Following on from Part 1 of this guide (which you can find *here*) we continue onto Part 2, where we will discuss what we can now do with our established practice of body weight measurements and calorie tracking.
Firstly, let's briefly talk about caloric states; whether you are in caloric maintenance, deficit, or surplus. Maintenance is when our total calories consumed over the day is equal (normally within the nearest 10-50 calories) to the amount we need to keep our weight the same. Deficit is when our total calories consumed throughout the day is less than the amount we need to remain the same, and conversely, a surplus is when our total calories are greater than our maintenance number.
So, how does this information apply to us? Well now we have a good idea of our caloric intake needs, we can start playing around with them and do some really neat things. If we want to lose weight, of any kind, we're going to have to be in a calorie deficit. We're going to need to spend more than we're taking in. A good number of calories to cut out is 200 per day, because with smaller amounts measuring accurately becomes difficult, and cutting more than that to start with may be too much. You really want to cut out as little as you can get away with. For gaining weight, we simply apply the same idea but in the other direction. We add 200 calories to our daily amount!
This information is important, but how do we know if we're losing, gaining, or staying the same weight? Well we touched on it in the first article, we're going to weight ourselves – ideally three times per week or more and immediately upon waking up. Weight loss/gain will ultimately depends on starting weight, however; approx. 0.5kg of bodyweight per week is generally considered to be a healthy rate of change. These changes in weight are what we are going to monitor, to make sure we’re on the right track.
What do we do if weight changes stop? Well initially, it’s best to be certain that weight change has definitely stopped. One bad day is nothing to freak out about, and an objective approach will serve you best when making these decisions. To continue making weight changes though, all we're going to do is to add or subtract another 200 calories from our previous daily amount. You can repeat this process several times.
If you have been in a deficit for close to 3 months however, I would recommend spending at least 1 month maintaining weight (by working out and consuming the maintenance calories appropriate for your new weight). A 3 month cut off is important because changing your weight is hard, both physically and psychologically, whilst the process also suffers from diminishing returns. You can't continue to change at the same rate indefinitely. Doing so will not only give you a mental break, but also allow your body to become more responsive to changes you wish to make in the future.
Hope all this information helps and please let me know if you have and questions about the content or anything in general. If you think you know someone that might benefit from this info please feel free to share it! It helps us out a lot.