Am I guaranteed to lose weight by eating less than 1500 calories a day?

Running up stairs is a great HIIT strategy. Let those legs burn!

When it comes to weight loss, or anything in life we want to pursue, there is never a guarantee of results. This is the unfortunate reality we must face head first. The reason why something you take on may fail, is that so many people quit before they even make the right amount of attempts in order to make it happen.

For some, 1500 calories or less does not work. For others, it’s a great option. Experimenting with your food intake is the only way to find out if this would work best for you.

First, you must decide, based on your activity, how much energy (roughly) you require. This is called our total daily energy expenditure (TDEE). There is an online calculator that will give you the numbers (I cannot attach it here as moderators may delete this article). Just do a search on google and you will find it.

After you have done this, we need to assess your levels of activity. This is very important, and you must be extremely honest about the amount of activity you really do. If you are a sedentary person, you will need a lot less caloric intake than someone who is active all day on a construction site.

Sedentary – 1.2 (think, desk job and not moving around very often)
Light activity – 1.37 (very light exercise, like walking, 3x per week)
Moderate activity – 1.55 (perhaps some moderate weight training and jogging)
Very active – 1.72 (very vigorous weight training 3–4 times a week and HIIT x3)
Extra active – 1.9 (this will most definitely be an athletes level, training 5–8 hours per day. Definitely not your standard practice)

You can calculate the TDEE by multiplying that number with the correct activity factor.

Don’t become too fixated on numbers

Although this is a good starting point, there isn’t a need to become too fixated on the numbers. What you should become aware of is the quality of food you eat, and the quality of activity. Let me explain further.

Our day to day activities and how our bodies function, will alter immensely, and we cannot predict at any given time (nor would we want to waste our time thinking about this). Instead, focusing on what’s going on in your diet, and using the best possible exercise program to attain your weight loss goals, will be a lot more efficient. Let’s break down the dietary requirements, and then move onto exercise.

Top 3 dietary tips for weight loss results

  1. Focus on your protein sources. Protein is key to burning body fat, keeping you full for longer periods of time, and increasing your muscle mass. When we build muscle, we increase the efficiency of our metabolism, allowing us to eat more, without experiencing body fat increases. There are many forms of protein to choose from. I would start from simple, low calorie sources such as chicken, eggs, fish and turkey. Cycle often with higher calorie options, like steak and lamb. You want to make sure you are getting a variety of nutrients.Do try and eat organic or grass fed meats. They have a higher nutrient value. Eliminate as many chemically induced products as possible from your diet, as they alter your hormones balance, and create an environment for increasing body fat stores.
  2. Don’t avoid fats. Contrary to what we’ve been told for years, fats are an essential component in our diet, and aid in weight loss.Take avocados for instance. Even though they are about 77% fat, one study has shown that people who eat avocados weight less and have less belly fat than those who avoided them (1).

    Eating the whole egg, not just the egg whites themselves. Eggs as a whole, are the most nutrient dense foods on the planet! Never discard the yolks, as that’s where most of the nutrients are found. Eggs are low in calories, high in protein, nutrients and are extremely portable.

    Nuts are another popular snack. They are high in fibre and magnesium. a lot of people are deficient in magnesium, and nuts provide a perfect mineral infusion in your diet. The best nuts to eat are almonds, walnuts and macadamias. Try and avoid peanuts and cashews

  3. Cruciferous veggie. My absolute favourite! These veggies are my favourite because they are filled with minerals, vitamins and keep you filled up for long periods of time! They contain loads of fibre, and this is one important factor in satiety as well as helping you to lose body fat. Focus on the green veggies first, such as spinach, kale, asparagus and lettuce. They are so low in calories, and yet fill you up for hours on end – even more so than other foods. Not only will you be getting a calorie dense benefit, but also improving your overall health.

Top 3 exercise tips for weight loss results

  1. Weight training (no surprise here). I am still yet to convince people that weight training is key to losing body fat. Cardio does not have the same effects as lifting heavy weights regularly. Building muscle and monitoring your food closely will re-condition your whole body. Yes, this is a slow process, but all good things take time. Each and every time you add more weight on your bar, you are training your body to become resistant to that weight. Our bodies need to be challenged constantly in order to change. A great tip is to train those body parts that are lagging, twice a week. For me, this is legs, mainly because I had a hip imbalance. This can become catastrophic when it comes to achieving your strength goals. In saying that, little by little, you can improve and become a lot stronger. Focus on this, and the weight loss will come
  2. HIIT. The absolute best option for really targeting stubborn stores of body fat. Although it’s best to do this outdoors, I’m all for just getting on the treadmill, or switching it up with some strongman training. Always add variety in whatever way you can, to increase your strength and fat burning potential.
  3. Don’t forget the importance of incidental exercise. Even though we may train within a gym every day, it’s still important to keep moving constantly. Walking is a great form of exercise, that’s low impact and can be structured during different parts of your day. Walking to and from work is one option, so is within your lunch break. Why not go hiking one day on a weekend, or grab some friends and take on a costal walk. Walking is so low impact, that anyone with an injury or recovering from one, can keep up some form of fitness. Put on your headphones, turn up your favourite tunes, or listen to an audiobook. The choices are endless, and can all be done whilst taking a long, brisk walk.

I think you have plenty of great strategies to get you started. Don’t focus too much on the numbers, just ensure you are doing the right activity, and eating the correct food. Weight loss will follow.

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