How to Calculate Calories and Protein for a Successful Weight Loss

There is no secret to losing weight. It’s a well-known researched fact that you must be in a calorie deficit to lose weight. This means you take in less calories than you burn.

So, why are there many different diets claiming to help you lose weight. Well, they all result in a calorie deficit. The Keto diet restricts carbohydrates. If you normally eat carbohydrates then decide to go on the Keto diet, you have just eliminated hundreds of calories.

This is the same for all diets that require you to restrict food. They all work as long as you limit those foods.

An easier solution is to cut back on the foods you already eat without having to cut them out completely. There are many strategies to eliminating calories, but for today’s post we are going to cover calorie and protein counting.

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How do you calculate a calorie deficit?

Step 1. Track your food/liquid intake for 1 week.

Weigh and measure all of the foods/liquids you eat and drink. This includes the foods you sample by taking bites and licks. After a week, did you lose, gain, or maintain weight? If you maintained weight, then that is likely your maintenance calories.


Step 2. Subtract 100-200 calories from your maintenance calories.

If your maintenance calories are 1,600, then subtract 100 calories. If after a week you don’t lose any weight, subtract another 100 calories.


Step 3. Calculate your protein needs.

It’s important for you to track your protein intake or at least know how much protein to eat. Protein increases satiety, a feeling of fullness. It will also preserve muscle mass while you’re in a caloric deficit.

Calculate your weight from pounds into kilograms. Example: 125lbs / 2.2kg = 57kg

Protein should be between 1.2-2.2 g/kg.

To preserve muscle mass start with 1.6 g/kg. Example: 57kg x 1.6g/kg = 91 g/protein

If you would rather calculate in pounds, then convert protein needs to g/lb.

Example: 1.6g/kg = 1.6/2.2kg = 0.73g/lb  (there are 2.2 kg in 1 lb)

So, 125lb x 0.73g/lb = 91 g/protein


Step 4. Only track calories and protein.

Instead of tracking carbohydrates and fat, eat what you want of the two without going over your calories and protein goals. This will increase the variety of your foods, which will increase the likelihood of you reaching your weight loss goals. The only caveat is that you do not dip below 20% of fat intake. Eating less than 20% of fat will likely cause problems with your hormones and health.


Step 5. Give it some time to work.

You must have patience when losing weight. It typically takes a couple of weeks to really notice a difference. Give it time and trust the process.

How to Get More Protein in Your Diet

Protein broken down to its smallest form are amino acids. Amino acids are considered the building blocks of life. Adequate protein intake is needed to build, repair, and maintain body tissue including muscle. Amino acids are used to transport substances and aid in the production of enzymes, neurotransmitters, antibodies, and hormones.

How to Get More Protein in Your Diet - Balancing Bites Nutrition

How much protein do you need?

Many people have a difficult time consuming their protein needs. The recommendation for the general (healthy) population is 0.8 g/kg (0.36 g/lb) of body weight. That recommendation is meant to meet minimum needs to prevent protein deficiency. Those that regularly workout should consume 1.4-2.2 g/kg (0.63-1g/lb) of body weight. This amount of protein is meant to meet their basic needs as well as grow and repair muscle.

Benefits of consuming adequate protein?

Besides our basic biology needs that I mentioned above, adequate protein intake has several other benefits such as satiety, weight management, and increase performance. Protein has a higher thermic effect when we digest it. Thermogenesis is a process that generates heat through the digestion of food. We burn more calories to breakdown and digest protein than carbohydrates and fats.

What are some protein sources?

I’ve listed common animal protein sources for each meal to give you some ideas. 


  • Eggs

  • Breakfast meats

  • Egg sandwiches

  • Protein smoothies and shakes (made with protein powder)

  • Ready-made protein shakes

  • Protein oatmeal (made with protein powder)

  • Protein pancakes (made with protein powder)

  • Protein baked goods (made with protein powder)

  • Greek yogurt

Lunch and Dinner

  • Chicken

  • Turkey

  • Beef

  • Fish

  • Tuna fish

  • Deli meat

  • Bison


  • Greek yogurt

  • Cottage cheese

  • String cheese

  • Homemade protein baked goods (made with protein powder)

  • Protein bars

  • Protein shakes and smoothies (made with protein powder)

  • Beef/Turkey jerky

  • Pork rinds


  • Protein ice cream

  • Greek yogurt

  • Protein microwave mug cake (made with protein powder)

  • Protein baked goods (made with protein powder)Protein cheesecake (made with protein powder)

How To Prevent Your Metabolism From Declining As You Age

A couple of years ago, I took a sports nutrition class, which I loved. Sports nutrition is one of my favorite area of nutrition. I loved learning different nutrition strategies and practices used to change body composition and improve performance and health. It’s amazing how we can transform our body with the right nutrition, training, and mindset. 

One of the topics I was surprised to learn was how much our metabolism declines as we age. For every decade after we reach 25 years old, our metabolism declines by 2-4%. We lose approximately 5 lbs of lean mass every decade between the age of 25-65 years. That’s huge! Keep in mind, the more muscle you have the more calories you are burning, which means you can eat more food without gaining weight. So, while it seems that our metabolism declines because we are aging; it actually declines because we become less active as we age. 

Fortunately, we can improve our metabolism by making a few lifestyle changes. 

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Eat enough real, non-processed foods. When you eat below your body’s caloric needs, the amount your body needs to function, your metabolism decreases. Research shows that eating around 1,000-1,200 calories will drastically lower your metabolism causing your body to conserve energy and sometimes break down muscle for energy. This makes it hard to lose weight if that is your goal. 

Eat enough protein. Proteins are the essential building blocks of the cells in our body. Consuming protein also increases metabolic rate via thermic effect in order for the body to break it down and digest. Fat has the lowest thermic effect.  

Eat a variety of fruits and vegetables. If you’re not consuming enough fruits and vegetables, it might also be a good idea to take a basic multivitamin to prevent any deficiencies. Vitamins and minerals don’t directly increase metabolic rate, but deficiencies can cause a decrease in metabolism. 

Drink enough water. You should drink at least half your body weight of water in ounces. Mild dehydration can cause a decrease in metabolism by 3%. Yikes. 


Lift weights. Strength training increases lean mass by building muscle which increases metabolic rate. So, lift anything heavier than what you’re used to lifting. This can be dumbbells or your children or the edge of a couch, seriously anything will work. Once that becomes easy, find something slightly heavier and lift it. Women, lift heavy weights. I promise you will not look like a man. Your body does not make enough testosterone to look manly. 

Engage in high-intensity exercises. Intense exercises include strength training, interval endurance exercises such as sprinting, jump rope, circuit training, kettlebell workouts, and plyometrics. 

Vary your workouts. You keep your body guessing by alternating different types of exercises. This causes your body to burn energy and add stress to your muscles/bones, which in turn makes you stronger. When your body becomes accustomed to a specific workout, such as steady-state running, your body will be more efficient and will use less energy to complete the task. This is great if you are training for a marathon and need to conserve energy. This is not great if your goal is a change in body composition. 


It is imperative that you get at least 7+ hours of sleep a night. Lack of sleep can cause your metabolism to slow down and not function properly. Lack of sleep causes a decline in growth hormone and thyroid hormone while increasing cortisol. And it can affect your appetite hormones, leptin and ghrelin, by stimulating hunger and appetite and causing you to crave more processed foods. 

While there are a few small changes you can make to increase your metabolism, such as drinking ice cold water, consuming caffeine, and eating spicy foods, the changes listed above will give have a greater effect. 

Do you have any tips for boosting a slow metabolism?