HOW MUCH FOOD SHOULD YOU EAT?
To lose weight, you need to eat less calories than your body uses every day. This is commonly referred to as "calories in vs. calories out." Calorie-counting websites can help with the "calories in" portion, but you will likely need a different site to track the "calories out" side because estimates of calories expended are usually inflated. "Calories out" refers to three types of calorie use: calories used to continue existing, also called your basal metabolic rate, calories used by your metabolism (which is influenced by exercise), and calories directly burned through exercise.
So to lose weight, your "calories in" need to be less than your "calories out." It really is that simple. The error in this equation invariably comes down to people being terrible at estimating both sides of it. Common thinking is that because a pound of fat is represented by 3500 calories, eating at a 500 calorie deficit every day will result in a 1-pound loss of fat per week (500*7=3500). That's actually a pretty decent deficit for cutting, but for different reasons; weight loss is not necessarily fat loss, but we'll get to that in a minute.
How much fat would you like to lose? Obese people can eat very little and see the greatest fat losses because they're basically food camels. Human survival mechanisms also probably make it the most challenging (mentally) for these people to lose weight, because your body wants to keep eating the same types and the same amounts of food that it's used to. Regardless of your body shape and size, if you're looking to cut weight, you will have to break some habits and make new ones. Set a benchmark: 1/2 lb/week? 1 lb/week? 2 lbs/week? Go ahead and multiply 3500 by that benchmark, then divide it by 7 to reach your daily deficit. For the purposes of this example, we'll shoot for 1 lb/week: 3500 * 1 / 7 = a 500 Calorie daily deficit.
Now we have to find your Calorie requirements. First, we will find your BMR (basal metabolic rate), which is the amount of Calories you burn by existing independent of other factors (such as gravity or doing anything at all, including sitting down). You will multiply your BMR by your activity level to ballpark the effect your metabolism has on your calorie expenditure. Finally, you can then add in the direct effect of any exercise you do--personally, I tend to leave this part out as it's the most inaccurate part of the equation and leaving it out will lower your calorie target anyway and cause you to burn more fat. But I digress.
Click here to calculate BMR and the metabolic effect of activity: http://www.muscleandstrength.com/too...alculator.html
. I'm 5'7", 179 lbs, age 27, male, I exercise every day. My daily needs are 3189 Calories/day. This calculation uses the basic BMR formula for BMR and the Harris-benedict formula for metabolic estimates.
So my daily requirements are 3189 and my daily deficit is 500. Therefore I should eat 3189-500= 2689 Calories a day to lose about a pound of fat per week.
I'm pretty much CUTTAN FOR LIFE so I tend to eat well below my maintenance calories--about 2000 Calories/day. With the above estimate, I would therefore be losing over 2 lbs of fat per week.
If you're trying to GAIN WEIGHT, you would have a caloric surplus instead of a deficit, which you would add to your requirements instead of subtracting it. If I wanted to GAIN 2 lbs per week, I should therefore eat 3189+1000= 4189 Calories/day.
So the biggest part of not being a fatshit is your eats. I cannot recommend a calorie counting website enough. I use fatsecret because they have an android app that scans food barcodes too. Just because you're trying to lose weight does not mean that you must only eat granola bars and tree bark (in fact, both are generally very bad ideas). Find foods that you like at accessible restaurants and learn the calorie content of various foods. Improve your estimating ability at home by buying a food scale (it doubles as a postal scale, so it's a useful thing to have anyway). Your goal with making your weight loss fat loss is to eat as much protein as possible while limiting sugar and fat (without going into too much detail, sugar is processed differently from other carbs and it's easier for it to be converted to body fat; dietary fat actually isn't necessarily bad at all, but it's very calorie-dense so if you avoid it you can eat more things within your limit, which will help satiety).
Here are some samples from my own eats this week:
Set up 'meals' inside your calorie program to make this go faster. Most of these entries are presets for me. As you can see, eating at Subway suddenly becomes awesome when you get one of their low-fat subs and then add double meat instead of getting a footlong: it costs the same and you're getting all the meat of a footlong with only half the bread. Both days I ate baked chicken breast sandwiches with pasta sauce and cheese. Pretty much anything involving chicken breast is great. Notice also that about 80% of my daily sugar intake is from Gatorade, which is consumed while I'm working out and therefore immediately burning the sugar for energy.