How Many Calories Should I Be Eating To Lose Weight?
I am going to be honest with you.
I rarely ask my clients to count calories.
There i said it,
I am a body transformation coach who doesn’t get all of their clients to weigh and measure their food.
And the reason why isn’t because counting calories doesn’t work, it does.
It’s actually because unless you’ve gained some experience by tracking food for a while, for most of you it just won’t fit your day to day life and can sometimes make following a diet harder.
Calorie counting does work, but only works if it is easy to follow.
So how many calories should you be eating to lose weight??
Like i said,
I don’t really have our clients weighing every morsel of food that they eat but today i will share with you two ways that you can establish a starting point of how many calories or how much food you need to start your transformation.
Because calorie counting is still the most effective way of fully being as close as possible to knowing how much food and how many calories you are eating.
Record your current food intake in the form of a food diary for the next 7 days.
Once you’ve completed the 7 days, without changing anything using an app like Myfitness pal or the Perfect Diet Tracker to workout an average of how many calories, carbohydrates, fats and proteins you’ve eaten.
Then ask yourself the following question;
Based on this food intake are you
- Gaining Weight and Bodyfat
- Maintaining Weight and Bodyfat
- Losing Weight and Bodyfat
If it is 1 or 2, you need to create a calorie deficit from the total amounts you just worked out from your 7 day food diary. I’d recommend keeping protein higher whilst reducing calories from carbohydrates and or fats.
If you want to avoid the food diary option, you could simply go straight into a calorie counter and workout where you need to start based on a mathematical model. I’ve included the popular Mifflin and St Joer equation for both Men and Women below for you to workout your caloric intake needed to satisfy your basal metabolic rate (base metabolism) + plus your activity levels.
An equation like Mifflin – St Joer would work this out for you;
BMR = 10 x weight(kg) + 6.25 x height (cm) – 5 x age (y) + 5 MEN
BMR = -161 + 10 x weight(kg) + 6.25 x height (cm) – 5 x age (y) + 5 WOMEN
A calculator like this one (http://www.calculator.net/calorie-calculator.html) would work this out for you and include your exercise levels too.
Once you have your daily total you can then subtract anywhere between 200 and 500 calories from your total intake to establish a calorie deficit. Remember, as you do lose weight to continue to adjust your caloric intake downwards so that your body is still encouraged to give up unwanted body fat stores.
Show Me How This Would Work!
Once you know your required calorie intake, now it would be time for you to play around with proteins, fats and carbs and see how your body responds. What works for me, might not work for you and vice versa.
- Set Your Protein Intake
Protein requirements alone can range from 1g/kg to 2.2g/kg (bw) to higher intakes needed depending on height, weight, levels of muscle mass and training history alone!
But for the sake of keeping it simple lets use a 40 year old, 160cm, 70kilogram female who exercises 3 – 5 times per week as an example to give you an idea.
Calories needed to maintain weight; 2075kcal per day
Using the assumption that we need to reduce this by 500 calories this would leave us with a weight loss calorie intake of 1575 per day from which we would then work out proteins, fats and carbs.
1gram per kilogram (bw) of protein = 70g of protein per day x 4 = 280 kcals
The we must work out the fats and carbs needed of which generally 30% of total calories coming from fats is a common accepted daily figure.
30% of 1575 = 471 calories / 9 = 52g of fat per day.
Which would then leave us 824 calories to come from carbohydrates per day / 4 = 206 grams of carbs per day.
So this means that your macros would be
Calories = 1575
Protein = 70g per day
Fats = 52g per day
Carbohydrates = 206g per day
From which then you would have to go to the hassle of working out how much calories, proteins, fats and carbs are in the individual foods that you’d need to eat each day to hit these numbers.
Sounds confusing and hard to follow?
It can feel that why, especially for beginners which is why i don’t set meal plans in this way unless i am working with a client who is experienced in tracking macros who are usually looking to try to get lean for a photo shoot.
For most people it’s just too much stress on top of stress that is already there and it can’t always be applied simply.
How I Help Clients Achieve Amazing Transformations Without Counting Calories
For me, the easiest way to ask clients to eat is by adopting the principles i learnt from one of the world’s Leading Nutritionist John Beradi;
A palm sized amount of protein.
A fist sized amount of carbs.
A tablespoon of fats.
Then it’s as simple as building a nutritional plan around these portion sizes and telling our clients how much of each to eat
and hey presto! we have a diet that we can stick to, that puts us in a calorie deficit and more importantly gets results!
Yours in Health,