Planning Your Meals 101
'If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.' I am sure you have heard that saying somewhere before. Well, if you fail to plan your meals, you are basically sabotaging your fat loss plan, and most likely will fail at fat loss.
Where do you start when it comes to planning your meals? First off, you need to know how many calories you need a day. You need to know your basal metabolic rate (the number of calories you would burn just lying in bed all day) and then add your activity rate, which will give you an idea of how many calories you will need. Google 'basal metabolic rate calculator'.
Now comes a more tricky part. You need to figure out what ratio of nutrients you are going to need to maximize fat loss. Unfortunately there is no set answer. Everybody is different, with different body types, and different reactions to different ratios of foods. But to give you an idea: 40/30/30, 50/30/20. It breaks down like this 40% Carbs/30% Proteins/30% Fats. For fat loss I would never go above 60% carbs, or below 20% fat. You can play with the ratios to find what works best.
What comes next is to figure out what foods you can eat that will help to promote the changes you are looking for. Avoid foods with saturated and trans fats, processed foods, sugar, high fructose corn syrup, artificial ingredients, are just a few. Remember the fewer ingredients it has in it the better.
Next, you need to prepare the meals. As you know I suggest 5 or more meals a day. 5 being the minimum. If you have to cook your food before every meal, you are not going to be successful. It has to be done in advance. You're a busy person, and I know you don't want to spend your time cooking 5 times day.
The best way to do this is to set a specific time on a specific day, and cook the food you will need for the next 3-7 days. My day is always Sunday, as that is when I am least busy. I cook the food I am going to need for the next 7 days. But the layout is this: one side of the counter is my 2 steamers, 1 cooking my brown rice; the other my hard boiled eggs and steamed veggies. On the other side of the counter is my George Foreman grilling the meat for the week. On the stove my whole-wheat pasta is being prepared. In the middle of the counter is my cutting board for my non-steamed veggies (onions, peppers, carrots, etc...), and later for my peanut butter sandwiches to be made. Everything takes about 75-90 minutes. Everything goes into their own separate container, and can later be combined in different combinations to make numerous different meals.
Lastly, you want to plan what you're going to eat, how much, when, and where. Taking stuff to work, you got to prepare it so it is easy and you don't give in to what fellow co-workers are having. Not going to have time to eat a full meal, you have to plan for back-ups like a Meal Replacement shake, foods that are quick and easy to take in baggies like trail mix, nuts or seeds, fruits, Prograde Cravers, yogurt, string cheese, etc... You pretty much have to know when you are going to eat. Weather it be a complete meal, a supplement, or a snack. Set a timer. Most cell phones have an alarm or timer or stopwatch, or all 3. Use it!
Jason Yun, CSCS, CISSN is a Columbus Body Transformation Expert who runs Yun Fitness Boot Camps in Hilliard and Dublin, and teaches the Metabolism Makeover Weight Management Program in Columbus. For a free 2-week trial of his boot camps visit http://www.Yunbootcamps.com/specialoffer.html or call 614-432-9703. Visit http://www.YunNutrition.com for more info on the Metabolism Makeover.