Losing body fat is a very simple concept. Eat less than what you burn on a regular basis and you will lose body fat. This is step 1. It is ultimately about calories in, calories out. I’ve seen many books and articles claim weight gain is due to some other reason. They will state it is because of toxins, carbs, processed foods, not eating to our genetics (paleo), gluten, and the list goes on. While these all do play a role in weight gain, it is not the main reason why people get fat.
You must be on a caloric deficit to lose a substantial amount of body fat. An exception to this rule are those new to exercise, but this only happens for the first 3 months. So how many calories should you eat to lose weight? We always start with the fact that 3500 calories = 1 pound of fat. So if you want to lose 10 lbs, you need a total caloric deficit of 35,000 calories over a length of time.
First you need to know how many calories you burn in an average day. This can be found on a million different sites. Search for “calorie calculator” and you will find a ton of pages that can give you this information. For the average person this works just fine. For athletes and those with significantly more muscle mass it may give you too low of a number. A good calculator will ask for your daily activity AND for exercise activity. Daily activity is how active you are in your daily life/work. There is a big difference in calories burned for someone who works at a desk compared to one who walks all day (waiter/waitress), to someone who does manual labor. Many mobile apps will calculate this as well.
Once you find your daily caloric needs, take a chunk of calories out to lose weight –SIMPLE!
How much of a deficit do you need?
Many people start with a 500 calorie deficit. So if you need 2500 to maintain, then you eat 2000 calories. If you do this 7 days a week then you have a weekly deficit of 3500 calories which equals 1 pound of fat.
Is this a good place to start? For most people, yes.
You can adjust your caloric deficit accordingly but just know the greater the deficit, the greater the discomfort. Also know that the bigger the caloric deficit, the bigger risk you run of gaining back weight due to the craving from depriving yourself and a decrease in metabolism.
Check out my blog, "Dieting Intensity" to determine how much to eat.
Personal Trainer serving Palo Alto, Los Altos, and Mountain View. Breakthrough Personal Training: 744 San Antonio Rd. Suite 2, Palo Alto, CA 94303. Fat loss, weight loss, Palo Alto weight loss personal trainer, calorie needs, How many calories do I need to lose weight?.
Jerry Yuhara, CPT, CSCS, CMT #75123
299 California Ave, Suite 120
Palo Alto, CA 94306
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