We know who is king- ENERGY BALANCE and we know who is queen- MACRONUTRIENT BALANCE so to finish off the royal family let’s talk about the third principle you need to follow in order to achieve rapid fat loss. This principle takes some skill and lots of patience because it requires adjusting your calorie intake and your macros up or down based on what is ACTUALLY happening with your body in relation to your goals. This matters for two reasons:
Formulas for calculating your calories and macros may not work perfectly for you. EveryBODY is different and our body doesn’t always respond to numbers and calculations.
What has been working can (and most likely will) stop producing results.
To expand on the first point, your metabolism may be naturally faster or slower than the formulas assume and/or you may burn less or more calories than you estimated on your activity multiplier. Usually we overestimate how many calories we burn and wearables aren’t helping with that because your 30 minute run didn’t burn 400 calories, sorry. Guesstimating how many calories you burn is basically impossible so you have to use trial and error on your calories once you get within a ballpark. Be patient and consistent to really figure this out, trust me the effort and time is worth it in the long run because it will give you a lot of flexibility once you know.
To the second point, the body tends to burn calories as conservatively as possible. What I mean by that is the better shape you get in, the less calories you burn doing the same activity or workout. Efficiency is the body's trademark and becoming more efficient is a sign of fitness and health. The body is also incredibly intelligent when it comes to calorie restriction. It has counter measures that are hard wired in our genetics to stall weight loss because losing weight is bad for survival. This is why calorie intake that initially results in weight loss can eventually stop working, However, it works in the other direction as well. Once you find your body’s “set point” you can maintain it with great ease meaning you can have deviations from the calories you are eating more frequently and your body will increase metabolism or subconsciously make you move more to burn those extra calories. I make this point because it should give you hope that as hard as it can be to lose weight and get to a certain weight, maintaining that weight takes less effort and focus.
Having made those points don’t feel like you have to know all this before you start your fat loss journey. That is the beauty of it, you can start simple and adjust your calories (and macros for that matter) based on a few metrics.
Your daily weight on the scale and averaged over the week. Compare one week to the next and this will be your true weight loss or gain.
Standardized photos of your front, back, and both sides taken every 2 weeks. I say standardized because you need them to be the same distance, light, and time of day to really compare every two weeks.
Circumferential measurements of 5 places on your body. Both arms, both legs, your chest, waist and hips. Repeat these every 2 weeks as well to give you another measure of what your body is doing.
Of course there are dozens of things to measure depending on your goals like performance in the gym or sports, digestion, regularity, sleep, mood, etc…but the above 3 tend to be the most objective and repeatable.
Having said all this, you can follow one basic rule of thumb:
If you’re trying to lose weight but aren’t, you probably need to eat less and move more. If you are trying to gain weight, it’s the opposite.
Of course this is oversimplifying the process but it can really be this simple IF you have some hard lines of how you’re tracking your changes and how you are tracking what you’re eating.
I think it’s worth summarizing this final principle by telling you how I talk to a new client and what I emphasize as we begin their journey to health and happiness. I like to start with the smallest change that will give them the biggest result. The 20% that will give them 80% change. My guiding principle is it has to be easy, fast, and enjoyable or no one will ever stick with it long term much less want to make it a lifestyle. Change happens slowly but predictably if we are doing the right things consistently over time. Trust the process and enjoy it because if you do, it will become who you are and the side effect will be who you want to become.
Live it, Love life!