How to Calculate How Many Calories You Need to Lose Weight Without It Ever Feeling Like A 'Diet'
You don't need to be told that in order to lose weight you need to consume fewer calories. While correct, it's hardly helpful information. What you need is a target amount to aim for that will satisfy you enough that you're not raiding the kitchen cupboards every evening.
This article shows how to calculate a calorie allowance that will keep you full and still provide tangible weight loss each week. You'll learn how to get results without ever feeling like you're on 'diet'. We'll cover:
• The Simple 3 Step Formula to Calculate Your Calorie Allowance
• Why You Don't Need To (And Shouldn't) Give Up Your Favourite Foods
• The Best Way to Further Boost Your Chances of Success
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Let's get started!
How Many Calories? The 3 Step Formula
If you Google 'calorie calculator' you'll see there are numerous ways to estimate your daily calorie allowance. Many of them use overcomplicated formulas to provide an amount. While no method is 100% accurate, the below is a quick and simple method that will work for anyone:
1. Find out your Body Weight in Kg
For those used to working with lbs only: 1 lbs = 0.45kg
Example: 140lbs x 0.45 = 63kg
2. Multiply that number by: 24 if you're Male or 22 if you're Female
The total is your calorie allowance for the day. For example:
- A 100kg male will require 2,400 calories/day
- A 70kg female will require 1,540 calories/day
Divide your amount by the number of meals you normally have each day. This will give you an idea of how to allocate your calories over the course of the day. Using the example above a 100kg male eating 4 times a day would consume 600 calories per meal.
You can spread your intake over however you please. If you prefer a big breakfast to get you going, that's fine. If you prefer to eat less during the day so you can enjoy a larger dinner, that's cool too. It really doesn't matter when you eat. Providing you stay within your calorie allowance you'll lose weight.
(I've have written an in-depth article on how to structure your diet so that 'Not Every Day Has to Be a Diet Day'. To find out more, click here)
3. Use the MyFitness Pal app or check food labels to track your calorie intake
The MyFitness Pal app is a free tool that's very user-friendly. It has a barcode scanner that makes it super-easy to log what you eat and drink. It saves your previous data for each time you use it to save time.
If you want to go the manual route you can log everything you eat on a spreadsheet by using the information on food labels. This will take a little more time but it's just as effective providing you're accurate.
I recommend everyone track their calorie intake even if it's just for a few days. It's the best way to gauge how much you're eating and see where you can make some quick and easy adjustments for better results. This may sound like a pain in the backside but once it's routine it takes no more than 10 minutes a day. That's not much of a sacrifice to get in you in the best shape of your life!
Log your food before you eat it so you don't forget or miscalculate your intake. Every bite counts!
Calculating Your Calories - Tips & Advice
- Use this calculation as a guide and starting point. If you're not losing weight after 2 weeks reduce your daily allowance by 100-200 calories until you start seeing results.
- If you have a lot of weight to lose you may want to adjust your starting calories down further. For every stone over 2 that you want to lose take away an extra 100 calories and see how you feel.
- Recalculate your allowance every 4-6 weeks or when you hit a weight loss plateau. Keep going until you reach your desired weight.
- Once you're at a weight you're happy with, continue to eat this number of calories to remain at the same weight. These are your 'maintenance' calories.
How To Enjoy Your Favourite Foods & Still Lose Weight
Now that you're equipped with the numbers you need to help you lose weight we'll take a look at how to make the whole process as enjoyable as possible. This means including the foods you love in your diet so you don't feel deprived or spend your entire evening thinking about them.
Despite what you may have heard you do not need to live off salads, rice cakes, or weight loss shakes in order to get results. A diet will only work if it's sustainable. For the best chance of success, you need a diet that doesn't feel like one.
'Flexible Dieting' is an approach to nutrition that allows you to enjoy your favourite food and drink while still getting results. Providing your calories are in check you'll get the fat loss you desire without feeling like you're missing out. And it's super easy to implement.
Here's How Flexible Dieting Works
Use the formula explained above to calculate your daily & weekly calorie allowance.
1. Get 80-90% of your calories from quality, mainly unprocessed, whole foods. Lean proteins, fruit, veggies, leafy greens, legumes, beans, whole grains, oats, nuts & seeds, etc.
2. Then use the remaining 10-20% on whatever you like. That could be booze, chocolate, biscuits, pizza, burgers, or curry. No foods are restricted so long as you do not exceed your calorie allowance.
That's all it takes. No magic formulas, skinny teas, special diets, or fat burning pills. Just an approach you can easily adhere to long-term. You can go about your life as happy as larry without ever feeling hungry or craving your favourite foods. What's not to like?
You can use the 'whatever you like' calories (10-20%) in a single day, spread over the weekend, or you could have a little of what you love each day. That's the beauty of flexible dieting. The choice is yours providing the numbers add up.
You DO NOT have to:
- Cut out carbs or avoid them after 6 pm
- Eat 'clean'
- Buy juice cleanses or detox drinks
- Exclude any of the foods you love
- Remove alcohol entirely
Flexible Dieting - Tips & Advice
- This flexible approach to dieting will allow you a night out drinking, an evening on the sofa with some chocolate and popcorn, or Sunday lunch with the family, BUT, you still need to be disciplined when required.
- Ensure you are getting the majority of your calories from the list of whole foods mentioned above. These foods are packed full of fibre and micronutrients. While fat loss may be your primary focus you should also have an eye on your long-term health and vitality.
- Control as much of your environment as you can. If you're the type of person who can't stop at a single slice of cake or a couple of biscuits, then it's probably wise to remove all of the highly palatable foods from your house. Instead, enjoy them while you're out and about. That way you're less likely to go back for 2nd or 3rd portions. Or even 4th's?? We've all done it!
The Best Way to Increase Your Chances of Weight Loss
One thing you should be doing to make your diet journey that little bit easier is to keep your protein intake high. Here's why protein is your friend when it comes to fat loss:
- Satiety: Protein keeps you fuller for longer and helps to keep those pesky hunger pangs at bay.
- Muscle Retention: You want your weight loss to come from your fat stores rather than your muscle. When this happens you'll be amazed at how different your body looks and feels. Adequate protein ensures you maintain as much muscle mass as possible.
- Recovery: Protein helps to reduce muscle soreness so you can train just as hard next time out.
- Thermic Effect of Food (TEF): Protein has a higher TEF than carbs or fats. In simple terms, your body burns more calories digesting it. This won't have a massive impact on your fat loss, but every little helps.
How Much Protein Is Enough?
Aim for 1-1.5 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight per day.
A male who weighs 85kg would aim to consume 80-127kg protein per day
A female who weighs 70kg would aim to consume 70-105kg protein per day
So long as you hit your protein target each day you can play around with your carb and fat amounts as you please.
1.5/kg grams may seem a lot at first so start with 1 gram/kg and build it up over time. Once you do, you'll feel less hungry throughout the day and boost your chances of long-term success. Keep your protein high and you won't ever feel like you're on diet.
Putting It All Together
You now have all the information you need to start seeing some real weight loss results without the pain of traditional diets. Use the guidelines here and you'll be torching stubborn body fat without giving up any of your favourite foods.
Here's a summary of the main points:
- Use the formula in the first part of this article to calculate your daily and weekly calorie amounts
- Implement a flexible approach to dieting so you don't have to miss out on any of the foods you love
- Track your intake using an app like MyFitness Pal or food labels to help you understand how many calories you're consuming and where to make some easy adjustments
- Ensure you eat adequate protein to boost your chances of success. This will keep you fuller for longer and help to maintain your muscle mass so you look your very best
Now go and start working on the body you desire. Good luck and please get in touch with any questions you have. I'm always here to help out.
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