Evan is a male aged 20, 5′ 6″. He went from 180 lbs to 140 lbs, BUT now….
He can’t understand how he’s lost all this weight but thinks “my stomach still looks terrible!”
His first 33 were from dietary changes alone, the last 6.5 lbs he introduced cardio. (he got a stationary bike).
Why isn’t fat melting off of his stomach yet?
Where Does Fat Disappear First?
Do you find when you lose fat it disappears from the places you want to stay big?
Maybe it stubbornly holds on to the places you really want to slim down.
Some of the books we’ve read tried to sell us “spot reduction”. It’s a myth. We cannot choose to burn the fat on our waist over that in our face.
There Are 2 Kinds of Fat
We have adipose tissue all over the body.
This tissue is made of adipocytes (fat cells) whose sole job is to store energy in the form of fat. Body fat distribution differs from person to person.
There are generally two types of fat storage:
- visceral (surrounding organs).
- subcutaneous (beneath the skin – about 80% of all body fat is this type (src)).
Does eating fat make you fat? We get to the bottom of that myth here.
Where Do We Gain Fat?
- Women – around the buttocks and thighs (gluteofemoral): “pear-shaped”.
- Men – around the abdomen: “apple-shaped”.
These are the predominant patterns – but both ‘apple’ and ‘pear’ shaped distribution can be found in either gender.
|Knee||Fat often builds up on the inside region of the knees in women.|
|Upper Arm||Common in women, fat build up can occur in the middle to upper area of the upper arm – typically covering the tricep area. Some women elect to have arm liposuction procedure to remove fat from this area without the marks caused by surgery.|
|Abdomen||Fat buildup around the navel area is common in both men and women. It is also one of the few fat deposits that are also found in slim women.|
|Inner Thigh||Fat storage between the thighs is common in women – but also occurs with men. It is more noticeable in women due to the width of the pelvis that in turn influences the position of the thigh (femur).|
|Outer Thigh||Sometimes called “Riding Breeches” – this area is the most likely place for the pitted or ‘quilted’ appearance of cellulite. This fat concentration also blends with fat tissue on the inner thigh and the buttocks.|
|Buttocks||Without fat here – sitting would be quite uncomfortable. Fat is held in place by the gluteal fold. If significant fat is lost from the buttock, only appropriate training can prevent the buttock from sagging down against the thigh.|
|Lower Back||This fat concentration often merges with the buttock area.|
|Chest||Breast tissue comprises the mammary gland (one’s ‘endowment’) surrounded by fat. Men also have atrophied glands and fat in this area. Both sexes gain fat in this area. In men this can sometimes be mistaken for gynecomastia – a condition that includes not only fat build up, but growth in gland tissue.|
Ethnic VariationThere is considerable research showing that fat distribution varies between ethnic groups.
- Asian adults are more prone to visceral and central obesity than Europeans.
- Mediterranean women are prone to fat gain in the outer thighs.
Cellulite is Different
This is further compounded by cellulite. With cellulite tissue, fatty acids are contained in a net of fibrous connective tissue.
As fat loss occurs the net becomes compressed – making it difficult for the blood supply to readily remove the fat from these stubborn areas.
Why Do I Lose Weight But Look the Same?
- Obese men tend to lose more visceral (internal) fat while obese women lose more subcutaneous fat (src).
- Exercise seems to result in more subcutaneous fat loss.
- Diet alone results in more visceral fat loss (and less surface fat loss) (src).
This explains how you can lose weight – but not necessarily have any radical change in appearance.
How To Count Your Macros
The first thing you need to do to start tracking your macros is to figure out how many macros you actually need to be eating to hit your goals.
Thankfully calculating your macros is pretty simple.
With a little maths you can calculate fairly accurately how many macros you need on a daily basis.
The process to calculate your macros is:
- Calculate your calories
- Calculate your protein
- Calculate your fats
- Calculate your carbs
- Monitor and adjust based on your results
It’s as simple as that. Follow the steps in this article to calculate how much of each of these you need to be consuming.
How To Calculate Calories For Weight Loss?
If you are looking to lose some fat you simply need to eat less than your TDEE.
To lose weight you need to be in a caloric deficit. This means that your body is using more energy than you are giving it through food.
Your body then looks for other places to get energy, which is your fat stores.
Lets say that your TDEE was at 2800, so you are burning 2800 calories of energy from your daily activities. If you eat a diet that consists of 2300 calories you are in a 500 calorie deficit.
To lose one pound of body fat per week you need to put yourself in a 500 calorie deficit every day.
If you are looking to lose weight, subtract 500 calories off of your TDEE before calculating you major macronutrients.
Being in a 500 calorie a day deficit will result in around 1 pound of weight loss per week.
Being in a caloric deficit will make you lose weight. However if you are looking to improve your body composition and build some muscle you will need to make sure you are getting enough of each macronutrient as well as your caloric intake.
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3. Calculate Your Fat
It was only a short time ago that magazines and health gurus were pushing out content that said eating fat made you get fat.
Low fat diets were everywhere.
Yes, lowering your fat intake can help you lose weight, as it drastically reduces your caloric intake.
The reason behind that is there are more calories in 1 gram of fat than there are in 1 gram of protein or carbs.
Here’s how they weight up:
Protein = 4 calories/gram
Fat = 9 calories/gram
Carbs = 4 calories/gram
You can see how cutting fats out of your diet could help you lose weight as you are removing more calories than you would be if you cut out protein or carbohydrates.
However removing all fats is not necessarily the most healthy or beneficial way to go about things.
With that said overeating fat isn’t a good idea especially when it comes to saturated fats.
Basically fat is an essential part of your diet but you don’t want to go overboard with it. You want to eat a moderate amount that allows you to maximise your health and still stay on top of your calories.
Around 0.3 grams of fat per pound of body weight is a suitable amount for most people.
Fat is essential to your diet. With that said after you hit your fat requirements, extra fat is not going to benefit your performance in the gym.
Carbs on the other hand are a direct source of energy and can correlate to better athletic performances.
This is dependant on you. If you like eating nuts and peanut butters and higher fat foods, you can go a little higher on fats but you will be lowering the amount of carbs that you can eat to fit into your calories as a result.
4. Calculate Your Carbs
These days there has been a lot of hype around low carb diets.
You might have heard that the best way to lose fat is to cut out all of the carbs from your diet.
While it can work, it’s not always the most pleasant way to go about things. There are ways to get lean and still consume carbs.
As long as you stick to your calories you can eat as many carbs as you like and not put on fat.
If you exercise regularly, lift weights, are fairly healthy and are in a normal body fat range you will benefit from having more carbs than less.
Carbs are your major source of fuel and if you are looking to gain strength and muscle or perform better athletically, they are extremely beneficial. They aren’t going to hinder your fat loss unless you are eating an excess amount of them and exceeding your daily caloric needs.
Calculating your carbs is simple, you just need to assign your remaining calories to them.
Here’s how you do it.
So we have already calculated our calories, protein and fat intake.
And we know that 1 gram of protein is equal to 4 calories and 1 gram of fat is equal to 9 calories.
- Multiply your protein intake by 4
- Multiply your fat intake by 9
- Add these two numbers together and then subtract that number from your goal calories. This will give you the calories you have remaining for carbs
- Divide the remaining number by 4 to get the total in grams of carbs that you should eat every day.
Let’s break that down with an example.
Bob weighs 180 pounds and his TDEE is around 2600 calories to maintain his body weight.
As a result of that Bob needs to eat 180 grams of protein and 54 grams of fat per day.
1. Multiply protein by 4
180 x 4 = 720
2. Multiply fat by 9
54 x 9 = 486
3. Add two numbers together then subtract from your total calories
720 + 486 = 1206, then 2600 – 1206 = 1394 calories remaining for carbs
4. Divide the remaining number by 4
1394 / 4 = 349 grams of carbs per day.
So Bob’s macros would be:
- 180 grams protein
- 54 grams of fat
- 349 grams of carbs
Now, it’s your turn. Plug your numbers into the equation to find your macros.
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5. Monitor Your Bodies Response and Adjust
You’ve just learned how to accurately count your macros. Understanding macros gives you control over whether you lose or gain weight.
That said the formula’s above may not work perfectly for you right out of the box. There’s just to many factors that come into play. For example your metabolism may be faster or slower than the formulas assume, or you may have under or overestimated the amount of energy you burn in your day to day actions.
So you will need to monitor your results and tweak your macros accordingly.
When you’re starting out you should weigh yourself first thing in the morning on an empty stomach.
Monitor this weight over the first week to two weeks and evaluate.
Generally this is the case:
If you’re trying to lose weight but aren’t you either need to eat less or move more.
If your weight isn’t dropping you are probably eating more calories than you are burning. If you are already doing a couple of sessions of cardio a week the first place you should look is your carbs. Try dropping your carbs slightly and monitor the results. Start nice and slow and drop increments of around 10 – 15 grams per day.
If you are trying to gain weight but aren’t you probably just need to eat more.
If you are putting in good hard sessions in the gym but your weight won’t go up try increasing your daily caloric intake by 5%. After a couple of weeks monitor your results and adjust again if necessary.
Most “hardgainers” just don’t eat enough on a daily basis. It’s that simple.
The most important part of counting macros is tracking your results and making slight adjustments moving forward.
3. Track DAILY
This is imperative. Whether you track your meals (decent results), total calories based on your needs (better results) or your macros (protein/fat/carbs) based on your needs (best results), a food journal is imperative for keeping the gains or fat losses coming.
I’ve heard it time and time again, “It’s too hard to track.” The problem is it’s not a habit yet. Trust me, it gets easier every day you stick to tracking. “By having a meal plan you eliminate the guesswork,” says Sean Torbati of High Performance Nutrition. “Have a set plan for your first few meals of the day and let dinner be where you change it up every day.” This is some of the best advice you can follow because it works like a charm.
A 2008 study showed that tracking can cause significant weight loss. A group that was followed for 20 weeks showed an average loss of 13lbs, but what was interesting was the group that didn’t track lost 9lbs while the group that did track their food lost 18lbs. Twice the results for something that takes a few minutes a day? Yeah, that’ll do.
Key Takeaway: Download an app, grab a journal, or start an e-Doc and start tracking. Be consistent with whatever method you choose.
5. Stick to the Plan and Be Patient
When you decide you want to see results, get on a plan (much like our MBody Transformation Challenge). When you get antsy and want results faster than you should, one of three things happen:
1. You jump from program to program in search of the “perfect plan” and get ZERO results.2. You do something stupid like take a supplement (legal or not) to speed things up. Very stupid.
3. You lose patience and give up.
Healthy fat loss shouldn’t be more than 2lbs a week (less if you’re already pretty lean and more if you have a lot to lose). But remember that weight isn’t everything. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard, “I don’t know what’s up. The scale hasn’t dropped.”
When I ask how things are fitting they inevitably say, “Well, better.” Yes, this still happens a lot.
You must be measuring yourself consistently. Don’t get frustrated if things don’t move quickly. You need to consider this extreme self-experimentation. Find what works and see what doesn’t. What doesn’t work must be eliminated and what DOES work must be repeated until it stops working.
Key Takeaway: Get a plan and stick to it and do not deviate no matter how sexy and shiny the next thing looks.
With these 5 tips, you’ll be well on your way to getting that crazy strong and lean body you’ve always wanted.