My Fitness Pal says I should eat 1200 kcal…
…..Said a client to me lately.
Cue sigh and eye roll.
Because unless you are 60 years old… Or 6 years old… You should be eating more than that.
One of the bugbears in this job is that you constantly have to combat the misinformation, the propaganda and the marketing bullshit. Generally being led by companies that have maaahhhooosive budgets for their own agendas.
Anyhow. Back to the point.
There is a common myth in the industry that to lose more fat, you need to eat less. Now this is sometimes true. But not always. I have no idea why MFP restricts calories so dramatically but it does.
So. Ladies ignore whatever it says. Instead here are some rules of the thumb.
How you should eat if you wanna lose fat…
– Eat 3 or 4 meals a day.
– Include protein in every single meal. Repeat. In every single meal. If this has to be a protein shake, so be it…
– Include greens in every single meal. Repeat. In every single meal. If this has to be a greens drink, so be it! And yes I have sometimes had my greens drink and protein shake together. In one drink!!! It’s pretty rank, tbh…
– If you need to snack, make sure they are good snacks: apples, a handful of nuts, cottage cheese, crudités. And so on. You know the drill. Not crisps. Not waffles. Not biscuits!
But how many kcal should I be having?
Well, that depends on lots of things and there isn’t a one size fits all.
But I can give you some general guidelines.
Step 1. To get a guideline of Kcals simply use your weight in lbs and multiply by 10. This will give you your basic number.
Step 2. Next comes your activity levels.
– If you’re not active – do nothing
– if you work out 1-2 times a week, add 150 kcals
– if you work out 3-5 times a week, add 300 kcals
– if you do more or have an active job, add 500 kcals
Step 3. Are you looking to lose fat, put on muscle or maintain weight?
Lose fat => deduct 20% kcals
Add muscle => add 10% kcals
Maintain weight => keep the same…
There you go.
In my experience most of the readers of this blog should fall in the 1400 – 1900kcals bracket.
So what about the reference national guidelines.
Well. They are also wrong! If you take me as an example, when I’m back training at 5-6 times a week, and living a fairly active life. But if I ate the 2100 recommended I would put on fat. I put myself on 1750 at this time of the year. I’m not dieting, if anything I’m hoping to bulk up a bit, add lean muscle.
So 2,100 is an average. If I were 5’10 it might work.
Why cutting kcals too low is a problem…
Because basically, your body starts to shut down. You probably won’t notice it, but when you’re hungry or malnourished you cut down the activities you would normally do. Like hoovering, tidying or even simply fidgeting. This cuts down your NEAT… which is bad.
And worse, if you’re not getting enough nutrition, this is a signal to your body that we’re in a middle of a famine. and consequently the body will start protecting it’s current supply of fat. Your fat loss will stop. You might still lose weight, but this is almost certainly muscle mass. Because you know what else your body starts doing? Switching off processes that it thinks are secondary… Like muscle building and muscle repair…
So, there you have it.
Don’t cut kcal too low or you could be in trouble. And don’t listen to mfp!