Dan Donohue, of Fitness Formation, writes about the key to losing weight
Regardless of the fact that we have reached the middle of the third month of the year already and many people have already referred back to type when it comes to their daily yo-yoing nutritional habits, losing weight will continue to be the biggest goal for many people this year.
When people talk about losing weight, they fail to differentiate between what they are actually looking to achieve, which is, of course, losing body fat.
This is the first point that is important to understand, as weight loss is the total mass removed from our bodies such as fluids, fat mass, stored energy and food in the stomach, to name a few.
We can lose weight or increase weight on a fluctuating and regular basis, but we are not necessarily gaining or losing ‘fat’.
Time and time again, we emphasise the importance of a caloric deficit in order to elicit fat loss.
This is something we do on a daily basis with many of our clients both in the studio and our online clients.
We need a negative energy balance meaning we need to burn more calories than we consume in order to decrease body fat over time.
Calories that we consume, though, need to be ingested, absorbed and distributed before they actually become useable energy.
Calories going out is a pretty much constant process even when you may feel as though you aren’t actually doing much, as something as simple as fidgeting plays a role in using energy.
We’ve spoken in the past about BMR, TEF and TDEE and it’s a subject we’ll cover in the future again and they all play a role in energy usage.
One thing we also need to understand about being in a long term calorie deficit is the impact it can have on muscle loss, decreased metabolism, sleep and recovery but we don’t have the column inches to cover that here, but is something we’ll address in the near future in other columns.
But, regardless, we need to note it can have a negative effect, though again, it is important to remember that everyone is different so these side effects may be greater from one person to the next.
As our body becomes used to a lower caloric intake, it will burn fewer calories due to the reduced amount of lean mass (metabolically active tissue) present.
Strength training needs to play a large role in programming during this phase of ones diet in order to increase the chances of retaining as much lean mass as possible.
A slower recovery time needs to be taken into consideration, so volume will need to be lower as our capacity to recover decreases during longer dieting phases.
A final point to note is one we again always bang on about.
Keep the deficit as high as possible allowing for a higher calorie consumption, whilst still achieving a deficit. Think five per cent to 10 per cent for the best chance of sustainability in the longer term.