Lose weight: Are you doing it the right way? Part 5
Note: In this article, you will learn exactly how to make your own diet plan.
A sample diet plan is included at the end of this article.
Every person has their own food preferences. Some may be vegetarian, some non-vegetarian and some may be vegans. Some may be allergic to some food or do not want to eat certain foods.
Many times same food will have a different effect on different people. Certain foods that make one person lose weight might end up adding weight to another person.
So, there is no point in searching for a diet plan that someone else has followed and lost weight.
You have to make the right changes and listen to your body. Mindlessly following someone else will lead you nowhere. That is why it is important to have a basic understanding of the food to get started.
So when it comes to making an actual diet plan towards your new eating pattern it will be different for every individual.
Although the changes you make in your eating pattern will be highly personalized, there are some general guidelines that everyone can follow to get started.
If you know the basics about the macronutrients – Carbohydrate, Protein, Fat (which we have discussed in Part 2 of this series) then you will know what effect it will have on your body.
There are some simple calculations that can help you find your approx. calorie need. Although these are not the exact figures, it will help you get started and from there you can tweak (make adjustments) the diet plan to suit your needs and tastes.
Calculate BMR using this formula
For Women BMR = 655+(9.6*Weight in kg)+(1.8*Height in cm)-(4.7*Age in years)
For Men BMR = 66+(13.7*Weight in kg)+(5*Height in cm)-(6.8*Age in years)
Example – Let’s say Mrs. A is a 30 year old woman. Her weight is 90 kg and her height is 5’8”(172cm). She goes to the gym 5 times a week.
BMR = 655+(9.6*90kg)+(1.8*172 cm)-(4.7*30years)
BMR = 1687.6 cal
Note: If this formula looks too complicated you can use an online BMR calculator. Click Here
Now in order to calculate the total energy per day, we will take into consideration the physical activity i.e. how many calories are burned in daily physical activity.
We will be using the Harris-Benedict Equation
- Sedentary (little to no exercise) – BMR*1.2
- Lightly active (little exercise / 1-3 days per week sports) = BMR*1.375
- Moderately active (moderate exercise / 3-5 days per week sports) = BMR*1.55
- Very active (Intense exercise / 6-7 days per week sports) = BMR*1.725
This will give you TDEE (Total daily energy expenditure): the daily calorie requirement for maintenance.
TDEE of Mrs. A = BMR*1.55 (she is moderately active)
TDEE = 1687.6*1.55
= 2615.78 cal
Now if the person is carrying a lot of fat and is overweight then, we will calculate the BMR using Lean Body Mass instead of the body weight.
What is Lean Body Mass (LBM)
Lean body mass is your total weight minus the weight of your body fat. Basically fat-free weight.
There are many methods to know your Lean Body Mass and body fat % and best method is DEXA Scan.
But you can reach a rough estimation by visual assessment.
Simply type in body fat visual chart in Google. You will get a visual image with which you can compare your body fat%.
If it falls below 20% then you can use your body weight for calculation. But if body fat % is above 20% then use your LBM instead of body weight.
There is a simple formula for calculating LBM.
Formula for LBM = total weight – (body fat%* total weight)
Now let’s say Mrs. A has 30% body fat.
LBM = 90kg – ( 30/100*90)
= 90kg – 27kg
So in her BMR calculation, we will use her LBM i.e.63kg instead of her body weight i.e. 90kg
Her BMR = 655+(9.6*Weight in kg)+(1.8*Height in cm)-(4.7*Age in years)
= 655+(9.6*63kg)+(1.8*172 cm)-(4.7*30year)
= 1428 cal
Harris-Benedict equation for total daily energy expenditure
TDEE = 1428*1.55
Her TDEE = 2213.4 cal
This is the number of calories she needs to consume to keep her weight stable. But if she wants to lose weight (mainly fat loss) then she has to create a calorie deficit by reducing her calorie intake below her maintenance level.
Now, a good place to start is to make a small reduction. Start with 15-20% reduction of total calories or 300-400 calories.
Let’s say she decided to reduce her caloric intake by 15% (i.e. 332 calories or approx 350 calories)
2213.4 – 350 = 1863.4 cal
Do not drastically reduce the calories. This will make it tough to follow in the long run and the body will reduce the BMR to meet the lowered calorie intake. So a gradual reduction will keep you on the diet and your BMR will not be affected drastically.
In order to keep the process of fat loss active without losing a lot of muscles, you can take a cyclic approach.
Where you will go on a calorie deficit for 3 days followed by 1 maintenance day. This will also help in keeping your body from adjusting to the low calorie – by slowing down the BMR. And also give you more variety in terms of food choices, making it more sustainable in the long run.
You should have a meal after every 3 to 4 hours.
Most people already follow a 3 meal routine like – Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
So it won’t be that difficult to add 2 more small meals which will be your snacks, keeping your stomach full and mind out of craving.
It is important to spread out the meals so you won’t feel hungry and overeat in one meal. Plus, your body does not need so many calories coming in at one time.
A Calorie is not just a Calorie
It is important to remember that not all calories are equal. Calories coming from the carbs will affect the body differently than calories coming from protein or calories from fats. All three macronutrients stimulate many different hormones and enzymes in the body.
And remember, the hormones and the enzymes play a deciding factor whether the food will be used as energy or stored as fat. So it is not just calories you have to take care of but also the sources that you are getting it from.
Just so you can know how to make these changes in your eating pattern I will give you an example of a diet plan for Mrs. A.
How to make a diet plan
Let’s take an example of the current lifestyle and eating pattern of Mrs. A and see what changes she can make to improve her lifestyle in general and lose some weight.
Case study: Mrs. A is 30 years old. Her height is 5’8” with her weight around 90kg ( with 30% body fat). Her work schedule is going to office from 9 am to 5 pm. She goes to the gym around 8 pm and does workout for an hour. She is non-vegetarian but does not eat non- veg on Tuesday and Saturday.
Her typical routine/ eating pattern is
Breakfast – Omelette of 2 eggs + 2 slice toasted bread + 1 cup tea + 1 seasonal fruit
Or 1 Plate Upma, Poha, Idli + 1 cup tea + 1 seasonal fruit
Lunch – 2 Paratha or 3 Roti + 1 Small bowl of dal + 1 bowl of cooked Vegetables + Sweet (some variety)
Evening snack – Tea with some biscuits
Dinner – 3 Roti + 1 Bowl Rice + 1 Small bowl of dal + 1 bowl of cooked Vegetables
So what we will do is make changes which Mrs. A can follow without making any drastic changes which she will not be able to sustain.
We have already calculated the number of calories Mrs. A needs to lose weight
Now the next step will be to decide the macronutrient ratio.
Macronutrient Ratio (C:P:F)
What is macronutrient ratio: Macronutrient ratios simply refer to the percentage of your total daily calories that come from carbohydrate, protein, and fat.
For example – (C:P:F) (55:30:15) is a macronutrient ratios.
There is no fixed ratio that works for everyone. You have to play around with this ratio to see how your body responds to it.
But a good way to start is by keeping the Carbohydrate ratio low and Protein and Fat ratio moderate to high.
For Mrs. A we will take a macronutrient ratio of (25:30:45).
This means that out of the total calorie needed 25% will be coming from carbs, 30% from protein, and 45 % from fat.
25% of 1863 cal comes from Carbs = 465.75 cal
30% of 1863 cal comes from Protein = 558.9 cal
45% of 1863 cal comes from Fat = 838.35 cal
Now, convert the calories of Carbs, Protein, and Fat into number of grams required per day.
Note: 1gm Carbs=4 calories, 1gm Protein = 4 calories, 1gm Fat = 9 calories
465.75 cal of Carbs = 465.75/4 = 116.4gm ~ 120 gm
558.9 cal of Protein = 558.9/4 = 139.72 ~ 140 gm
838.35 cal of Fat = 838.35/9 = 93.15gm ~ 100 gm
Carbs required per day = 120 gm
Protein required per day = 140 gm
Fat required per day = 100 gm
Number of meals per day = 5
Carbs required per meal = 120/5 = 24 gm
Protein required per meal = 140/5 = 30 gm
Fat required per meal = 100/5 = 20 gm
Now let’s make a diet plan for Mrs. A
Water – It is important to keep yourself hydrated throughout the day. You should be drinking at least 4-5 liters of water daily.
This just an example of what a healthy eating pattern looks like.
There are endless combinations that you can make that suits your taste.
On Maintenance Day either she can increase the quantity of the same food.
Or Increase the carbs and adjusting the macronutrient ratio accordingly.
Say ( 40:25:35)
You just have to know the carb, protein and fat content of a particular food to know if you can include it in your diet plan or not.
Quick Reference Chart: Nutritional content of some foods allowed for fat loss
For Fiber: All leafy vegetables allowed.
Although this is a bit odd, no drastic changes have been made. Mrs. A won’t feel hungry which will help her avoid any craving or junk.
Is this article helpful? If you have any doubts, put it down in the comments below.
Also, let me know if you have tried to make a diet plan using the above information.