1. Track Your Calorie Intake:
Track your total daily calorie intake for a week or two. We’ll use this for comparison in the next step where our basal metabolic rate calculator will determine how many calories you generally need to maintain your current body weight. If you already use this calculator, skip this step. The problem is that this equation doesn’t work well in an obese population, so it’s best for those who have a little more weight to lose to track their calories.
If you decide to track for 1-2 weeks, be honest with yourself; don’t track yourself on your absolute best behavior, but during a span most representative of your most typical eating habits. This will help you get the best results.
2. Find Out How Many Calories:
As mentioned above, you can use our BMR calculator to get a rough estimate of how many calories you need to eat to maintain (not lose) weight.
To find out how many calories you need to maintain your current weight: average the total calories over 14 day span, if you tracked for two weeks (total calories divided by 14). This represents how many calories you are taking in each day on average, in order to maintain your weight.
3. Find your equation for weight loss:
Now that you know about how much you need to eat to maintain your weight, we have a better idea of where we can subtract from to produce weight loss on your meal plan. Begin by subtracting 15% of that daily calorie average.
The next step is focusing on the percentage of your calories that come from carbs/fats/proteins. For a general health or weight loss goal for an active individual, I suggest 40% protein, 40% carbs, and 20% fat.
Seek mostly slower digesting, fibrous carbs. Stay away from simple or processed sugars and focus on complex carbohydrates. A good guideline for this is staying away from white bread and pasta or any foods that come prepackaged. Examples include: oatmeal, sweet potato, rice, quinoa, fruits, etc.
Most of us associate protein with meats like grilled or baked chicken, lean ground turkey, lean beef and fish. But many healthy foods can be high in protein. Good sources include eggs/ egg whites, protein shakes, Greek yogurt, and most types of beans.
Look for healthy, non-saturated fats. Popular sources of nutritious fat sources include: nuts, seeds, nut or seed butters, avocados, olives, coconut or olive oil, whole eggs, etc.