Stupid Calories

Fahad and I were talking yesterday about why he’s not been seeing his weight drop at a satisfactory rate. There are always so many sides to this conversation and it is important to me that I try my very best to meet any individual where they are on a spectrum of understanding what is happening. While there is a science to everything regarding weight loss, I hate speaking in scientific terms. It just isn’t my m.o.

However, any of my clients deserve every ounce of information I can give them if they aren’t seeing weight loss at a “normal” rate. Fahad’s no dummy either. He “gets it.” But there is still a gap that has to be bridged. So, I asked him to walk me further into what his diet looked like.


Actually, Fahad’s diet is nothing like that. He seems to eat very responsibly but as we’re about to see, maybe not totally in line with his goals.

A typical day looks something like this:

Morning meal: 1 pita bread with a few smears of cream cheese (approx 250-400 calories)

Snack: Handful almonds or sunflower seeds (approx 200-300 calories)

Lunch: Salad with beets, peppers, potatoes, lettuce, olive oil, herbs, spices (approx 300-400 calories)

Snack: Starbucks pumpkin bread (approx 400 calories)

Dinner: Meat/fish with steamed rice and olive oil (approx 400-500 calories)

First, let’s discuss Fahad’s caloric needs. Based on his current weight, height, level of activity, age, gender, etc. His baseline calories (what he needs just to feel good where he is right now) is about 2000 calories a day. I normally suggest a reasonable deficit of 20% in calories. So, let’s say 1600 calories a day.

I made approximations above for a few reasons: 1) I have no idea what his portion sizes are or true measurements of any particular food. 2) With some slight deviations, we could assume a low and a high on any given day relative to where he needs to be. 3) This can give us a better idea of what a day should look like without obsessively counting calories.

So, what does that show us? On the low end, Fahad has been consuming about 1550 calories (about in line with weight loss.) On the high end, 2000 calories. So, if he followed this diet routinely and my high estimates were close to accurate he was only going to stay the same weight (unless he really ramps up caloric expenditure every day to create a deficit.)

I told him to make one change: remove the pumpkin bread.

That removes 400 calories a day. No more calories to count. To be fair, he wasn’t eating this every day, but several times a week. See where the trend can go?

It stands to reason too, that by asking Fahad to remove one of his meals from the day, he IS going to feel it. And he WILL feel hungry. That’s ok. He’s not starving and it will be slightly uncomfortable only for a bit.

A crucial thing to note is: I changed nothing else. He’s not been given a Jason meal plan (or anyone else’s for that matter.) He’s eating exactly the same way without getting weird about those stupid calories or macros or anything like that. It’s  Fahad’s plan, which means it will probably work out great. Stay tuned on that.

Reaching your goals is simpler than you think. Not easy, but simpler. Here’s Fahad pulling more than his bodyweight on a traplift yesterday. I’m so proud of how he’s progressing.