Step 2 - Calculating Your Calories

What is a calorie?

Putting simply it’s the energy produced within your food. No calorie is equal, so some foods are high in calories but are very low in nutritional value, whereas other foods can be the same calories and yet be packed full of nutrition. By eating a variety of foods and focusing on high nutritional items you can give your body (and mind) plenty of fuel so you’re buzzing with energy, you’ll sleep better, your skin and hair often feel nicer, and of course you’ll find your body composition begins to slowly change. 

Weightloss - Meal Planning

Calculating your macros can be done in a variety of ways, and the amount you should eat will change as your weight and body composition alters. The nutritional demands of a bigger body is higher so typically you need to eat less if you lose weight, however bigger muscles burn more calories so if you get stronger you’ll likely need to eat more. The majority of the calories you burn each day are effectively survival calories, also known as BMR or Basal Metabolic Rate. There are many online calculators for this number, however they don’t take into account your body fat and muscle composition. I much prefer clients to weigh themselves on a set of scales either at the gym or with home scales that provide the number, I use Renpho which records everything on the app and shares weight changes to other apps!

The main way I calculate target calories once we have this number is to multiply by 1.2 (this allows gentle daily activity) and minus 500 (that’s the calorie deficit to target weightloss). Athletes logging their exercise can eat back that exercise, so if you do a 1000 calorie workout, I expect to see that 1000 calories being consumed back into the body so you have energy for your next training session. Please note I may give you a different number than that calculation, it could be based on the type of exercise or sport you’re involved in, or a number of other reasons which I’m happy to bore you with if you’re interested 🙂

Weightloss - Renpho Scales
Renpho Scales are normally £18-30 on Amazon and provide indepth information on your body composition including BMR.

So, if you have a BMR of 1700, we multiply by 1.2 = 2040. That’s how much you should burn each day, so if we aim to eat 2040-500 = 1540 that should produce around 1-2lb a week fat loss. But you MUST eat those full calories including any activity calories. I’d expect that particular client to be within 100 calories of that number, either a little above or below every day. Going too far below will likely lead to low energy, poor mood, low motivation, hormonal imbalances and cravings. Going upto 500 calories above that number is actually a better scenario because you will feel good, however you may maintain weight and change composition rather than get lighter on the scales. 

Once we have your Calorie Goal calculated we need to update MyFitnessPal, I’ve done screenshots below to demonstrate how to update it. Please make sure you connect to any fitness recording apps in the settings so you can log activity calories and make sure you’re not under fuelling!

Myfitnesspal - Settings Goals
Click "More" in the bottom right, and "Goals"
Myfitnesspal - Calories
Select "Calorie, Carbs, Protein and Fat Goals"
Myfitnesspal - Calorie Calculation
Enter Your "Calories"

Once you’ve updated your calories, you’re free to eat and log as you have been doing, however the goal is to hit your calorie goal everyday. Some clients prefer to spend a few minutes in the morning or even the day before and they log everything in BEFORE they eat it so it’s effectively a plan of “here’s what I’m eating today”. That’s a great strategy so you can tweak and change meals before your eat them, so if you feel like you’re going to go too long without eating, or if you know you’re likely to need a snack, you can manage it in a controlled way.

There’s no right or wrong though, everyone is different and will have a different approach that is better for them.

MACROS – Carbohydrates, Protein & Fat

Just a quick word on Macronutrients… they’re not too important for now. If you want to use the settings I’ve shown above (40% Carbs, 30% Protein and 30% Fats) that tends to be a nice balance. Again we are all different and I’m not interested in seeing you hit those numbers or be above/below them. The key thing here is I do not want anyone going under 20% of ANY of the macros. Below 20% on any of the three numbers is counted as an unsustainable diet, it’s not something any of my training agrees with and I am trained to bring balance to your life so nothing below 20% please!

Nutrition Plans

Manage your weight by creating your nutrition plan

I’ve been big. When I started running I was wearing mens 3XL tops because the 2xl felt too snug when I moved. I’ve done every diet under the sun, and the only way I believe I can help you is to find a lifelong nutrition plan that suits you and your food choices. 

I don’t believe in restricting and I believe that no food is off limits, but I also advocate a “food is fuel” approach to selecting your nutritional choices. We all have individual goals and our bodies are unique in their own ways, what works for one person won’t always work for another. Therefore I work with my clients to help educate and develop their own individual plan they scan stick to for life.

If you would like to know more and think I might be the right support for you you Contact Me.

Jen Coppock
Jen Coppock
Level 4 Obesity & Weight Management
llangollen, North Wales