Calories are king. You have to consume less calories than you burn in order to lose weight. Carbs don't make you fat! Fat does not make you fat! Too many calories make you fat!
But a lot of people seem to be confused about the amount of calories they have to consume. There are a lot of bad calculators out there. And most people overestimate their daily activity levels and therefore consume too many calories.
The following calculator uses one of the best formulas out there to accurately estimate the calories you need on a daily basis. Activity levels are expressed in a way that better suits most people's daily lives.
We used it both for ourselves and our clients and over time noticed it was very accurate. Once you entered all necessary facts, it will also give you a pie chart of the macro distribution of your calories, based on your dietary goal, defaulting to a standard high carb, high protein diet.
Have a try first, below it, I'll get into a little bit more detail:
With our calculator, you'll have a very good starting point for your current diet goal, whether you want to bulk or cut. But if you want to understand the reasoning behind it better, keep on reading.
As mentioned earlier, calories are king. Don't get fooled by some media articles and "diet gurus". It doesn't matter if you eat high carb, low carb, keto, paleo, vegan or only Snickers. Deficit means fat loss! Yes, you can and will lose weight by only consuming Snickers bars all day. As long as you are in a caloric deficit. I tried it :)
Of course, it's not very healthy to do so. Nor is it easy, since candy is very dense in calories and doesn't keep you satiated for long.
Plus, study after study has shown, that a diet high in protein will lead to better results across the board. Even when consumed calories are equal.
This, in part, comes down to the thermic effect of food. To keep it short, 20-30% of the calories you consume from protein are needed to digest the food. Therefore 200g of protein will increase your daily expenditure by 160-240 kcal. Fat has basically no thermic effect and does not increase your expenditure.
Calories in, calories out still hold true though! But by consuming higher amounts of protein, your overall deficit becomes bigger due to higher caloric expenditure. Simple math.
The higher amount of protein will also spare muscle on a fat loss diet, which means you'll not lose as much muscle on a cut as you would on a diet low in protein (your body will not only burn fat on a deficit, but muscle too!).
So high protein it is. In general, aim for roughly 2g per kg of body weight or 1g per pound of body weight per day. Going a little bit higher than that could be necessary to protect muscles even more, depending on your genetics. But don't do 300g protein diets like some bodybuilders do! Your kidneys will thank you.
Now that we have protein figured out, we have fat and carbs left. Depending on your body type, genetics and preferences, you should have one of them high and one low. Don't do high fat AND high carb! Some people do better with high carbs, some better on high fat. If you're unsure, try our FREE diet check.
Let's get it out of the way. You don't have to do any sport to lose weight. Again, caloric deficit. But, it's easier when you work out, because you can eat more (see our activity dropdown in the calculator) and you'll look better in the end.
Make sure to focus on weight lifting, instead of cardio. Yes even the ladies. You won't get "too muscular", that's a myth! If that were the case, men would grow like weed due to their 10 times higher testosterone levels. And yet, how many guys in the gym don't look like they even lift? Lift ladies, lift!
Weight lifting will increase your muscle mass and therefore the calories you burn, even when you sleep. Cardio will only burn calories while you do it, plus you'll most likely burn muscle doing it as well. Especially on steady state cardio like jogging (on the treadmill) for an hour. Yikes!
Stick to the diet
Please, try the calories above for at least 2 weeks straight. You'll lose "a lot of weight" in the first week. Because your body gets rid of excess water. The second week is more important, because that effect is gone. If you lose roughly 0.5kg/1lbs in the second week, keep going until you have a week where you lose less than that. Cut your calories by 200 and continue. That's it.
Remember to weigh yourself first thing in the morning after you went to the bathroom. Never in the evening or during the day! Make it a habit to weigh yourself once a week, write down the results and act according to above rules.
Use the calculator on your own site/blog
By the way, if you have visitors on your own site or blog and want to offer them our calculator as well, feel free to use the following code to embed it directly into your page. It's free and will always be!
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