I’ve tracked calories..
I have calculated my macros..
I’ve figured out the ‘My Fitness Pal’ App..
But I STILL can’t stick to my diet..
If you’ve done any of the three strategies above or even all three at once, then you understand that although knowing what to do is important, putting into practice in another beast entirely.
One of my mentors used to me tell to never to confuse knowledge and wisdom.
Knowledge is knowing that tomato is a fruit, wisdom is knowing not to put it in a fruit salad.
Knowledge is information, wisdom is knowing how to apply it.
Calories and macros are knowledge, knowing how to fit it around your lifestyle and schedule is wisdom.
This is where ‘banking your calories’ can become a very useful tool in your arsenal.
If fat loss or weight loss is your primary goal, then the number one thing you need to do is get into a calorie deficit.
If you google ‘calorie deficit’ – this is what pops up at the top.
“A caloric deficit is any shortage in the amount of calories consumed relative to the amount of calories required for maintenance of current body weight (energy homeostasis). A deficit can be created by reducing input/calories consumed (lower food intake, aka dieting).”
Basically, you eat less calories than your body needs to tap into fat stores.
What that definition doesn’t tell you is that it’s about being in an overall caloric deficit over the space of a week, month or several months. Not what you do in a single day.
Fat or weight loss isn’t linear, if it was, going into a calorie deficit for a long period of time would mean that you would continuously lose fat until you faded away and died.
That would be a terrible survival strategy and means we as a species would have gone extinct long ago.
Weight loss plateaus aren’t the bane of you existence to stop you fitting into that new dress or pair of jeans, it’s an evolutionary adaption that kept your ancestors alive thousands of years ago.
Granted, I cant imagine cavemen and women trying to fit into skinny jeans for a weekend of feasting on mammoth and bison; but then again, I will also never claim to be a fashion connoisseur.. But I digress.
Those ‘weight loss plateaus’ are one of the primary reasons why strategic refeeds, or periodic days of over eating i.e. eating a calorie deficit Monday-Friday and eating a calorie surplus on Saturday and Sunday can potentially aid fat loss and not hinder it.
Its just basic math when you think about it.
If your maintenance calories is 2,000 kcals (the amount you need to eat every day to maintain the same body weight), then by definition, anything below that number puts you into a calorie deficit. Anything above that number is a calorie surplus.
Lets use an example.
Meet my friend Jane (who some of you might recognise from my first book ‘The Fitness Mindset’)
Jane is 30 years, works in a office and she commutes 25 minutes to and from work every day.
She wants to lose a bit of weight, but doesn’t want her social life to take a hit from giving up alcohol or bringing broccoli and chicken in a Tupperware box to meet her friends on a Friday night.. Fair enough.
Jane’s maintenance calories are 2,000 kcals. That means to get into a deficit, she needs consume less than that amount over a period of time.
So she comes to me and our conversation goes like this.
Jane: “Brian.. OMG, I have a wedding in 12 weeks!! I need to lose weight, HELP ME!!”
Brian: “Well hello, nice to see you too Jane”
Jane: “Dammit Brian, didn’t you hear me.. Wedding.. 6 Weeks.. I NEED to lose weight”
Brian: “No Jane, you WANT to lose weight.. you don’t need do anything”
As she takes a deep breath and exhales.
Jane: “……. Okay, I’m calm. I want to lose weight for an upcoming wedding, can you help me please?”
Brian: “Of course. Okay, first we’re going to put you on a bar and juice diet, massively restrict your calories and give up all your favourite foods for the next 12 weeks.. That’ll be 600 euro please”
Okay, that would never happen but I couldn’t help but take a slight dig at the twats that literally do this on a daily basis.. no company names or people mentioned, but you all know the ones I’m talking about.
This is actually how that conversation would go.
Brian: “Okay Jane, we have two options, both are going to get you into a calorie deficit, both will work, now we’re going to figure out what one works best for you”
“Option 1: we create a nutritional plan that puts you eating 1,600 every day. We can experiment with what foods work best for you etc but that will be our calorie intake every day”
That’s 400 kcals of a deficit every day. That’s 2,800 kcals deficit over the course of a week.
It takes about 3,500 kcals to burn a pound of body fat, so over 12 weeks, we’ll burn between about 9-10 pounds of fat (again this doesn’t take training into account, as that would increase that number further, we’re talking just dietary changes here).
“Option 2: we create a nutritional plan that puts you eating 1,300 every day Monday to Friday. However at the weekend, we’ll ramp that up to 2,350 on Saturday and Sunday. Again, We can experiment with what foods work best for you etc but that will be our calorie intake during the week and we ramp it up at weekends”
If you’re good at math, you’ll notice that by the end of the week, the calorie deficit is EXACTLY the same. The only difference is we have manipulated the calorie intake on the different days; but the net calorie deficit is the same in both options.
Jane who loves going out with friends at the weekend chooses option 2 and we’re off to the races.
In my BKF Online Program, I do option 1 with some people and option 2 with others. Both work. Its about finding what works best for you; and you don’t even need to come through my program or any other plan either, you can experiment with all that yourself.
If you’re struggling to stay on track with your diet, especially at the weekends, then consider banking your calories for the weekend. That way you get the best of both worlds.
In the video below, I used money as an example.
If you have €100 to spend during the week and want to go out on Saturday night with your friends, it doesn’t make sense to spend €75 on Wednesday going to dinner and a movie.
Your calories are exactly the same.
If weight loss or fat loss is your goal, consider banking your calories for the weekend.