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Getting started series -Episode 4 - Calculating your calories & food choices.

First of all we'll quickly go through how to calculate your calorie goal for your desired goal.

A calorie deficit is a portion of calories deducted from your TDEE ( total daily energy expenditure) - the amount of calories we use every day to function and fuel activity. Creating a deficit will put your energy requirements into negative equity forcing your body to use stored energy (primarily body fat) to make up the difference and fuel your body as needed. We can create a deficit either by cutting calories, increasing activity (as long as food isn't increased still a consideration) or ideally both and as body composition is 80% nutrition it's a strong competitor for achieving your desired goal.

So here's how you calculate your individualised calorie requirments- * First you need to work out your BMR (basal metabolic rate) this is what your body needs purely to function without activity The Harris Benedict Equation is the most popular method and is as follows:- WOMEN - BMR= (10 x weight in KG) + (6.25 x height in cm) - (5 x age in years) -161 MEN- BMR= (10 x weight in KG) + (6.25 x height in cm) - ( 5x age in years) + 5 Now we have your BMR say for instance its 1300 kcals for example purposes You now need to work out your TDEE (total daily energy expenditure) the guide is as follows:- *Little to no activity = BMR x 1.2 *Little exercise = (1-3 days per week), or a moderately active job i.e. hairdresser and no exercise = BMR x 1.375 *Moderate exercise (3-5 days per week), or light exercise and a moderately active job, or heavy exercise and an inactive job = BMR x 1.55 *Heavy exercise (5 days per week hard training), or moderately active job i.e. postman and moderate exercise = BMR x 1.725 *Very hard exercise (twice per day , extra heavy workouts), or someone with a very active job i.e. building site worker who exercises a lot = BMR x 1.9 Example- My BMR is 1300 kcals, I workout 3 days a week and work as a hairdresser. I would put myself in the moderately active category meaning I need to calculate BMR = 1300 x 1.55 = 2015 kcals This shows me an estimate of how many calories I need per day to maintain my weight. Finally you need to decide on a deficit. This usually falls in between a 10-30% decrease in calories. I have decided on a 15% calorie deficit as I'd like a nice steady weight loss but without too much deprivation this would take me to a daily calorie goal of 1712 kcals lets call it 1700 kcals and a weekly amount of 11900 kcals. You can really be flexible with this, the most important number is the weekly amount. Maybe you'd prefer slighty higher calories on a training day then up it by 200 kcals and reduce a rest day by 200 kcals. Just remember your target for the week. Keep in mind that this needs to be sustainable so although the larger deficit will have more rapid results will you be able to adhere to it without feeling absolutely miserable? I prefer to put my clients on around a 20% deficit or a possible short 30% at the beginning of their weight loss journey, then decrease to 10-20% for the majority. It really is trial and error to see what works for you. Take note of hunger, energy, cravings and sleep and remember consistancy is key.

Now lets talk about about calories-

A calorie is a unit of energy either directly used as energy for the body or stored for use when needed. Obviously too much stored energy leads to fat gain.

However just going off a calorie number and not paying attention to your food choices can make or break your plan.

Yes you could lose fat if you consumed fast food each day and if you where in a suitable calorie deficit. However how would you feel? Would you feel full of energy, able to perform in the gym or actually be able to consume enough food to keep you satiated? Not to mention getting enough precious protein that our bodies need for muscle protein synthesis and practically every function in the body.

Really think about your food choices and question how you are fuelling your body.

Ask is this the right food choice to keep me satiated and fuelled until my next meal. If the answer is no this will make your fat loss plan so much harder and we want to make it as easy as we possibly can.

Our bodies need the right fuel to function optimally

Protein- for muscle protein synthesis and most other bodily functions as well as being highly satiating ( I would aim for at least 1.4g of protein per kg of bodyweight)

Fat- Another essential macronutrient for the body. Helping with healthy hormonal function and coats every cell in the body. (aim for around 30% of your total calories for this macro)

Carbohydrates- Our bodies prefered energy source and needed to fuel our brain.( you can fuel the brain from fat in the form of ketones if on a ketogenic diet but this is a survival mechanism and extremely rigid) Not to mention all of the micronutrients, vitamins and minerals fruit and vegaetables provide. (make up the rest of your allocated calories with carbs)

I would however make sure you are getting in a bit of what you fancy now and again and encourage the 80/20 rule ( 80% nutrient dense foods 20% not so much) to make adherence easier.

I hope this series has helped. Dieting doesn't need to be punishing and if you keep all of these tools in your belt success is acheivable not just for the short term but for the rest of your life.

If you'd like help with your fat loss plan do get in touch as I currently have a couple of spaces open for new clients.

Much Love

Coach Tula xx

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