Below are a few tips to better prepare yourself when you're designing your own meal plan.
Start tracking your food. I know this is a boring answer but we need to think of this part of the process as a science project. One of the biggest mistakes people make is they do not track how they were eating before they began their new meal plan. When you do this it gives you a better starting point of how many daily calories you should start at with your new meal plan.
If you go into building your own custom meal plan by winging it and only aiming to eat higher quality food without tracking you'll be fighting this battle with one arm behind your back. I say this because without proper tracking how will you know if your body prefers eating 1000, 1200, 1500 or 1700 etc. calories per day.
How will know why you did or didn't lose weight on a particular week?
How will you know what macronutrient percentages work best for your body?
How will you know if your body loses weight at 1500 calories per day or 1300 calories per day?
These are some of the questions we cannot answer unless we track our food intake.
Consistency. When you are off by 100 calories in your daily food logs it can be the difference between you losing weight or staying the same weight on the scale. This becomes one of the biggest obstacles in the weight loss journey because people do not realize how sensitive our bodies are. In the beginning stages when you are trying to figure out what caloric range works best for you, consistency is the key to obtaining the correct information. If your daily logs do not stay within 50 calories of your goal (lets say 1500 calories) for 7-14 days it will not be a fair assessment as to if that caloric range works for you.
For example, if you track your logs accurately for 7-14 days at 1500 calories and you have no movement on the scale you are better prepared to make an adjustment and lower your caloric intake to 1300 or 1400 calories. This is why tracking is so important. The more information you have to answer the why, can be difference from you learning and moving forward or walking away.
Water Intake. One of the deciding factors in weight loss is if you are consuming enough water daily. Most of us do not drink over 65 ounces of water a day. The actual consumption a man and woman require is 100+ ounces a day. 100 ounces for woman and over 120+ ounces for men. Now when you here that do not go from 50 ounces a day to 100 ounces a day or you'll be in the bathroom constantly. Gradually work up to those numbers.
How you should feel on a caloric deficit. The first week or two can sometimes be the roughest and you feel like your starving. This happens when you choose a caloric range that is on the lower side because you did not calculate/guess how much you were actually eating before your new meal plan. I would increase calories if this phase does don't pass after a week. For the most part you do not want to be starving, you want to feel satisfied with the food you ate but you know you could of eaten more, but you don't have to. I am clearly keeping the science out of this blog lol.
These are just a few tips to get you started with your new way of eating!
Again I am not a registered nutritionist, I do not sell meal plans and I am just here to give helpful tips to get you started in the right direction.
Only those who have a degree as a nutritionist are allowed to prescribe/sell meal plans.
-Michael Andreini, CSCS