If Everyone Knew This, No One Would Be Fat.
The first time we spoke I wanted to place a big focus on how important it was to not let your insecurities get in the way of your long term goals. It is all too easy wasting time trying to keep up with others whilst losing sight of what YOU are already good at. Remember I want you to be maximising your strengths first, and then we can have you look your best too! (most try to do it the other way around and never get to the second).
So what if you have got your priorities right? and now you have a few pounds you want to lose, or some places you want to tighten, or some areas you want to grow, how do we go about doing this?
This is where nutrition comes in.
Nutrition is without a doubt the most significant determining factor in physical improvements.
In-fact just to reiterate how important it is, your nutrition will account for 80-90% of your visual changes, and so that’s where 80-90% of your effort must be focused.
Without this amount of focus, no matter how well you apply yourself in the gym, how much you sleep, or how many celebrity supplements you take, you’ll never reach your body composition goals.
So what should you do?
Many people will assume that eating healthy is a sure way to lose weight, and given most people start a diet off the back of feeling unhealthy for a long period of time, it then makes sense to ditch the unhealthy food and immediately switch to healthy food. But what if I told you that it is not about the type of food that you eat and more so about the amount of food that determines any weight loss success? Would you believe it?
You see healthy food is for health and the nutrients it provides us, it doesn’t necessarily mean that it is going to help us lose weight, and assuming you will lose weight because you switch from unhealthy food to healthy food alone is a big mistake and one that would only work if the calories also happened to be lower than what you were currently taking in.
Initially, it doesn't matter what the food is, the reasons for eating healthy are for nutrients, macros and allows for more actual food content, it's not actually necessary for weight loss. You could eat nothing but cheeseburgers and still have low body fat, and although I obviously don't recommend that, the bottom line for weight loss (and weight gain) is that it always comes down to calories above all.
The thing is you kind of already know this, you have just been sold differently. Think of it this way:
If all you were to eat was 2 slices of pizza per day, you’d most likely lose weight. Alternatively, if you were to eat an entire mountain of apples, bananas, and fish every day you’d most likely gain weight.
Because the unhealthy food is less than your currently eating, and the healthy food is more than you are currently eating, showing you that its not about the health of the food but firstly the amount of food that is important.
And this is where calories come in.
All food provides calories (energy) regardless of whether they are deemed healthy or not. A calorie from an apple will provide the same amount of energy (not nutrients) as a calorie from pizza. To lose ‘weight’ all that is required is for us to use more energy (calories) than the amount of energy (calories) we are putting in. We can do this by either by eating less, moving more or both. This creates a calorie deficit.
In an ideal (and very simple) world, everyone would already be eating healthy food. This would ensure that you are all getting the maximum amount of nutrients possible. Then all that would need to happen is you would decrease the amount of food. Not only would this give you the best chance of weight loss but it would maximise your nutrient intake too.
Don’t get me wrong, I want you to eat healthily and eat the right amount, but one must not come without the other. Otherwise, you will be adding 400 calories porridge in for breakfast and skipping your 200 calorie snack bar!
In future articles, I am going to go into how to choose the best healthy foods for the number of calories that you are allowed to eat, but first of all, we must find out what that number is, and here is 5 simple steps on how we are going to do it:
Step number 1:
Download the MyFitnessPal app
Step number 2:
Log all of the food you eat every day (this can as simple as scanning the barcode on every packet you consume)
Step number 3:
Adding your food will give you a total amount of calories for that day. Repeat this process for 7 days.
Step number 4:
After the 7th day, add the number of calories up and divide it by 7, this will give you your weekly calorie average.
Step number 5:
Deduct 300 from that number
Step number 6:
The final number shown is now your new daily target of calories.
Step number 7:
Continue logging your food and do not go over that amount for that day. If you do (by accident) all is not lost. Just remove it from the next day so that your weekly average stays the same.
Counting calories is by no means sustainable long term, but everyone should do it for at least 30 days to get a better idea of how much you're actually eating, what proper portion sizes look like, and the quantity of food needed to lose weight, gain weight or maintain your weight. In this article, I'm asking you to do it for just 7 days. Then deduct 300 from your daily average and stick to this for the next 21 days.
At that point, I will be back to you with my next check-in for August and take you through the next steps to becoming the best you can be, in every way.
Keep being beautiful,
Robert McAvoy, CSCS UK Strength & Conditioning Coach Level 4 Personal Trainer