If you’ve been directed to this post then Hi! Make yourself a cup of tea and settle down as it’s worth reading properly, if you follow the advice it contains then it will change your life. If you get confused by any of this then just ask and someone will help.
This post assumes that you KNOW NOTHING about how to lose weight and seeks to give you everything you need to change that. If you want more info on any of this then the MAN v FAT Weight Loss Manual covers it all in detail. Buying a copy also makes @admin so rich that he can afford to eat swan for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Understand why you got fat
Unless you understand why you gained weight then everything that follows afterwards is like filling the bath while the plug’s out. Be really, brutally honest with yourself and take some time to list out ALL of the reasons that you’ve gained weight and honestly assess whether you’ve dealt with them and what your plan is for getting past that situation. To kickstart your thinking here’s the results of a survey of thousands of men that we did where men explained why they were fat:
That’s by no means an exhaustive list and misses out things like binge or compulsive eating, but it covers a lot of the main issues. On this forum you’ll find men who can tell you about their experience with EVERY one of those reasons. If you think you have another reason then post it on the forum and pretty soon you’ll see that you’re not alone and you’ll hear other people’s suggestions for how to overcome it.
What dieting system should I use?
We’ve rounded up and explained a lot of the favourite diets here. The truth is though that all diets work by limiting your calorie intake so that it’s lower than your energy output. There’s a lot of (fairly dull) discussion around which diet is best but the truth is that the best diet is one that you can stick to for a long time. It’s pointless opting for paleo if you’re skint as all that beef costs a fair amount.
How many calories should I be getting per day?
Great question - hold that thought while you go and take the Health Report on the main site. Add the details and you’ll get all the figures you need. Your:
BMR - Basal Metabolic Rate. How many calories you’d burn without any exertion at all.
TDEE - Total Daily Energy Expenditure - The amount of calories you’ll need including movement.
The base idea is that you figure out your TDEE and then minus some (the some being dependent on the rate of loss you’re after). This is NOT a precise science, but roughly a weekly deficit of 3,500 calories will give you about a pound of fat loss. So drop 7,000 from your weekly intake and you’ll lose 2 pounds.
If you’re going lower than 1,200 calories per day you need to see a doctor to get approval as this is entering dangerous territory. Typical targets are between 1500 and 2000 calories - but take the Health Report and get your own rate and experiment (safely).
But what if I go to the gym everyday and burn off 4,000 calories?
The MAN v FAT way is that we forget about calories burned from your daily equations. It’s too damned messy and it reinforces the biggest male myth about weight loss, namely that you need to exercise to lose weight. You absolutely 100% do not. Exercise is great fun, it massively helps your fitness, your metabolism and your mental health but it is about 20% of weight loss, 80% is what you eat.
But are all calories as good as each other?
No. Calories that you take in from simple carbs (think processed foods, white bread, etc) will not give you the same value that calories you take in from protein (great for building muscle) or veg (packed with fibre and nutrients) and good fats (keep you full for longer and taste great dammit).
It’s the subject of endless discussions but generally you want to aim for:
- Clean eating - real foods without packaging
- Lots of veggies and fruits
- Good portions of high quality proteins (fish, meats, lentils)
- A good mix of natural fats
- Limit your treats in a way that works for you (cheat meal, cheat day, small treat per day, etc).
How quickly can I lose weight?
This question is different from the question How quickly can I lose weight safely? The overwhelming body of evidence suggests that losing weight more quickly than 1-2 lbs per week is just not a good and generally tends to lead to a weight gain going on just as quick.
Two really good videos worth a watch here from MVFer @maxnas:
Part 1 explains the Science, and how all diets do the same thing on the back end (put you in a calorie deficit)
Part 2 explains how to figure out your own personal (estimated) energy needs to trial & test.
Part 3 - Advanced nutrition
(UPDATE/EDITS TO RECOMMENDATIONS IN THE VIDEOS ABOVE:
If you consider yourself ‘lean’ or ‘average’ shoot for 1g per 1lb of total body-weight.
If you consider yourself ‘overweight’ (25% bf+) shoot for 1g per 1lb of LEAN bodyweight (bodyweight - fat %)
Here’s a visual aid to help
Don’t even worry about tracking fats, it should easily fall into place by itself.
FAT INTAKE FOR LEAN PEOPLE - If you consider yourself ‘lean’ (visible abs) The absolute minimum you should take your fat intake down to for health reasons is TOTAL body-weight in lbs x 0.25. (or Total body-weight in KG x .05)
Setting your goals
This is a useful free tool for setting your goals.
You may want to lose 10 stone or 10 lbs, regardless having one target that seems far away is going to make it tough going if you slip. So there’s two elements to use to keep you going when you hit the inevitable bumps in the road. Smaller realistic goals and rewards along the way.
So how big should my targets be? Well that’s up to you but you’ll know what you can achieve and how quickly. So think MvF badges, every half stone or even measuring your fat percentage. What ever you use it will help you celebrate along the way and always be looking at something achievable. It’s much easier to look at half a stone at a time than one big number. A rough guide is that you want to be celebrating a minor goal every two weeks and a major one every month - set your goals accordingly.
Rewards will also help to keep driving you on, we discourage the use of food and drink rewards but there’s all kinds of things that you can personally use. Exercise tech, experiences (too heavy to bungee - make it a reward), clothes also help to keep you motivated. By having things along the way it will help keep you going and also act as a reminder of how hard you worked to get to that point
TRACK. TRACK. TRACK.
Lots of popular ways to track i.e. record what you eat, what you drink and what activity you do every day.
- Write it down on a page-per-day diary that you keep by your bed
- Use one of the apps like MyFitnessPal or LoseIt if you’re tracking on an app though, make sure you’re not making one of the most common mistakes people make with tracking.
We’ve found that by far the best way of tracking is to join a MVFIA group. It’s a free, secret group in this forum that you join with other men who are all posting what they’ve eaten, drunk and done during the day (two posts a day) and you keep each other on track. Think of it like the MyFitnessPal that will call your bluff when you tell it you only ate lettuce all day. Join a group for free here.
We’ve found a great source of inspiration can come by searching out the Amazing Losers. These are people who have succeeded in overcoming the many obstacles of weight loss. Anybody that is active on the site and still posting regularly (from Amazing Loser to someone in their first MVFIA 30 day group) is probably more than willing to field your questions and share their experiences with you. You can just message them privately (click on their username and then hit message), or put an “@” before their name and they will get a notification the next time they log in. If they are busy or not big on sharing, just try someone else. You’ll get whatever information or help you need.
BEFORE YOU BEGIN
Even before you start to lose weight there are several things that are going to be useful.
- You’ve already sorted your support network as you’re on MAN v FAT!
- You’ve already decided how you’re going to track every day haven’t you?
- Take photos - lots of photos, from the side, back, clothed, unclothed. Then lock them away. You’ll hate them now but you will not believe how grateful you’ll be for them when you’ve lost weight.
- Don’t just take weights also get your waist measurement (round your belly button as it’s easiest to remember and find again!), fat percentage, BMI - also a really good close up photo of your face. All of these things will help you see your progress.
- Find somewhere you like to record your results
Told you it was a long post. Hopefully, it’s given you the basics to begin with, now introduce yourself on the newcomer board and get going.