There’s a tonne of ‘expert’ advice out there about how to lose weight and burn fat… and most of it isn’t great. There are no quick and easy fixes for fat loss, but it can be simple – we’re here to give you everything you need to know to get started. Below is our beginners guide to losing fat.
First things first – let’s define what your goal is. Most people say they want to “lose weight”... but what does this mean? You’ll certainly lose weight if you stop drinking water for several hours, but you’ll regain this as soon as you rehydrate.
But when we commonly talk about ‘losing weight’, we really mean that the goal is to “lose fat”.
Basically, to lose/burn fat you need to consume fewer calories than your body uses. When your body doesn’t have enough calories for energy it uses the energy stored as glycogen in your muscle first, then your fat stores. We recommend you aim to lose 1lb of fat per week, any more and it gets hard; see the numbers below:
The amount of calories you need depends on your gender, age, height, weight, and activity. Use this calculator to calculate the amount of calories you need per day. Then take 500kcal off to lose 1lb per week, and 1,000kcal to lose 2lb per week.
Most foods today have the calories printed on them so you can keep a running total during the day. There are also some apps out there to help, such as myfitnesspal, which makes tracking calories over the day a bit easier, but it still takes some effort.
Huel makes it even easier by providing all the nutrients in one product, thus removing the need to add the calories for different ingredients together.
If you want to get an idea of how many calories you need, as well as what you need to lose (or gain) weight, a calorie calculator is your new best friend.
If more calories are consumed than the body needs, the calories will either be stored as fat or, if the right stimulus is provided, used to build muscle. If fewer calories are consumed than your Total Daily Energy Expenditure (TDEE), fat will be lost and, if TDEE is matched, body weight will be maintained.
The basic rough rule of thumb is:
- Consume your TDEE to maintain your weight
- Eat 500kcal over your TDEE to gain weight
- Consume 500kcal below your TDEE to lose weight
Yes, that’s all there is to it. One pound of fat is roughly 3,500kcal, so a daily deficit of 500kcal (over seven days) will take you 3,500kcal – or 1lb – under your TDEE. The same concept applies when weight gain is the goal.
Whatever you eat, make sure you’re getting all the nutrients you need for good health. If you want more information about what each nutrient does and what you need, we’ve got you covered with our Beginner’s Guide to Nutrition.
Basically, your body needs a balance of protein, fat (remember: fat doesn't make you fat, excess calories make you fat), carbs and all 26 essential vitamins and minerals. Wouldn't it be great if a you could get all of that in one meal? Fortunately for you, such a product exists...
You should drink plenty of fluid (at least seven or eight cups) every day – this can be anything from water, tea and coffee, to green tea, diet sodas, or sugar-free cordial. Not all drinks are created equal, though...
It probably goes without saying, but we think you should avoid sugary drinks and foods. It might be hard to resist, but sugar isn't satisfying and it’s addictive – after consuming it, you can easily feel hungry and quickly crave even more of the stuff, so it’s best to stay clear.
Alcohol is also addictive and high in sugar. For example, one can of Bud Light is 110kcal (five cans is 550kcal – nearly 25% of an average man’s total calorie intake). These are empty calories, i.e. they contain little nutrition other than calories (mostly sugar). Sure, you can enjoy the odd drink, but make sure you add the calories to your daily total.
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