Okay, I am in your exact same situation with the exception that I know what to do to lose weight, but I am too unmotivated/ dont have access to a gym.
If you want to lose weight, the best way is too lose 1-2 pounds per week, while maintaining your muscle mass.
here is a guide to do that, from bodybuilding.com (dont let the name make you scared)Wavelength Guide to Cutting v2.0
The goal of a cutting diet is to improve body composition by losing fat while preserving as much muscle as possible. Essential Rules
- Workout with weights 3 times a week.
- Drink about a gallon of water each day.
- Eat at least 1g protein / lb of lean body mass a day.
- Eat some fruit, veggies/salad, and some essential fatty acids (EFAs) every day.
- Above that eat whatever you want, preferably a wide variety of foods.
- Adjust your food intake so that the desired rate of weight change is maintained.
- The rate of weight change should not be above 3lbs/week, 1-2lbs/week is recommended.
IMO, any diet (resp. cutting method) that follows the above rules is optimal for cutting, any further details will not have significant effect on body composition. If you already have a meal plan, just check if these rules are followed and adjust if not. Measuring Progress and Adjusting Food Intake
- Weigh yourself once a week, always at the same time (e.g. right after waking up).
- Don't panic if your weight stays the same or even goes up for one or two weeks.
- If your weight does not go down for more than three weeks, slightly reduce calories.
- If your rate of weight loss is above the recommended value, slightly increase calories.
- The change in daily calories from those adjustments should not exceed 500 cals.
- After adjustment, stay on the new value for at least three weeks before adjusting again.
If you have never done a cutting diet, it's always better to start with more calories and reduce slowly until the desired rate of weight change is maintained. If you stay patient, you will not have to adjust very often. With more experience, you will not have to count calories anymore, but as a beginner it is probably a good idea.Unessential Factors
Since many questions revolve around further details of cutting diets, here is a list of factors that I believe to be of insignificant effect for body composition:
- Cardio and fat burners,
- Meal timing and meal frequency,
- Protein / Carb / Fat distribution throughout the day,
- carb / fat ratio,
- Sodium intake,
- Moderate alcohol intake,
- Use of supplements resp. meal replacements,
- "Clean" food vs. Junk food (sugar and saturated fat).
All these factors should be used as tools to make the diet as convenient as possible. Many people e.g. have an easier time dieting with eating more calories and doing cardio or taking fat burners. Some people like myself have an easier time without cardio and fat burners. In my experience, the end result (body composition improvement) is not significantly influenced. Another example is protein supplements. I e.g. use whey powder to meet my daily protein intake out of convenience. I could just as well get all my protein from other sources. A third example is meal frequency and timing. This tool should be used to reduce hunger as much as possible throughout the day. For some people that means eating 6 times a day, for others it means eating only once or twice a day.Psychological Tips and Tricks
- It is possible that you will not "see" changes in the mirror until your bodyfat gets rather low. Don't panic, as long as the rules are followed, everything is right on track.
- If at all, only assess your physique right after a workout. At other times it's too dependent on water retention, and the mind will play tricks on you (telling you your progress sucks, etc.).
- Have a cheat day (pig-out day) once in a while, where you eat what you want. I had one every week on my last diet. Don't feel guilty about it, as long as the rules are still followed, everything is allright.
- Don't take the whole thing too serious. It's better to not care about it so much. See it more as being the coach of another person, rather than yourself.Bulking
The goal of a bulking diet is to improve body composition by gaining muscle while keeping fat gains as small as possible. Although this is a cutting guide, for bulking, the only thing that changes is that the rate of weight change X is positive (body weight increases).
The critical factor is the value of X. Everyone has a different ability to gain weight with a certain ratio of muscle vs. fat gain. This ability is dependent on factors like genetics, age, training experience, etc. The ratio will decrease the higher X is, but not in a linear way. The trick is to find the optimal value for X, where the ratio is still close to optimum. Unfortunally, this is solely a matter of experience. My advise would be to increase calories by 500 over maintenance and check if weight goes up while fat gains are still tolerable. If no weight is gained, increase calories again. If fat gains are too high, decrease calories.Frequently Asked Questions
This section tries to answer the most frequently asked questions of the "How to lose fat for Noobs" thread (see link section) on the bodybuilding.com "Losing Fat" forum as well as questions I recieved via PM or on other threads.
Q: How do I determine how much calories I should consume?
A: You can just go by what you currently eat and reduce from there as described in the guide. Alternativiely, use a calorie calculator like the Total Metabolism Forecaster, see link section.
Q: Is it important to get the same amount of calories resp. macros every day?
A: No, it's OK to eat a little less one day and more the next.
Q: I lose more than 3lbs a week, is that OK?
A: Some people get away with losing more, especially when at high bodyfat. As long as strength is OK and all other essential rules are followed, no problem.
Q: How do I determine my lean body mass for calculating my protein intake?
A: You have to take your total body weight and subtract your fat weight. If you e.g. weigh 200lbs and your bodyfat is 20% (=40lbs), your lean body mass is 200lbs - 40lbs = 160lbs. If you don't know your bodyfat, just take a guess. When in doubt, just eat a little more. However, if for some reason, you can't eat as much protein, just eat a little less, most people will still do fine.
Q: Does it matter where I get my protein from and what are good protein sources?
A: Generally, it does not matter. You can get your protein from meat, fish, eggs, cheese, protein powder, etc. Although there are differences in quality (regarding muscle sparing effect), they can easily be made up for with just a little more quantity.
Q: I work out less/more than 3 times a week, is that OK?
A: Yes, as long as all other essential rules are followed. Some people get away with less, some do better on more.
Q: I lost a lot of weight in the first few weeks but weight loss has slowed down, why?
A: The initial weight loss was probably mostly water loss. Stay at the current intake for at least another 3 weeks. If weight loss stalls, slightly reduce calories as described in the guide.
Q: Can I increase muscle mass while losing fat?
A: Yes, depending on your genetics, training experience, and age, it is possible. The only essential rule that changes in this case is total caloric intake resp. rate of weight loss. You will have to find the sweet spot where you still gain strength in the gym while leaning out. In this case, you can measure progress not by rate of weight loss but e.g. by measuring waist size. Or you can just try to maintain a smaller rate of weight loss and still go by weighing. Depending on what is more important to you at the time, you can adjust calories to lean more towards fat loss or muscle gaining. However, it's a lot easier to concentrate on either muscle gain (bulking) or fat loss (cutting).
Q: What about keto diets?
A: Principally, keto diets (very low carb diets), as long as they follow all rules, would be fine. IMO, some people have a problem preserving muscle mass on a keto diet. For other people it works great. I don't think keto diets provide a significant advantage other than maybe being more convenient for some people.
Q: What about post workout nutrition?
A: I would not intentionally starve myself of protein after a workout. A meal containing some protein or a shake is perfectly fine.
Q: Apart from body composition, what about health?
A: First of all, it is important to distinguish between the goal of optimal body composition and the goal of optimal health. For the former, the guide provides all essential rules. For the latter, opinions vary a lot between experts and over time (see e.g. saturated fat, GI, food processing, cholesterol, etc.). Therefore, IMO the best way to go is to eat a wide variety of foods.
Q: How can I lose fat in certain areas of my body?
A: Although there are theories that spot reduction is possible to a certain degree, generally IMO it's not feasible. You can only reduce overall bodyfat and wait for the problem areas to come in.
Q: What are the rules for weight training on a cut?
A: None other than on a bulk. For an easy workout routine, check link section.
Q: What exactly is your cutting diet?
A: My cutting diet is somewhat extreme since I only eat one big meal a day plus a 100g whey protein shake (see link section). That's just the most convenient way for me. However, every other diet that follows the essential rules is also perfectly OK.
Q: Should I eat differently on workout days than on off days?
A: That's not necessary, I would only eat a little more on workout days if you are very hungry (out of convenience).
Q: Does this guide also work for girls?
A: Of course!Links
How to lose fat for Noobs: How to lose fat for Noobs - Bodybuilding.com Forums
Simple Workout Routine: Bodybuilding.com Forums - View Single Post - Wavelength 2009
Wavelength Cutting Diet: Bodybuilding.com Forums - View Single Post - Wavelength's Diet Progress
Total Metabolism Forecaster: *Total Metabolism Forecaster Thread* - Bodybuilding.com Forums
Minimum Nutritional Requirements: Minimum Nutritional Requirements - Bodybuilding.com Forums