How I Ate Donuts and Still Lost Weight
By Alfredo A. Perez de Alejo – I’ve lost 22 pounds over the past 18 weeks, and gone from 27% body fat to just under 19% body fat. I lost two of those pounds in just the last two weeks! You probably already figured that out if you read part 1 of this article, “What to Eat to Lose Weight,” if you didn’t you can give it a read here.
How did I do it? Eating about 2 to 3 Dunkin Donuts’ doughnuts a week. Wait, it’s not that easy. You’re not going to lose weight just by adding doughnuts to your diet.
But you can put together a good nutrition plan that’ll help you lose weight (and more importantly fat), and that’ll also allow you to eat the occasional doughnut (or whatever your go-to junk food maybe). Now let’s talk about how to do it!
The first step in learning what to eat to lose weight is to figure out how many calories you should be eating each day. If you missed it, click here to see the formula I used (and you can use) to calculate daily calories.
Now that you know your daily calorie requirements, the next step in learning what to eat to lose weight is to figure out your macronutrient or macro requirements. Macros (at least the macros that are essential to humans) fall into three categories: (1) proteins; (2) carbohydrates (or carbs); and (3) fats.
So let’s talk about protein. Proteins are nitrogen (or more specifically amine) containing compounds that consist of chains of amino acids. We’ll talk about amino acids in a later article, including the 9 essential amino acids. For now, what’s important is that 1 gram of protein equals 4 calories.
Carbohydrates or carbs are compounds that consist of saccharides or sugars. Like protein, 1 gram of carbohydrates equals 4 calories.
And I’m pretty sure most of you are already familiar with fats. But, just in case, fats (or triglycerides) are energy-rich compounds made up of glycerol and fatty acids. 1 gram of fat equals 9 calories. Keep those calorie numbers in mind, we’re going to need them.
Here’s the formula I used to calculate how many grams of protein, fat, and carbohydrates to eat each day.
First, calculate how much protein to eat each day by multiplying your goal weight (in pounds) by one of the following to:
Multiply by 0.65 if (1) you work out less than 1 hour per week, or (2) prefer not to eat high-protein foods (Goal Weight x 0.65 = Daily Protein in grams)
Multiply by 0.75 if (1) you work out 2 to 3 hours per week, or (2) prefer not to eat high-protein foods (Goal Weight x 0.75 = Daily Protein in grams)
Multiply by 1 if (1) you work out more than 3 hours per week, or (2) do not mind eating high-protein foods (Goal Weight x 1 = Daily Protein in grams)
Now, you’ll notice that you have a bit of leeway in determining your protein intake. That’s because there’s no single, fit-all answer to the question “How much protein should I eat each day?” It’s going to depend on your activity level, lifestyle, health, and what you can commit to eating.
The numbers above are based, at least in part, on a study published in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition. That study suggested that active individuals (including those that exercise) need between 0.7 and 0.8 grams of protein per pound of bodyweight (that’s where the 0.75 above comes from).
Other studies, including a 2004 study published in the Journal of Sports Science, push for even higher amounts (above 1 gram per pound of bodyweight). Again, you’ll need to see what works for you!
Second, calculate how much fat to eat each day by multiplying your goal weight (in pounds) by one of the following:
Multiply by 0.3 to 0.4 if (1) you prefer to stay away from fatty foods; (2) workout a lot (think 5 or more hours a week); or (3) you tend to prefer high-carb foods, like pretzels, bread, and pasta (Goal Weight x 0.3-0.4 = Daily Fat in grams)
Multiply by 0.5 to 0.6 if you prefer fatty foods like cheese, peanut butter, and nuts (Goal Weight x 0.5-0.6 = Daily Fat in grams)
Again, whether you eat 0.3 grams per pound of bodyweight, 0.6 grams per pound of bodyweight, or something in between is going to depend on you.
Third, calculate your carbs by:
Multiplying your daily protein in grams by 4 (the number of calories in 1 gram of protein) to calculate your calories from protein (Daily Protein in grams x 4 = Calories from Protein).
Then multiplying your daily fat in grams by 9 (the number of calories in 1 gram of fat) to calculate your calories from fat (Daily Fat in grams x 9 = Calories from Fat).
Then subtract your Calories from Protein and Calories from Fat from your Total Daily Calories to get your calories from carbs (Total Daily Calories – Calories from Protein + Calories from Fat = Calories from Carbs).
Lastly, divide Calories from Carbs by 4 (the number of calories in 1 gram of carbs) to get your total daily carbs in grams (Calories from Carbs/4 = Total Daily Carbs in grams).
Again, keep in mind this isn’t an exact science. If you’re feeling low on energy, you probably need to eat more carbs. Or if you feel you’re losing muscle mass, you may want to increase your protein intake. Listen to your body, and play around with this formula to find what works for you!
Now that you know how many grams of proteins, carbs, and fats you should be eating, you’ll need to figure out what types to eat. Spoiler alert, it turns out that all macronutrients are not created equally! In part 3 of “What to Eat to Lose Weight,” I’ll cover how to make sure you’re getting the right types of protein, carbs, and fats. In the meantime, let me know if you found this useful, and make sure to share this article. Keep Jumping!
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