and lose as much fat as possible, bringing about a leaner and healthier physique.
In order to lose body fat, the number one most important thing to do is create a Caloric deficit. If you don’t create a Caloric deficit you WILL NOT lose body fat.
This is an energy balance equation. Calories in VS Calories out.
Creating a Caloric deficit will always be the number one priority everyone should be focused on adhering to. Consume less Calories than you’re burning on a day to day, week by week basis and you WILL lose body fat.
‘Weight loss’ will be more frustrating… Let me explain.
Scale weight will fluctuate, in some cases quite dramatically. This can be due to a host of reasons, time of the day in which you weigh yourself, how much water you drink, how much food you consume, carbohydrate and sodium intake, training, sleep, stress and more. This will for the most part be because of water.
We need a certain amount of Calories each day to maintain our weight. Because of daily weight fluctuations as mentioned above, we should look at this number over a 7 day period which gives us a weekly Calorie target.
For example: An 80kg sedentary female might need 2,100kcal per day/14,700kcal per week to maintain weight.
There are around 3500kcal in 1lb of fat.
In order to lose 1lb of fat she must consume 11,200kcal per week or 1,600kcal per day
This works the same way when looking at weight gain. To gain 1lb of actual body fat you must consume 3500kcal over maintenance.
Hopefully this helps make sense of weight loss vs fat loss.
Is that all we need to focus on?
Quite simply, if you want to lose weight, YES! Calories are the number one thing you need to focus on.
But there are some other things you can do to help.
- Protein – Mainly protein is important for two reasons when dieting. When losing weight, we will be losing mostly water, body fat and muscle tissue, in order for us to keep lean and strong it’s important for us to retain as much muscle as possible. Therefore trying to aim for around 1.2-1.8g/kg of protein you should be in a good place. Secondly, protein is the most satiating macronutrient, therefore a higher protein intake will help keep us feeling fuller for longer, when trying to diet this can become very helpful. Feeling fuller for longer can prevent hunger kicking in and leading to overeating.
- Training/Exercise – Exercise shouldn’t primarily be seen as a way of burning calories but as a way of keeping fit and healthy, there are so many health benefits to exercise. Lifting weights in the gym should be a big focus, lifting weights will help retain/build muscle and strength and help build a strong and healthy physique.
If you’ve got a lot of weight to lose, don’t over complicate anything, just focus on Calorie intake, this is made very easy to track nowadays with apps like MyFitnessPal. Simply download the app to your mobile phone and scan/track your food intake.
If you haven’t got as much weight to lose, you may find tracking Calories and protein intake might be more beneficial.
Of course lifting weights and exercise will be a positive thing, but if you are struggling for time. Nutrition will be a bigger priority for weight loss.
Any further questions on anything, don’t hesitate to get in touch, we will be happy to help.