So now that we have established that the most important factor for effective weight loss is to create an energy deficit, we need to work out how much we can eat.

At this point, it is important to point out that our aim is to make things as simple and effective as possible. We appreciate that some people don’t like monitoring calories but without doing this everything is guess work and your chances of success are less. You don’t have to do it for long, we’d suggest a minimum of 2 weeks as this will be enough time to highlight any foods that are surprisingly high in calories and long enough to establish the right habits.

So how much can you eat?

Firstly we need to work out how many calories you can eat to maintain your current weight. For this, we use the following formula –

The multiplier value is selected by taking into account how much you move and exercise each day. The low end (1.2) would be used for a typical sedentary office worker who travels to and from work by car or public transport and the high end (2) would be an active manual worker (labourer/hod carrier) who trains regularly.

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Example 

If you weigh 65kg, work in an office, walk 30 mins to and from work each day and train in the gym three times a week, the equation would look like this

65 x 22 x 1.6= 2288 calories per day.


 

Now that we have calculated the number of calories you can eat each day to maintain your current weight we need to calculate how many calories to set for your weight loss plan. At Train, we set this with three main principles in mind.

1) A realistic long-term weight loss strategy should be to lose approximately 0.5-1% of your bodyweight per week.

This gives people a greater chance of adhering to an eating plan, prevents yo-yo dieting, creates a more stable relationship with food and increases your potential to lose fat and maintain muscle.

2) There are approximately 7,700 calories in a 1kg (2.2lbs) of body fat.

Therefore, in theory, a 550 calorie deficit over 7 days should mean you lose 0.5kg of body fat a week.

3) How many calories we feel we can reduce your daily target to and you can realistically maintain it.

This will depend on your time frame, past experiences, current habits, target weight, medical conditions and strength of your motivation.


Example 

If your scenario was;

  • you weighed 65kg (as in the example above),
  • you wanted to lose weight before your wedding (very motivated),
  • your target weight was 60kg (the weight you were at 25, your now 32),
  • you have tried to diet before but had a hard time as you completely avoided carbs 
  • you have 3 months till your wedding.

We would calculate your daily calorific weight loss target by;  

Step 1 
Looking at your daily calorific intake to remain the same weight (2288 calories per day as above)
 
Step 2
Then aiming for a 0.5-1% weight loss per week (0.32-0.65kg)
This would be calculated as follows:
 0.5% – 0.32 x 7700= 2464, then dividing this by 7 days per week 2464 ÷ 7 = 352
1.0% – 0.65 x 7700= 5005, then dividing this by 7 days per week 5005 ÷ 7 = 715
 
Step 3
Deduct the figures in step 2 from your maintenance calories (calculated above using the first equation) to find out your new weight loss range.
 
2288 – 352 = 1936
2288 – 715 = 1573
 
From this, we can see that if you kept between a range of 1573 -1936 calories a day you would reach your target. We would, however, set you normal daily calorific target to 1600 calories a day but suggest that you can go up to 1900 calories a day on days that included an evening out or social occasion. 

Other considerations

At Train, we very rarely set a daily target of fewer than 1400 calories per day as this can make life quite boring due to a lack of food choices at meal times. Rice cakes for dinner aren’t fun!

Consistent weight loss is not an exact science as variable factors such as hydration levels, loss of muscle tissue and inaccurate calorie counting can affect your result on the scales, however, we have found that is normally the best and most informed way to start.

If you would like to arrange a time to chat about your training and nutrition goals or to arrange a training session please email us at hello@train-london.co.uk or call us on 07951 872 516.

Next article we will be looking at what to eat.