Important Medical/Nutrition Disclosure: I am going to be sharing my nutrition findings and advice on this page. Please note that this is GENERAL information only. Always talk to a doctor for SPECIFIC nutritional information for you. This is especially importantif you are young/elderly, have another medical condition, are on medications, etc. Some of this information may not apply to you specifically, or be safe for you. Deal? Okay, here we go..
Diet To Lose and Burn Visceral Fat, and Get Into Shape
Okay, as I mentioned in my last post on how to burn visceral fat, it is IMPORTANT that you do BOTH diet and exercise to lose this. When I say “diet,” I don’t want to confuse anyone here. I don’t mean some fad diet that you go one to lose weight fast. Those diets are scams and the results almost never last. They are also unhealthy in most cases.
When I say “diet,” I mean your daily meals as you naturally eat them. I am talking about making a LIFE LONG lifestyle change here. If you want to lose the visceral fat and be healthy, you HAVE to manage your diet (especially calorie intake) and get healthy exercise.
Exercise is also crucial, and I am going to tell you a ton of information (and my experiences) with both diet and exercise. But I am starting with nutrition posts first (since nutrition is something easily and inexpensively changed). Nutrition is also where I started in my own path as well.
As I began researching diet to lose visceral fat, I began to learn what was needed to really remove it. Here are some of the basics:
Calories Are Really Important To Cut Visceral Fat: Calories Are King
I used to naively think that calories were something that didn’t matter to my own health at all. Like it was put there for really obese people to read, or something that the government made the food companies print. I was dead wrong. When I began to read how important it is to manage your daily calorie intake (especially to cut visceral fat), I was blown away. Here is the real scoop on calories from what I have found:
Step one: Find out your daily calorie maintenance needs
This is really important. There are many free calculators online that can help you figure your calorie intake requirments. You must enter your weight, age, height, exercise level and sex. Then, you can find out what your daily recommended calories needs are for your body to maintain your current weight (again, run this by a doctor to be safe). Here is a good site I have been using for me and my wife: Free Calorie Calculator.
As I looked at this, I found that my basal metabolic rate (the rate at which my body will consume calories if I do NO exercise and basically don’t move all day), was only 1,722. This means that if I wanted to maintain my current weight (with no exercise or physical activity added), I needed only 1,722 calories per day. Wow.
In order to gain weight, you have to create a caloric “surplus” above your maintenance rate. This means that if you want to gain weight, you need to eat more than your daily calorie requirements. If you want to lose weight, then you have to create a caloric “deficit.” This means you must eat less (or burn via exercise) than your daily calorie maintenance needs.
Exercise makes a huge impact on your calorie needs. The more exercise you do, the more calories you burn (and the more calories you can consume while still losing fat). The common numbers I found on many websites was that 1 pound of fat loss equals 3,500 calories burned/lost. In other words, if you exercise (or eat lower than your calorie maintenance needs), for every 3,500 calories you burn BELOW your maintenance calorie needs, you will lose approximately1 pound of fat.
So let’s assume you adjust your diet and/or exercise to cut out 500 calories per day below your daily maintenance needs (which is a commonly used method by dieters). In one week you would have 500 calorie deficit per day X 7 days = 3,500 calorie deficit in a week, or roughly 1 pound of fat loss. The tricky thing is that you can’t always trust a scale, because you could lose fat but gain small amounts of muscle or water weight (not that much in 1 weeks, but still). So the important thing is to look at your fat loss and/or inches lost, and not necessarily weight on a scale.
Again, I highly recommend you use the calorie calculator above, because you can tweak your exercise levels and see the different calorie requirements and the approximate calorie needs to lose fat. I have had to adjust my calorie intake quite a bit to adjust for my exercise levels, and also my weight loss.
So, for example, when I enter my current exercise level (which is pretty extensive), age, weight, etc. in the calculator above, it gives me the current information:
- Maintenance: 2518 Calories/day
Fat Loss: 2014 Calories/day
Extreme Fat Loss: 1511 Calories/day
My goal is to create a calorie deficit below my “maintenance level” until nearly all of my visceral fat is gone. Then, I plan to slowly adjust it up until I hit the “maintenance” level (where I will neither gain nor lose fat), and keep it there while I strenght train. But I still have a long way to go until this happens. I am currently eating between 1800-2000 calories per day. Most days it is around 1800. But you definitely need to check out your calorie levels.
By the way, I have lost about 10-12 pounds of visceral fat within a month, eating what I want but watching calories and exercising! I weigh about 157 at this point, and getting more defined every week.
Step 2 to Lose Visceral Fat with Diet: Take a Look At Your Current Calorie Intake
Once you know your daily calorie requirements to maintain your weight (or lose weight), then you need to actually track how many calories per day you have been consuming. This requires a bit of effort on your part, but I am going to offer a free tool and some tips to help make this process easier on you.
After reading my daily calorie needs, I actually started doing something I have never done before: I started actually reading those nutrition labels. This is where I was stunned. Things I thought were healthy and good, were actually piling on the calories. I will touch on these high calorie foods to watch out for in another post.
Now when you count calories, you need to count ALL OF THEM. If you add a dab of ketchup or bbq sauce, add the calories. If you cook something in oil, add the oil’s calories. If you add a topping or eat a snack, count it. If you take nutritional supplements–count ’em. If you eat at a fast food restaurant, get on their site or find their nutritional info.
If you have not been counting calories, my guess is that you are really going to be surprised.
Here are 2 tools to make this process easier for you:
Tool # 1—About.com’s nutritional database. Most foods come in packages with the nutrition lable printed. But sometimes you may buy individual fruits, vegetables, or snacks that don’t have this information printed. What you can do is use this great database to find the nutritional content for most foods. For example, how many calories are in a banana? According to this, about 105 for a medium banana. You can search any foods that you eat that don’t have the nutrition listed. The database is pretty large and I have used it a few times since starting this.
Tool # 2—My Personal Calorie Sheet–Since I was getting tired of writing down my calories and meals on notebook paper, I made a simple spreadsheet and printed it so that I can keep track of calories. Not only do I have the calories listed, but I also put in some of the common nutrition things that people like to track, such as sodium, fat, protein, etc. Obviously you don’t have to use all of them (you can only record your calories if you want), but I put them there in case you want to track those too. This is in PDF format, so you can download it and save it to your desktop, and then print it off any time you wish.
What I do is I print out a few and put them on the top of the fridge with a pencil. Each time my wife and I eat a snack or meal, we write down our calories. I typically add it up at various time throughout the day to see what other snacks I can squeeze in =). I add it up at night to see my total daily calories. Again, I am very on top of this right now, and it is paying off. One sheet should last you several days, and then you can print another one any time.
Step 3 to Lose Visceral Fat with Diet–Adjust You Calorie Intake for Fat Loss
Using the calorie calculator, and by watching your calories, you can then adjust your calorie intake. All you have to do is create a calorie deficit below your maintenance level (again, the calculator will give you the general amount of calories for fat loss). Then…bam, just sit back and wait. Even if you eat junk food all day, you will probably lose weight so long as you eat within your calorie fat loss requirements.
I don’t advocate eating junk food all day (obviously), and I will tell you my other nutritional findings. I have cut out some things from my diet which have made a big difference (both in fat loss and overall health). I am eating all the food I want to be full, while staying within my calorie needs to burn fat. I am also eating delicious snacks from time to time, and I will also share some of my delicious recipes my wife and I have been making. You don’t have to have a boring diet to lose weight. I am living it up and shedding pounds while adding more lean muscle.
This takes a long time (even if exercising), but be patient. It will work eventually. It may take 1 month to see good results.
Also, don’t weigh yourself too often. Maybe 1 time every 2 weeks. Your body will actually fluctuate about 5-8 pounds or so throughout the day, depending on if you have used the bathroom, if you just ate, if you have clothes/shoes on, etc. Try to weigh yourself consistently (naked preferably), and that way you get a better picture of your weight.
Also, take pictures if you can to track your progress, and buy a flexible tape measure to measue your waist/hips.
Warning On Cutting Calories
Eat food. Your body needs food, so eat. Don’t get the “wise” idea that you are going to starve yourself, vomit after meals, or anything else. What this does is throw your body into a panic and your weightloss goals will actually be dangerous, unhealthy, unattractive, and more.
Instead, just eat healthy calorie intake, and if possible, exercise (and I will post on this later). The fat will come off in time. Again, I have lost about 10-12 pounds of fat in 1 month. My wife has also lost about 10 pounds or so. Think of this as a new life-long lifestyle change.
So please eat healthy, talk to your doctor, and make sure to eat good and check all info on this page to make sure it is safe for you.
If you want to lose fat in a HEALTHY way, try not to eat more than 1000 calories below your maintenance level. For people with only a small amount of weight to lose, 1000 calories will be too much of a deficit. As a guide to minimum calorie intake, the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) recommends that calorie levels never drop below 1200 calories per day for women or 1800 calories per day for men. Even these calorie levels are quite low. So be safe.
More Posts Coming
I still have a ton of information coming, including:
- High calorie foods to watch out for–one thing in particular was really getting me
- Low calorie foods and snack ideas–a lot of trial and error here to find some good snacks
- Shocking things I found I was doing wrong with my diet (aside from the calorie thing)–this is a biggie
- How I have been able to make my grocery bill plummet (almost cut in half)
- Some awesome tools I have used to help cut my calories, prepare my food, and make life easier
- Exercise–tons of posts on exercise will come when I wrap up nutrition, including my routine, my tools of the trade, my experiences, etc.
- My cholinergic urticaria now–eventually I will pull it all together and tell the timeline of how diet and exercise and visceral fat has affected my CU, and what my life is like right now.
- As always, no details will be spared…
So many posts, so little time. Stay tuned. I will try to crank out at least 1 more today, maybe 2 if I have time…
NEXT POST: High Calorie Foods
This is yet another post in my recent series of posts how my cholinergic urticaria went from being very severe to tremendously better (basically gone now). If you have not yet read my previous posts, then I strongly urge you to read them first so you can know exactly how this has progressed: