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View Full Version : Eating Clean vs. Caloric Deficit



Tsilva1024
01-19-2017, 11:30 AM
Hey All - Not sure if this was covered in another thread, but i unfortunately don't have the time to comb through 2,000+ posts....

I am a 28 year old male, 5'9, 200lbs, average build, roughly 20-21% BFP. I work out relatively heavily 4-6 days a week, but do virtually NO cardio (I know I need to start doing at least an hour or so total per week). My diet isn't the best, but i'd say its about 50% clean (anywhere from 2,000 - 2500 cals/day). I also consume about .5 grams/pound body weight.

My end goal over the next 6 months or so is to drop to about 15-16% while dropping overall weight to around 190 lbs, and more than anything cut stomach fat. I want to lose as minimal amount of my muscle as possible, while still gaining at least some.

I'm mentally ready to clean up my act, but my questions here (hopefully without being ridiculed) are as follows -

- Is this goal realistically attainable?
- Should I up my protein intake to 1g+/lb body weight?
- With my goal in mind (and not consuming a crazy amount of calories currently) - would I want to eat at a substantial caloric deficit? or would it be more beneficialt to significantly clean up my diet to the point of where I'm eating clean and healthy 90%+ of the time as opposed to just half of the time and stick with my current calorie amount?

Any input/advice is much appreciated, though i know fat loss is a topic that is beat to death and everyone is different

NiCe85
01-19-2017, 11:43 AM
Don't need to comb over 2000 posts, just the stickies in the nutrition section will suffice.

- Is this goal realistically attainable?
10 pounds in 6 months is realistic. Though without start pictures, it's not easy to say if you would be at your ideal body composition. You can't target fat loss it just occurs.

- Should I up my protein intake to 1g+/lb body weight?
.8 is fine, but most people go to 1g as it is easier to calculate.

- With my goal in mind (and not consuming a crazy amount of calories currently) - would I want to eat at a substantial caloric deficit? or would it be more beneficialt to significantly clean up my diet to the point of where I'm eating clean and healthy 90%+ of the time as opposed to just half of the time and stick with my current calorie amount?

You don't want to lose weight to fast unless you are really over weight stick to about 1 - 1.5 pounds a week. Calories in vs calories out, I eat pizza and ice cream and can still maintain a lean physique I just don't eat ALOT of it. I would focus on micro nutrients (vitamins & minerals) & macros (Protein, fat, carbs). I've also lost weight without having to do an ounce of cardio just calorie restrictions, there are benefits to cardio other than calorie expenditure (cardiovascular health).

Good luck on your journey and remember it is a journey not a sprint.

juggernaut74ia
01-19-2017, 12:38 PM
Hey All - Not sure if this was covered in another thread, but i unfortunately don't have the time to comb through 2,000+ posts....


If only there were a search function....

Or forum stickies that answered basic questions....


If only... *sigh*


That said - eating clean has absolutely ZERO to do with fat loss. Calorie deficit is the only way to lose fat.

spradish
01-19-2017, 12:42 PM
I am a fan of people starting out by eating less in general rather than going straight to calorie counting. If you take a few days to write down every bite you eat, you should be able to go back and see a few easy places to cut back--two pieces of toast instead of four, one serving of mashed potatoes instead of two, boiled eggs instead of scrambled using oil, etc. But you really have to be honest with yourself or it won't work. Even when it does work, you can get to a point where you hit a stall and then you either have to figure out where to cut back even more. At that point it may be easier to just start counting calories.

ironwill2008
01-19-2017, 01:04 PM
At that point it may be easier to just start counting calories.

.......or to have simply obtained a food scale and started doing it properly from Day 1, and thus saved themselves the wasted time and effort of making a half-assed attempt at fat loss. Probably the majority of posters in this forum have already tried using the 'take a guess at a deficit' method and failed; that's why they're here in the first place.

Tsilva1024
01-19-2017, 01:25 PM
Thanks to everyone for the input!

I figured there would be at least one individual who would troll this post and provided literally NO value whatsoever to the topic at hand.

BUT to stay on track and add a little reality/clarity/backstory to this - Nowhere in my original post did I state that I've "wasted time and effort of making a half-assed attempt at fat loss", but I appreciate the baseless assumption. In fact, I have never worried about dieting in the past, because I have always been a comfortable weight/build (around 185 and 15% BFP), but due to a few life changes in the past year (mostly me quitting smoking back in April after 11 years of doing so), my weight has significantly gone up and my eating habits have changed for the worse (which i know is tough but no excuse). I would essentially like to get back to a similar weight/build to where I was previously.

Ammex
01-19-2017, 01:27 PM
OP couldn't even dedicate himself to reading the titles of the stickies. Didn't even have to open them, just read the titles and know where to look.... cutting weight is going to take a bit more commitment than that.

spradish
01-19-2017, 01:29 PM
.......or to have simply obtained a food scale and started doing it properly from Day 1, and thus saved themselves the wasted time and effort of making a half-assed attempt at fat loss. Probably the majority of posters in this forum have already tried using the 'take a guess at a deficit' method and failed; that's why they're here in the first place.

I can only speak from my own experience, which is that I lost my first 30 pounds doing what you consider a half-assed attempt at fat loss. Using a scale would have meant wasted effort and time on my part since I didn't need to count calories to know that I needed to cut out a lot of junk from my diet. Other people do need that. I don't think that there is One True Way to figuring out how to eat fewer calories than you burn.

Tsilva1024
01-19-2017, 01:55 PM
I can only speak from my own experience, which is that I lost my first 30 pounds doing what you consider a half-assed attempt at fat loss. Using a scale would have meant wasted effort and time on my part since I didn't need to count calories to know that I needed to cut out a lot of junk from my diet. Other people do need that. I don't think that there is One True Way to figuring out how to eat fewer calories than you burn.

Thank you for sharing, and I commend you for your path of losing 30+ lbs. that is awesome! It looks like trial and error seems to be the way to go. Obviously not everyone will get it in the first shot. I'm sure cutting out junk food will help out a whole lot, as well as adding some cardio in here and there. I have a hard time believing that (previously stated) "eating clean has ZERO to do with fat loss". if I'm not mistaken, muscle gain and muscle retention through working out and healthy eating promotes fat loss. The more muscle you have, the faster and more efficiently you burn fat throughout the day.

Luclin999
01-19-2017, 01:55 PM
I can only speak from my own experience, which is that I lost my first 30 pounds doing what you consider a half-assed attempt at fat loss. Using a scale would have meant wasted effort and time on my part since I didn't need to count calories to know that I needed to cut out a lot of junk from my diet. Other people do need that. I don't think that there is One True Way to figuring out how to eat fewer calories than you burn.

Honestly most people have no clue as to how many calories they eat each day or what a "serving" per the nutrition labels actually looks like.

For example, the day I showed my wife what an actual "tablespoon" of peanut butter looked like she spent 15 minutes denying what she was seeing and trying to disprove what I was showing her before finally admitting that it was accurate.

Same thing with a "portion" of salmon. What she believed was four oz was really nearly twice that at over seven ounces instead.

And mind you that she is a petite woman who weighs 103-105 pounds and that has always considered her diet to be "healthy" and "clean" and yet could never manage to lose "those five pounds" she is always complaining about.

So yes, while the obese person who consumes 4,000+ calories of fast food a day may see some initial improvement simply from eating less junk and doing more cooking at home, most people are still going to require some degree of educating as regards to portion sizes, calorie values, Etc. before they are going to have much chance of real success at fat loss.

ironwill2008
01-19-2017, 02:00 PM
I can only speak from my own experience, which is that I lost my first 30 pounds doing what you consider a half-assed attempt at fat loss. Using a scale would have meant wasted effort and time on my part since I didn't need to count calories to know that I needed to cut out a lot of junk from my diet. Other people do need that. I don't think that there is One True Way to figuring out how to eat fewer calories than you burn.

I'm glad you met your goal (the point of these forums is for everyone to meet success in the most timely manner), but most posters here aren't as fortunate as you have been when attempting to lose fat but not weighing/measuring/tracking all their food portions.

Again, the majority of posts in this particular forum concern failed attempts; subsequent questioning reveals these people are guessing at how much and of what they're eating.

ironwill2008
01-19-2017, 02:03 PM
Thanks to everyone for the input!

I figured there would be at least one individual who would troll this post and provided literally NO value whatsoever to the topic at hand.

BUT to stay on track and add a little reality/clarity/backstory to this - Nowhere in my original post did I state that I've "wasted time and effort of making a half-assed attempt at fat loss", but I appreciate the baseless assumption. In fact, I have never worried about dieting in the past, because I have always been a comfortable weight/build (around 185 and 15% BFP), but due to a few life changes in the past year (mostly me quitting smoking back in April after 11 years of doing so), my weight has significantly gone up and my eating habits have changed for the worse (which i know is tough but no excuse). I would essentially like to get back to a similar weight/build to where I was previously.

And nowhere in my post did I direct those comments at you; they were generalized statements based on past history here.












Good luck meeting your fitness goals for 2017.

spradish
01-19-2017, 02:13 PM
Honestly most people have no clue as to how many calories they eat each day or what a "serving" per the nutrition labels actually looks like.

For example, the day I showed my wife what an actual "tablespoon" of peanut butter looked like she spent 15 minutes denying what she was seeing and trying to disprove what I was showing her before finally admitting that it was accurate.

Same thing with a "portion" of salmon. What she believed was four oz was really nearly twice that at over seven ounces instead.

And mind you that she is a petite woman who weighs 103-105 pounds and that has always considered her diet to be "healthy" and "clean" and yet could never manage to lose "those five pounds" she is always complaining about.

So yes, while the obese person who consumes 4,000+ calories of fast food a day may see some initial improvement simply from eating less junk and doing more cooking at home, most people are still going to require some degree of educating as regards to portion sizes, calorie values, Etc. before they are going to have much chance of real success at fat loss.

Oh I know, that is absolutely true--most people don't know serving sizes, how much they eat, etc. By no means am I saying that losing without calorie counting works for everybody. It only works if you have a good handle on estimating servings and are brutally honest with what you eat. I didn't get fat because I didn't know what serving sizes were or grew up in a home where we didn't eat well-balanced meals and never learned how to eat in a healthy manner. I knew all of that and decided to eat terribly anyway.

I read the OP as saying that he knew that he ate a lot of junk* (50% clean to me means 50% junk) and was asking if he could lose just by cutting back on it, I responded to that specific point. Yes, all things remaining equal, if 50% of your diet is crap and you cut back on that, odds are you will lose weight.

*Yes, I realize that we can eat any food and still lose weight, all things in moderation and all. But most people who are fat eat too much junk.