Calorie counting- a long term solution

Calorie Counting- A Long term Solution

Everyone is so confused when it comes to health and how to keep to a diet. The word “keep” should not feature in the same sentence as I want to lose weight, why? Because you need to ask yourself a very important question. “Do you see yourself on this diet in a year’s time” if the answer is “no” then do not bother attempting a “diet”. I will use a lot of quotation marks in this article because quite simply, a lot of buzz words get thrown around in the health industry. These include terms like clean eating, gluten free, cheat meals and so on…

What I’m going to tell you now is the truth. Whether you like it or not THERE IS NO SHORTCUT. Do not search for one and any news articles that claim this kind of crap are not worth the read. Why you ask, because the media only publish stuff the public want to read or hear and I think that’s pretty obvious these days.

So, let the truth of health begin.

I will start from the top. Losing weight is very simple and it’s a case of actually being bothered. If you have the drive to want to achieve the body that makes you happy then just simply begin to understand why labels are put on food. Now, calorie counting is a chore I will admit, but any other “fad” diet is just another easier option to calorie counting. For example I’ve heard people measuring food out using the palm of their hand for protein, carbs and fats and then when they hit a plateau they simply take away a few carbs. This is calorie counting, but you aren’t using numbers. This form of dieting is not sustainable because you may be taking away too much food at one given time, which isn’t ideal as calories are the fuel you live on.

I swear by My Fitness Pal because it displays your diet in an easy to read format and shows you exactly what is in your food but to be honest if you decide to restrict yourself and the term “restrict” should also not appear in your vocabulary because you shouldn’t have to stop eating anything. You need to learn moderation which is the difference between having once chocolate bar to having three.
Your body gives you an allowance to spend in terms of calories. That’s it. Nothing else. This is why these stupid diets don’t last long term. If you know what your calorie intake is you are 50% already there. Let me make it simple. Let’s say you are given a £5 note every day for lunch. You cannot spend more than that because you don’t have anymore, unless you decide to overspend (overeat) which now means you are spending more than you currently have (calorie limit). If you want to lose weight you can simply spend £4 (note how it’s not really a drastic change. Some people lower there “spend” way too much and begin to hit a plateau quicker and then realise they need to lower spend but are realising they are becoming more hungry and more likely to binge spend).

If everything is gradually decreased you may hit the body you want and begin wondering “hold on, I’m eating more than when I was dieting in the past”. It’s about watching the numbers, the same way you watch the time. You don’t guess when your next meeting is, you keep to a schedule.
Let’s put it into practice. I currently weigh 14stone and have 8% body fat (buy some callipers of amazon for around £15. They are the best purchase I have made) and my maintenance (spend) calories to keep the physique I am at is 2,500 with 5 days training. If I want to lose weight ill begin a 20 week mission (yes, 20 weeks because it’s realistic) to drop some body fat.  I will lower my calories to 2,400 and track my diet and macros (protein, carbs and fats) for a week and see how I get on. 

Protein - 4kal/g
Carbs - 4kcal/g
Fat - 9kcal/g
Alcohol - 7kcal/g 

If you aren’t sure on what the above table means its basic breakdown that explains what each macronutrient equals to in calories. So for example if I have eaten a chicken breast that has 40 grams of protein in it then you simply do the equation 40 x 4 = 160. The 160 is the calories that are in the chicken breast. I will keep stressing that this is a numbers game because it means if you have 2,000 calories to eat in the day then you can essentially eat that chocolate bar you have been eyeing up due to your daily allowance having room to fit it in. Obviously it’s good to eat the healthy foods as you are fuelling you body to get the best out of it, but do not restrict yourself because you will become frustrated that you can’t have the foods you would like.  

Majority of the industry moans that its 80% diet and 20% training. WRONG. Its 100% diet and 10% training because training only assists with the weight loss. (and as we know – we should all give 110% to anything we do). The diet is what keeps the progression clock ticking. You can apply any training you like whether that would be weight training (the best option because you can build a physique that will allow you to branch out into other types of training) and obviously still incorporate cardio but only HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) why again?, because your body will adjust to standard cardio like 40mins on the running machine or cross trainer pretty quickly. You you will have to keep upping your time and let’s face it no one has time for that especially when the return is little. HIIT only lasts 15-20mins and works in intervals which your body cannot adjust itself to because it’s not a constant state of energy expenditure. It happens in bursts which will keep pushing your muscles and energy levels to new heights.

Once you get the hang of everything, it all falls into place and you begin to understand how your body reacts to different types of training and different foods. Trail an error is key. Oh and one last thing if you begin to notice nothing is changing in your weight loss, just drop 50 calories which is equivalent to 10 grams of carbs and 1 gram of fat. That is a big enough difference to kick start the fat furnace.

Don’t become a person who jumps from one diet to another and moan I tried everything but nothing works. Just simply count your calories and you will understand were you went wrong.

Drink 3 litres of water A DAY, so in other words a large Evian bottle twice a day. You will pee a lot but it keeps your digestive system ticking and takes away the confusion that your body may be hungry when actually it was thirsty.

Credit and thanks to Ben Malka for this article and insight into how we can actually sustain our weight loss plans