(2-3 MINUTE READ)
Hey hey! Hope your week is off to a great start : )
As promised, today I’m covering the BEST way to calculate your calories/macros for fat loss. Last week I explained how the two most crucial components of losing fat are 1. calorie deficit and 2. lifting weights. While lifting weights can be more universally applied, calorie deficits are going to vary per person. So today I am going to explain how to figure out what a calorie deficit should look like for you (if losing fat is a goal of yours).
Remember, there’s nothing wrong with wanting to lose fat and there’s also nothing wrong with NOT wanting to lose fat. Either way, you shouldn’t feel pressure. You need to do what feels right for YOU and your health.
However, because this is a common goal that gets WAY overcomplicated, lets dive in.
Step 1: Finding your maintenance calories. This means how many calories your body maintains weight on. The BIGGEST issue with calorie/macro calculators is they are based on general data, NOT individual metabolisms. Metabolisms are VERY adaptive, meaning that your metabolic rate is going to change over time due to multiple factors (age, exercise, food intake, hormones, etc). So how do you figure out your maintenance? Easy, start tracking your food. Track everything you eat with a nutrition tracker (I recommend MyFitnessPal, there are also others such as MyMacros & Lifesum). Plug in everything you are eating AND drinking and be as accurate as you can with measurements/portions. Do this for a week and see what your average calories are. Now, during this week, you’ll also want to weigh yourself daily. Is the scale going up, down or staying the same?
If it’s staying the same, you’ve found your maintenance calories. If it’s going up, you’re in a calorie surplus (and your maintenance will be lower) and if it’s going down you’re in a calorie deficit (and your maintenance will be higher). Often times, when I have clients begin doing this, they naturally clean up their nutrition and therefore end up losing weight. This is actually what I DON’T want you to do. It’s super important you just eat how you’ve been eating so you can get an accurate representation of how many calories your body is used to eating so we can apply a proper deficit.
Step 2: Estimating your deficit. So if you found yourself losing during your initial week, you’re already in a deficit, so just continue with those calories. If you found yourself maintaining, drop calories by 200. If you found yourself gaining, drop calories by 400.
**If you find yourself maintaining or gaining on 1400 calories or less I would not suggest going into a deficit. Instead, work on slowly increasing your calories week by week to get your metabolism in a better place.
Step 3: Establishing your protein. Having adequate protein is SUPER important when it comes to fat loss. It helps develop lean muscle (which boosts your metabolism), helps keep you satiated and helps stabilize blood sugar levels. I like to keep this very simple and just recommend 1g protein per pound of GOAL weight. So if your goal weight is 160 lbs and you’re maintaining on 2000 calories, you’ll want to aim for 160g protein and 1800 calories per day.
Step 4: Figuring out carbs and fats. Because carbs and fats are both fuel sources, it doesn’t really matter where these fall as long as you hit your protein and total calories. However, I wouldn’t recommend going lower than 40g fat for females, 50g fat for males or lower than 100g carb for females, 120g carb for males.
Step 5: Troubleshooting. Now, because this is all just an educated guess, you may not nail it on the first try. What I recommend is you give it AT LEAST 2-4 weeks of being super consistent. If the scale doesn’t move, measurements stay the same and photos look the same (remember to keep track of these things!!!!) then you’ll need to adjust. What I recommend here is simply dropping calories another 200 but keep protein the same! Give that consistency and time and go from there.
If you’ve never tracked your macros here’s a video tutorial I made years ago using MyFitnessPal https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9m0sO0YjCnQ&t=4s
If you have any questions about this process just ask!