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Fat loss really isn’t as complicated as you might think.
Despite the plethora of fat loss products on the market, from fat burning tablets to ‘teatoxes’ making you feel fat loss is an overwhelmingly complicated process, the fundamental term you need to grasp is simple (and free): Energy Balance.
Energy balance is the number of calories you take in through food and drink minus the number of calories you burn through exercise and basal metabolic rate (BMR)…
Calories IN vs calories OUT.
To lose fat you need to create a calorie deficit, so you burn more calories than you consume, meaning your body resorts to using stores of fat to survive.
You don’t need to overcomplicate it.
Creating a calorie deficit
Once you have worked out the number of calories you need to maintain your weight for your activity level, you can subtract 5-10% from this to create a calorie deficit.
If you stick to this, you will lose weight.
I wouldn’t advise creating too much of a calorie deficit too soon as it can make life harder for yourself meaning you are less likely to stick to it consistently.
Of course, if you eat 1200 calories a day, you will lose weight faster than if you eat 1800 for example, but this low level of calorie intake is not sustainable and could compromise some of your hard-earned muscle mass.
I recognise that sticking to a calorie deficit is more challenging than I’m making it sound.
It definitely takes some discipline to say no to that extra biscuit at work, but what I find works really well for both myself and my online coaching clients, is looking at your weekly intake rather than daily intake.
If you have a meal planned out and know you will consume over your daily calorie needs, then you can slightly lower your intake on the other days in the week to make up for it!
But I always plateau?
Our bodies are extremely clever; the inherent survival instinct is to use as little energy as possible.
This is why you eventually reach a plateau within your training and nutrition programme. For example, if you complete the same training programme for 6 weeks, during week 1 you will likely burn more calories than in week 6, despite completing the exact same workout; this is because your muscles adapt to become more efficient and use less energy.
In these situations, it's important to apply the process of ‘progressive overload’ to keep challenging your muscles and nervous system.
If you weigh (for example purposes only) 70kg and your basal metabolic rate is 2200 calories per day, once you lose 10kg of fat, you are carrying 10kg less load around each day, and by default, your calorie requirements reduce.
This is called metabolic adaptation.
This is why regularly recalculating your energy requirements is key to ensuring a good and sustainable rate of fat loss.
It doesn’t necessarily mean you have damaged your metabolism; it is merely that you require fewer calories per day than you are used to!
If you stick to the fundamental principle of calories in vs calories out, you will make progress.
I think it’s important people understand that every diet on the planet has the same thing in common: they all create a calorie deficit.
If you want to follow any particular nutrition regime, please do so because you want to and it fits with your lifestyle, not because you think you have to cut out a certain food group to make progress! If you are struggling with your nutrition, then be sure to check out my previous posts ‘A Beginners Guide to Proper Nutrition’ part one and part two.
For more health, fitness and nutrition posts make sure you are following me on Instagram here.
Until next time!
Dr Francesca Jackson-Spence (@FJSFit)