When we speak of a calorie controlled diet, that means adjusting your calorie intake, to be below your Total Daily Energy Expenditure (TDEE), which is the rate at which your body burns calories each day, including calories burned at rest and calories burned during activity.
The first step therefore, is to determine the calories that your body burns. This depends on various factors (such as your age, your height, current body weight and your level of activity), and can be done with any one of a number of calorie calculators which you may find on line, or by using a simple formula. First you determine your basal metabolic rate (BMR) which is the rate at which your body burns calories at rest. The Harris Benedict equation is the most popular:
- Men: BMR = 66 + (13.7 x weight in kilograms) + (5 x height in cm) - (6.8 x age in yrs)
- Women: BMR = 655 + (9.6 x weight in kilograms) + (1.8 x height in cm) - (4.7 x age in yrs)
You then take your BMR, and multiply it with an activity factor, to determine your TDEE: Sedentary (BMR X 1.2); Lightly active (BMR X 1.375); Moderately Active (BMR X 1.55); Very active (BMR X 1.725) or Extremely Active (BMR X 1.9). The final answer is the amount of calories that you need, per day, to sustain your current weight.
The second step is to create the calorie deficit. The deficit that you create will depend on various factors too, depending at which rate you want to lose weight, and also how many calories you can afford to cut, without going to low (if you go too low, your body will retaliate and hold on to its fat stores for dear life, by slowing down your metabolism). As a general rule, women should not go below 1200 calories per day, and men not below 1800 calories per day.
To lose weight at a rate of 1 pound per week, you need to create a calorie deficit of 3500 calories per week (3500 calories in a pound of body fat), or 500 calories per day. Multiple 500 calories for each pound of fat that you have set out in your goal, to lose each week.
The third step in creating your diet meal plan, is to put this on paper. What I have done for myself, is I created an excel spreadsheet, dividing it into 4 broad columns, each column containing sub columns as follows:
The first broad column contains 3 sub columns (Food item, food group and number of portions); the second column contains 2 sub columns (Food weight in Imperial and Metric units); the third column contains two sub columns (calories in one column and kilojoules in the next column, per weight of food); and the final broad column contains 3 sub columns (weights in grams of Protein, Carbohydrate and Fats). This may seem complicated, but put it on paper and you will see how easy it is.
The next thing which I did with this excel spreadsheet meal plan, was to create formulas, in the rows at the bottom of each of the six daily meals, and also at the bottom of the entire daily meal plan, which allows all my totals (calories, proteins, carbohydrates and fats), to be automatically calculated, as I add individual food items. This makes it so easy and simple, once you have done it. The meal plan does all the calculations for you.
The fourth step is to add your favorite foods to the meal plan. It takes only a simple session of research at an on line database, and fill out the food items, gram weight and nutritional information. Once you have done this, you will have a clear idea of where and how to adjust your meal plan, to be in sync with your calorie needs, as determined in steps 1 and 2.
The fifth, and final step is to create a formula right at the bottom of the meal plan, which will automatically calculate your macro nutrient ratios (ratio of calories from proteins, carbohydrates and fats). A good baseline to start from is 50% Carbohydrates, 30% Proteins and 20% Fats. This is not that important though, the most important is the total calories. remember that proteins and carbohydrates contain 4 calories each, per gram, and fats contain 9 calories per gram.
Once you have just one solid meal plan, for only one day in place, it becomes a breeze to adjust it and to create new ones, for each day of the week, each week of the month and each month of the year.
Remember how we said that a goal is "the result or achievement toward which effort is directed"? This meal plan will take you to where you want to be. And creating it is as easy as it was for me to write this article. You just need to sit down and write the first paragraph, with the intention to write the last one.
If you would like to see this meal plan in action, Kim Levin offers a free weight loss course [http://the-weight-loss-formula.com/course/a-formula-to-fast-and-natural-weight-loss/], covering important subjects such as fat burning foods and how to quick start your plan to lose the maximum amount of weight within the shortest time. Kim also manages the Weight Loss Diet Secrets [http://weightlossdietsecrets.net] website.
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