Principles of Fat Loss
HOW TO REDUCE BODY FAT
I am starting with this topic as I believe it is what most readers will be interested in. You will find no magic pills or potions here; just the solid information you need to lose weight and maintain your new weight set point.
You would have heard of this diet and that diet but the truth is there is a fundamental structured approach to losing weight that does not have a brand name and is free.
The information I will be posting on fat loss, muscle gain and improved well being have all been proved on myself. I have trialled all the various crap out there so you don’t have to. I am not just writing about it, I have tried it. If it worked on me, it will work on you as we are fundamentally all the same.
I am going to explain these fundamental principles in the order I believe they should be utilised.
This is the number one principle and by far the most important:
CALORIES (Energy in vs energy out)
Now firstly to be clear you generally do not have to count calories to lose weight. A simplistic example of this is if you are obese and have been eating a shed load of junk food every day you are going to gain more body fat, but if you reduce that shed load to a wheelbarrow load chances are you will lose weight. That’s a bit over the top but if you swap out your nutrient lacking high calorie food for nutrient dense lower calorie food you will notice the difference.
But at some point everybody gets to the stage where the weight loss slows up and we hit a plateau. This is when counting calories can make all the difference.
What is a calorie?
A small calorie (cal) – 1cal is the amount of energy required to raise one gram of water by one degree Celsius.
Calories are measurements of stored (potential) energy. The calorie counts of foods are basically informing us how much potential energy that type of food contains and how some foods are more energy dense that others. For example:-
A tablespoon of olive oil has around 100 calories worth of energy whilst a tablespoon of protein powder has about 30 calories worth of energy.
The important point is; the term “calorie” is not just plucked out of the air, it is a scientifically backed and accurate measurement of the energy in food. This energy is what our bodies use as fuel.
What does our body do with that fuel?
Okay, the next thing you need to know about is “BMR” (Basal Metabolic Rate). Your body requires a certain amount of energy just to function, in fact every cell in your body requires a supply of energy from food to do its job.
BMR is a 24 hour measurement of how much energy your body uses to perform basic functions such as breathing, farting in your sleep, basically just staying alive. This is not including any physical activity.
So we know that BMR is a measurement of energy your body requires to keep it alive.
What about the energy we burn eating, walking and more importantly exercising?
Well, to calculate the approximate additional energy you burn through physical activity we use “TDEE” (Total Daily Energy Expenditure). This is the total amount of energy you use in a 24 hour period. Of course this is only an estimate as the energy you burn is a moving target and changes on a daily basis. For example you will certainly burn more calories on a training day than a rest day.
Now you already know that your body gets its energy from the food you eat, but there is a second source your body will take energy from, and that is your personal energy store, which is in the form of fat and muscle.
Now if your body has energy readily available from the food you have eaten it does not need to utilise its own energy storage, which is the fat stored on your body. It’s more complex than this but a normal meal will supply your body with energy for about 4-6 hours and then after that will it turn to your body fat stores.
Even if you have a huge indulgent day of eating at some point your body will run out of energy and turn to its fat stores. But the important fact here is that if you consume more food (energy in) than you burn (energy out) the excess energy will be stored on your body as fat (energy storage).
In a nut shell you have to burn more calories in the day than you consume to ensure your body turns to its own storage (body fat) for energy.
So if I have explained clearly you should now know that the amount of food (energy) we consume can induce weight loss or gain. If we continually eat more food for energy than our body requires we will gain weight in the form of body fat. But if we feed our body less energy than it requires through food it will turn to its fat stores for fuel which in turn creates fat loss.
Feed the body more energy than it burns is “calorie surplus” Feed the body less energy than it burns is “calorie deficit”
So how do we create a calorie deficit to encourage our body to utilise our own fat stores?
Initially this appears complex, but it really is quite simple to undertake:-
1. Calculate your BMR 2. Calculate your TDEE 3. Reduce your TDEE calories by 20% (creating a calorie deficit)
1. A BMR calculator can be found online; here is an online example:-
Here is a calculation based on myself:-
Height – 5ft 10 Weight – 12 Stone Age – 50
My BMR is 1,661
2. TDEE can be calculated by multiplying your BMR using the following: –
By 1.2 if you exercise 1-3 hours per week By 1.35 if you exercise 4-6 hours per week By 1.5 if you exercise 6 + hours per week
I exercise 4-6 hours per week, so 1,661 x 1.35 = 2,242 – this is my TDEE.
3. TDEE of 2,242 – 20% = 1,793 (creating a calorie deficit)
So to lose weight I would round that figure up and consume 1,800 calories per day to reduce body fat.
Tracking your Calories
The easiest way to track calories is utilising a smart phone app. This is very simple as you can scan the food item bar codes and they also have a great database of foods already listed.
I use MyFitnessPal, which is an absolutely free app.
I believe calorie counting is the best method for losing body fat and hence number one in my fundamental structure for losing weight.
I could write pages on this but I hope I have offered enough information for you to start counting calories.
My second most important principle is balancing macronutrients and will follow shortly.
Let me know what you think about counting calories?
Do you have any questions?
Be Happy, Be Healthy, Enjoy Life