Author Topic: Fat loss, weight loss, nutrition - your quick and dirty guide!  (Read 6808 times)

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Offline zingdoozer

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I know how you guys who have given weight loss a shot feel - what do I do? Where do I start? There is so much conflicting information?

Low carb? Low fat? high protein? fruitarian? 80/10/10? intermittent fasting? ketogenic cycling? caloric deficit doesnt count! caloric deficit is the only thing that counts! frequent meals dont make a difference! frequent meals count!

None of it matters. Choose any diet, any exercise regime, and you will reach your goals keeping important principles in mind.

1. Type of diet does not matter. Really. Its all about a CALORIC DEFICIT. You might see a Tim Ferris, or a Mark Sisson go on about low carb, your medical doctor might speak about low fat, your bodybuilder might speak about low fat and high calories and dietary cycling.

Count your calories. Single most important step. People overestimate their caloric intake sometimes as much as 50%.

The best way to do this is to get a calorie counting app on your phone or computer, and plotting your meals through the day. Getting a weighing scale is also a MUST. As there's no way you're going to get accurate caloric readings if your weights are guesstimates.

2. Macronutrient spread - 30-40% carbs, 30-40% protein and 10-20% fat.

3. How many calories?
The Katch McArdle calculator is the single best way to calculate your RMR (basal or resting metabolic rate. It uses your lean body mass (which means you need to know your bodyfat).
Here's a link -

So there are several ways to calculate caloric intake for fat loss by averages i.e. 2100-2500 calories a day for men, by a quick method where you calculate 10 calories a pound of bodyweight.

Use this formula for a very accurate estimate of your maintenance level if you know your body fat percentage and lean body mass. For fat loss, create a 20-30% deficit below maintenance.

BMR (men and women) = 370 + (21.6 X lean mass in kg)

You are female
You weigh 120 lbs. (54.5 kilos)
Your body fat percentage is 20% (24 lbs. fat, 96 lbs. lean)
Your lean mass is 96 lbs. (43.6 kilos)
Your BMR = 370 + (21.6 X 43.6) = 1312 calories
To determine TDEE from BMR, you simply multiply BMR by the activity multiplier:

Your BMR is 1312
Your activity level is moderately active (working out 3-4 times per week)
Your activity factor is 1.55
Your TDEE = 1.55 X 1312 = 2033 calories per day

So you need to get 2033 to maintain caloric deficit or a 15-30% deficit to lose weight. 

You can also use the harris benedict formula, which uses height, weight and age. But Im not going to link to it here, because I dont want you guys using it. All for a good reason.

4. What foods should I have?
Non processed organic is the gold standard. Non processed foods for 90% of your calories is good enough. 10-15% calories a day can even be 'treats'. (Alan Aragon, the go to evidence based guy for nutritional know how recommends this).

Don't worry too much about what you're eating as long as you're hitting your macros, and total calories.

5. Is aerobic exercise good for me? I hear its not that useful?
Again, its all about a caloric deficit. Person A with a deficit of 500 calories, and an hour of 500 calorie cardio will lose weigh twice as fast as the 500 caloric deficit guy.

My suggestion - do the fucking cardio. :) You might hate it. But 5 sessions a week, 30 minutes a day for initiation, and later thrice a week for maintenance will sort your fat loss, and get your energy and mood levels bang on track.

You'll find a thousand reasons not to do cardio. But you can eat a teensy bit more, feel better and get to your fat loss goals a whole lot faster. Getting some weight work in is brilliant too, as it ups your BMR too, and you burn more calories at rest.

6. What about monitoring progress?

What gets measured gets managed. The best way to monitor progress is to calculate lean body mass and fat percentage.

The best way to do this is with a handheld callipers (the gold standard is a 100-200 dollar dexa scan) - Tom Venuto (BFFM) recommends the accumeasure callipers. These are a one site calliper reading quick and cheap method (they cost a few dollars on ebay). Your readings from the Accumeasure wont be off the 200 dollar dexa scans by more than a couple of points.

The reason why measuring weight loss is not recommended is that weight loss is different from fat loss.

And you want to focus on the fat loss.

A body fat of 20% in a 200 pound man would give readings of
bodyweight 200 lbs
lean body mass 180 lbs
body fat 20 lbs

So working over time, you get a clearer picture of where you are. The progress of your muscle building goals, and the progress towards your weight loss goals. If you're putting on more fat, cut down on calories. If you're doing fine, keep doing what you're doing.

7. What do I do about all the confusion about extra meals?
If three meals a day leaves you hungry at times, then eat more often. 5-6 times a day is what bodybuilders eat. And thats worked for them for decades.
Best middle ground - three meals with a couple of snacks thrown in.

8. What about a quick and easy list of food I can eat?
Here's an online BFFM guide to foods that burn fat, and foods that turn to fat. Simple rule again, as always, is go for the non processed food.

9. Okay. thats fat loss. what about a six pack.
A six pack doesn't show unless your bodyfat is between 7-11%.
So getting to a six pack is a combination of low bodyfat, stronger, more defined abdominal muscles (this means hypertrophy which means heavy weights, and relatively low reps i.e. anything you can just about crank out 8-12 reps with)  and core strengthening exercises to get rid of the saggy paunch. 

So like with everything else - take care of the basics and the basics take care of you.

Here are quick steps -

Calculate calories. Calculate baseline caloric intake (Katch McArdle calculator). (take 15, 20 or 30% (depending on how you feel on it) off requirement to lose fat).

Calculate macros. Calculate 1 gram of protein per pound of bodyweight (each gram of protein and carbohydrate is 4 calories, a gram of fat is 9 calories), i.e. start with protein macro values and work backwards to get to 30-40% protein, 30-40% carbs and 10-20% fats requirement.
80-90% of calories from non processed food.

Calorie monitoring. Religiously calculate calories per day (at least for 4 weeks at a stretch to get a basic idea).

Audit. Remonitor every two weeks and reformulate plan. If gaining weight/not losing fat - decrease calories, or processed food. If losing fat. Keep doing whatever you're doing.

Variation. One cheat day a week, where you have whatever you want to eat. Preferably to do this on a cardio, weight training day.
The cheat day is to rejig and fool your body into not adjusting to the new meal plan.

This is as simple as I could keep it. Based on the current evidence base, and what has worked in the past.

As fat as books are concerned, I'd recommend Tom Venuto's Burn the Fat, Feed the Muscle as a good starting point. Basics. No fancy schmancy promises. If you want user forum feedback and support, he has a brilliant member forum that targets accountability, and has tons of social support. Some of his members results are nothing short of phenomenal. Here's a 49 day transformation report.

I'd also recommend Alan Aragon's Girth Control, as a nutritional guide (though it was written in 08, and the evidence base might be a bit dated).

Online sites are  - Tom Venuto's blog Lyle McDonald's page. Brilliant articles on here. Right up to speed with the evidence base. (PP's a fan. Though he does a lot of intermittent fasting work)

For any other doubts, or questions - just ask, and I would be more than happy to clear doubts (hopefully with mention of current research base to back it up).

Whatever you do. The road really doesnt matter. Like with anything else, you can get there with any dietary method. But you have to respect the basics of calorie counting, and choosing a route, any route, that you can be consistent with.

And its not a diet, or a quick fat loss method we're looking for, but rather a way to incorporate healthy eating habits (because really thats what a diet automatically gets you into) that are part of an ongoing healthy lifestyle.

Offline axl617

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Re: Fat loss, weight loss, nutrition - your quick and dirty guide!
« Reply #1 on: July 14, 2013, 12:17:52 PM »
Great guide buddy. Also for anyone confused about 'macros' or macronutrients. Just remember, 1 gram of fat is 9 calories, 1 gram of carbs is 4 and 1 gram of protein is 4. Alcohol is 7 but no point counting that.

Offline zingdoozer

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Re: Fat loss, weight loss, nutrition - your quick and dirty guide!
« Reply #2 on: September 15, 2013, 09:19:35 AM »
Cheers Axl.

Here's a great thread from re: nutritional basics