Caloric Intake, How Many to Cut?

I am trying to get a handle on how many calories I should be consuming. For the past 3 months I have been lifting 4 days a week. I am currently 5’11" and weigh 235 (high BF, though I am not sure exactly what it is). I snore when I sleep, and I also often stop breathing while sleeping.

My wife seems to think I should cut calories heavily in an attempt to drop lots of weight as quickly as possible to help alleviate my “fat” symptoms (I didn’t have these issue 7 years ago when I weighed 100 pounds less.

I agree I should be eating for a caloric deficit, but I have no idea how many actual calories to consume, and how to structure those calories so that I will not put myself in a position whereby my body starts to use muscle for fuel. Any advice is well appreciated.

[quote]Ezrie wrote:
I am trying to get a handle on how many calories I should be consuming. For the past 3 months I have been lifting 4 days a week. I am currently 5’11" and weigh 235 (high BF, though I am not sure exactly what it is). I snore when I sleep, and I also often stop breathing while sleeping.

My wife seems to think I should cut calories heavily in an attempt to drop lots of weight as quickly as possible to help alleviate my “fat” symptoms (I didn’t have these issue 7 years ago when I weighed 100 pounds less.

I agree I should be eating for a caloric deficit, but I have no idea how many actual calories to consume, and how to structure those calories so that I will not put myself in a position whereby my body starts to use muscle for fuel. Any advice is well appreciated.[/quote]

I’d suggest first getting an idea of what you are consuming currently. Check out this article about food logs:

http://www.T-Nation.com/readArticle.do?id=460332

From there you should be able to get a handle on cutting calories and how to manipulate your nutrient consumption (protein vs. carbs vs. fats). From the sound of things, you’re dealing with significant health issues - this is a great place to get loads of info to help you out. Good luck!

-Nick

The food log is definately where to start. Once you can measure what you are eating you can control it. There are a number of sites that will allow you to monitor and record your intake. Fitday.com seems to be a popular one. WHFoods.com has a lot of info on nutrition and also has a calculator.

You need to find out how much food you need to maintain. There are lots of calculators around for that as well. Go to the knowledge section of drsquat.com and look for the article about estimating your calorie needs.

Once you know what you need to maintain, you need to eat that much to verify that it is actually your maintenance level and to get your metabolism settled. Then gradually lower it to a 500-1000 calorie deficit, returning to maintenance level every 4 days. This will keep your metabolism healthy and ensure a steady fat loss that you can sustain. It takes a lot of planning and discipline.

What you eat is important as well. Look for the 7 habits article by Bernardi. Look at your training. Read the Hierarchy of Fat Loss article by Cosgrove.

Stu

[quote]stuward wrote:
Then gradually lower it to a 500-1000 calorie deficit, returning to maintenance level every 4 days. This will keep your metabolism healthy and ensure a steady fat loss that you can sustain.
Stu[/quote]

This is the kind of information I was after. Thanks for the help.

Ez

You can use the harris-benedict formula to get an estimate of what your basal metabolic rate is. For 5’11", 235lbs, 30 years old (a guess since you didn’t list it), moderate activity level (assuming desk job, 3-4 workouts a week, and some reasonable cardio) your BMR would be approx: 3451 Calories per day. (There are several calculators online that will do all this for you)

Generally when you first start cutting I’d recommend a 20% deficit to start, so you’d shoot for 2760 per day. You’d then do that for at least two weeks and observe the results. If you’re losing between 0.5lbs - 2.0lbs per week, then keep it up, if you’re not losing at least 0.5lbs/wk then cut 10% every two weeks until you are. If you’re losing more than 2.0lbs/wk add 10% every two weeks until you’re not.

[quote]blue9steel wrote:
You can use the harris-benedict formula to get an estimate of what your basal metabolic rate is. For 5’11", 235lbs, 30 years old (a guess since you didn’t list it)[/quote]

Good guess, I am 28

After doing some research last night I too came to this number

Excellent advice – Thanks

No problem, I also recommend that you do calorie cycling to keep your leptin levels up. So instead of doing 2760 calories every day you’d do 2553 on weekdays and 3277 on weekend days. Total weekly energy intake remains the same, but your metabolism will get reset on a regular basis.