To begin, we need to understand where our current caloric intake is. I use this within my program as a part of what is called a Food Recall or a recap of what you consumed over the past 5 to 7 days. There are many free applications for tracking your daily nutrition, such as MyFitnessPal, that can be used for this purpose. The key is to track everything (including drinks and condiments) over this period. If you are eating as you normally would, this should provide a fairly accurate estimate to what your average intake is. If the scale isn’t changing drastically over this time we can use the average daily caloric intake for our current “maintenance” number. In other words, we will maintain our current body weight if we continued to eat in this manner.
While eating a balanced dietary approach is my recommended option, choosing a method that allows you to maintain and be consistent with your lifestyle is the most important factor. Whether this is Keto, Paleo, Flexible, Whole30, or otherwise is up to you to choose.
There is no “Magic Diet” for fat loss
All success is based on being in a caloric deficit consistently over a long enough period. As you may be aware, I fully believe in using a Flexible Dieting approach based on daily tracking of foods against a set amount of macro (carbs, fats, and protein) goals for the day.
With your chosen dietary approach in mind, and your average caloric intake from your Food Recall, it is time to figure out how many calories you should eat a day to push towards fat loss. Without getting overly into the science (this is a basic write-up) we need to ensure we pull enough calories to lose body fat and not just slow our metabolic rate. A general range would be 3 – 500 calories a day for the week. If you choose 300 then you would have cut 2100 calories by the end of the week. So, if your average daily caloric intake from your Food Recall is 1,800 calories, cutting 300 would put you at 1,500 calories a day at the start.
Keep in mind that fat loss is not a linear process. The scale will fluctuate based on many variables (undigested food, hydration, etc.). You want to focus on the average body weight based on 7 – 10 days of tracking to gauge whether you are on the right track for fat loss or pulled enough calories. Also, remember that a caloric deficit can either come from the nutrition side (removal of calories), or from an increased amount of activity (gym time, walking, etc.)
I realize this is a very basic explanation but wanted to provide some general guidelines to remove the uncertainty of where to start when your goal is fat loss. I am a big fan of the coach/client relationship for nutritional goals and that is a part of why I started Adaptive Transformations. If ever you feel that is something you would be interested in feel free to reach out via Facebook or email to AdaptiveCoachErik@gmail.com
Best of luck on your goals!