A large majority of my non-athlete clients all have one thing in common and that is that their primary fitness goal is weight loss. In this post I will reveal the “secret” to weight loss but first, we have to understand some basic things about nutrition.
The foods that we eat can be broken down into the three macronutrients. The three macronutrients are carbohydrates, fats, and proteins. Most foods are comprised of a combination of all three macronutrients but we classify foods as a carb, fat, or protein by which macronutrient they are highest in. For example, steak is classified as a protein but can still have a significant amount of fat in it depending on the cut.
All macronutrients are not created equal. Some macronutrients are higher in calories per gram than others:
Carbohydrates: 4 kcal/gram
Proteins: 4 kcal/gram
Fats: 9 kcal/gram
Alcohol: 7 kcal/gram
**Alcohol also contains calories but has no nutritional value**
Calories give your body the energy that it needs to get through the day. Your body burns a certain amount of calories at rest. This is known as your Basil Metabolic Rate (BMR) or Resting Energy Expenditure (RER). Your body will then burn additional calories depending on your activity level throughout the day. A highly active person will burn more calories than someone who is more sedentary. Your BMR/RMR plus your average calories burned based on daily activity level is known as your Total Daily Energy Expenditure (TDEE). I like to refer to the TDEE as the Maintenance Level. Meaning that if you eat this amount of calories you will not gain or lose weight you’ll maintain your current weight.
(Here comes the secret to weight loss)
If you consume more calories than your maintenance level (positive energy balance) you will gain weight. If you consume fewer calories than your maintenance level (negative energy balance) then you will lose weight. There are two ways to establish a negative energy balance:
You can eat fewer calories than your maintenance level and over a period of time this will result in weight loss. You can also add exercise to burn more calories per day to get below your maintenance level and lose weight. Or, and most optimally, you can do a combination of eating fewer calories along with exercise to establish this negative energy balance which promotes weight loss.
It is still important for your diet to be well-balanced and made up of all three macronutrients. In a different post I will break down the differences between high carb, low fat, high protein style diets, ect.
But wait, there’s still one problem! How does one calculate their BMR/RMR and TDEE?! Below I have provided an equation that will help you calculate both of these things. If math is not your strong suit then there are plenty of auto calculators online that you could use to calculate it! It is important to note that these equations are just estimations and not exact. Nevertheless, they are a good starting point.
BMR/RMR (Harris-Benedict Equation)
Men: BMR = (10 × weight in kg) + (6.25 × height in cm) - (5 × age in years) + 5
Women: BMR = (10 × weight in kg) + (6.25 × height in cm) - (5 × age in years) - 161
Little to no Exercise= BMR x 1.2
Light Exercise (1-3 Days/Week)= BMR x 1.375
Moderate Exercise (3-5 Days/Week)= BMR x 1.55
Heavy Exercise (6-7 Days/Week)= BMR x 1.725
Very Heavy Exercise (2x per day/Very Intense Workouts)= BMR x 1.9
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