Whenever I talk with people about "how much should I be eating", I always refer back to an article I read, written by Charles Poliquin, where he said to a client, you need to differentiate the difference between being hungry and being a vacuum.
Don't get me wrong, I enjoy food, and lot's of it, but in saying this, I eat 3-4 meals a day, and snack quite minimally during the day. I live a very active lifestyle that allows me to continually burn calories during my daily routine, and I also exercise a lot to help me build lean muscle mass so my body can effectively burn calories at rest. This took me years to achieve, and is still and always will be a work in progress.
Whenever someone wants to lose weight, the first thing they try and do is restrict calories. Why? Simple. They want to consume less calories and therefore lose weight. This sounds right doesn't it? WRONG!
Caloric deficits simple don't work. When you restrict your calories, you are also restricting the fuel your body receives to be able to perform daily tasks and run a calorie burning machine that is your body.
The first step you want to do is work out your TDEE (Total Daily Energy Expenditure). This will tell you how many calories your body burns living day to day. It takes into consideration your age, gender, height, weight, and activity level. This equation will then give you a number (ie. 1800), which means your body burns 1800 calories during any given day. So therefore, you can eat 1800 nutritious calories every day and maintain your current lifestyle and not gain any weight. true story. Now, eat under that amount and one of a couple of things will happen.
1. Your body will turn off metabolic processes, including muscle building and fat burning.
2. Your body will do #1, and it will also begin to store calories and convert them to fat, to use as its primary source of fuel later down the track.
Now, I would assume you don't want either one to occur, so it is best to take a step back and understand what is exactly happening.
First of all, you don't want to keep eating those empty "shit" calories that fill up your daily intake and deliver no nutritional value. Second of all, you want to start eating higher quality food to best support your body, and what you wish it to achieve. This means making the switch from certain habits, and swapping them for others. This may mean going from cooking with vegetable oil, to cooking with coconut oil or hemp seed oil. It may mean eating a breakfast higher in protein instead of a breakfast full of sugar and carbs (cereals, granola, toast).
From that exact moment when you decide to start eating better and making healthier decisions, your body will begin to change. How long you maintain those changes and the amount of changes you make will dictate how long and sustainable these positive changes become.
If you currently get 450 of your daily calories from carbs and sugary sources, and you switch those calories to more protein, fat and other complex carbs, you are still eating the same amount of calories, but you will be taking in all the other benefits that come with eating these foods. Protein helps to fuel and build muscle. Fats help the brain and cells grow, reproduce and communicate. Complex carbs give the body fuel and energy for exercise and other high intensity tasks.
So you are not cutting calories, you are simple replacing the bad with the good. You are making healthier choices that will support your body and your goals. Overall, you may eat the same calories as before, but all of a sudden your body is beginning to change shape, your energy is better, sleep has improved, skin is clearing up, and you're not as emotional and moody. Better? Thought so.
You need to stick with this for life. This isn't another 30 day or 12 week plan. This is LIFE. The longer you stick to it, the more naturally it happens. Don't let temptation get in your way of achievement and success.
Aim for a strong, lean body that is a calorie burning machine. Then you can even eat more of the good stuff and not gain a pound!