So you’re trying to figure out how to lose body fat, and the picture that appears in your mind is a life of salads and broiled chicken forever.
You figure it’s an either/or situation – eat like a bodybuilder and give up the things you love, or eat what you want and learn to live with the extra stuff that’s accumulated around your waist line.
But it doesn’t have to be that way! You can lose body fat and still enjoy foods that you love. You just have to know how to manipulate a few nutritional variables properly, which we’ll cover right now.
Determine your current calorie intake
This part is a little tedious, but once it’s done, it’s done, and you’ll be in a great position to start losing body fat.
First, write down every single thing you eat on 3 consecutive weekdays. (Most people eat pretty much the same every weekday). Then determine the calories in each, using a calorie-counting app or book.
Once you’ve done that, add up the total for each of the 3 days, add them together, and divide by 3. The result is your average daily calorie intake per day.
For example, let’s say you do this Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. Your calorie totals end up being 2900 on Monday, 3125 on Tuesday, and 2675 on Wednesday.
8700/3 days = 2900 calories per day average.
Decrease your daily calories
Now that you have that number, reduce it by 300-500 calories. So in our example, you would now be consuming 2400-2600 calories per day. (Start with 2600 and see how it goes for a couple weeks. If you lose a couple pounds, stick with it. If not, drop it 100-200 more, and that should do it).
This will enable you to lose body fat at a slow, steady pace. If you increase your activity level in addition, you’ll lose body fat even faster.
In general, to get a well-balanced diet you want to break up your daily calories into about 60% carbohydrates, 20% protein, and 20% fats, give or take 5-10%.
So for 2600 calories, you would want about 1600 calories (400 grams) from carbohydrates, 520 calories (130 grams) from protein, and 520 calories (58 grams) from fats. The grams of each nutrient in the foods you’re eating can also be found in the calorie counting app or book you used.
NOTE: In order to develop good habits, in the beginning it’s really important that you keep a journal of your daily eating. Eventually the habit will be formed, and you’ll know what to eat (and how much) without writing it down.
So how do I enjoy life again?
Now here’s the cool part – as long as:
- what you’re eating fits in the above guidelines, and
- 80% of your diet is from wholesome, natural foods, like fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and healthy fats,
for the other 20% you can eat whatever you want!
How cool is that?
The wholesome 80% should provide you with the micro nutrients (vitamins and minerals) that you need everyday. So the other 20% you get to have a little fun with.
Want a little ice cream? A couple wings and a light beer during Monday Night Football? Have at it. As long as your total calories and percentages are right, you’ll be fine.
Make it a lifestyle, not a diet
This 80%/20% rule will allow you to keep your calories low enough to lose body fat without feeling like you are depriving yourself. There’s no need to “go off your diet”, because you’re not on a diet. You can have pretty much anything you want in moderation, as long as you don’t overeat, and give your body what it needs first.
And that’s how to lose body fat, and still enjoy life!
At Rock Solid Fitness, we offer services to help you precisely determine your daily calorie needs, calculate your ideal nutrient percentages, and create daily menus and grocery shopping lists. Contact us to learn more.