Making progress

Now that you have a handle on your TDEE and how much fuel you are taking in each day, it's time to take control of those numbers to create sustainable weightloss. Just like you might need to drive your car 30 miles to burn a gallon of gas, you need your body to burn 3500 calories to lose a pound of fat.  The easiest way to burn those calories is to maintain a steady daily caloric deficit, so your body is forced to use calories from storage to make up the difference. 

For example, if your TDEE is 2300 calories and you consume 1800 calories per day, then your body will be forced to burn 500 calories worth of stored fat each day. Maintaining that caloric deficit will result in a 7x500=3500  calorie weekly deficit, which is equivalent to one pound of fat. Larger calorie deficits are possible depending on your current size, but I would not recommend a daily deficit in excess of 1000 calories, or 2 pounds per week. 

One or two pounds per week may sound tame compared to some weightloss claims you see on the front of magazines or in bogus advertisements, but it is the fastest rate that weight can safely be lost, excluding surgery. Other methods may try to trick people into thinking they have lost weight by manipulating their hydration, but the effect is temporary and unsustainable.

There are two methods that can be used to create a calorie deficit. The first is increasing your TDEE through exercise, and the second is reducing the numbers of calories you take in each day. So which is better? This is where many people go wrong in their attempts to lose weight. It is much, much easier to lower caloric intake than it is to burn extra calories through exercise. You cannout outrun bad eating habits. 

Don't get me wrong, I'm a big fan of being active and it offers countless benefits, but it is not necessary to lose weight. If you want to start exercising, that is great, but make sure your primary focus remains on what your eat. People often make the mistake of trying to change too much at once. One of the most important keys to success is making small, incremental changes to your habits.

To get started with your changes, open the MFP app and head into the goals section under the menu. From here you can set your weekly weightloss goal of up to two pounds per week. This will adjust your daily calorie goal downwards from your estimated TDEE to a deficit that will cause your body to burn a small amount of bodyfat each day. Staying at or under this calorie goal is easier said than done, but it becomes much more manageable once you adjust the foods that you eat.

So what foods are best for maintaining a deficit? Should you follow a certain diet? Are there foods that you should avoid? The answers to these questions and more are in the next section!

What to eat