In my personal experience, most people want to lose weight. That’s why they decide to come to the gym, and ask me about nutrition. The most common misconception is that all they have to do to lose weight is to eat better. That’s true, but that’s not all. To lose weight, you have to have a calorie deficit. That means you have to burn more calories than you’re taking in.
You can eat all the healthy food you want to, and that’s great, but if you’re not eating fewer calories than you have been, you won’t lose weight.
What I tell my clients is to try to figure out your current calorie intake first. The first step of that is to figure out your BMR —your Basal Metabolic Rate. That’s the number of calories your burn as your body just goes about its business of keeping you alive.
Then, you can use something called the Harris Benedict equation to factor in things like your age, sex, weight, and typical daily activity levels to determine your total daily calorie expenditure. That’s the number of calories you burn every day. If your weight has held steady, you are consuming the same amount of calories you’re burning. If you’ve been gaining weight, you’re consuming more calories than you’re burning. So to lose weight, you need to consume fewer calories than you burn.
All you have to do is take that calorie number you came up with and just subtract about 500 calories per day to create a deficit. That’s your starting point.
Some people are on fire to lose weight fast, so they try to subtract more than that—but that’s a bad idea. Your body still needs fuel to function, and if you take too much away, you won’t function very well.
Then, all you have to do is to keep your calorie intake at that level, while getting the healthy nutrients you need from your food.