How Every Diet Works – The Foundation of Weight Loss
Screw fad diets…
My apologies for the bluntness, yet I am not here to waste your time, particularly with a busy schedule like yours.
If you’re reading this article, then I am assuming you are looking to lose weight, but do not know exactly how to get started and are un-sure of which “new”, trending diet you should follow (i.e. Keto, Paleo, Atkins, Intermittent Fasting, etc.). Am I right?
Well, the truth is… they all work the same.
I’m sorry to disappoint, and I’m sure I’m going to get a lot of backlash from the diet “experts” of the world saying otherwise, but the truth is, all weight loss diets revolve around one key concept: calorie deficit.
Just as it sounds, a calorie deficit means to burn more calories than what you are consuming on a daily/weekly basis. Hence, being in a deficit of calories.
All 90+ fad diets that have been created over the course of history (yes…there really are these many diets that have been created. Crazy right?) all rely upon this same key concept of calorie deficit; the only difference between them is how they manipulate the macro-nutrients: protein, carbs and fat
Yet, both diets work the same way when it comes to weight loss, requiring that whichever ratio of fats, carbs and protein you choose, you reduce your overall calories in order to achieve this caloric deficit we’ve been talking about.
This is why some people who have followed a certain diet may have had some success. The reality is that it wasn’t the specific diet that helped them lose weight, it was the fact that they were in a calorie deficit, which could have been achieved from any other diet as well.
So what does all this mean to you? This means that once you are able to figure out your maintenance calories (how many calories you need to maintain your current weight, without losing or gaining weight), you can figure out exactly how much less calories you need to eat on a daily basis to be in a caloric deficit and lose weight!
I’m going to breakdown the straight-forward math on how you can calculate your maintenance calories, OR, you can simply use our free macro-calculator to get this number and understand how many calories you need to start eating to lose weight without doing all the calculations below.
Access our free macro calculator here: www.unalteredathletics.com/tools/nutrition-calculator
Now let’s get into the math behind your “maintenance” calories:
STEP 1: Figure out your BMR (Basal Metabolic Rate)
This is how many calories your body burns at rest within a 24-hour period.
Formula: Your body weight (in kg) x 24 hours
- Example: I weigh 172lbs, so my BMR would be 1876 calories (78kg x 24 hours)
STEP 2: Add your activity calories
These are the additional calories needed to be factored in to consider your daily activity level. The 4 brackets of activity levels are as follows:
- Sedentary (20%)
- Light Activity (30%)
- Moderate Activity (40%)
- heavy activity (50%)
For this example we will use the “light” activity level, which is the case for most people. Light activity is defined as having a sedentary job (i.e. sitting at a desk) but working out a few times a week.
Formula: BMR x 30%
- Example: 1876 x 30% = 563 activity calories
STEP 3: Add calories to compensate for digestion
Believe it or not, when we eat, the process of digestion itself actually burns calories. This is known as the “thermic effect” of food. Yes, we burn calories while digesting, yet it is a very small number, so do not rely on digestion alone to help you burn calories…
Formula: (BMR + Activity Calories) x 10%
- Example: (1876 + 563) x 10% = 244 calories
STEP 4: Subtract calories to factor in age group
As you know, when we get older our metabolism slows down. Hence, we need to deduct calories to compensate for this slower metabolism. There are 3 age groups with different formulas. The age ranges are as follows:
- 30-49 years old (-3%)
- 50-69 (-7.5%)
- 70+ (-10%)
*if you are younger than 30, there is no need to worry about this step
Formula: (BMR + Activity Calories + Digestion Calories) – 3%
- Example: (1876 + 563 + 244) – 3% = 80 calories
STEP 5: Add up numbers to calculate your maintenance calories
Formula: BMR + Activity Calories + Digestion Calories – Age Calories
- Example: 1876 + 563 + 244 – 80 = 2,603
FINAL STEP: Lose Weight!
There are 3500 calories in a pound, so if we want to lose 1-2 pounds per week, all we need to do is reduce our daily caloric intake by 500 – 1000 calories.
For example, if my maintenance calories are 2,603, I will simply deduct 500 calories from 2,603 and that will give me the number of calories I need to consume on a daily basis to lose 1 pound of weight per week (2,603 – 500 calories = 2,103 calories/day to lose 1 pound/week).
Voila! Now that we understand what our maintenance calories are, we can manipulate this number up or down to gain or lose weight (as seen in the example in step 6).
We can see here that there is no need to follow any fad diets; once we get our average number of maintenance calories, we can lose weight simply by lowering our calorie consumption from our maintenance calories.
Regarding protein, carbs, and fat, we recommend a ratio of 50% protein, 40% Carbs, and 10% fat.
Since our goal is fat loss, we want to retain as much lean muscle as possible while we are losing weight, so we recommend consuming 1.2 grams of protein per pound of body weight.
With your protein being a given (1.2 grams per pound of weight), that makes it easier for you to just worry about your carb consumption. Having said that, let’s go over the numbers of protein, carbs, and fat using my personal body weight as an example – 172lbs (like we used in the above examples to calculate our maintenance calories):
Protein = 207 grams (172lbs x 1.2)/50% = 414 Total Grams in the diet. 40% of that (414 x 40%) comes from Carbohydrates = 166. The balance (10%) from Fat = 41 grams.
My total calorie count is then: (207 x 4) + (166 x 4) + (41 x 9) = 1,861 daily calories, which proves accurate under my daily maintenance calories of 2,603. In other words, in this example I would be consuming 742 less calories from my maintenance calories which puts me on track to lose 1-2lbs per week as discussed in step 6 of the maintenance calorie calculation above.
This is the BS-FREE, simple approach to weight loss. No fancy marketing gimmicks, or fad diets that don’t work…just time-tested science.
So what are you waiting for, head over to www.unalteredathletics.com/tools/nutrition-calculator to calculate how many calories you should be consuming to lose weight today!