Did you know that you can plan and schedule your weight loss?
This might sound too good to be true. But once you understand how weight loss works, you’ll see that it’s just simple math.
Using my free tool, you can create your own custom weight loss schedule in 5 easy steps. And you can do it without exercise or giving up your favorite foods.
All you’re going to do is track your calories in a weekly weight loss spreadsheet template.
First, you must understand the basics of weight loss.
1 pound equals approximately 3,500 calories.
Remember this number. We’ll come back to it.
Once you can translate calories into pounds, you can create your own weight loss schedule.
As an example, let’s target 5 pounds of weight loss.
5 pounds is a nice achievement. Small enough that it’s doable, but significant enough that you’ll feel good about yourself. Think about it. If you REALLY want to, you can lose 5 pounds.
Using this spreadsheet, you can determine a clear path to get there, which will give you the confidence to do it again, if you need to.
Once you lose the first 5 pounds, you can reset your schedule and start again. Then suddenly you’ve lost 10 pounds. Then, 15.
Okay, let me show you how it works. Then, you can get access to your free template at the bottom of the page.
Step 1: Determine your maintenance calories.
Maintenance calories are the number of calories you’d eat in order to maintain your current weight. No weight gain or weight loss.
You can use the calorie calculator at calculator.net and enter the required information to determine your maintenance calories.
Your maintenance calories will be the first number displayed when you click calculate.
Step 2: Create your weight loss schedule.
On the Schedule tab, enter how many weeks you want to target to lose the 5 pounds and your start date. Most people like to start diet or fat loss programs on Monday, but you can choose any date you’d like and the calendar will update accordingly.
Since 1 pound is 3,500 calories, 5 pounds is 17,500 calories. So, you are simply going to generate a 17,500 calorie deficit throughout the course of your predetermined timeline.
That’s all there is to it.
Let’s walk through an example.
Let’s say you enter 5 weeks and a start date of January 4 on the Schedule tab.
Let’s say your maintenance calories from calculator.net are 2,140. You’ll enter that into the top right of your schedule.
In this example, you will lose about a pound a week. Your target calories will be 1,640 a day for a daily fat loss of about 0.14 pounds.
Step 3: Sign up for MyFitnessPal if you haven’t already.
MyFitnessPal is a free website you can use to track your calories. There is also an iPhone and Android app available.
Step 4: Enter your actual calories every day throughout your schedule.
Now, all you need to do is record your daily calories from MyFitnessPal in the cells under Actual.
Then, your actual daily fat loss will be automatically reflected. So you can actually SEE how much weight you’re losing per day!
Pretty cool, right? Actually SEEING the connection between calories and weight loss laid out for you on a calendar is pretty insightful. It was definitely a lightbulb moment for me when I first realized that this is all just simple math.
Granted, the daily numbers will not be very large. But, the point is if you perform consistently, you will achieve the result over time. For this reason, I prefer to focus on weekly results instead of daily results.
I recommend weighing yourself weekly, but some people prefer to weigh in daily so I have updated the spreadsheet to allow for this. If you want to record your weight daily, you can do this in the last row in each week of the Schedule tab.
Day-to-day weight fluctuations will not necessarily reflect fat loss, but with a sensible calorie deficit schedule, your week-to-week and month-to-month numbers will paint a true picture of your actual progress.
In general, and at least for the first week, you want to try to be as close to Target as possible. If you’re too far above, you will not lose fat as quickly and if you’re too far below, you may experience some of the issues associated with a calorie target that’s too aggressive, such as hormonal and metabolic effects.
This is a key step because it’s where you actually do the work. If you don’t track your numbers, you won’t have the information required to make necessary adjustments and see your weight loss schedule through.
Step 5: Make any adjustments necessary to achieve your goal.
At the end of the day, remember that this is a template and not a magic bullet.
Just like what you learn in the classroom does not apply EXACTLY the same way in the real world, the same is true with calories and weight.
While the fundamentals of calories in vs. calories out are pretty simple, the truth is that the human body is an extremely complex system and that there are other factors that influence weight loss such as your genetics, hormones and microbiome.
Will they override the law of calories?
No. Directionally, you can be confident that if you eat fewer calories than you burn, you will lose weight over time and if you eat more calories than you burn, you will gain weight.
Will they influence your exact numbers and how long it may take you to achieve your goal?
Definitely. So, it’s up to you to monitor your progress from week-to-week and make adjustments to your numbers.
Compare your actual weight loss against your projected numbers.
Was your weight loss tracking in line with what you expected? Was it too much? Not enough?
If you’re happy with how it’s going and you’re feeling good, keep it up.
If you’re not, adjust your actuals the following week. You may want to shoot for a couple hundred calories below your target or maybe you’ll find you even have room to raise your calories some.
Just stick with it, trust the system, and don’t hesitate to reach out if you have any questions!