Awareness For Fat Loss In 3 Steps
With any change you’re trying to make awareness is always the first step. Becoming aware of what you’re currently doing will help you transition into what you want to be doing for the goals you have. This method applies with any change you’re looking to make. Whether it be fat loss, building muscle or just general health, awareness will always be your first step. It’s easy to get used to living a certain lifestyle and unless you tune into your daily choices and habits, you’ll never make change. For this article specifically, I’ll be talking about fat loss and how to get into that caloric deficit to lose fat.
At the end of the day calories will always be king when it comes to fat loss. Doesn’t matter how much you workout. If you’re still consuming more calories than you’re burning you will ALWAYS gain weight. That’s science and math applied. We can’t change that. HOWEVER, we can make small changes to our daily choices to bring us closer to that deficit. So how do we build awareness around what we eat? Two words: TRACK IT! Tracking your food is the most accurate way to build awareness around what you’re putting into your body. You’ll learn how many calories you’re putting into your body as well as the macros associated with those calories. Long term you’ll want to not just optimize the amount of calories you put into your body, but also the macronutrient composition of those calories. In short, you’ll want to know how many grams of protein, carbs, and fat you put into your body daily.
(But more on macros that later)
For now let’s look at how you can start tracking and building that awareness for the fat loss you want!
Step 1: Install MyFitnessPal & Don’t Change A Thing
MyFitnessPal will be the main tool you’ll be using to track your food along this journey. You’ll only be tracking for 5 days. That’s it. Five days gives a decent idea of what you typically eat within a week. We rarely deviate THAT much week to week unless there are holidays, vacations etc during the week. If you have Facebook, you can make an account in a few seconds and get to tracking! If you can think it, you can probably track it.
With each meal make sure you enter the food in whatever way you prepared it. So for instance, if you were inputting chicken that you grilled, don’t put in Chicken Breast for 4oz. That would enter RAW chicken into the app. Make sure you put “Grilled Chicken” into the app for tracking. The same would go for rice, broccoli, etc. Make sure you put “cooked white rice” or “baked broccoli”. When you prepare your food, the caloric amount increases per serving so it’s really important to enter it this way.
While you’re tracking, it’s important to NOT to change how you eat AT ALL.
Because you don’t want to bias the tracking based upon a drastic lifestyle you’re adapting for this week. You want to track exactly how you would eat on a normal day.
Remember: your first goal is building awareness on your current habits.
Once you analyze your current habits, you can build a plan to make those changes (don’t worry I gotchu). It’s also important not to feel bad if you notice things like “wow, I didn’t realize I was eating that much ice cream” or “wow, I didn’t realize that had that much sugar in it”.
The whole reason you’re embarking on this journey is to MAKE those discoveries.
You WANT those moments to happen. Those moments are GOLDEN. Those moments will help clue you into what habits you need to alleviate and eventually break to get results. Doesn’t mean you have to stop eating ice cream all together. It just means you will be changing HOW you eat it. It’s important not to act on guilt and fear. When you’re fearful and guilty you make rash decisions that are based upon the belief that that what you fear will happen. By acting on that fear you will almost guarantee it to come true.
Let’s talk about why that is.
Let’s say your fear is: “Eating ice cream will make me fat”
When you stop eating ice cream or something else you really enjoy all together and go cold turkey, you think about it WAY more. You used to eat this thing everyday or every other day or whatever your frequency was. It was a part of your life. Because it’s now gone completely it will be on your mind. Eventually you’ll cave and BINGE like crazy on ice cream and eat way more than you normally would. When you do that, you’re increasing the amount of calories you’re intaking in comparison to your normal consumption amount. Your portion doubles or triples in size. Do that twice in a week and yes, it will make you fat, eventually. You’ll most certainly tip that caloric balance in favor of weight gain. So by acting out of fear and 100% cutting out what you love, you guaranteed yourself a binge later and what you feared came true (ish). One onset of weight gain won’t make you fat, but continuing in that binge and restrict pattern certainly will.
So you NEED to just track and eat how you normally would. You’ll be able to combat some of the habits later on when you’ve accepted them. Accept what you eat and how you eat. That’ll be the only way to move forward.
Five days passes and you’ve tracked your food. Now what? Let’s move into step 2: analysis
Step 2: Analysis
First off, pat yourself on the back. You’ve tracked your food for 5 days in a row. That’s great! Most people don’t make it to 2 days. But you’re committed. You’re serious. You’re ready to make changes. Now it’s time to take a look at your findings.
Find the average calories consumed over the five days.
Now head to this Maintenance Calorie Calculator and calculate your estimated Maintenance Calories. It’s not 100% perfect but it’s a good starting place.
You may be saying, woah, I’m eating way under that. And that means you are in fact under eating. How can you be under eating but not be losing weight?
Enter Metabolic Adaptation.
If you under eat for a substantial amount of time your metabolism slows down to compensate for your current caloric intake. Your resting metabolic rate is what I’m referring to. That’s the amount of calories your body needs to consume to just operate and be a human. That doesn’t mean it’s enough to exercise and lift and such, just to wake up and live.
And sure you can continue to cut down deep into a deficit, but your body WILL fight against you. Operating on such few calories is a recipe for disaster. Not only does eating this little make it very difficult to lose weight long term, but your hormones get WRECKED. Your sleep, recovery, performance in the gym, stress and cravings all suffer when you under eat that much. A rough estimate for your resting metabolic rate is your bodyweight x 10. If you find that you’re under eating at this amount, you NEED to make changes. The best approach would be a reverse diet. That essentially means you’re slowly (week by week) increasing your calories little by little until you get to your maintenance calories. You can up your caloric intake by at little as 50 calories per week. Doesn’t have to be anything crazy.
Once you get to your maintenance level calories, then you can safely cut your calories without ruining your metabolism and your hormones.
If you are in fact over eating, then go the other way. In which you slowly take out little bits and pieces here and there week by week to get into a slight deficit. Start with the easy, low hanging fruit: sugary, calorically loaded sauces/ dressings, coffees with all the extra stuff and the extra morning pastries at work. Those are the easier ones to take care of. Instead of using the regular sauces, look for a lighter option with less sugar. Instead of a vanilla frappe coffee with mocha whip cream and chocolate sprinkles, a black coffee is the easiest calorie cutting option. That’s honestly probably 2-300 calories right there. But if you’re not into black coffee then slowly reduce the toppings and portion sizes of your morning coffee to reduce the calories consumed. Not only are these coffee drinks loaded with extra empty calories, they also spike your blood sugar and usually make you pretty hungry soon after. So you’ll end up eating ever more at work. These options typically aren’t the best unfortunately and are usually sugar loaded (that danish you were eyeing last week).
Queue more hunger spikes throughout the day!
Once you get a nice system for how you’re going to reduce or increase your calories you can take step 3: ACTION.
Step 3: ACTION!
You know what’s going on now. You see what your current habits are. So now it’s time to take ACTION. Don’t just read this and continue doing the same stuff (over OR under eating). Take those small steps toward your goals like I said in the last step!
So I’m going to give you a good starting action step using macros! (told you I gotchu)
I’ll give you the optimal amount for each macro regardless of what your current situation is (over OR undereating)
- (Your bodyweight) X (.8) = Grams of Protein
- 1g per lb of Lean Body Mass = Grams of Protein
For number 2 if you know your body fat % you would feed the other percentage that’s not fat. So if you weigh 170lbs and are 20% body fat, you would find your protein amount doing this equation:
(Method 2) 170 - 34 (20% that’s not LBM) = 136g protein (544 calories)
(Method 1) 170 X .8 = 136g protein (544 calories)
1g Protein = 4kcal
136 x 4 = 544 calories
In this scenario they’re equivalent. Won’t always be that way, but the .8 method is a pretty good starting point if you don’t know your bf%.
The amount of fat you should eat should range between 20% and 35%. In my experience with my online clients, 30 - 35% is usually much more realistic. It’s pretty tough to find low fat protein options unless you eat chicken breast and ground turkey all day. Oof.
So let’s say you need 2000 calories a day.
I’ll use 30% here.
(2000 X .3) = 600 calories from fat
Now we divide that by 9 (since there’s 9kcal per gram of fat)
600/9 ~ 67g
After calories are taken care of, adequate fat amounts will help regulate your hormones and micronutrient (Vitamins ADEK) absorption.
Simple: they just fill in the rest!
So let’s say you needed 2000 calories.
Protein would be (using the 170lb 20% fat example from before): 136g (544 calories)
Fat: 67g (600 calories)
544 + 600 = 1144
2000 - 1144 = 856
856/4 = 214g
So the final macros optimal macronutrient count would be:
That would equal 2000 calories.
So you know how to get to your desired caloric intake amount. Let’s review:
- You know how to build awareness around what you eat.
- You know how to take steps toward eating the right amount of calories for you specifically.
- You know the macronutrient breakdown you need specifically.
The only step left is to implement. You have the tools! Go get busy!
After reading this, you can see how powerful awareness can be when you’re looking to make change. It all starts there and just snowballs! It’s not easy. It take adherence, it takes willpower and a shit ton of work. If you still feel like you need more help going forward in your fat loss journey, sign up for a free 30 minute call here! I’d love to help you develop more strategies to get toward your goals.
Before I let you go, you may be saying, “Coach, why do you want to help me so bad?”.
It’s simple: I was there.
I was right where you were, unsure of what I was eating, how to make changes and lose more fat. Fast forward to today and I’ve done all the leg work to learn the science behind fat loss and strength training SO that I could do exactly this and help people like you. I know what it feels like to be confused and have this crap thrown at you.
“But why are you giving away calls for free?”
If you hit that here blue text and click through to talk to me I know ONE thing about you before we even say a word to one another: YOU’RE SERIOUS.
You’re ready to make change and you’re ready to turn that awareness into action steps. I love go-getters and action takers. So those 30 minutes could be the catalyst for the next year of your life. And to me that’s worth it.