So all I need to do is count calories to lose weight?

Fitness training with Nicky Holland

This is a question I get asked a lot when it comes to weight loss and there is more than one answer to this question, so let me explain…

In last month’s article, we spoke about energy balance. To recap, this is our input vs output, referring to the calories we consume against the calories we burn. If we eat the same amount of calories as we burn, there is no change and our weight will stay the same. If we eat more calories than we burn, we will gain weight and if we eat less calories than we burn, we will lose weight.

If you calculated your daily Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR) using the formula in last month’s article, you will know how many calories you need each day. If you didn’t, you can check this formula out on my website

Counting calories is a great way to track how much you consume, but calories aren’t the only thing you should focus on.

Let’s say your daily BMR is 2000 calories a day. The quality of the foods you eat, the variety and the macronutrient breakdown can make a big impact. If you eat 75% of your 2000 calories from fats, that’s 1500 calories just from fats. Leaving you with only 25% (500 calories) of proteins and carbohydrates. The best macronutrient split is yet to be decided as everybody is different.

Below are a few options you can try…

  1. Carbs 50% Proteins 20% Fats 30%
  2. Carbs 50% Proteins 30% Fats 20%
  3. Carbs 40% Proteins 30% Fats 30%

Eating a balanced diet, with a variety of different foods such as 5 a day fruit and vegetables, good protein intake, low sugar, low sodium and an adequate macronutrient split based on your goals and energy levels is the best option.

Sugar and sodium levels are often overlooked. If you can keep these levels down, you are on the way to seeing a change. Sugar is addictive and unless we need a quick burst of energy to regulate our insulin levels, sugar should be kept to a minimum.

Then you have hydration. Drinking more water can help you lose weight. How? Well 70% of our body is water. When we are dehydrated, we become low on energy and our brain tells us we need to eat to give us energy. Our performance drops when we are dehydrated and we become more lethargic and tired.   On the contrary, if we are well hydrated, we tend to eat less and perform better when we exercise.

Sleep is another under rated factor that can really affect your body composition. Whether you want to lose weight or gain muscle, our body recovers best when at rest and when sleeping. If you are getting 4-6 hours a night, having 3-4 coffees a day to get you through, you will struggle to reach your fitness goal. Instead, sleep for 7-9 hours a night, limit yourself to 1-2 coffees a day and have them before midday so it doesn’t impact your sleep too much that night.

Counting calories is important but there are other factors too!





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