Restricting caloric intake is the main driver of fat loss, no matter what the newest diet fad wants you to believe. This goal can be achieved with two very different approaches, so choose your weapons wisely!
Tracking your calories and/or macros gives you precise information about what you are actually eating. It makes weighing everything you put into your mouth necessary, which is a little annoying, but you will get used to it in no time. For many people this is extremely revealing: they just don’t know how much they are actually eating and how many calories their meals have until they have tried tracking at least once in their life (revelations like “OMG, I didn’t know avocados are THAT fat” are bound to happen). Once you have a good understanding how a typical meal looks like for you, you can experiment with ad libitum dieting.
It is particularly important for everyone who struggles with losing weight while at the same time feels that he is always “on diet” without seeing any results. This method only requires one thing to work: honesty!
Ad Libitum Diet
Ad libitum (Latin: at one’s pleasure) means that you don’t have to track your macros anymore and always eat until you are full. You achieve your caloric deficit by limiting the types of food you are eating by a rule set. This could look something like that: “at rest days I eat only chicken, turkey or white fish as my protein sources; at workout days I am allowed to switch to pork, beef or lamb”. As you can see this type of dieting trades the freedom of not having to track with restricting the type of food.
You have to decide for yourself if this is a trade you are happy to take. If you are a person that simply cannot exist without a certain “cheat food”, it may not be the right choice for you. Calorie tracking might be better suited, as you can factor your beloved peanut butter in. Someone at work had birthday and you ate a piece of brownie? Well, it might be time for chicken and broccoli tonight, but at least you have something to eat and don’t throw your caloric deficit out of the window.
For me personally, calorie tracking is the way to go: I’m a foodie and it is really difficult to leave certain foods away for an extended period of time. It is much easier for me to put a little more work in planning and tracking and therefore being able to eat pretty much anything I want. However, I made good progress with ad libitum dieting for bodyweight maintenance and not having to track for some time can be relieving.
As you can see, there is not a single best way to loose fat: it is a question of personal preference and lifestyle. Choose wisely and stay consistent!
Have you ever tried to track your macros? What’s your experience with it? Let me know in the comment section below.
If you struggle with keeping your macros in check, maybe it’s time to seek out professional help 😉!