If you read my posts on the weight loss pyramid and the theory behind successful weight loss you will notice that I almost always said weight loss instead of fat loss when explaining the calories in vs calories out formula. That’s because that’s pretty much all there is to weight loss.
Most people, however, don’t just want to lose weight, they want to lose fat and maintain or build muscle. This distinction is important because just losing weight can mean losing water or muscle mass too. Not great.
So your primary goal should always be fat loss, which is what we will focus on in this post.
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Like I explained in the post on the weight loss pyramid, besides a calorie deficit the next most important factor are your macros especially your protein intake. You want to adjust your diet to be high in protein. Study after study has proven that losing fat without losing muscle is all about consuming enough protein every day.
How much protein do you need for fat loss?
If you are regularly exercising than your daily protein intake should be between 0.8 and 1 gram of protein per pound of body weight. Make sure to reach this by eating quality and protein-rich foods such as fish, chicken breast or beans. Supplements will definitely make your life easier, but you shouldn’t use them as your one and only source of protein.
Next, you want to make sure to not reduce your calories too much. calorie deficits can generally be categorized as either small, medium or large based on how far below maintenance you go and how much you reduce your daily calorie intake. Each category has its advantages and disadvantages, which I will explain later but make sure to not create a deficit larger that 25% below your maintenance level.
Why not a larger deficit?
Not only will too large of a calorie deficit make you feel more tired and hungry, it will also decrease hormone level, sleep quality and libido. If you are strength training than it will also reduce your ability for muscle recovery and strength maintenance.
This is also why you should take diet breaks when needed. A diet break is a planned and purposeful break from dieting, which can only be one day or up to several weeks. Taking these break will help you prepare psychologically as well as physiologically for the next phase of dieting.
It just makes the overall experience of dieting easier and more effective. Ther is an entire lesson on diet breaks later in the course so for now just keep in mind that you should take them, especially when you are also exercising regularly.
Which takes me to the last tip for losing fat and not just weight. Obviously to maintain muscle mass you first have to build some, which is best done through resistance training. If you don’t just diet but also train you want to maintain strength levels during your diet.