I can remember as if it was yesterday – reading tons of magazines and articles online, each of them was saying something completely different. Saying that I was confused would be somewhat of an understatement! At one point though I decided enough is enough, rolled up my sleeves, and focused my entire attention on reading and dissecting clinical trials conducted in the field of healthy dieting and weight loss. The results were excruciatingly obvious, yet 100% actionable and effective. Here is what I found out:
The only, and I mean only way to lose weight, is to consume less calories than what your body burns.
Think about it… if your body requires 2,000 calories / day to function properly, but you provide it with only 1,500 calories, what will happen? The body will need to get the remaining 500 calories from another place. And guess what that place is going to be?
Your body fat!
What I’m about to say will most likely spike some controversy, but here it is nonetheless: it doesn’t really matter that much what you eat if your sole purpose is to lose weight – what matters is how much you eat.
What I’m basically saying is that it is both possible to lose weight while eating fast foods exclusively, as well as to gain weight by eating an extremely healthy diet. The quality of the foods you eat have almost no impact whatsoever on whether you gain or lose fat – the amount of calories you take in does, however.
Please don’t take this to mean that you should eat fast foods every day. Although it is possible to lose weight that way with proper planning, it would prove to be quite difficult, as fast foods are calorie dense, meaning that you would likely not be able to satisfy your hunger through them if you were to consume the amount of calories required to lose weight. This is purely a psychological issue, however. I am just trying to make a point here.
Have you noticed that people seem to be losing weight using all kinds of absurd diets? There are dozens upon dozens of different diets online, possibly even hundreds. And yet, if you read up on any of them, you are going to find both success and failure stories. This leads people to get caught up trying to figure out which diet works, but the simple answer is: they all can work, if you follow the rule I’m talking about!
What most of these diets have in common is that they provide you with a list of certain foods you can eat. Those are usually foods that have a very high impact on your satiety – they make you stay full for longer. As a result of this, many people will automatically consume less calories than what their body burns, which is why they lose weight. It has absolutely nothing to do with the type of foods that they are eating – just with the amount they are eating! Other people will be on that same diet, but not lose a single pound – those are the people who, despite sticking to the meal plan of the diet, consumed more calories than what their body burns.
Confused yet? You shouldn’t be, and believe me this was not my intention at all. So let’s make it really, really simple.
Use the following formula to calculate your Base Metabolic Rate (BMR):
For men: BMR = [9.99 x weight (kg)] + [6.25 x height (cm)] – [4.92 x age (years)] + 5
For Women: BMR = [9.99 x weight (kg)] + [6.25 x height (cm)] – [4.92 x age (years)] -161
Once you get your result, multiply it by your so-called activity factor, according to the below:
1.2 = Sedentary (Desk job, and Little Formal Exercise)
1.3-1.4 = Lightly Active (Light daily activity AND light exercise 1-3 days a week)
1.5-1.6 = Moderately Active (Moderately daily Activity & Moderate exercise 3-5 days a week)
1.7-1.8 = Very Active (Physically demanding lifestyle & Hard exercise 6-7 days a week)
1.9-2.2 = Extremely Active (Athlete in ENDURANCE training or VERY HARD physical job)
Finally, subtract anywhere between 500 and 700 calories from the final result, and aim to consume that many calories every single day. I guarantee you will lose pure body fat on a consistent basis. Let me give a quick example:
You’re a 30 year old female, weighing 60 kilograms and 160 centimeters tall. You use the formula for females to calculate your Base Metabolic Rate. It would look like this:
[9.99 x 60 (kg)] + [6.25 x 160 (cm)] – [4.92 x 30 (years)] -161
Using a calculator, we determine that this translates to:
599 + 1000 + 147 – 161. The final result is 1907. That’s your Base Metabolic Rate.
Now, if we assume the woman in question has a sedentary life style, we would multiply this value by the activity factor of 1.2, according to the list above. We get:
1907 x 1.2 = 2288 calories!
That is the number of calories that her body requires on a daily basis in order to function properly. This means that if she consumed 2288 calories a day (this is a rough estimate btw, it could be slightly more or less, but not by much), she would neither lose nor gain any fat. Her weight would stay the same.
Now she can subtract between 500-700 calories from that number. If we subtract 700, we are left with 1588 calories in total. Now she can consume this number of calories on a daily basis, and I guarantee her she will see awesome results in the form of pure fat loss, without any ill side-effects.