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Life After Lock Down: Our Top Rules & Foods For Cutting This Summer

Excited to go away but can't decided whether you should take a trip to your bedroom, kitchen or living room this summer... #Covid19.

Seriously though, summer is approaching and we imagine you will still want to look good for the Gram and keep the pounds off. Don’t worry, we've got you covered. Within this article we are going to provide you with the knowledge to help you get leaner without the hunger pains and irresistible cravings!

 

THE GOLDEN RULE – CALORIES IN VS CALORIES OUT

You might've heard the phrase "calories in vs calories out" and think... what does this mean? Well, short story, if you are say 105kg and wear a fitness tracker you would see that in a typical day, without exercise, you could potentially burn up to 2,600 cals in a typical day. On the flip side, if you were to add in exercise you could potentially burn up to 3,500 cals in a typical day, depending on how hard you go in the gym. This is your "calories out"

So now you know what "calories out" mean, we need to look at "calories in". Using the same above example. If you were to use a food tracking app and track you total daily food intake for that day the ultimate aim of fat loss is to be eating less food that what you are burning. if you burn 2,600 cals in a day but eat 3,000 cals then you are in a surplus of food and will likely gain weight. On the flip side, if you are eating 3,000 cals and burning 3,500 cals then you are in a deficit of 500 cals and will likely lose weight.

In light of the above, this is why our one rule which you simply cannot ignore is "calories in vs calories out". If you’re not in a calorie deficit then you simply will not achieve the goal you’re aiming for. It’s essential that you keep your calories in check and you consume enough protein when trying to lose body fat, otherwise your chances of success will become slim.

CALORIES & FOOD VOLUME

There are 4 calories (kcals) in 1g of carbohydrates and 4kcals in 1g of protein, while there are 9kcals in 1g of fats. What’s important to understand is that foods of the same weight and size do not hold the same caloric value. For instance, 1 table spoon of peanut butter contains approx 90kcals while 1 table spoon of sugar only contains approx 48kcals. This is due to fat being higher in calories than carbohydrates and protein, and peanut butter is comprised of fats and protein while sugar is made up of carbohydrates.

Now that we’ve grasped the concept of calorie volumes, let’s have a look at some food options that are high in volume but low in calories.

CALORIES IN VEGETABLES & SALADS

Lettuce contains approx 15kcals per 100g, so in theory you could consume 1kg of lettuce and only intake approx 150kcals. The sheer volume of the food would then keep you full and lessen your cravings for more food while the food in your system is being digested. Of course, eating 1kg of lettuce wouldn’t be very appealing and I certainly wouldn’t advise it; that example was just to highlight the importance of food volume.

Vegetables and salads are mainly very low in calories and very high in volume, which makes them a great choice if you have a big appetite. Lean protein sources such as chicken breasts are a great addition to salads which aid you towards reaching your daily protein requirement. 113g of chicken breast contains approx just 120kcals and 24g of protein. Accompany your protein source with a small helping of carbohydrates to meet your total carbohydrate and calorie goals, and bulk out the meal with lettuce/rocket/watercress and other high-volume vegetables such as cucumber, carrot and pepper to curb your hunger feelings.

Protein sources also take the body longer to break down, which means by eating more lean protein sources you’ll feel satiated for longer.

FOOD TIMINGS

Although eating more frequently can help to increase metabolism, when you’re in a caloric deficit it’s difficult to make a smaller number of calories stretch over 5-6 meals instead of your usual breakfast, lunch and dinner. This is why bulking out your meals is very important if you’re serious about losing fat.

For example, if your maintenance calories were 2250kcals per day and you decided to create a large deficit of 500kcals per day, you’d only have 1750kcals to consume over 6 meals. This would work out at just 291kcals per meal, which is quite a small amount of food in usual terms. Just to put it into perspective, that’s about ¾ of a medium milkshake from any poplar fast food joints.

Eating 5-6 meals a day would definitely be possible if you bulked out each meal with low calorie, high-volume foods as mentioned previously. However, if you’d prefer to eat bigger meals, or you simply don’t have time to eat so frequently, then the usual breakfast, lunch and dinner options may be more suited to you. Having just 3 meals per day will also allow you more calories per meal, for instance using the same number of calories as earlier (1750kcals), a person would be able to consume 583kcals per meal, which would be much more filling, and would require less bulking out.

Taking into consideration the amount of time which would be left between meals with only having 3 per day, you may wish to supplement caffeine.

CAFFEINE

Caffeine is known to suppress appetite while reducing fatigue and increasing alertness. It’s safe to consume up to 400mg of caffeine each day, which is roughly the equivalent to 4 standard cups of coffee. A great way to help maintain your energy levels and suppress appetite is by consuming caffeine between meals; for example, spacing out coffees midway between your breakfast and lunch, followed by midway between your lunch and dinner is one method you may wish to implement.

You can also find caffeine in a number of the pre-workouts sold on our site, which are perfect to take prior to exercise and will help your performance and alertness in the gym while suppressing your appetite!

TAKE HOME MESSAGE

Bulk out your meals with low calorie vegetables to help curb those hunger cravings. Supplement caffeine to help you stay alert and energised while in a deficit! Remember, calories in vs calories out matters most.

- The Letterbox Gains team