Obligatory fat person photo
I’ve had loads of people ask me how to lose weight. With one quarter of adults in the UK being classified as obese it is not surprising that people all over the country are looking for realistic methods of weight loss.
In my experience the public generally have a very poor understanding of nutrition and exercise. Also in my experience, doctors have a very poor understanding of realistic, implementable methods of weight loss for their patients. From what I have seen a lot of doctors understand the theory and how the body actually works, but do not know what to recommend for their patients.
One of the reasons for this difficulty is that everyone is different, in so far as their preferences to food choices, activity levels, co-morbidities, peer group, employment etc etc.
I hope that the following blog entry will help a few people out.
The Only Way to Lose Weight
The only method of losing weight, that has been proven in study after study is to sustain a caloric deficit. That is, that the total number of calories that you burn in a day should be more than you consume in a day.
Most fad diets (low carb, gluten free when not suffering from Coeliac’s Disease etc.) work as they produce a calorie deficit. However, these fad diets are not sustainable and most people fall of the band wagon after a little while gaining back their weight.*
Caloric Deficit ≠ Eating Less
Let me say that again. Eating a caloric deficit does not mean that you have to eat less food!
This is where most people mess up.
Let’s take a quick example. Let’s say that you have the inkling for a McDonalds Big Mac menu with a diet Coke. According to their calorie calculator this would come to a total of 845 calories.
Now let’s say the following night you feel like eating a home cooked Chicken Parmesan with some beans, an avocado, a boiled egg and a side of green leaf salad. This meal would come to a total of around 900 calories.
The second meal option has pretty much the same number of calories as the McDonalds however, the total volume of food is much greater in the second meal option. Arguably the second meal option is also all around healthier as it would be full of healthy fats, a balanced amount of carbohydrates and a decent amount of protein as well.
How to Eat More and Eat a Caloric Deficit
So here are the key points on how to eat more food and still be in a caloric deficit:
- Pick single ingredient foods
If you can look at your plate and name each component just by looking then you’re most likely eating nutritionally dense, low calorie foods
2. Protein fills you up
Protein is the most satiating macronutrient and will keep you full. When trying to stay in a deficit it is important to pick good sources of protein – chicken, beans, fish, whey protein, eggs etc.
How to Calculate Your Caloric Intake
Use an online calculator. For a quick guide here are a few pictures from a well known home workout programme to help you:
This is essentially all you need to know. In the future I will post more on how to create a diet that you can enjoy and can stick to which will help you lose weight/maintain weight.
*One point to note is that eating carbohydrates causes your body to retain water. Quickly moving over to a low carb diet can produce a quick reduction on the number on your scale, however as soon as you eat some carbs the number will go up again. This is quite clearly not fat loss, but a lot of people end up claiming impossible weight loss results due to this reason.