Diet is one of the most important factors in any fitness goal. If you can only get one thing down that will help you reach your goals it should be your diet. A diet will make or break any fitness routine. It doesn’t matter if your goal is to gain 1lb a week or to lose 1lb a week, you must choose your diet accordingly. This article is going to cover some of the basics on dieting for weight loss or weight gain. Once you decide on an amount that you are going to try to eat, you just need to stick with it and see if its working. I always give a new diet a few weeks to get settled in and then make changes. It’s pointless to make changes in less than a week because you can’t be sure that what you doing is or is not working.
Finding your Maintenance Calories
It’s important to know how much you need to eat to ‘maintain’ your current weight. This can be found from a variety of calculators online. Though these calculators may have some error, or may be off it will give you a close enough estimate to start your first few weeks. I always like to try to give myself two weeks of eating at my maintenance before changing to a new diet. If I eat at a certain amount that I think I should be maintaining on, I can tell how much more or less I need to eat to actually hit that point. If you are slowly gaining or slowly losing weight then you know you are either slight over or under maintenance calories.
How much over or under Maintenance?
The amount that you aim to eat over or under your maintenance calories depends on your goals. If you are trying to slowly gain or loss weight, you can aim for eating 200-300 over. This would be a very moderate pace for weight gain or loss, probably around .3-.6lbs per week. The typical amount for people to eat over or under is 500 calories. For weight loss, 500 calories is considered to be losing 1 lb of fat every week. This is though because 500 calories x 7 days = 3500 calories, which is the same as 1lb of fat. Gaining weight works similarly but is a little more complicated. It’s important to not go to extremes on either of these. If you go to low on calories you risk losing muscle, and if you go to high you risk gaining too much fat.
If you pick a goal to eat towards and you stay consistent, you will see results. One of the biggest reasons people fail when trying to improve themselves is that they get discouraged because they do not see results. The thing is that if you know you are doing things better than the day before, you are moving in the right direction and that all that matters. Pick something and stick with it, if you can making it through the first month or so you should be on your way to developing habits to make achieving your goals easier.