Every day, a lot of people take the pledge of leading a healthy life. Of getting in a better shape & taking care of their bodies. And this pledge usually, if not mostly, involves losing body fat to get in a better shape. And since you’re reading this article, chances are that you’re looking to lose weight too.
Well, you’re in the right place. I’ll keep this article short but will cover all the necessary things that you’ll need to understand how fat loss works & how you can get started on this journey right here right now.
Let’s dive in.
Calories – The end all be all
Weight loss depends on one major thing – calories.
Said simply, a calorie is a unit of energy. The food that you eat contains energy in the form of calories and all the exercise & the movements that you do throughout the day burn energy in the form of calories.
To lose weight, the number of calories that you consume through food must be less than the number of calories that you burn throughout the day.
This is also known as Calories In Vs Calories Out.
When Calories In < Calories Out, your body loses weight.
When Calories In = Calories Out, your body maintains weight.
When Calories In > Calories Out, your body gains weight.
To make sure that the amount of calories that you burn is more than the amount of calories that you consume, you have 2 main strategies.
Strategy #1 : Eat less food
It’s simple. Eat less food to reduce the amount of calories that you consume.
Since food is where all your calories come from, reducing the amount of food that you eat daily will reduce the amount of calories that you're consuming.
However, you do have to make sure of a few things here. Going extreme & cutting down a lot of calories often backfires & doesn’t work in the long run.
Cutting down a little bit of calories (10-25% less than your maintenance calories / TDEE) is the right way to go.
You also have to make sure to keep your diet high in protein (1.6 to 2.4 grams/Kg bodyweight protein intake per day) to avoid muscle loss & aid fat loss.
Strategy #2 : Exercise
The other thing you can do to create this energy gap is to burn more calories through exercise. Any form of exercise that involves movement leads to calorie expenditure.
If you don’t already exercise, then getting some amount of exercise per day is a good way to burn more calories & create the energy gap needed to lose fat.
And if you’re already exercising consistently, then prioritizing strength training along with some cardio is a good way to go since strength training helps in preserving muscle mass while you’re trying to lose weight. The goal should be to lose weight in a way that leads to maximum fat loss & minimum muscle loss, and strength training along with a high protein diet will help you do exactly that.
Now, to understand how to eat right, we first have to understand what macros are.
Macronutrients or macros are the building blocks of nutrition. You probably know them as – Carbohydrates, Proteins, and Fats.
Each macronutrient has a calorific value associated with it. Here’s what they look like –
Carbohydrates – 4 Calories per gram
Proteins – 4 Calories per gram
Fats – 9 Calories per gram
Of all the macronutrients, the one that needs our attention right now is protein.
Understanding Protein Intake
When you’re trying to lose fat or gain muscle, protein brings in a lot of added advantages. Some of them are listed below :
- Helps preserve lean muscle mass
- Aids fat loss
- Increases satiety (feeling of fullness)
Making sure that you’re getting anywhere between 1.6 to 2.4 grams/Kg bodyweight protein per day is of utmost importance when you’re trying to lose weight to avoid muscle loss & aid fat loss.
And so, you must make sure that you’re allocating a good chunk of your daily calories to protein first & then allocating the rest of those calories to carbohydrates & fats as per your personal preferences.
Now that we’ve covered the basics of how fat loss works, it brings us to our next point – How to get started.
For that, you need to know what your maintenance calories are i.e. the amount of calories that you need to eat per day to maintain your weight.
From there, creating a small deficit/energy gap is how you can get started on your fat loss journey.
To get started, use this tool to find out your total daily energy expenditure (TDEE). Fill in the details regarding your current body condition & your exercise regime & the tool will calculate your maintenance calories for you.
Once this is done, reducing some calories from your maintenance calories and setting it as your caloric target for the day is a good place to start. Anywhere between 10 to 25% lesser than your maintenance calories is the sweet spot to be in.
Use the slider in the tool to set your calorie budget for the day & click Calculate my Macros to get your total calorie & macro distribution for the day.
Note that you have the option to select the kind of diet you want to follow. No particular diet from all the diets will give you better results compared to other diets. What matters is that you hit your calorie & protein targets for the day & distribute carbs & fats as per your food preferences.
If you’re someone who likes having carbs, then a moderate carb or a zone diet will be good for you. And if you’re someone who likes having more protein & fats with little to no carbs, then the low carb diet or the keto diet would be ideal for you. Select the one that you feel will help you stick to the diet for longer.
The diet chart template lists out all the steps you need to do to make your own diet chart & the grocery list contains all the common food items that are used on a day-to-day basis that can be filled inside the chart along with their calorific values.
Having said that, if at any point you feel confused or overwhelmed, do reach out to us & we'll be glad to help you in any way we can.
Let’s do this. All the best.