Why is it made out to be so confusing?
This is another well debated talking point within the fitness community but why the confusion?
Something that should be so simple has been made out to be a magical secret which has new scientific evidence to rubbish every other style of eating.
While I agree that if you use more calories than you eat, you'll lose weight, there's no doubt but there's still the issue that people are forgetting and that's an addiction to sugar. It's easy to say, eat a certain amount of calories, exercise regularly and you'll lose weight, but if you are eating the majority of food in the shape of sugar, can you restrict your intake? I know I can't!
This is why I work closely with my clients to create a nutrition plan which is full of nutritious food, which keeps them fuller for longer, helping them not to binge or snack throughout the day.
Does this mean you can't eat your favourite dessert?
Of course not! You can still eat what you want as long as you are using more calories than you're eating, but in my experience, individuals struggle to track their foods efficiently and soon go back to old habits.
My clients regularly tell me their taste for sugar disappears within a week and the new taste for healthy food and their benefits outweigh the need for the sweet stuff.
Yes, losing weight is as easy as creating a calorie deficit but sticking to it is slightly more difficult in the early days. So personally, I recommend following a nutritionally balanced plan for the initial 2-4 weeks to diminish the need for sugar. My experience shows individuals maintain their results for longer and understand how to create a deficit more successfully when they follow a well-designed eating guide initially.
I'm not here to champion any certain diets or a special way of eating but just wanted to tell it how it is.
Calories in vs calories out
I won't go into too many numbers or the science behind losing weight, as you can find plenty of articles online but be careful they're not full of biased opinions or glorified sales people trying to sell you the next miracle weight loss pill.
One thing I noticed after searching for calorie deficit diets online was the mumbo jumbo of calculations which are enough to bamboozle even the most clued up fitness professionals amongst us. It really doesn't have to be that difficult.
To give you a starting point. I would use a BMR calculator which will show you the number of calories you would burn each day if you laid in bed considering your current statistics. So, you could eat this amount without putting on weight. Then with your increased exercise, you will create the calorie deficit you need to lose weight.
Be aware that these calculators will not take certain factors into consideration including, your metabolism, stress levels, hormonal imbalances, sleep patterns and other factors. So, use these figures as a baseline and tailor it towards your goals, rather than making it the be all and end all. Everything needs to given time but if it makes you feel unwell, change something.
You know your own body, so trust yourself.
Sorry but I need to add a few calculations to explain my point. As 3500 calories is equal to 1lb of fat, you would need to eat 3500 fewer calories to lose this limited quantity of fat.
If we spread this across 1 week, you would need to create a 500-calorie deficit daily. This doesn't have to mean you eat 500 calories less, but simply use those calories as energy through exercise instead. So, if you eat what your body burns naturally daily, you can use exercise to create the deficit you need to lose 1lb of fat a week.
It does take time, but this approach will help you maintain your weight loss for the long-term, rather than a quick fix.
The best advice I can give, is eat good nutritious whole foods alongside your favourite treats but make sure you're using more calories than you eat.