So many people overcomplicate their weight loss goals, keeping things simple is key, you see weight loss is not a complicated thing, to lose weight, you need to eat fewer calories than you burn – calories in against calories out.
To work out your calorie target is a little less simple however. So I suggest the following, work out your BMR (Basal Metabolic Rate) by using a BMR Calculator online and then multiply your result by the following.
1.2x (Sedentary Lifestyle, little or no exercise)
1.375x (Lightly Active Lifestyle, light exercise 1-3 time per week)
1.55x (Moderately Active Lifestyle, moderate exercise 3-5 days a week)
1.725x (Active Lifestyle, hard exercise 6-7 days a week)
1.9x (Extremely Active Lifestyle (Extremely Hard Exercise or long training sessions or more than an hour)
This will give you your daily number to work with. You may have to adjust by a few hundred either way, but it will give you a good starting point. That’s really all there is to it! Now, to actually track your calories I’d suggest using a food tracker app. Try and weigh all of your food before eating and log it in to your app, even if it’s just an apple. This means you’ll know exactly how much and what is going into your body, which is important to achieving good results. If you want to simplify it even more for yourself, try eating similar foods most days of the week. Now this may appear to be a little boring but by keeping to the same or similar foods on a consistent basis makes it easier to keep track, plus once you’ve gained a deeper understanding of counting calories you can start to experiment more should you wish to do that.
Now you don’t have to have the exact same thing each day, but if you have a protein bar as a snack you could switch the flavors up satisfying both your taste buds and your time. For a meal you might change the meat and vegetables but keep the carbs the same. It gives you less to think about and makes keeping track a whole lot easier.
Back to my original point, if you can keep it simple then you are more likely to keep doing it, so don’t overcomplicate it. Start with the basics and build from there.
One thing to keep in mind of course is the quality of the calories you’re putting into your body but having been a personal trainer for over a decade now the reason I see most people fail over the long term is that they try to change too much too soon. That’s why I recommend focusing solely on the calorie count to begin with, without restricting any foods. If you want your diet to work in the long run, then it needs to be something you don’t actually mind doing and once you’ve built up solid calorie counting habits you can start looking into other factors in more detail.
Words: Ross Taylor, personal trainer at Hybrid One Fitness.
Photo by Wade Austin Ellis on Unsplash.