Weight Loss Done Right – Part 1: Calorie Deficit
Many people are trying to lose weight and have tried out many methods to do so. This article is intended as a very simple introduction about the principles that play a major role in getting good results in losing weight.
By neglecting those principles you will definitely lose a large part of your result, no matter how good you go along with other parts.
These four principles are:
– Calorie deficit
– High protein intake
– Strength training or any type of exercise that challenges your strength and / or explosiveness
– Good sleep
Eat less calories!
If you want to lose weight then you have to be on a calorie deficit. As simple as that!
If you choose to eat Paleo, LCHF, vegan, clean eating, raw food or any other type of diet then do so by all means. However, if you want to loose weight, it is important to keep in mind that these diets will only work for you by getting you to eat less calories. Especially vegan diets often contain real calorie bombs and still avoid animal source products.
But just counting the calories alone will not do the trick completely. To get best results and keep them in the long run, you have to include some more aspects and rules of your weight loss diet.
High Protein Intake
The most important part of a weight loss diet (besides the mentioned calorie deficit) is the amount of protein you eat. You should aim at least 1.6-2 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight per day.
This makes you lose less muscle mass and protein is also a well-known macro nutrient for best saturation.
Another important factor to keep in mind is that you should not reduce too much on your fat intake as this may adversely affect different hormone levels in the body while limiting the ability of the body to absorb fat-soluble vitamins. A common rough guideline is that you should eat around 0.5-1 grams of fat per kilogram of body weight per day. In order to lose weight, you need to keep a calorie deficit and get enough protein and necessary amounts of fat.
You want to lose fat, not muscles
Most people who want to lose weight often add too much focus on what the scale shows. A diet that drastically reduces the calories without adding a lot of protein, like the Apple Diet, the Cambridge Diet, etc., causes you to lose a lot of muscle mass. Looking only at the scale it will look like your diet goes well.
A likely weight loss could be 3 kg of muscle and 4.8 kg of fat. On the scale, a weight loss of almost 8 kg appears, which certainly feels good for the person in question. If you instead managed everything perfectly, meaning you eat with a calorie deficit AND have a high protein intake, you have minimized muscle loss, and therefore could get numbers closer to 1 kg of muscle loss and 5 kg of fat loss, which would shown a total loss of “just” 6 kg.
If you only use the scale as measurement, the conclusion would be that the diet in the first example is the best. But in fact, diet number 2 is better, because the fat loss is greater and you retain the muscle mass you have, which will lead to a better health and you would look better in the mirror, which is probably the main goal for most people trying to lose weight.
Other problems with the first diet above are that there is a major reduction in one’s basic metabolism, which means that after a while you will need to eat less calories to keep an equal deficit. When the diet is over, the risk is also higher that you will gain the lost weight again in form of fat. The result after a few trips up and down is therefore unfortunately that you will weigh as much as when you started and also have less muscles and a worse health.
Better ways to evaluate your diet
Although a scale is still an aid to provide information on how your weight loss is going, there are way better methods to measure your success. For example measurements of the waist, hip, breasts, arms, Legs etc. The mirror and pictures can provide a very good feedback on how it goes. The pictures are better as they give an opportunity to see a difference over several weeks or months by comparison. Measurement of one’s body fat can be done using fat measurement calipers or with a Bodpod (measures body composition).
Lack of sleep leads to greater muscle loss
Lack of sleep destroys your weight loss and degrades health. Studies have shown that people who sleep less, lose more muscle mass and less fat mass compared to people who sleep longer.
People who have poor sleep, experience both a bigger hunger and more craving for rewarding foods like unhealthy snacks, which means more fat, sugar, flour and more calories. So make sure that you always get a good night’s sleep if you are on a weight loss diet.
In part 2 of this article we will talk about what impact strength training will have on your weight loss and how important the right training is to achieve best results for your hard work.