Yes, calories still count and you’ll need to keep a food log during the week. (See our article here for info on how to set one up.) Determining daily caloric intake can be as complex as you want to make it, or it can be simple. We’re going to keep it simple. No matter how scientific the formula is, how many calories to consume always comes down to the individual and his or her metabolism, activity level and lifestyle.
We suggest you multiply your bodyweight (in pounds) by the number 15 and start from there. So a 200 pound man would eat 3000 calories a day. After a week, he’d drop that by 500 calories. Now, we used to say that the average person should lose about a pound or two per week without losing muscle, but it’s a little more complex than that. See, if you’re really overweight, you’ll be able to lose several pounds per week safely (at least at first). By safely, we mean without losing too much muscle. But if you’re already fairly lean and are just trying to get super-shredded for summer, then the fat won’t come off that quickly and the “pound per week” rule of thumb is about right.
The “pound per week” rule can also be changed if you’re using an anabolic supplement along with the diet. The supplements (legal or otherwise) would allow you to eat fewer calories without the risk of muscle loss. Our sample 200 pound man may be able to drop to as low as 1500 calories a day with the right anabolic support. (More on that later.)
In the end, you, your food log and the mirror are going to have to be the judge when it comes to caloric intake. You should not be starving and your performance in the gym shouldn’t be too hampered by the diet. (Don’t expect to set any new personal records while on any fat loss diet, however.) The only way to figure this out for yourself is through experimentation. Weigh yourself every Saturday morning before you eat. Modify as needed based on your progress or lack thereof. Occasional body fat measurements (using the same method every time) would also be helpful, but the mirror should be your number one guide.
The original T-Dawg diet was a little too low in protein. After all, we not only want to lose fat on this diet but preserve lean mass. Many people exceeded the original protein recommendations in the first diet and lost fat with no problems. Therefore, we’re going to suggest you get about 1.5 grams of protein per pound of bodyweight when on this diet.