Just HOW important is nutrition when it comes to achieving fat loss?
I’ll start by answering that question with a question ( well, actually 2 questions…I know, I know, I’m awkward…..)
1)Do you know anyone who has lost body fat/changed their bodyshape by changing their diet & lifestyle WITHOUT going to the gym?
Your answer is probably yes?
2)Do you know anyone who has lost body fat/changed their body shape by training religiously in the gym WITHOUT changing their diet & lifestyle?
Your answer is probably no?The reality is that you can train as hard as you want, as often as you want, but if you are consuming too many calories, you will NOT lose body fat.
I don’t like to deal in absolutes, but when it comes to achieving fat loss, YOU HAVE TO BE IN A CALORIE DEFICIT!
Put simply, you need to be burning more calories than you are consuming. So you either need to eat less or move more or ideally a balance of both!
Weight Gain is caused by a (prolonged) caloric surplus:
ALL ‘diets‘ (that are successful) do one thing in order for you to achieve success:
They ALL ensure you consume less calories:
The list goes on…the result is the same..
Calories are, by definition, a unit of energy, so if you over consume this energy (without expenditure) it will get stored as fat.
As stated: To lose fat, you need to either eat less or do more activity… or (ideally) both.
When I discuss this with clients, they sometimes refer to a friend who’s following a dietary program who appears to be ‘eating more but losing weight‘…
The reality is that this person isn’t eating more calories, but is eating a larger quantity of lower calorie food choices.
Using this simple comparison it’s easy to see how you may seem to be ‘eating more but losing weight‘.
Nutrition is a MASSIVE topic and probably THE most confusing area of fat loss.
However: you now know that fat loss ultimately comes to down to creating a calorie deficit.
This deficit can be achieved in a variety of methods and no one approach suits everyone.
What I will say is that when it comes to a creating a calorie deficit consider the following:
What is the highest (not lowest) number of calories you can consume to achieve your goals?
This will prevent you from starving yourself, setting unsustainable targets and stop you from crashing & burning out and giving up on your goals… (remember calories are a unit of ENERGY).
Consider getting the MOST from the LEAST in the beginning stages of fat loss.
eg: lets say someone drastically drops their calorie intake, starts training more than before and does extra cardio/classes all within the first couple of weeks, where does that person go from that point?
I often describe this as playing all your cards at once. You need to think long term. If you lose the weight drastically, you may gain back it drastically….
The biggest influencing factor on fat loss is the TOTAL amount of calories you consume on a continual basis, not the time of day that you consume your calories.
Eg: let’s say you need to eat 2500kcal, but you have a busy day and it gets to 9pm but you still have 500kcal left to consume, then eat!!
It is the total figure that you hit by the end of the day that counts.
If you are reading this & you are struggling with losing body fat, I suggest you start by logging your daily food intake.
You can easily do this by downloading the myfitnesspal app on your phone.
Don’t worry about the targets the app sets you with, just use it as a log, this will help you to assess exactly where you are at with your intake. The targets it sets are based on the general population and don’t necessarily cater for active gym goers.
Logging foods will also educate you on the TRUE calorie content of certain food choices!
I’m not saying that you need to log everything, every day for the rest of your life, but if what you are doing isn’t working, then perhaps it’s time to try something new?
That’s all for today, if you get stuck with anything, please do give me shout,
Tristan ‘calories DO count (sadly)’ Buttle.
P.S – I added the ‘kind of’ in the blog title as the only diet plan/approach that TRULY works is the one you can stick to...