How to Plan a Caloric Intake for Weight Loss or Weight Gain
Weight loss and weight gain are both founded on the concept of calories in and calories out. There’s no way around it: a deficit in calories creates a weight loss, and a surplus in calories creates a weight gain.
In this article, we are going to take a look at the benefits of creating a weight loss or a weight gain through controlling our caloric intake. Our caloric intake is just a small portion of consuming a properly balanced diet that provides our body with the nutrients it needs.
We are going to look at both weight loss and weight gain in this article because everyone who visits our site is on the journey to build muscle mass. Some people may be partaking in weight loss along their journey to muscle gains while others may be ripe for generating ripped muscle.
No matter which stage you are on, you will benefit greatly by knowing how to gain weight and cut weight at will.
Caloric Deficits and Surpluses, Explained
A caloric deficit is basically the number of calories taken in, less the number burned. A caloric surplus is the exact opposite. For example, a slice of bread has roughly 70 calories, as does a medium apple or pear. A medium potato, cup of steamed rice, or oatmeal is roughly 150 calories (without any additional ingredients). Adding mayonnaise, sugar, butter, or any other type of additional condiments — like cheese — will up your calorie intake. Typically, food choices that contain a large amount of fat, refined carbs, salt, and sugar will be higher calorie foods. However, it’s important to note that while these foods are high in calories they are low in value as far as nutrients are concerned and should be avoided.
To get started losing weight or gaining weight, the best method is to start by figuring how much you’re currently taking in to maintain your weight. This means tracking everything you eat. Yes, even nibbles and bites while making dinner, or that tiny sliver of chocolate you had for dessert. Use a notebook, index card, or digital log to keep track of daily intake. If you generally eat the same meal plan weekly, you’ll get a rough but honest estimate of your maintenance intake. This will make tracking daily intake — and creating a calorie deficit — vastly more simple. You can also use a smartphone app to assist with tracking your daily intake.
Creating Deficits or Surpluses
To create a caloric deficit or surplus, each day, take the number of calories you’re eating and subtract what you burn. A positive number means you’re on track to gain weight while a negative number means the fat is melting off.
How to Set a Caloric Goal for Weight Loss or Weight Gain
First, pick a certain pound to set for yourself per week. This is the amount of weight you want to lose or gain. This can be anywhere between ½ to 2 pounds, with most folks choosing about one pound per week. Since one pound contains 3500 calories, you’ll first calculate how many fewer calories per day will achieve one pound of fat loss. For example, eating 500 fewer calories per day will lead to 1 pound of fat lost per week. And on the flip side, eating 500 additional calories will result in a 1 pound weight gain per week.
This is a fairly simple way of setting a caloric goal. It is also a simple and easy to method to track and achieve your goal.
Tips and Tricks for Cutting Weight
There are a few general rules of thumb that will help make your caloric intake for weight loss plan easier. First, avoid added fat, salt and sugar as much as possible. Sure, they taste great — which is the point. Try to keep your food fairly simple, repetitive, and bland. This way your brain’s reward centers will staying low-key, and you won’t want to overeat.
Secondly, avoid high calorie drinks. Juice, coffee drinks, energy drinks, sugary sodas, and even some drinks that promise to be helpful for exercise (like Gatorade) can be full of added calories and sugar. Alcohol is another beverage to stay away from. Not only does alcohol generally lead to bad choices with food, but it’s also hard to exercise when you have a hangover.
Think of caloric density as well. For example, a single Oreo has the caloric content as 11 oz. of spinach, uncooked. You can probably eat a lot more Oreos than you can spinach in the raw. Which one is going to fuel your exercise better, and contain more nutrition?
Veggies are great and you can generally count them as negative calorie foods, if they are broccoli, cucumber, celery, grapefruit, mixed greens, or low to no-cal broths. Just avoid adding oil, cheese, or dressings as much as possible, since this will add fat and calories.
To get ahead of the game and on the fast track, use a thermogenic fat burner or whey protein as a meal replacement shake. Thermogenic fat burners increase the body’s internal temperature and raise your metabolism to generate weight loss. Meal replacement shakes allow you to substitute nutritious and low calorie shakes for larger meals that are higher in calories.
Substitute Fruit for Junk Foods if You have a Sweet Tooth
It’s true that chocolate cake, cookies, and ice cream taste fantastic. The problem is, these foods are meant to taste so good that your brain doesn’t know how to shut off the desire for them, as they override the satiety reflex. You can easily take in way more calories than you plan to with foods like these. So if you have a sweet tooth, opt for a ripe pear, mango, or apple. You’ll get the same sweet vibe and satisfaction after dinner, but after eating one, you aren’t going to wish you had another.
Be Flexible an Adaptable to Your Diet
Whether you’re losing weight or gaining weight, picking the right caloric intake can be tricky. You need to consider your individual preferences, goals, and activity level. While one person’s deficit or surplus might be right for them, it might not work for you. Do a little bit of planning and play around with your strategy until you find the right number that works for you.
When you’re ready to get on the fast track to losing weight and/or gaining muscle, we have you covered here.