If I had a penny for every time someone said to me ‘I don’t have time to do X/Y/Z’ I would be a very wealthy man right now!
The reality is, everybody has the exact same amount of time available every week: 168 hours.
So it’s got nothing to do with a lack of time, but what we choose to do with the time we have and getting those priorities in order at the same time.
How many people do you know that have said they can’t pick their kids up from school because they didn’t have time? Or simply not gone shopping that week and left the cupboards bare for the whole family?
It simply doesn’t happen, as these are among the biggest priorities that they had that particular day.
If we allow your nutrition the same level of ‘high priority’ status, you will ensure that all day every day you consume the foods your body needs to stay happy and healthy, as well as meet all your body composition goals at the same time.
This is often easier said than done.
One of the key ingredients missing to people’s success with their nutrition is the absence of a solid plan.
Even people who create a plan and only stick to 75% of it for example, STILL have way more success than those who have no plan at all.
There are 2 ways you can approach your nutrition:
- Making decisions in advance
- Making decisions on impulse at that very moment
Number 1 ensures that you THINK about your goals, and plan everything around your success body-composition wise. If I plan my intake tomorrow, I will actively try and get my calories, protein, fibre, and hydration in as best as I can.
If I decide to go with number 2 – I’m actually committing to basing my decisions on how I FEEL at that time. When I’m hungry, I will always FEEL like having pizza, or a fry up, and that’s ok. I’m a human being and that’s normal at the point of hunger.
But this obviously won’t work in my favor.
Even if you plan in advance you can factor in treats every now and again too! But with planned treats, you know exactly where you stand, knowing it won’t affect your results.
Having treats ‘when you fancy it’ will land up making this weight loss journey WAY harder for you. (the single thing we DON’T want to happen)
So, here is a step by step process for setting up your week for success:
(MAKE A NOTE OF THIS PLANNING PROCESS, YOU WILL WIN EVERY WEEK IF YOU IMPLEMENT THIS FROM HERE ONWARDS!)
STEP 1: Total Calories
No matter what you eat, whether it’s poor quality or great quality, the calorie deficit is the number 1 factor that contributes to weight loss (Calorie deficit) or weight gain (Calorie surplus).
My Fitness Pal (a free mobile app) is a great tool for estimating the number of calories needed to lose 1-2lb per week.
Let’s say you have 1400 Cals available every day to consume in order to lose 2lb per week. On the days you exercise, you must aim to consume the extra calories expended in exercise too. So if you burn off 500 Cals, this needs to be 1900 Cals of intake for that day. (Extra food! Winning!)
Depending on what method you think will work for YOU, you could even consume 1200 Cals per day instead on Monday to Friday, and ‘bank’ 200 Cals per day to save up for the weekend. This way you’ll have an extra 1000 Cals over the weekend, and STILL have the same calorie deficit if the weekends are an issue for you in any way. (I suggest this!)
STEP 2: Total Protein
The scale we can use to establish your daily protein intakes is as follows:
Between 1 and 1.7 multiplied by your body weight in kg.
If you are someone that takes it pretty easy, no massively intense sessions on a regular basis, you may use 1.1 OR 1.2.
If you are training like a semi-pro athlete, 5/6/7+ times a week, you may use 1.6/1.7 as the target.
So for example:
Let’s say you were 80 kg and taking it seriously, but not like an athlete or anything crazy like that.
Let’s use 1.4…
80 (kg) x 1.4 (protein) = 112g protein per day.
STEP 3: 5 A DAY MINIMUM
Your plan needs to contain all the vital vitamins and minerals throughout the day, so start with the protein element and think about the 5 a day straight after each meal.
Prioritise Veg over fruit, as the additional sugars can soon add up with fruit. A simple rule I usually go by is 1 portion of fruit on a non-training day, and 2x on a training day if you like.
Remember it must be AT LEAST 5 A DAY.
A variety of lots of colours is the best way too, more colours = more variety of vitamins and minerals.
STEP 4: Hydration
This is probably one of the most overlooked areas of our health.
If you battle to drink water, you’ve got the EASIEST method coming your way to get that water intake up.
Fill up a water bottle for the day. Then, you’re going to take between 3 and 5 elastic bands and place them around the water bottle.
That will indicate how many bottles of water you need to drink. As you finish your bottle, take one elastic band off, and refill the bottle!
This is going to be the easiest way to keep track of your hydration and to keep reminding you to drink.
2-3L per day min, more on training days and hot/humid days.
STEP 5: Budget for Treats and Delicious Things (My favorite part!)
If you actively GIVE Yourself the opportunity to have the odd treat and account for this calorie-wise and ensure all of the previous steps are ticked – YOU ARE WINNING!
Treats can actually HELP you stay on track with your nutrition, so you don’t feel like you’re ‘dieting’ or having to cut out your favourite things.
You need to be consuming at least 80% of your nutrition from nutrient-dense sources. So If your intakes were recommended as 1400 Cals for example, this = 9800 Cals per week,
so 20% of 9800 = 1960 Cals max allowance for treats.
I hope that sets you all up with an easy blueprint to follow when planning your nutrition each week.
A few important points:
- I personally like to sit down on a Sunday and plan everything out, including working around any social events I know will be cropping up in the following week, and getting the buffering system in place if necessary.
- With regards to the amounts of fats and carbs, this has next to NO IMPACT on your weight loss, so providing you stay within the total calories and have the correct amounts of protein… the carbs and fats can fluctuate. Some people respond better to higher intakes of carbs and lower fats, and visa versa, this is really a personal thing that you need to experiment with.
- The actual foods themselves you consume can be almost anything and everything. Providing you stick to the framework described above, your intakes can be as ‘chef-y’ or as plain and simple as you like. The key is to find what works for you, another reason not to be looking over at someone else’s meals, but focus on you!
If you like being rigid, that’s great, get every meal set up:
MONDAY BREAKFAST = X.
MONDAY LUNCH =Y
MONDAY DINNER = Z
and so on…
If you like the element of flexibility, simply make a list of 7x Breakfasts, Lunches, Evening Meals, and Snacks (If including) and have what you fancy each day. This will still work as you have PLANNED to be flexible by addressing each of the points in the above list.
I hope it helped you!