Whenever you set out on a new idea to trim down, lose fat, or get lean it always seems to start with “what do I eat?” And with good reason, after all…nutrition dictates 80-90% of your fat loss results.
The answer is…eat whatever you actually LIKE. I know, I know, stay with me.
The idea of fat loss is usually something we would like to do long term right? We don’t just want to get fit for a couple of weeks and then back to blubber. That IS actually what happens when we crash diet, cut calories drastically, or cut out groups of food entirely. (“I’m never eating bread again!”…sound familiar?) The more we like our plan, the more we are apt to stick to it! The more we stick to it, the easier CONSISTENCY will be. And that, girl, is the KEY to fat loss. So here’s the easiest, most flexible way to get that done:
In order for women to maintain their current body weight, the basic guideline is to consume about 12x their bodyweight in calories. So if I am 160# I would maintain my weight eating roughly 1920 calories. If I want to lose fat, I would use the multiplier of 10x bodyweight for daily calories. This would be roughly 1600 calories.
This probably doesn’t sound like it would do the trick, especially if you are a lifetime dieter who was told to cut, cut, cut calories. But this approach will not shock your body, it will keep your metabolism in tact, and it will gently show your body how to start behaving. Your body will be happy to help you shed that extra fat!
The caveat here is what kind of calories, right? Most of us want to maintain our muscle, curves, and firm tone. I mean, all those fit girls just eat chicken and asparagus at every meal, isn’t that the only way? Ha! Hardly..But in order to get lean and mean, protein is most important. If calories are king for fatloss, protein is the prince. Eating protein at every meal will help keep your hunger at bay (protein is slow digesting and takes more energy for your body to burn) and maintain the muscle you already have. If you are a body builder, you know that lifting heavy weight and eating plenty of protein helps you build strength and muscle, depending on how you train. Minimum protein for women is about 100 grams. Protein has 4 calories per gram, so there are 400 of your daily calories. If you divide that up into 3 meals, that’s 33g per meal, 4 meals, that’s 25g per meal…5 meals, 20g per meal. This doesn’t have to be black and white, you get to decide how eating for fat loss works for you!
The rest of your daily “budget of calories” is up to you! People are recently carb-phobic or fat phobic, depending on the latest trend. The truth is, neither one is going to miraculously give you 6-pack abs. Remember, calories are king. Carbs have 4 calories per gram also (just like protein) and fat has 9 calories per gram. While fats are so yummy, satiating, and important for brain and heart health, they also have more than double the amount of calories. So if you are someone who likes to “feel full” when you have a meal you need to watch the amount of fats, as they will add up quickly!
Ideally for health, performance and satiety you would eat a variety of vegetables, fruits, lean meats (fatty meat is high in calories), grains, and plant-based fats. But life happens all around us and we aren’t always in a place (like a spontaneous after-work dinner) where we have access to all the foods we prepped. So just be sure to fit in your protein and stay within your calories. If that mean half of a cheeseburger instead of the whole double-decker plus fries…so be it! You didn’t have to skip a night with the girls or feel anti-social ordering dry fish and broccoli when everyone else is having something off of the menu. You are the one who decides what goes into your body. You are in charge of how you nourish. Just remember to stay within your daily calories if your goal is fat loss. My Fitness Pal is super helpful here, (there are TONS of foods, including fast food in the database) and once you get the hang of it, you don’t need to spend the rest of your life entering foods and tracking macros.
I am always here for questions or comments…anything! Hit me up xxoo