Hello! Let us tell you about our meal plan philosophy!
Our daily meal plans are optimized and formulated for weight loss and based on our personal activity levels and goals, but can be altered to also fit your personal needs! The important thing to know is everybody is different and what works for one person may not work for another.
This is where to start figuring out your own personal plan.
Step 1: Find out your Body Fat Percentage
Input your measurements into an online calculator:
Step 2: Find out your Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR)
BMR = 370 + 21.6(1 - Body Fat %)Weight in kg
Step 3: Set your Goals
Establish what you want: weight loss, weight gain, muscle gain, toning, etc.
My personal goal is to lose weight while building muscle and so our meal plans are built around this goal.
Based off of this my caloric goal is to lose approximately 1 pound per week. I say caloric because I am working out while I am eating my meal plan so while I may be losing weight this may not be reflected on the scale because I am (hopefully) gaining muscle. Remember, muscle weighs more than fat!
Having said all this, science has shown that to lose 1 pound you need to have a weekly calorie deficit of 3,500 calories, which leads to a daily calorie deficit of 500 calories.
Step 4: Calculate how many calories you should be having
This step is easier than it sounds, and to many it feels like you're just shooting in the dark, but it is quite simple. Your BMR - which you calculated before - is the basic amount of calories you burn each day just from being alive and your body's own metabolism running. This is the amount of calories you should be eating if you don't exercise and just want to maintain your weight.
To lose weight you need to create a calorie deficit or eat less than this amount. For example my BMR is 1,942 calories. To lose 1 pound a week I would need to eat 1,442 calories per day. Something to note, I would not go under 1,200 calories a day because this has proven to not be a sustainable diet and the most important thing with dieting is, it shouldn't be a short term thing. With a diet like ours we are creating a lifestyle, we virtually eat whatever we are craving either in moderation or lightened up and so we aren't deprived and less likely to binge or fall off the wagon.
Additionally, you shouldn't decrease your caloric intake by more than 500 calories per day in order to lose more weight per week. If you want to lose weight faster it is better to create a larger deficit through exercise, this not only strengthens your body, your heart and overall health, but the combination is the absolute best way to reach your goals.
Our caloric intakes may change whether we decided to start building muscle, or stop losing weight and rather maintain our current weight, but from a health standpoint we will always maintain this healthy lifestyle where we track our food intake which brings us to the next step.
Step 5: Determine your Macronutrient Percentages
This step is one of, if not the most important step. You can count calories and not exceed your caloric goal everyday, but if you're not nourishing your body properly you won't see the results you want both visually but also physically. To clarify, if you're trying to replace fat with muscle but your caloric intake is mostly composed of high fat food you, will either not see results or plateau very quickly. Your body needs protein, carbs and fat in order to function on a daily basis. How much and when you eat these macronutrients can aid in your success or be your downfall if not adhered to.
For us, we eat 35-40% of our calories from carbs, 30-35% from protein and 25-30% from fat. This is designed to help us achieve our goal of losing weight and building muscle. We eat most of our carbs in the morning and afternoon and eat more protein focused meals at night. This is done because carbs provide your body with energy to fuel you throughout the day and for your workouts. By cutting carbohydrates you're keeping a vital energy source away from your body and adversely, by having carb heavy meals at night, you're giving your body this fuel it won't burn off because your day has finished.
Protein is great to help your body regenerate and heal after your day and/or workout. Protein helps build muscle and helps your body's organs and tissues complete their daily tasks. Lastly, it seems silly to eat fat when you're trying to lose weight but fat is so important because it provides energy, protects organs and helps your body to absorb vitamins and nutrients.
If your goals don't align with ours there are so so many resources online than can help you pinpoint what your Macronutrient Percentage should be.
Step 6: Educate yourself on Carb, Protein & Fat sources
So, you have all this wonderful information, and you set up your daily caloric goal and your macronutrient percentages and you're ready to start dieting! You go ahead and start your diet and you say to yourself "okay, Justin and Alexia told me I should eat Carbs, Protein and Fat", so you make yourself a big bowl of white pasta with cream sauce and ground beef, and sit back and enjoy your meal, thinking everything is honky dory. I am sorry to tell you my friend but this is not correct. Where you get your nutrients from is just as important as how much of them you have. Here is a lovely list that might help with that.
Carbohydrates: Vegetables, Fruits, Wholegrain (Pasta, Oats, Bread, Quinoa), Beans, Brown Rice
Protein: Chicken, Turkey, Lean Cuts of Beef&Pork, Fish, Tofu
Fat: Olive Oil, Avocados, Yogurt, Nuts& Seeds, Cheese (yes cheese-in moderation!)
Step 7: Plan out your meals
When planning out your meals, the most important thing to think about is keeping them small and frequent. You should be eating every 3 hours (if possible), your breakfast should be consumed at most 30 min after you wakeup, and your last meal should be at least 2 hours before bedtime. So figure you follow the below schedule
Obviously this is extremely idealistic and you don't always have time to eat, but generally when planning you:
1. Want to make sure you're not going hungry between meals, and
2. You're also not, not eating all day and then gorging yourself all at once.
In order for your metabolism to work and for you to get the results you want, you need to fuel your body the way it deserves. So find the balance, timing wise, that works for you and your schedule!
Step 8: Adjust, adjust adjust
After all these calculations and science, you have to realize that even with all this your body is unique and different. What works for one person will not work for all and you have to listen to your body and make adjustments. If you are genuinely hungry -not experiencing the munchies or some random cravings- but if you are actually hungry then your body is telling you it needs more food and you have to listen. If you are eating a meal and you can't finish it but force yourself because it is in your plan, stop. Your body is telling you it is too much and you either have to work up to that or you have to decrease the meal size and increase your meal frequency - or lessen the amount you eat in a meal but increase the amount of meals you eat.
Always listen to your body and be kind to yourself. If you want a bowl of ice cream or a glass of wine one night that is okay, treat yourself and love yourself. Long lasting results come from sustainable lifestyles. You need to find the balance between dieting and treating yourself. We try and have one cheat meal per week, sometimes we don't get to our meal prep in time and that cheat meal turns into a cheat day. Sometimes it even turns into two, but the important thing is to jump back on and not give up. Things happen, and consistency is so important, but if you don't reward yourself every once in a while then it is going to be so much harder to avoid a binge or falling off completely.
"That is all from us, remember this is all a constant learning process especially as your body changes and adapts. The most important thing is your health and happiness, always."