To lose fat you must Consume fewer calories than you burn. Nutritionists estimate that to lose 1lb of body fat [around .45 kgs] you must create a calorific deficit of 3500. Thus, it is generally recommended that you create a deficit of 500 per day. It is dangerous, however, to go below 1200 for a sedentary, small woman and 1500 for a similar man. The amount of energy you burn when at rest is called your Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR).
There are many formulae out there that calculate your estimated BMR. The most famous of which is the Harris-Benedict formula which uses your height, weight, age and sex to determine how much energy you burn at rest.
Male BMR: 66 + (13.7 x weight in kilograms) + (5 x height in centimetres) - (6.8 x age in years).
Female BMR: 655 + (9.6 x weight in kilograms) + (1.8 x height in centimetres) - (4.7 x age in years)
For example. You're a 23 year old female whose 5ft6 (167.6cm) and 130lbs (58.9kg).
655 + (9.6 x 58.9) + (1.8 x 167.6) - (4.7 x 23) = 1414kcal
This is how much energy you would burn if you were in bed all day. Obviously most of us don't spend all our time in bed, so we need an "activity multiplier" to work out what we burn on our average day. These are split into categories below:
Little or no exercise - BMR x 1.2
Light exercise 1-3 days a week - BMR x 1.375
Moderate exercise 3-5 days a week - BMR x 1.55
Hard exercise 6-7 days a week - BMR x 1.725
Extreme exercise daily training - BMR x 1.9
If we continue with our example, our 23 year old girl fits into the light exercise category.
Therefore we take 1414kcal (BMR) x 1.375 = 1944kcal This is how much energy she burns on average per day with her daily lifestyle/routine. In order for her to lose weight she needs to eat less than 1944kcal everyday.
So there are two ways to lose fat:
A mixture of these two will help you achieve this:
Before we get into diet, did you know that 92% of us are deficient in at least one vitamin. The foods we eat no longer contain nutrient levels optimal for health. The soils in which our fruits and vegetables grow are depleted of nutrients (pesticides actually make plants lazy, further lowering their nutrient content). The animals we eat are kept cooped up in small areas and fed unnatural foods and chemicals. In these conditions, we all need supplementation to live healthily. Numerous research has shown over and over again that spending just a few pennies daily on nutritional supplements can drastcally reduce sickness and chronic diseases along with the chances of even developing them in the first place.
Supplements are simple vital for health. While there are many nutritional supplements out there that are beneficial and have been proven to be helpful in studies, there are two supplements however that were unquestionable, beyond scientific doubt, well-accepted and well-proven to be extremely beneficial and almost necessary to live a healthy life; omega-3 fish oil and multivitamins.
These are the body's main energy supplies. Carbohydrates are used to keep you going; keep your muscles moving and keep your brain cells working hard (yeah right!). There are different types of carbs, those that your body burns really quickly (simple sugars, found in sweets and cans), and those that take a long time to burn (complex carbohydrates, found in brown bread, bran flakes).
To process sugar your body releases insulin, and insulin promotes fat storage. You ultimately want to keep your insulin levels low, consistent and even.. when you get an insulin "spike" your body puts fat on, in men it puts it around the waist. Complex carbohydrates (Starchy foods) are much better because they release energy over a longer time period.
Protein is needed with the growth and repair of tissues, it also helps generate new tissues too. Protein has calories, but they only apply when the protein is burnt, which generally will not happen (unless you're David Blaine, for example). It contains a makeup of amino acids that are separated by digestion and rebuilt by your cells. For example, egg protein is different from the protein found in fish.
Fats provide energy and fatty acids which your body needs. When stored, it acts as insulation. You need it to carry fat soluble vitamins as well. Basically, don't cut fats out completely! You need them. They are good for your body. There are different types, like the others. Avoid saturated fats though (these are found in crisps, and anything fried or deep fried, baked is good).
Your body uses a lot to burn it, and water increases your metabolism which goes towards increasing the amount you burn in general. Water also fills you up. When you feel hungry and it's mid afternoon, or late at night, drink a glass or two of water and you will not want to eat so much.
If you want to read more about losing fat in your nutrition, read this: http://www.quackwatch.org/03HealthPromotion/lowfat.html
Food to avoid
Try to find your maintenance calories, that is, the amount of calories you need to eat to not put on or lose weight. This is different for everyone, men and women, ecto/meso/endomorphs (relates to metabolism rate), etc. You must find your OWN, and cut approximately 300-500 calories from it. Remember the important of the food types above, you have to cut these calories from the BAD types, such as simple sugars and saturated fats. On top of this, here is a list of things you must AVOID LIKE THE PLAGUE:
- Mayo. This is terrible! It is incredibly high in calories. One serving may have 150 calories, and that's only a small amount in a sandwich. There are lighter versions of mayo available, with the light version having typically 45 calories in a teaspoon [around 15 ml], and extra light, which typically has 15 calories in a teaspoon.
- Fried Foods - eg. McDonald's chips. These are incredibly high in saturated fats, because they're deep fried, and are very thin so you are getting a large surface area to volume ratio.
- Crisps. These are very high in saturated fats again, and trust me, you can live without. I haven't touched a bag for years and haven't missed them a bit.
- Non-Diet Fizzy Drinks - These are high in simple sugars. Everyone's heard that a can of coke contains 9 teaspoons of sugar. You can do without. Get Diet at least.
That's only half of it! To speed up the rate at which you lose fat, you need to increase the amount of calories you burn. There are loads of ways to do this. You need to run, swim, cycle, walk anywhere possible. Twenty minutes on a treadmill is about 300 calories burnt. Or 1000 calorie burnt if you run 5mph on a varying incline within 70 minutes.
It is possible to lose fat if you keep your diet absolutely clean, but it will be slow and harder to achieve. Just go out for half an hour round on the roads or round a nearby park, or go swimming three times a week.
If you do all this, then you WILL see a loss in fat. The time period you're looking over is approximately a few weeks to two months to notice a good difference, and maybe 3 months before you will have cut down significantly on fat.
Remember, don't weigh yourself daily as this will not give a good indication of FAT LOSS, weigh yourself every fortnight, stay strong and show everyone that you have a strong will power, and you will soon be enjoying results.