We want to talk today about MATH - wait, wait, wait....stick with us here! - specifically, the math related to caloric intake.
Let's say you used an online calculator to figure out that you should be eating 2000 calories to lose weight.
NOTE: I'm not telling you that's your level, I just need a number to work with here. Also note that any other way of tracking (macros, WW points, etc.) can be used the same way.
Now let's say that you adjust your diet and find eating 2000 calories is relatively comfortable for you to manage most of the time. You are full and don't feel deprived at that level, but you also have to bypass indulgences every day.
But you're like most of us humans, and you want some indulgences.
You are likely to be tripped up on weekends and special events, where you consume more like 2500 or even 3000 calories because there are drinks! pizza! cake!
So now maybe you aren't gaining anymore (which is a WIN), but you also aren't losing any fat.
How do you have fun and indulge at these events,
but still make progress on fat loss?
Here's where the math comes in; you can switch your focus to eating an average of 2000 calories per day, and step back to take a weeklong view.
In order to indulge on the weekend, you would need to cut back a little further on weekdays.
To have a 2500-calorie weekend day, you will need an 1800-calorie weekday.
While 2000 was comfortable, 1800 might make you feel a little hungry, or a little deprived, which is why so many of us give up.
It's HARD to be uncomfortable like that.
To help mitigate the discomfort, put extra focus on fiber-rich foods like fruits and veggies, and fewer convenience foods (usually not much water or fiber), and regularly remind yourself that you're going to power through so that you can enjoy your weekend.
Whatever number is provided by such a calculator, use it as a starting point only.
Track your intake for a week, or (at a bare minimum) for a couple of weekdays AND a weekend, to see what you've been doing, before making changes.
Next, use a calculator to get a targeted intake, then run some numbers to see how to get to the average, with weekend indulgences.
After 2-3 weeks, based on the results you see (or don't see), adjust your targeted average.
One final note: it is very definitely possible to keep your calories low all week, then over-indulge on the weekend so much that you still exceed your targeted average.
Usually, the culprit is going to be caloric beverages - primarily alcohol.
We're not going to tell you that you can't have any alcohol at all, but you might need to have LESS than you really want to, for now.
Yeah, we know it: adulting is hard!
But eventually, you'll be able to add some alcohol back, once you've reached your fat loss goal.
At that time, you will still need to avoid indulgences more often than not, but you'll have more wiggle room for the fun stuff.