Keeping a lean body and keeping fit in general is undeniably the best way to look young and attractive. But even more importantly, the health benefits of being lean will ensure that you live a long life full of energy. Indeed, most popular life threatening diseases, such as numerous cardio vascular diseases, diabetes, high blood pressure, infertility, hormonal imbalance, cancer and back pain, just to name a few, are closely related to obesity.
So, let’s take a quick look at a formula that will allow you to lose 1 pound every single week until you achieve your desired weight, which is by the way, the best speed to avoid muscle wasting and other unpleasant side effects.
If you want to lose weight, you must go by the process of calorie restriction. This is when you consume fewer calories in your food intake than your body need to function. By doing this, your body will have to use your fat supply to produce the missing energy. Being more active and going to the gym can surely help you attain that goal as it will increase your body’s consumption of energy, but it is not absolutely essential.
Unfortunately, with time your body will adapt to the situation by slightly reducing its energy consumption, from week to week, thus making your effort more difficult and even useless. Not only that, this reduction in the speed of your metabolism will eventually produce a rebound effect that will make you gain back all the fat that you lost and even more. This is usually followed by an increased food consumption on your part due to the disappointment you feel because of your failed weight-loss endeavor.
The hack is to zig zag your calorie intake
By consuming a different amount of food on different days of the week, you can create an overall deficit that will produce a weight loss without slowing down your metabolism. You can also use this zig-zag cycle pattern to allow yourself to enjoy your favorite food while dieting.
Example based on a 2500 calories diet:
|Sunday||High-calorie day||2800 Calories|
|Monday||Low-calorie day||1750 Calories|
|Tuesday||Low-calorie day||1750 Calories|
|Wednesday||Low-calorie day||1750 Calories|
|Thursday||Low-calorie day||1750 Calories|
|Friday||Low-calorie day||1750 Calories|
|Saturday||Normal-calorie day||2500 Calories|
In one week, this will create a deficit of 3500 Calories, which will produce a loss of around 1 pound.
By having such a schedule, not only you can enjoy great family dinners, have fun during the weekend, and focus on your weight loss when you’re busy at the office working during the week, but most importantly, this cycle will prevent your metabolism to slow down as the weeks go by. You will bump it up during the weekend by giving a boost to your calories intake.
Calculate your intake
Now, the first thing you should be aware of when planning a weight loss diet is how much calories your body requires to function normally without gaining or losing weight. To know your baseline, you can use the Harris-Benedict equation to calculate your rough estimate. Each person is different, so keep in mind that you might have to adjust and experiment a little bit.
Harris Benedict equation for BMR (Basal Metabolic Rate):
- Men: 66.5 + (13.75 x W) + (5.003 x H) – (6.775 x A)
- Women: 65.1 + (9.563 x W) + (1.850 x H) – (4.676 x A)
W = Your weight in Kilo.
H = Your height in Centimeter.
A = Your age in Year.
Once you have your BMR multiply it by the following factor to take into account your activity level.
- If you are sedentary, your maintenance requirement = BMR x 1.2
- If you are lightly active, your maintenance requirement = BMR x 1.37
- If you are moderately active, your maintenance requirement = BMR x 1.55
- If you are very active, your maintenance requirement = BMR x 1.72
Now that you have determined, how much calories you need to eat in order to stay the same, you can plan your zig-zag cycle.
You don’t need to count calories every day
At the beginning, in the planning phase of your diet, it would be wise to use one of the many calorie counters available on the web or Smartphones. But once you have drawn the layout of your diet, you don’t have to count calories every day. Naturally, it would be wise to count them and use a scale the first few days, just to make sure that you’re on the right track but after that, you can work with a more convenient system.
You can pre-plan portions of 300 calories of your favorite meals and use those portions to build up your day.
Following the aforementioned example, it would be something like this:
- On a Low-calorie day, you can eat 6 portions.
- On a Normal-calorie day, you can eat 8 portions.
- On a High-calorie day, you can eat 10 portions.
That way, you only have to do the planning work once and after that, knowing the size of a portion for each kind of meal, you can efficiently manage it without any calculation.
What is great about this system is that it will teach you, visually, how much you need to eat of each one of your favorite meal in order to maintain or lose weight, which will help you to keep your healthy weight even after your weight loss diet is over.
Adjust if needed
As mention before, all this arithmetic on which you will plan your diet is theory-based that will most likely not perfectly fit your situation.
But it’s a great starting point and after that, the only things you need to do is to tune it up a little bit.
Considering the fact that you weight yourself at the same time of the day, on an empty stomach just after you wake up in the morning, and that you didn’t cheat…
- After a week, if you still gaining weight, you are way off. Reduce your maintenance baseline by 350 calories a day, recalculate portion and try again.
- After a week, if you maintain the same weight, reduce your maintenance baseline by 100 calories a day, recalculate portion and try again.
If you like to eat bigger quantities, eat lower calorie foods, if the feeling of hunger is very powerful, drink a cup of coffee. Also note that sweet food or carbs, in general, tend to cause craving a few hours after the meal, so if you’re cravings are too powerful during the day, switch to protein and fat based foods such as nuts, eggs, meat jerky, chicken, fish etc…
Remember if you want to lose weight, you have to consume fewer calories!
By timing your food quantity in a zig-zag cycle pattern, you’ll be able to reach your long term goals week after week without any rebound!
On that little hack, stay healthy and if you to bring it to the next level, just take a quick look at the spartan training!
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