Things that come to mind when someone says the word “diet”:
– Giving up things
– No fun
How about the word “lifestyle”? It doesn’t sound nearly as harsh and it encompasses the routines you have in place in your life. If your goal is to lose weight, don’t get caught up on a “diet”, instead embrace a nutritious lifestyle change. Let’s get specific and talk about some ways you can do that with your meals, the amount of calories you’re consuming and the timing of these meals.
Before we can figure out how big or small your portions should be at each meal, you need to know how many calories to consume daily. To lose weight you need to be in a slight calorie deficit each day. How do you know the amount of calories to eat if you don’t know how many you burn? Let’s figure it out using some calculations. Don’t worry, we won’t make you do them with mental math.
Basal metabolic rate (BMR)- the energy you expend daily from normal activity (e.g., breathing, sitting)
Total daily energy expenditure (TDEE)- the energy expended daily (BMR) + your activity level
Your TDEE number is the one we will focus on now.
To maintain your current weight, consume calories equivalent to your TDEE.
To gain weight, consume more calories than your TDEE.
To lose weight you must ensure you’re in a daily calorie deficit. Do this by eating LESS calories than your TDEE. Now we pose the question- how much less?
Drastic calorie cutting can deprive the body of nutrients and energy. It is recommended to reduce your calorie intake by 250-500 calories/day. A deficit of more than 500 calories a day is too rapid, your body will be burning your hard-earned muscle to keep itself alive.
So, TDEE – (250-500) = daily caloric intake goal
Now, let’s break it down by meals. Remember, eating more frequently is better so try splitting your daily caloric intake goal across ~5 meals.
Here is a mock meal plan for someone with a TDEE of 2,330 using a calorie deficit of 300/day, calculated like this: 2,330 – 300 = 2,030
The meal plan reflects total caloric intake of 2,030.
|Daily Total Caloric Intake Goal:||2,030|
Not a fan of some of these foods?
Choose from these replacement suggestions:
Protein: Egg whites, ground turkey, chicken breast, tuna
- Alternatives: tilapia, salmon, pork tenderloin, shrimp, ground beef
Carbohydrates: Oatmeal, brown rice, sweet potatoes
- Alternatives: white rice, peas, corn, red/white potatoes, beans
Fiber: Onions, peppers, asparagus, green beans, broccoli
- Alternatives: brussel sprouts, cauliflower, cucumbers, eggplant, kale, lettuce, mushrooms, spinach, tomatoes, zucchini
Our meals provide total calories and macronutrients. Use your daily caloric intake goal to select the right meal plan for you!
We’ve covered the meals. We’ve covered the calories. To really make the magic happen, timing is everything.
Notice how the mock meal plan has each meal 3 hours apart. It doesn’t have to be on the second, but sticking between the 3-4 hour range between meals is ideal. Now, which meals should come before and after a workout?
Before your workout, you want to make sure your muscles have plenty of stored glycogen (energy) to and perform your best. Your pre-workout meal should contain carbohydrates. When eaten with a protein, these carbohydrates can enter your muscles and be stored as energy. Your body will call on this stored energy to fuel your workout.
Immediately post-workout, you should be reaching for a whey protein shake. Just mix with water, shake and drink. Working out poses high amounts of stress on your body and actually breaks down your muscles. Following a workout, your damaged muscles need to be replenished. Whey protein taken after a workout provides your muscles with the building blocks it needs for repair.
Strength and Conditioning Coach and Sports Nutritionist, Brandon Mentone, stated “Whey has the highest bioavailability of all the protein analogues, which makes it the most potent and rapidly utilized agent post-workout.” Check out the full article here.
A post-workout meal should be consumed 30-45 minutes following your protein shake. It should consist of carbohydrates, paired with a protein. The carbs are important following a workout to replenish the muscle glycogen. Replenishing the muscles will aid in building strength. And we all know muscle burns fat faster than fat burns fat.
Try out a meal plan and let us help you! We are happy to coach you through the process, answer questions and hear your feedback!