The summer is right around the corner and I bet you want the proper knowledge in order to execute your weight loss goals. In this article, we will not only cover the basics of weight loss, but fat loss as well.
This is probably going to be my most concise post on weight loss as I have written extensively about everything fitness for the past two years.
I’ve covered topics on fat loss, building muscle, strength training, and general weight loss and how it works.
I’ll break it down for the people who want to lose fat/lose weight the right way.
Fat loss vs Weight Loss
First things first, why am I differentiating between fat loss and weight loss? Well, weight loss accounts for over all weight lost and fat loss accounts for fat lost. Two different things.
You can lose weight without losing fat so it’s important to know the difference. Especially when you first step on the scale during your fat loss journey.
When you first start to restrict calories, specifically by cutting your carbohydrate intake, you’ll lose water weight first. As you venture deeper into your weight loss journey, fat loss will start to occur.
The general difference between weight loss and fat loss is that while weight loss can be any type of mass or water depletion, fat loss is strictly the loss of fat mass.
As I’ll explain later, you’ll want to focus on fat loss as it is more aesthetically pleasing in the long run over strictly losing weight.
How To Restrict Calories For Weight Loss (Calories In Vs Calories Out)
In order to restrict calories and therefore lose weight you must first know how many calories (estimate) are needed to maintain your current bodyweight.
Once you know this, you consume less calories than your body requires, causing you to lose weight.
Each week or so, depending on the rate at which you are losing weight, you want to adjust your calories accordingly. If you aren’t losing weight, reduce your calories. If you are losing weight, keep your calories the same.
If you are plateauing, depending on how long you’ve been restricting your calories, you may want to either take a diet break or reduce your calories.
Also keep in mind that weight loss is not linear. You may lose weight one week, then gain weight the next week or your weight loss progress won’t budge for a little while.
In either case, you want to focus on your weight loss goals by way of caloric restriction.
We will dive into more detail about fat loss soon.
Diet Periodization For Weight Loss & Sustained Fat Loss
Plateauing is a different beast than not losing weight week to week due to incorrect macronutrient prescription.
When you notice you’ve plateaued in your weight loss progress, this might be a signal that your body is metabolically adapting to your extended period of caloric restriction. When your body adapts your weight loss progress will eventually stall leaving you confused.
Many people seem to leave diet periodization out completely. It is the key to not only sustainable weight loss, but for consistent fat loss for life.
I see people reducing their calories with no rhyme or reason, then they either end up binge eating and putting back on more weight or the restrict so blindly that they end up throwing their body into starvation mode, the point where their body stored energy in the form as fat for survival.
This lack of planning sabotages their weight loss progress.
The key to weight loss/fat loss is to count and track your calories via macronutrients!
Many people are too lazy to do this or they think that it is not necessary for weight loss.
If you are casually losing weight because you’ve gained a little chub, by all means, eye ball your food and lose fat that way.
If you are overweight or obese you can probably stand to “guess” while eye balling as well. However, at some point you’re going to have to hunker down and get serious about tracking because you have a long way to go for your weight loss goals.
Add to the fact that many people who are overweight or obese need an overhaul of their lifestyle. In other words, tracking may be tedious but it gets the job done. It also makes your life easier, believe it or not.
So how do we periodize our diet? This is a simple process and it doesn’t have to be that complicated. The last thing I would want to do is complicate your weight loss journey.
For the sake of clarity, I am going to switch gears to focus on fat loss for the rest of the article.
When it comes to the “how to” for diet periodization, all you need to remember is that to avoid metabolic adaptation, you have to:
- Track your calories and macronutritients(more on macros in the next part)
- Know how to calculate your TDEE(your maintenance calories that maintain your current weight)
- Reduce your cardio
After a 6-8 week period of consistent weight loss by way of caloric restriction, you want to increase your calories to maintenance. So at the point of your 6th or 8th week, you weigh yourself like you’ve been doing weekly, then you calculate your maintenance calories then consume that amount for roughly 7 days.
Macronutrients And Body Composition For Fat Loss
When shooting for fat loss you want to maintain as much muscle as possible without having too much weight loss occur.
Be sure to consume the proper macronutrients profile for your fat loss/weight loss goals.
This means consuming between 1.0g – 1.2g of protein per pound of body weight in order to maintain muscle tissue. The other macro nutrients you can probably play with to your likely. That is, unless you’re a competitive bodybuilder or something.
Tracking your macros is very important for fat loss and muscle retention. If you are not tracking your macros and you have ambitious goals for fitness, you are simply being lazy.
Want to know more about tracking your macros? I suggest you read my article “How To Track Your Macros.”
When you are thinking about competitive bodybuilding, you should hire a coach.
Be sure to be consuming an adequate amount of your favorite fruits and vegetables in order to meet your micronutrient profile, especially when restricting calories.
By restricting calories, you’re limiting the amount of nutrients you consume.
This means you have to be cognizant of your fruit and vegetable intake.
If you are new here, check out my more in-depth articles in the strength training section of my website.