• Elena Elviira

Calories: build muscle, get lean + lose weight

Why nutrition for weight-loss and building muscle is such a tricky topic for many of us? I mean we have all the science to prove what works and what doesn't. Yet we are here looking for answers, like how many calories should l eat? Should l do intermittent fasting? should l cut on carbs? can l build muscle and stay lean? how fast can l lose 20 kg of fat? what about 4kg of fat?


It has been made too complicated for us to understand, when in reality it is very simple how you should be eating to reach your goals and be healthy. & I'll tell you how. Whether your goal is to lose weight, get lean and build muscle, maintain weight or build muscle you have came to the right place ladies!


It's all thermodynamics - food is calories that your body burns to fuel itself but some of the calories is turned into fat. There are 2 main reason why we gain weight.

  1. We eat too many calories above our maintenance (Surplus). Maintenance is the amount of calories you can eat daily without gaining weight. This is your individual number, different to someone else's.

  2. Poor nutrition ( we eat food with low nutritional values, called empty calories). Think of the nutritional values of a cheesecake....? none, right? I hate to brake it to you but your body has no function for these calories and turns them straight into fat.

Nutrition is the number one factor when it comes to losing weight. If you train hard but eat more than you burn, you'll still gain weight. Simply, you have to eat less than you burn throughout the day, to create a calorie deficit. This does not mean living in constant hunger or not being allowed to eat after 6pm.


Healthiest way to lose weight is through healthy habits (9 healthy habits you should be doing no matter what) and eating variety of dense & nutritious food. Exercising plays an important part when trying to lose (or maintain) your weight.


Best type of exercise for burning fat is modern intensity (1 h walk or light jog). Active lifestyle and moderate exercises in your daily routine burn more calories, than any gym workout you've ever done with heavy weights.


How to lose weight ?

  • create a healthy calorie deficit

  • eat dense food to keep your belly full (+ eat food with good nutritional values)

  • exercise / stay active throughout the day

How to create a healthy calorie deficit? One that you can easily maintain?


Find out how many calories you eat each day and then start eating less than that in calories. When your weight hits a plateau and you stop gaining weight, you have found your calorie expenditure for maintenance, which means, the amount of calories you can eat to just maintain your weight. Let's say this number is 1800 for you (calories/day). Meaning you can't possibly gain weight when you eat 1800 kcal.


Deficit to lose weight OR build muscle and get lean?

  • we can start to lose weight by cutting 100-500 calories from our maintenance

  • or we can cut 100-200 calories to still build muscle and slowly get more lean



How fast can l lose weight?

To burn 1 kg of fat, you need to create 7,700 calorie deficit. If you cut 500 kcal from your daily diet, it would take you a week ( 7 days ) to loose 0,5 kilos of body fat.


Remember. The easier it is to maintain, the easier it is to maintain. Yep you read it right, it's all about what you can maintain over time. Personally, I would be a lot better at maintaining 200 calories deficit than 500 calorie deficit each day. With 500 calories deficits l would get crazy cravings and just a live a more unhealthy lifestyle. Yoyoying my weight up and down. Find what is sustainable for you and your goals, go with that.


How fast can l lose weight by cutting 200 kcal (calories) per day from my diet? You would lose 9,5 kilos in a year. Add active lifestyle to that and you'll lose even more.


Remember, that people in start of their weight loss journey can lose fat at a much faster rate, especially if your body's fat percentage/composition is at 40%, just simple lifestyle changes will trigger even greater weight loss for these people. To cut 500 from your diet each day, would make you lose 23.5 kilos in a year.


Every day our daily calorie needs fluctuate, and you can not always be certain if you have created a deficit, so don't be too stressed about getting it just right every day. The best method to lose weight anyway, is to make healthier lifestyle changes that you can maintain year after year!


How much should my calorie deficit be? I want to lose weight.

To keep it healthy and effective, it depends of you (how fast you want it to happen and how well you can maintain different calorie deficits between 100-500 kcal/day). Cutting 500 calories from your diet should not cause you to feel hunger or affect your energy levels to drop.


If your are already small, cutting too many calories, can turn into problems with your health and lead to unhealthy relationship with food. Research shows that by eating 1000 calories or less in a day results in loss of muscle, bone density and quickly can turn into unhealthy relationship with food and has other harms for your health.





Benefits of nutritious food:


Research shows that handful (50g) of nuts per day enhances your fat loss even further. That's the problem, many of us fear the extra calories of nuts, when they actually are highly beneficial for weight loss. Eating nuts will actually make your weightloss journey faster and easier, in a healthy manner.


So how much should you be eating to lose weight - LESS ! This does not necessarily mean to eat less (of a amount) but less in calories ( eat more dense food to fill you up) ! By changing an eating habit one at a time, substituting one food to another, allows you to lower your calories without becoming hungry or even hangry! Yikes!

Alternatives for high calorie foods:

Cakes and muffins > popcorn

Bacon > bacon with fat cut off

Sour cream > Greek yoghurt

Chocolate bar > protein bar

cereals > nuts and oats

milk > unsweetened almond milk

sugar, yams, puddings > unsweetened apple sauce

candy > dried fruits like apricot or banana

chips > unsweetened popcorn and dried banana

salt crackers > rice cakes

salad dressing > choose light version

fries > sweet potato fries in owen

oils and butter > virgin olive oil

white rice > brown rice









How to eat to build muscle ?



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