So confused!

  • I someone please tell me in a nutshell how many grams of protein, carbs and fat I should eat for fat loss?  I am so 'diet confused' in general, that I am afraid to start in case I mess it up, do the wrong thing and get even more confused than I am now.

    I am a 49  year old woman weighing 203 lbs.

    Thank you.... :)

  • The beauty of the BFL program is you aren't counting grams of anything or calories. Yes, calories matter, but by following the portion recomendations you are creating the needed calorie deficit. You count portions and you use the portion that is right for you based on the size of your clenched fist or open palm. A portion of carbs and a portion of protein makes up your meal. If you have not read the book, Body For Life, I strongly recommend you do. It is a great motivational tool, easy to read, and explains everything. Congratulations on taking the first step towards a healthier life!

  • Hi SunSeeker. Unfortunately this is not an exact science. You will be walking a thin line between consuming enough calories to give you energy for life and your workouts, and running a calorie deficit to lose weight.

    I am assuming that you read the book and are familiar with the palm/fist method - a palm sized (excluding fingers) portion of protein and a fist sized portion of carbs. Be sure to have veggies at least twice a day.

    Now that said, when I need an alternate method of measuring (such as for shakes, etc.) I aim for 20-25 grams each of protein and carbs (I weigh about 145). I have read that one should divide one's weight by 6 to get the appropriate number of grams, but that seems like it would start out high for those just beginning the program.

    Try starting out with about 25-30 grams and work up or down depending on how you feel and the results you are getting. You do need to drop the worry of messing up or doing the wrong thing. It's a process, and you'll get the hang of it after a while.

    Best wishes for a successful challenge.

    Want it. Plan it. Do it.

  • I personally do 1 gram of carb and 1 gram of protein per pound of body weight.  The palm/fist method doesn't seem to work with me.  I'm not very visual it gives me too much freedom on foods I like and it seems less on those I don't care for as much.  It takes a lot of fat free cottage cheese to get to 25 grams.  It takes not as much brown rice as I would have scooped on my plate otherwise. 

    The book works.  Palm/fist works.  If you are worried and want to be more precise, then go for about 1 gram of protein and 1 gram of carb for each pound of body weight.


    Jessica Mighty Max ~ 2013 Body-for-LIFE Champion ~ Champion is a VERB!

  • Good answers - I like to advise never go below 10 cals p/lb of scale weight and every  4 weeks adjust accordingly until you reach your goal weight. 1 cal p/lb carb and protein like Jessica stated is optimal for a weight trainer and should yield great results.

    Some folks need the numbers to be successful and some like me would rather do the visual thing - what ever you do I think the greatest benefit of BFL is being free from the traps of dieting and food. Requires a bit of a mindset shift, but in the long run the results outlast the statistics.

  • Good points Jim.

    Let me say that the 1 gram method doesn't need to be continuously done.  Once I knew that 4 oz of chicken was about my portion, using the grams method, I was then able to determine that 1 pound was 4 portions and there's no more math to be done.  

    Also, this is grams by volume, there's no weighing of any food.

    4 oz of chicken breast is about 24 grams of protein, which works for me.  

    Jessica Mighty Max ~ 2013 Body-for-LIFE Champion ~ Champion is a VERB!

  • Thanks Jessica is I bet that 4oz is about the size of your palm in circumference and thickness. After my 1st BFL in 2005, I wanted to know why this program worked like it did. I used palm/fist for 4-weeks and measuring the amount of macro's and cals and the weekly average was perfectly on target.

    On your point specifically - all of my competition clients get to that point as well. No sense in making the "diet" intrusive on your day. Amazing bodies these are.

  • Thanks so much for all your replies!  I would like to trust the visual size of palm technique but I don't trust myself and I think I will create inaccuracies.  The gram counting or 10 cals p/lb of scale weight scares me because at 203 lbs. that's 2030 calories per day.  I did the Body of Life probably about 10 years ago and I followed the book at the time, which was 10 cals p/lb of scale weight and 1 gram p/lb etc, and it worked well but my metabolism isn't what it used to be.  What would happen if I ate around the 1500-1800 calories per day range?  Would my body think it's starving?  I think some days I eat a lot, but most days, I don't think I eat 2030 calories.  

  • If exercising you have to have the proper protein / carbs to be able to fuel your body and rebuild muscle.   If you go to low and your body thinks it's in starvation mode, you may lose muscle before fat is the big problem.  So you are using your muscles, but they arent growing / getting replaced, which makes it harder to keep exercising... so you get dejected etc etc. Or at least that's what I understand happens if you go too low on cals..  It's a fine line when trying to lose weight and gain muscle.   Cant wait for my goal to be completed so can go more into management / maintain mode..

    edit to add:

    Just went to and used your stats and a height of 5'6"

    showed 2151 for maint

    1721 for fat loss

    1624 for extreme fat loss

    So you would be right in the proper zone in your 1500-1800..  Of course assuming it's the 'proper type' of calories :)   

  • I would probably suggest no less than 9 cals p/lb if you really want to push it. That is just about Basil (resting metabolic rate) and I never recommend going lower. The idea is to start setting yourself up for long terms success. If you go too low you will drop a lot of water and then your body will start fighting against itself never achieving the efficiency necessary for life long results. You want the body to thrive and work into the results. Some of the BFLers I know who achieve unbelievable results took the ultra-low calorie approach and couldn't sustain it. I work with figure and bodybuilding competitors and you'd be surprised how many come  to me with screwed up metabolisms and can no longer lose the fat they need to for stage. So I play extremely conservative and work on a weekly average making sure that protein and fat numbers always stay the same and use carbs as a gas pedal to accelerate or slow results.

    Saying all of that 1827 cals would be the per day weekly average.

    Another point is as you age fat oxidization starts to wane - meaning you won't utilize fats as well. So make sure you are deliberate in your fat intake - if you go low-fat you will need to bring the carbohydrates up a bit to compensate for the calories.

    So you can see it can get very complicated very quickly hence why I like BFL so much, it works on similar principle without the technicals and paints the clearest picture for life long success.

  • dburg30 that is a very valid point of consideration in your 1st paragraph and you are correct in the conclusion. If the body is doing what it was designed to do it'll thrive. In a normally healthy person the expectation is metabolic balance, hormonal balance and a greater sense of well being.

  • Jim Goodman,

    When I had my body fat measured (hydrostatic), I was told my BMR was 1620 calories. Does this sound accurate to you and would you suggest I not go lower than 1600 calories? I don't count calories, just portions, but I do calculate every once in a while to see where my calorie levels are coming in and they've been around 1200-1400 a day. I am pretty confidant I am gaining muscle because the scale is not going down but I am losing inches and gaining very noticable definition, expecially in my legs (always the first to respond for me, although my thighs are the last to lose fat).

    I am 5' 7.5"

    At the time I weighed 146 and was 22% bodyfat (I am usually 138 but after a tough running season allowed myself to go hog wild from Thanksgiving through mid January). My goal is to get my bodyfat to 10-12% even if it takes longer than 12 weeks. I'd appreciate your input.

  • SunSeeker - and the good news is the more muscle you build the more you can eat

    When I was 145 in the beginning of my contest my RMR was 1220.  I had it measured by an actual RMR performance test, not just on my stats.  At the end of my contest I was 122 and my RMR is now 1767.  How cool is that?  It's now higher than the typical for that weight because I am particularly muscular. 

    Jessica Mighty Max ~ 2013 Body-for-LIFE Champion ~ Champion is a VERB!

  • I would like to learn more about being able to go below it.  I have another 10 to lose and was thinking of dropping to around 1300 for most days.  Let me know if you know.  Thanks!

    Jessica Mighty Max ~ 2013 Body-for-LIFE Champion ~ Champion is a VERB!

  • Jessica,

    What did you use to test your RMR? I did one of those tests at my gym about 8 years ago and basically it measured RMR just by breathing into it (if I recall correctly). But that was awhile back, so they probably have even better tools out there now.