How To Design Your Own Meal Plan (Part 1 of 3)
This week, I'm going to be going through and helping you through all the steps so you can start to create your own meal plans.
Pretty cool hey.
I'm going to be revealing some of my top secrets to creating the perfect meal plan that will help you see results.
Why am I doing this?
Because, being able to give things a go for yourself can be empowering. If you have the time, energy and know how you can be the master of your own destiny and do up meal plans for yourself.
I know that there are some people who would still prefer an expert, like myself to write their meal plans, or are crazy busy and would just prefer it to be done for them.
But, I also know that there are some people who may not have the financial resources but they do have the time to put together their own. Or, they feel that learning this next step will help keep them motivated on their fitness journey.
Whatever works for you!
So let's get started....
Step One - Define the Purpose of Your Plan
This step is super important, and why I always ask new clients what their goals are.
If you don't know what you are hoping to achieve with your plan, more often than not, your plan won't work.
Especially if you do have a specific goal in mind.
So think about what you want outcome you want to achieve with your meal plan. You may have a few, and that's okay.
Some goals / outcomes to consider are...
- fat loss
- muscle gain
- any deficiencies
- family friendly
- budget friendly
- easy to prepare meals
- meals that are easy to meal prep (batch cook)
- overall healthy lifestyle
- PLUS MORE
As you can see, there is probably a few things that you would like in your plan in that list. This is why it can be complicated and time consuming for me as a coach to come up with a plan!
Once you have your goals outlined, it is important to prioritise them as sometimes you can't do both at the same time.
ie. muscle gain and fat loss, it can happen but generally your plan would be geared toward one and not the other and then if the other happened it is a nice side effect ;)
Once you have your goals and your priorities, then it's time to move onto the next step....
Step Two - Setting Your Calorie Intake
Once you have set your goals, it's time to work out a rough calorie intake for your meal plan.
Again, this will be dependant on your goals. If you are looking to lose body fat, you want to eat in a slight calorie deficit.
NOTE bigger is not better. If you eat in too big of a deficit firstly, you will have no where to go if you hit a plateau and need to adjust your calories again later on. Secondly, your metabolism will adapt to the lower rate, so if you end up having a week off, go on holiday's, fall off track your metabolism will be adapted lower so you will gain all the weight back you lost and then some.
If your goals are just to maintain but you want to eat healthy, then you want to aim for calories in to be equal to calories out.
If you want to gain muscle (or weight) then you want to sit in a slight surplus (note... still get your calories from whole foods not junk foods otherwise you will create an out of whack gut microbiome just FYI).
So how do you work this out?
Well I usually will work out a rough starting point based off your TDEE (total daily energy expenditure) and BMR (basal metabolic rate). You never want to eat below your BMR. So for fat loss, you should be eating between your TDEE and BMR, for maintenance you want to eat at the same rate as your TDEE and for weight gain/muscle gain you want to eat above your TDEE.
You can use online calculators to determine your TDEE and BMR.
It's hard to give specific numbers cause EVERYBODY is different.
And this is as precise as I can get speaking generally. But this gives you a starting point and you can adjust up or down depending on the feedback your body gives you.
And if you are using this plan for your family, you may just want to add extra portions to hubby's and halve your portions for children. This will more come down to recipe selection to make sure everyone enjoys at least most of the meals in your plan :)
On Wednesday & Friday I will be taking you through the final steps so you can write your own meal plan including how to select (or write recipes), making sure you hit your macro and micronutrient requirements and a few little surprises ;)
So make sure you stay tuned for those posts!
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