There’s many methods and strategies to lose fat and transform your body. You’ve got keto, low carb, paleo, Weight Watchers, Lite n Easy, Atkins, intermittent fasting, the list goes on…
Regardless of the name, or how they package it, all these diets rely on one thing:
A calorie deficit.
Eating less than you burn.
There’s no magic in keto or low carb diets, weight watchers isn’t some scientifically engineered food that strips body fat off you.
You are just eating less.
Now if you need a strict diet and can adhere to something as restrictive as cutting out all carbs, go for it. I wouldn’t recommend it and definitely wouldn’t want to do it myself, but hey – you do you. But you can just as easily create a calorie deficit AND eat the food groups that you enjoy (in moderation) without cutting out an entire macronutrient/food group.
That’s why I recommend tracking your food intake.
You can use an app like MyFitnessPal to track your calories and the amount of each macronutrient you eat.
You can log your food in a journal.
You can take pictures of all your food and keep a weekly log of it all.
Regardless of how you track your food intake, I always recommend it. (Bonus points for methods that tell you how many calories you are consuming as well).
It paints a clear picture of how much you actually are consuming and you can make adjustments based on that knowledge. It’s well documented that people grossly under-report their food intake. This leads to excess consumption and it keeps people from actually learning how much to eat and why they aren’t getting results.
If you know what you’re eating, you can make adjustments to suit.
Haven’t lost any fat for a couple of weeks?
Check your food intake, you’ve probably been eating too much.
Not putting on muscle?
Check your food intake, you probably haven’t been eating enough.
We like to think we are the victim of our own body’s inability to change when it can clearly be seen through tracking that we aren’t actually doing the right thing.
Track your food for 2 weeks and get a clear idea of what you’re actually eating, I guarantee (if you do it correctly and honestly) you’ll be surprised at how easily you can make an adjustment and see results. After you have a rough idea of how much food you eat on a consistent basis, you can then reduce or increase it according to your TDEE (Total Daily Energy Expenditure). This is a rough estimate of how many calories your burn per day, taking into account your height, weight, age, sex and activity level.
As with any subjective measurement, it’s not 100% accurate (the activity level, in particular) but it does give us a good starting point. That’s why tracking and adjusting consistently will allow you to stay on top of your numbers and make any necessary changes as your body adapts… or doesn’t.
If you are looking to lose fat, try eating 10-20% less food than this number. If you are trying to gain muscle, try eating 10-15% more. You can keep track of your calorie intake using an app such as MyFitnessPal. If you’re new to all of this you can read my article about how to track your macronutrients HERE so you’ll have a better understanding of HOW to track, not just why.
And if you’re not sure how to calculate your TDEE, you can sign up for a free trial and use the calculator in my Steel Transformation Academy HERE.