You look at yourself in the mirror before you hop in the shower, and ask yourself “What went wrong?”
Your stomach hangs a little further over your briefs than they did last year when you asked yourself this question.
Each time you move at your desk, you feel your belt dig a little deeper into your belly, a constant reminder of the embarrassing new year’s resolutions you’ve made year after year. You promised yourself to lose weight and get in the best shape of your life.
At age 25.
And now 35.
You’re tired of seeing your belly through every shirt you wear. You’re sick of nagging shoulders, and back. You don’t want to feel embarrassed when you take off your shirt at the beach anymore.
You feel like you’ve been doing everything right, but NOTHING works to lose fat.
Part of you wants to give up because you’ve tried it over and over again.
But enough is enough! You’ve never been a pushover in any area of your life. So why now?
You open your phone, type “How to losing weight” into the almighty google.
As results flood your screen, you see a few Q&A’s with guys who have the greatest transformation photos.
These are dudes have almost unbelievable photos. They start doughy, and they end up with a six-pack and transformed life.
Is it real? Is it possible? They tell you they just “started tracking their food and exercising a few times a week; then it was all downhill from there.”
They were eating their favourite foods too! It seems too good to be true.
It’s not. Food tracking combined with hard work and discipline is a magical gateway to the land of fat loss and body transformation.
After helping my clients lose hundreds of lbs over the years, One of the most consistent factors to their success is nutrition tracking.
When they log their food and follow the recommendations suggested with unwavering consistency, they lose the fat they want.
It doesn’t always happen as FAST as they want, but it happens.
So if you’re ready to finally lose your growing gut from too many times out with the boys for beer and wings, and get into the best shape you’ve ever been in (with the addition of killer workouts you can find HERE), then get ready.
Class is in session!
NUTRITION TRACKING 101: THE STEP BY STEP PROCESS TO GETTING LEAN AS.
Your first step to fat loss is downloading a nutrition tracker right now to your smartphone. There are a few big ones, but the best one I’ve come across is MyFitnessPal.
It gives you a clear understanding of what is in the food you’re eating, how much you need to eat every day to hit your goals, and how much food you can eat for the rest of the day. As long as you eat under your calorie goal for the day, you WILL lose weight.
What happens if you track and you don’t lose weight? Well, you’ll find out in the FAQ below.
Carrying on with your masterclass.
STEP 2: Set up your roadmap.
You downloaded Myfitnesspal. What’s next?
Time to set up the total calories you’ll be eating in the day.
One of the most time-tested ways to set up your calories for fat loss is to take your bodyweight and multiply it by 12-14 (Lower if you have a less active job, higher if you’re moving all day like a postman or warehouse manager). For women, take your bodyweight x 9-11.
Why are these the standard numbers?
Partly because they work, and partly because dudes who are much smarter than me did big ol’ calculations… resulting in the same number above.
If you want more info on the big long calculations, check out the resources below.
STEP 3: It’s time to set your macros.
Hold Up. What the heck is a macro Linden?
Macro is short for macronutrient. They are the big building blocks of nutrition.
You have three macros: carbs, fats, and protein.
Carbohydrates are the short-term energy macro. Protein is the DNA/muscle macro. Fat is the long-term energy/hormone macro… But also the tasty macro.
Each one of these has an amount of energy associated with it. Fat has 9cals/g, Carbs have four cals/g, and protein has 4 cals/g.
So when you see a chocolate bar has 180 calories, those 180 cals is some sort of combination of carbs, fat, and protein.
For the sake of simplicity, in addition to overall calories, you’re going to want to focus on protein.
- When losing fat, it builds AND prevents you from losing too much muscle. You want this because if you just lose muscle and fat, you’ll just look skinny fat. No one wants that.
- It helps you feel full. It’s time to face the facts: when you’re dieting, you’re gonna be a little hungry at times. Especially when you’re at dinner, or lunch when the carb gremlins come just for you. Protein helps you feel full, and lessen the need for more food.
- It’s delicious. A good steak or chicken is worth its weight in gold.
How much protein? Most of the time it’s not exact. Some research suggests 1g/lb bodyweight, But I’ll you what I tell my clients:
If you aim for a range of 1g/lb goal body weight and 1g/lb of current body weight, you will be golden.
Instead of just providing random numbers, Let’s look at an example. Say James is an IT guy weighing in at 200lbs. He plays rec hockey 2x a week, and a couple of days of strength training, but wants to lose weight around his waist.
Since he is active but chained to his desk most of the day, he’s going to multiply his bodyweight by 12
200lbs x 12 = 2400 calories
His goal weight is 170lbs, so his protein range is 170-200g of protein. This would mean 680-800 calories of his 2400 are for protein. This equates to a few eggs, a chicken breast at lunch, a palm-size steak at dinner (6-8oz), and a couple of scoops of protein powder throughout the day.
Or we have Taylor. She’s a barista, ready to feel better physically and feel better about herself too. Her current weight is 180lbs, looking to lose 20lbs.
So for Taylor, she’ll multiply her bodyweight by 9 or 10 to get her calories.
So 180×10= 1800cals will be her daily calorie goal.
For her protein, she’s going to aim for 160-180g.
As a beginner, this is all you need to focus on.
Don’t get lost in the weeds of trying to make your protein, carbs, fat AND calories perfect. Many clients got lean just focusing on protein and overall calories. This will work great for you too.
Step 4: Actually start tracking your food.
When you start out, it’s going to seem like a giant pain in the butt. But keep with it. As you get better at tracking your foods, it becomes easier.
One of the biggest things is to track EVERYTHING.
Did you eat five pieces of chocolate? Track 5 pieces of chocolate. Have two tacos? Write down two tacos.
If you’re eating something from a package, make use of the barcode. There is a function on Myfitnesspal that allows you to scan the barcode, and the data for your food automatically comes up. Myfitnesspal has a giant library of food, so make use of it!
Scan it track the amount you ate, and carry on with your day.
Tracking your food is as simple as that. Set your calories, start tracking your food, and go to town!
If you think tracking your food is a giant task, don't worry at first I thought so too. Once I started tracking consistently and watched my body change before my eyes, I realized it’s not the gargantuan task I thought it would be. I started getting into a routine of tracking my food immediately after my meal. Once I did that, it became abundantly obvious of where I needed to improve for the next day or next meal.
Common nutrition tracking questions.
I’ve started tracking my food Linden, but it’s a lot of work. Will this actually work?
I know it seems like a lot of work right now, but developing a new routine takes time. But if you commit to hitting your calories and protein for the day, making adjustments as needed, You can expect to see results.
I’ve started Tracking, and I haven’t lost any weight yet. What gives?
We need to keep two things in mind.
- How do you measure progress? Are you just measuring your weight loss? Or are you measuring waist size, how clothing fits, what you look like in the mirror, and how easy bodyweight type exercises feel (push-ups/pull-ups)?
If weight were the only thing that mattered, my client would have been disappointed with these two pictures.
But since it wasn’t, she was excited at how much her stomach is shrinking. THAT’s progress.
2. If none of those measures are changing, have you CONSISTENTLY hit your calorie goal for the day? Within 50-100 cals of your calorie goal? If not, do this for at LEAST two weeks, and let me know if there are still no changes.
So you’re consistent, and you’re STILL not losing fat? You’ll look to whether you’re overestimating your calories. Sometimes on things like peanut butter, oils used for cooking and carbs like rice and pasta.
Use measuring cups to get more accurate. If you REALLY want to get accurate with your tracking, grab a food scale to weigh and measure your food.
If those two alternatives aren’t working, then you can look at lowering 50-100 calories for your daily goal.
HOW DO I TRACK FOOD WHILE EATING OUT?
Thankfully, a lot of restaurants these days have their food in Myfitnesspal. This makes it super easy to track your food when eating at most big restaurants.
Since most people spend their evening out on their phone, you won’t look like a Weiner for tracking your food.
Sometimes you can’t find the food you’re eating in MFP. If you find yourself at a local taco joint or steakhouse, you might not find the exact entries. When this happens, this is your go to:
Look at the top 3-4 entries for the food you’re eating in myfitnesspal.
Don’t take the highest calorie one, don’t take the lowest, but take in the middle. Even if it’s not perfect, tracking your food when eating out will give you a better picture of how close you are to your goal instead of not tracking at all.
WHAT IF It’s not in Myfitnesspal?
“Linden. I have a killer zucchini lasagna recipe I want to put into myfitnesspal, and I guarantee it’s not in there. What do I do now?”
Either input your raw ingredients OR use the handy dandy recipe function.
I even made a video on how to use it. Check it out.
Do I track alcohol and other drinks?
OH, MY WORD YES. Just because alcohol is technically a food, but it can dramatically hinder fat loss if not taken into account.
Track it like any other food. You don’t need to describe how it’s organic, local, craft brew, just say it’s a beer, say how many ounces you had and move on.
Losing fat isn’t impossible. Far from it. It’s rather simple when you follow the step by step process above. BUT nothing good comes easy. Track your food, consistently, even when others might laugh when you take your phone out to track food on wing night with your friends, and you’ll watch your body change before your eyes.