The Weekly Caloric Method

TAGS: count calories, Calorie Intake, Caloies, Jason Maxwell, weight loss

What I’m about to reveal to you is radically unconventional and is reserved only for the nutritionally advanced. Some days will be a walk in the park, while others will be tough love. If this relates to you, then read on. If not, check back in a few months– when you’re finally ready.

Still with me? Good. The Weekly Caloric Method is literally a nutritional roller coaster, so fasten your seat belt because it’s going to be a wild ride.

It’s All about Calories

Since the Weekly Caloric Method is for the advanced, I should start telling the truth. It truly is all about calories in versus calories out. Some of my dedicated readers may call me a hypocrite for advocating this. I even admit that in the past, I’ve advocated for not counting calories and making good food choices instead. This is great for beginners and intermediates, but we all need to graduate at some point. So congratulations, your time has come to start counting calories; just don’t forget about good food choices and you’ll kick some butt.

How to Look at Calories

We’ve all heard that we need "X" number of calories to reach a certain goal. This is true. Likewise, we’ve heard that a deficit of 3500 kcal per week will result in one pound of weight lost. Generally, this is also true. Here’s my question to you: why are you worrying about your daily caloric intake, when we talk about 3500kcal as a weekly deficit? It just doesn’t make sense to think about calories on a day-to-day basis. We need to not only count our calories daily, but monitor our weekly caloric intake. This is the big picture.

Some Super Simple Math

Let’s say our friend Greg needs 2500 kcal per day to maintain his current body composition. Over one week, this translates into 17,500 kcal. If Greg wants to lose  one pound each week, we need to subtract 3500 kcal off of that number. This means that the total number of calories Greg needs to eat per week in order to shed one pound of weight is 14,000 kcal.

Here’s where things get interesting. Greg doesn’t have to equally split up these calories over seven separate days per week. This is what everyone seems to do, and I ask you this: why? Think about it for a second. You know for yourself that some days you are hungrier than others. If this is the case, then why don’t you just naturally eat more food on days that you are extra hungry and eat less food on other days? This is the way our bodies are designed. A calorie is a unit of energy. Some days you do more activity than others. Does this mean that you burn the same number of calories each and every day? Hell, no.

Think of your body like a car and food as the fuel. If you drive 300 miles one day, and 15 miles the next, your car needs more fuel on the first day, but less on the second. This is how your body works with food.

Personally, some days I’m ragingly hungry. Other days, I find myself not eating until late into the evening. The great thing is that if I’m in the zone doing some major work, I don’t have to think about getting up to eat; which I know will kill my productivity. Because of this, my productivity increases. Since I’m barely eating that day, I can save up my calories for later in the week when I actually am ragingly hungry.

The Right Way to Count Calories

First of all, my favorite method to count calories is to use free software, such as the one provided on FitDay.com. It literally has thousands of foods already input into the software and works quite well. Secondly, you’ll need a method of tracking your calories over the week. Since I come from a rocket science background, I prefer to program spreadsheets that automatically add up my weekly caloric intake. However, there’s new technology called “the pencil and paper” that is also quite reliable.

Next, all you need to do is eat accordingly to how hungry you are. Generally, with 90% of people I’ve worked with, they are hungrier after they work out. This translates into you allowing yourself to eat more food on workout days. If you aren’t as hungry on non-workout days, then you will generally be eating less food.

This method sounds like a pretty obvious way to eat, doesn’t it? Not only is it appropriate for how our bodies naturally function, but it also seems pretty simple. Here’s where things may get tough for some people: getting close to your weekly caloric average.

It’s Getting Down to the Wire

Let’s say you started counting your calories on Monday and now it’s Saturday, and you are only allowed 2000 kcal more to reach your weekly caloric intake. Chances are that you don’t want to be severely hungry on both Saturday and Sunday by eating only 1000 kcal on each day. Your other option is to eat 2000 kcal on Saturday and then to fast on Sunday. That’s the way the cookie crumbles. While I’m a huge advocate of intermittent fasting, some people may freak out by the fact that they aren’t allowed to eat anything at all because they already reached their weekly caloric intake. As I said earlier, it’s tough love. Suck it up, you’re advanced. This is simply the dip in the nutritional roller coaster. There will be some ups in the near future.

On the other hand, some people may be left with 6000 kcal to eat on their last day. While this will generally happen with people looking to gain weight, it’s not uncommon for the fat loss folks as well. In this case, you have to eat all of the 6000 kcal on the last day via great food choices or a planned cheat day. Life is good.

Your Plan B

No, I’m not talking about the pill. Let’s say you completely screw up and overeat your weekly caloric intake by a huge margin, such as 5000 kcal. The next week, you need to make it up. My friend Dan Go put it best, “If you use your credit card and go into debt, you pay it off, right? Then it makes sense that if you eat too much one week, you can eat less the next to pay off your caloric debt.” This means you need to subtract that extra 5000 kcal off your weekly caloric intake of week two. It’s tough, but it can be done. I know you’re only human, but try not to let it happen in the first place whenever possible.

The Last Step

The final piece of the puzzle is to try it out. Starting today, track your calories for the week. Figure out the amount you need per week in order to reach your desired body composition goal. Reach your quota at the end of the week and you can have whatever body composition you desire (as long as the majority of your food intake comprises of excellent food choices). When I see a shredded dude walking in the park, we’ll secretly acknowledge each other; both of us knowing that you’ve endured some tough love to get there.

If you have any questions or comments, drop me a line in the comments below.  I love hearing from you, and I will answer every one.

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