How to Start Dieting

So, you’ve finally decided that you want to give this “Flexible Dieting” thing a crack. Where should you start? Here’s a great guide on what you need and where to begin.

What you need:

  • Calorie and Macronutrient Tracking App on your Smartphone. There are many, such as MyFitnessPal, Calorie King and many others.
  • Digital Kitchen Scale to weigh your food.

What’s next?

From there, you’ll need to figure out how many calories you should eat on a daily basis, and whether you should eat more or less calories. Get familiar with Energy Balance. That means, if you want to gain muscle, you need to be in a calorie surplus, and if you want to lose weight, you must be in a calorie deficit. The best thing to do is to begin by finding your maintenance calories, and make adjustments from there.

How to Calculate Maintenance Calories

Assuming activity for the average person = 1 hour of exercise + normal daily activity, then 14-16 cal/lb (30-35 cal/kg) is usually a decent enough starting point for maintenance. There are other variables, but they don’t really make too much of a difference in the scheme of things. From there, you can make adjustments to your calorie intake based on your body composition goals. You can make adjustments to your total calorie intake and increase or decrease by around 10% and reassess every couple of weeks.

Setting Macronutrient Targets

Depending on your goals, there are some basic guidelines that you can go by to simplify your approach.

Protein:
Male (Trained) 2.3g – 3.1g x your bodyweight in kilos will give you a good indication of how much you should be eating in grams
Female (Trained) 1.5g – 2.8g x your bodyweight in kilos will give you a good indication of how much you should be eating in grams.
Untrained males and females can generally get away with eating less protein.

Fat: Between 15-30% of your total caloric intake will give you a good idea on how much fat you should be having. Another way of calculating this is approximately 0.8g – 1.2g x your bodyweight in kilos.

Carbohydrates: The remainder of your calories.

Fibre: The amount of fibre you require has a direct relationship to the total amount of calories you consume. On average, an intake of 10-13 grams of fibre per 1000 calories consumed is recommended. This is approximately 20-30 grams per day for an average of 2000-2800 calories per day.

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