There are very few people in the modern world who do not think they could do with losing a few extra pounds. In some cases, that can be even more. It can be quite tricky if you do not know what you are doing, weeding out the correct information from the incorrect. We have seen that first hand ourselves, with a plethora of information available, we see contradicting “evidence” all over the internet. That’s why we wanted to make our weight loss guide to try and give you the most accurate information that you can, all in one place. We will also try to keep it relatively short so that you
As you may know, losing weight is made up of three fundamental elements. They are:
we will go into those sections in detail as we go through the article, trying to ensure that by the time you have read all of this page, you will have a clear and concise understanding of each of them.
Weight Loss Guide – Nutrition
One thing that you may have read is that you cannot out-train a poor diet. Well, unfortunately, that is true. While food is such a broad subject, we even break that down into three main categories:
Again, we will look at those three things throughout this section so that you have a firmer understanding of each.
Energy In Food
All food has an energy rating. It is the amount of energy that we consume that causes us, ultimately, to gain or lose weight. Luckily now, most foods that you buy from a store will have an easy to read table on the packaging to show you what values of energy, along with other things, it has in it. We will look at the other things as we go along. For now, though, we are only concerned with energy values. That is because all weight loss, or gain, depends on a healthy balance of energy consumed and expended. The two units that you will see are:
- kJ. – Kilojoules are a measurement of physical energy that acts upon an object. It is still a unit to convey how much energy a food contains in some parts of the world. However, the most common unit is the calorie.
- Kcal. – Calories are, as you have just read, the most widely used unit for food energy, and we will be focusing on that throughout the article.
All food and most drinks contain calories of varying amounts. Adding them up into a daily or weekly total will allow us to see and work out how many we are consuming.
What Is A Calorie?
So, we define a calorie as the amount of energy required to raise one gram of water by one degree Celcius.
It could be helpful to understand the reasoning behind the unit, although it is useful to note that cal and Kcal are different but interchanged throughout the nutrition industry. The cal is a single calorie, while Kcal is one-thousand single cal. We base our intake on Kcal, but call them calories for short.
That may be a little confusing, but do not worry, I am yet to find a manufacturer of food that shows energy in cal instead of Kcal. Therefore, we will call 1-Kcal a single calorie for simplicity. If you do find a product that contains the energy values in cal, you will notice straight away as it will seem like an extremely excessive amount for the food.
Here is an example of a nutritional information label:
As you can see, the energy is stated in calories, when, in actual fact, it means Kcal. We know that because of the macronutrients in the food. But we will go into that in a little while.
How Many Calories Should I Consume To Lose Weight?
The recommended amount of calories you should consume is around 500 less than your TDEE a day. However, how many calories do you consume?
Firstly, you need to know how many calories you use a day under normal circumstances. That is otherwise known as the TDEE (Total Daily Energy Expenditure.) There is a formula that you can use to calculate it yourself if you wish:
TDEE = BMR x Activity Multiplier (BMR is your Basal Metabolic Rate) calculated as below:
BMR = (10 x weight in KG) +(6.25 x height in CM) – (5 x Age in years) + gender constant. Where gender constants are:
- 5 for males.
- -161 for females.
So, as an example, if you are a 30-year-old, sedentary male, weighing 98KG and 180cm tall, you will do the following:
- (10 x 98) + (6.25 x 180) – (5 x 30) + 5
- (980) + (1,125) – (150) + 5 = BMR 1,960
Now you need to calculate the TDEE by doing the following:
1,960 x 1.2 Activity multiplier (set out below) gives you a total TDEE of 2352 Calories.
- Sedentary. – (little or no exercise) = 1.2
- Slightly active. – (1 to 3 hours of exercise or sports per week) = 1.375
- Moderately active. – (4 to 6 hours of exercise or sports per week) = 1.55
- Very active. – (7 to 9 hours of exercise or sports per week) = 1.725
- Highly active. – (10+ hours of exercise or sports per week) = 1.9
Alternatively, you can check a TDEE calculator like this one.
Now that you know how many calories you use a day, you need to take away the 500 that we spoke about at the beginning of this section. Therefore, it will be 2352 – 500 = 1852 calories per day to lose weight. The deficit that you create in your daily intake, however, will adjust the speed at which you lose that weight. The larger the deficit, the faster you will lose weight — the smaller, the slower. Bear in mind, though, that TDEE isn’t a precise science, as only you know how active you are, and the activity multiplier only sets out five groups for you to choose from. Although, if you feel like you are between two groups, you can adjust the number.
We can, and do group all calories into specific macronutrients. They are; fat, carbohydrates, and protein, and each of them has their own calories per gram rating:
- Fat. – Seven calories per gram.
- Carbohydrates. – Four calories per gram.
- Protein. – Four calories per gram.
There is no specific ratio for them, and it will all depend on the type of diet that you are following. For example, a ketogenic diet will require high fat, moderate protein, and almost zero carbs while a “standard” diet issued by a dietitian may advise high protein, moderate carbohydrates, and low fat. Each of them has its advantages and disadvantages, so you will need to explore each and decide which fits you best. Talk to a doctor if you have any issues.
One thing that I would suggest that you do to keep on top of your diet is to plan a few days or a week worth of food in one go. That way, knowing what you are going to have for breakfast, lunch, and dinner each day will help you understand what you will eat and when.
Divide your daily calories into the number of times that you will eat, and try to stick with a decent macro ratio too. One of the common misconceptions about losing weight is that if you eat a lot of fat and carbohydrates, you will gain weight. While that is true to an extent, you can eat whatever you want if it falls under your TDEE. However, you will not feel terrific without the correct vitamins, minerals, and supplements, if required.
There are some essential vitamins that you need to consume in certain amounts for you to feel good. That is especially true when you are in a caloric deficit. All of the nutritional information labels will have the vitamins listed on them and in what quantity they are. However, here is a list of essential vitamins that you need to have a day to function at your best: (As an average adult)
- Vitamin A – 800 – 1000 micrograms
- Thiamine (B1) – ~1.5 milligrams
- Riboflavin (B2) – ~1.5 – 2 milligrams
- Niacin (B3) – 15-20 milligrams
- Pyridoxine (B6) – ~2 milligrams
- Vitamin B12 – ~2 micrograms
- Ascorbic Acid (C) – ~60 milligrams
- Vitamin D – 5-10 micrograms
- Vitamin E – 3-10 milligrams
- Vitamin K – 50-80 micrograms
- Folic Acid (folate) – 200 micrograms
- Biotin – 100 – 300 micrograms
- Pantothenic Acid – 4-7 milligrams
There are times that you need to consume more or less than the recommended levels in the list, so make sure to check with your doctor. You can eat most of the vitamins by eating a variety of whole foods. However, you can get supplements for them if you are intolerant of the foods that contain the vitamins.
There are a vast number of supplements available on the market now, each with their own benefits. Some of the leading dietary supplements are:
- Minerals. – Having a deficiency in minerals such as iron, calcium, etc. can have some health issues. Here is a list of all of the minerals that you need.
- Vitamins. – As you have seen above, there are recommended intake amounts for each vitamin. You can get supplements for them as an aide if you need it.
- Fibre. – There are two types of fibre, soluble and insoluble. Soluble attracts water and turns to gel, slowing digestion. Insoluble helps to bulk stool.
- Prebiotics. – Help to promote the growth of the beneficial bacteria in the intestine, assisting in treatment for digestive issues such as IBS.
- Amino acids. – Amino acids are building blocks of protein. You may not eat all of the required proteins if you are vegetarian, vegan, or on any other specific diet.
- Proteins. – Often for bodybuilders and other athletes that require a higher amount of protein to help build, repair, and maintain muscle.
- Phytonutrients. – Non-essential but still beneficial plant substances that help you feel good.
- Omega-3 fatty acids. – Assist in serotonin production, making you feel happier.
- Conjugated linoleic acid (CLA). – May assist in increasing muscle mass and strength and promoting weight loss.
- Antioxidants. – They may help with reducing harmful oxidants in the body.
- Pre-workout boosters. – Assist in giving you the energy to complete a workout at maximum potential.
- Post-workout recovery. – Lower recovery times after workouts, and helps the body repair itself quicker.
- Fat burners. – Assist in burning fat through various means.
There are some of the supplements that are highly beneficial to people who lack them for whatever reason. Whether that is because they train harder than their food intake allows, or if they have a medical condition that requires an excess or top-up of them. You should always use the highest-quality supplements that you can, as some of them are chemical replicas of the nutrient or mineral, which will not help you in the long-run.
Fitness is a massive help to physical and mental health, and you should partake in it as often as possible. There are two main categories that fitness plans come under, or there is a combination of both. The main two groups are:
Depending on what your goals are, you may want to choose one over the other. However, as we are talking about weight loss, we will tell you which is best after the introduction to each.
Cardio – Aerobic
Cardio is short for cardiovascular, and exercises that fall under the “cardio” umbrella all exercise the heart and lungs. Those same exercises are called aerobic, too, because you require oxygen to complete and assist in the circulation of oxygen-rich blood around the body. There is a huge amount of cardio exercises that you can do, from brisk walks to marathon running, swimming, hiking, anything that gets your heart and lungs working.
Strength – Anaerobic
Strength training is precisely that training for greater strength. Instead of timing your workout, like in cardio, you need to base the completion of training when certain muscles become unable to complete a set-out activity. The inability to move a specific weight or resistance comes from microscopic tears in the muscle fibers, stopping them work as efficiently. The muscles will then repair themselves and grow in the process.
Strength Vs. Cardio For Weight Loss
For straight-up weight loss, cardiovascular training is better. The reason for that is that strength training builds muscle, which is, on average, 15-20% heavier than fat. Therefore, you can lose fat and build muscle, and the scales may even go up.
However, there is something that you may want to consider:
- One pound of fat will burn 2-3 calories a day.
- One pound of muscle will burn 7-13 calories a day.
So, you can always do strength training to build muscle, which will help you lose fat weight quicker than not strength training alone. Likewise, cardio will also build muscle and use calories, but it will not make as much muscle as strength training.
A common approach for weight loss is to incorporate both of the training types in one routine so that you build some muscle, burn some calories, and get fitter at the same time.
Weight Loss Guide – Workout Plan
Many plans will get you the desired weight loss, but having one that you do not find too strenuous will be better if you are only just starting in fitness. That way, you will not get too de-motivated from doing it. I have known people who start with great intentions of going to the gym 5 or 6 times a week but fail quickly because it was too much for them to do straight away. Our advice is this:
- Stick to 3-4 workouts per week
- Compound exercises (squats, deadlifts, overhead press, rows) 5×5 Stronglfts is a favorite of mine.
- 30 minutes cardio
Of course, you will have to adjust that plan to suit your capabilities. Try to do as much as you possibly can without burning yourself out, because that is when you start to not look forward to working out; then you will stop.
While I have recommended a workout plan, that doesn’t have to be the one that you do. Choose something that you enjoy doing, especially for the cardio part. Some people do not like lifting weights, and some people detest running. Therefore, you are better to stick with exercises that you know that you enjoy, whether it is hiking, walking, running, weightlifting, bodyweight exercises, etc.
Losing weight needs a lot more than just a weight loss guide. You have to plan your routine to fit your lifestyle, abilities, and interests. However, overall, the golden ratio is calories consumed minus calories used (TDEE) will equal a weight gain or loss.
Remember the equation that we spoke about for calculating your TDEE, well, do not forget to consider that when planning meals, etc. So, the basic rule of losing weight is this:
- Calculate your TDEE (including workouts, etc.)
- Eat less than the TDEE by around 200-500 calories. (it could be helpful for you to plan your calorie intake by week instead of a day. That way, you can have a “cheat meal” on one day, and eat less over the week to compensate.)
When you are exercising, do not rely solely on the numbers on the scale. Your fat percentage will go down if you are following the guide, but your weight might not. Remember to drink plenty of water when you are changing your diet or working out; you will lose a lot of water in the beginning.
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