STOP Counting Calories
Count macros instead. All food consists of macro-nutrients. There is three categories of macros, this would be protein, carbs, and fats. All macro-nutrients contain calories.
One gram of protein contains 4 calories.
One gram of carbs contains 4 calories.
One gram of fat contains 9 calories
Macro-nutrients contain calories. Micro-nutrients (vitamins and minerals) do not contain any calories.
Counting calories without counting macro-nutrients can become a bit discouraging because two diets consisting of the same amount of calories but different macro-nutrient ratios can yield a completely different body composition.
For example, a diet heavy in carbohydrates with low amounts of fat and protein can cause excess body fat storage as well as muscle loss despite being in a calorie deficit. This is because adequate fat and protein intake is not present to retain lean body mass (muscle) during the cut.
A diet heavy in protein without adequate fat intake will leave a person tired, sluggish, and moody due to hormone imbalance from dietary fat restriction.
This is why when depriving the body of nutrients by forcing a calorie deficit, macro-nutrients need to be followed very closely without too much emphasis on calorie consumption only.
Ketogenic macro ratios are 75% fat, 20% protein, and 5% carbohydrates.
IIFYM or conventional dieting macro ratios are typically 50% carbs, 35% protein, and 15% fat.
Low carb dieting is typically 20% carbs, 55% protein, and 25% fat.
Each of these macro-nutrient ratios can get a person to their fat loss goals if the calorie deficit is present (burning more calories than you are consuming) for a number of weeks. Each of these ratios can also yield a different outcome for each individual. Each body is different and can thrive better in different ratios. As you can see, the main factor for muscle retention during a cut is to keep your protein intake high enough to keep lean body mass. This is anywhere from 0.8-1 gram per pound of body weight.
Different macro ratios will cause a different reaction in body composition. This can be from a variety of factors such as water retention depending on carb intake, the ability to consume adequate protein, and the ability to get enough dietary fat for hormonal function and sleep.
The beauty of counting macros is that with simple calculations, anyone can figure out their calorie intake by multiplying the grams of each macro-nutrient by their caloric value.
My full day of eating video with my personal macro-nutrient ratios listed below. Enjoy!