The same nutrition plan that works for me may not work for you.
With this in mind, I’m always trying to provide you with different takes on effective nutrition that utilize the most effective fat loss principles.
Healthy nutrition principles like:
- Thinking about protein first and eating more protein.
- Eating nutrient dense foods like vegetables
- Earning your carbs
So if you are someone that likes to know your numbers, calories, and macros here’s a take on what good nutrition looks like for you to aid you in your fat loss goals.
Step 1 – Take your bodyweight and multiply by 10-12 (and if you are really overweight, you could even do 8)
You weigh 200lbs
200 x 12 = 2400 calories/day
200 x 10 = 2000 calories/day
200 x 8 = 1600 calories/day
Now how do we break down those calories for you into protein, fat, and carbs?
We start with protein – we always start with protein!
Protein in Greek (where the word was invented literally means of first importance)
So don’t even consider eating a meal without protein!
Step 2 – Eat 1 gram of protein per pound of bodyweight.
Our example individual weighs 200lbs. That means you have 200 grams of protein to eat per day.
That sounds like a lot. But if you break it down into meals, it will feel more attainable.
If you eat 4 meals per day. That’s 50 grams of protein/meal.
Most people would find this easiest with 3 meals of real food plus a supplement
(And this is why protein shakes were invented so you can get to your protein needs for the day)!
Now, we look at fat intake.
And, just because you are low carb, that does not mean it’s a license to eat fat. I would caution people to earn your fat as well or just do the following below…
Step 3 – Take your bodyweight and multiply by .4 or .5 grams/pound.
200 x .4 = 80 grams of fat per day
200 x .5 = 100 grams of fat per day
And honestly, most fats are coming from animal fats in your protein, eggs, and the oil you cook your foods with. I wouldn’t be going around looking for extra fat to add to your daily intake unless you are not eating beef and fish.
(Of which my follow up question would be why aren’t you doing that?)
Now how about carbs?
Step 4 – You just do the remainder of your calories for the day as carbs!
How do you calculate that?
Each protein gram = 4 calories
Each fat gram = 9 calories
Each carb gram = 4 calories.
So if we take our above example of a 200lb person eating 2000 calories per day, that looks like this:
200 grams of protein (x 4) = 800 calories
80 grams of fat (x 9) = 720 calories
800 calories + 720 calories = 1520 calories
That leaves 480 calories in carbs if you are eating 2000 calories per day!
Now you just take 480 and divide by 4 and that equals 120 grams of carbs for you to eat per day!
And depending on your tolerance, that could be whatever you want, some veggies, some fruit, some rice…
For your reference a cup of cooked white rice equals about 40 grams of carbs…
That means you could have a cup of rice at lunch and dinner at 40 grams each and leave 40 grams for some vegetables and fruit and you’re there!
Every brand and type of rice is different so check out the nutrition label!
(You should do this anyway if you are wanting to lose weight, as there are so many foods that you probably would think twice about if you have a weight loss goal).
This very outline can be used if you have just completed a Biggest Winner challenge and want to maintain your bodyweight for a few months.
If you are looking to maintain bodyweight, you would multiply your bodyweight x 14.
This would effectively raise your carbs by a little bit as you’re probably leaving protein and fat the same.
If you weigh 200lbs x 14 = 2800 calories/day
You are eating 200 grams of protein (800 calories)
You are eating 80 grams of fat (720 calories)
This leaves 1280 calories of carbs which we’ll divide by 4 and this equals 320 grams of carbs.
This right here could be the difference between you losing weight and gaining weight. Perhaps you’ve just been eating more of a maintenance profile than a fat loss profile.
Let’s quickly compare the two.
Protein for fat loss – 200 grams | Protein for maintenance – 200 grams
Fat for fat loss – 80 grams | Fat for maintenance – 80 grams
Carbs for fat loss – 120 grams | Carbs for maintenance – 320 grams
One thing that people make a mistake with maintenance though is reducing exercise and increasing food.
That’s a surefire way of gaining weight as you would want to keep your exercise levels the same or 1 day less per week. Also, I gave you a person of the same weight in this example, when most likely, if you started at 200lbs and were eating like the above fat loss formula, you would have lost weight, so let’s take a look at this again with a 180lb example…
180lbs x 14 = 2520 calories/day
180 grams of protein (720 calories)
180 x .4 grams of fat = 72 grams of fat (648 calories)
648 + 720 = 1368 calories of protein and fat which leaves 1152 calories of carbs, which we’ll divide by 4 and we’ve got 288 grams of carbs!
So your goal would be to eat this amount of food and maintain your bodyweight, building up your metabolism and setting yourself up for success next time you look to lose some weight.
Knowing yourself is important. I just gave you 3 examples at .4 grams of fat. But if you are someone that doesn’t tolerate carbs well, you could have used the .5 grams of fat multiplier and all the above examples would have been less carbs. If you are the type of person who can’t go 4 hours without being ravenously hungry, or you gain weight easily eating carbs, then you are most likely a little insulin resistant and I would suggest using the .5 grams of fat multiplier.
P.s. If you are wanting to lose weight, I would never have carbs at breakfast (unless it’s after your workout).
P.p.s. Watch out for anything cooked in a restaurant. Those grams and calories are off the charts for carbs and fats and they are almost always using industrial seed oils to cook your food which I would like to go on a rant about now but this post is much too long already. (But thanks for reading this far 🙂 )
P.p.p.s. Measuring food is always easiest when using 1 ingredient foods and/or cooking food at home as you have the nutrition labels and you control the amounts. And you’re not consuming industrial seed oils!!!!
P.p.p.p.s This takes a little work in the beginning, but once you’ve done it a few times, you’ll know the numbers intuitively and then it’s just being aware of your actions in and out of the kitchen.
P.p.p.p.p.s. If you wanted to gain weight, you would multiply your weight x 16-20 for calories, so if you are finding you are gaining weight you might just be sneaking extra calories in throughout the week. Sometimes those cheat days are so high on the weekend that they make the average for the week too high, so it plays to eat less on some days (not less protein though) if you’re having those indulgent days on the weekend.
P.p.p.p.p.p.s. If this is stressing you out just reading it, I want to tell you that you don’t have to do any of this calorie and macronutrient calculating for success with fat loss. I do not do this. But many people who are successful do. And perhaps this is the awareness, discipline, and mental toughness you need to take it to the next level.
P.p.p.p.p.p.p.s. What you did to get where you are at today may not be what you need to do to get to the next level.
Committed to your success,
Josh Saunders, BS, CSCS, PN-1