Your Calorie Goal

Reading time: 4 minutes

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You have now received your daily calorie goal for the next 6 weeks.

This number has been calculated specifically for you using your height, weight, age and current activity level. It is vital that you stick to this goal to get the best results possible over the course of the programme. In most cases, weight management is as straightforward as balancing calories consumed vs calories expended. Sticking to the calorie goals which have been set for you will ensure that you are burning more calories than you are taking in.

 

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When thinking about healthy eating most people assume that meal plans are the answer. Meal plans have long been a staple of the fitness and nutrition industry. Personal Trainers are taught to create them and clients are taught to expect them. The problem is that they rarely work! Traditional meal plans are explicit prescriptions. Eat this exact thing, in this exact amount, at this exact time.

For example, with a calorie goal of 1,200 you might see:

Breakfast 2 scrambled eggs with 1 slice of brown toast, 1 cup of tea with milk, 1 glass of water (225 calories)

Morning snack 1 apple and a small handful of almonds, 1 glass water (150 calories)

Lunch Homemade chicken salad, 1 glass water (220 calories)

Afternoon snack 2 oatcakes with honey, 1 glass of water, 1 cup of tea with milk (122 calories)

Dinner 1 salmon fillet, 1 cup of cooked vegetables, half a cup of rice, 1 glass water (458 calories)

Evening snack Half a cup of pineapple, herbal tea (41 calories)

You may initially think ‘great! This is what I wanted’, however, in reality when trying to stick to rigid prescriptions like this lots can go wrong. Mainly because life gets in the way. People get busy, kids get sick and sometimes you just don’t feel like eating eggs for breakfast AGAIN! This is why in our 6 week body transformation programme we don’t prescribe exactly what you are going to eat…you do that yourself. All we do is give you the calorific guidelines to keep within. Of course, there are sensible and not so sensible ways of doing this. For example, a homemade chicken salad for lunch might be 220 calories whereas a medium Big Mac meal from McDonalds will be 1080 calories. Not only will the nutritional value of the homemade low calorie choice be hugely better, you will also get to consume more food throughout the day whilst staying within your calorie goal, so there is less chance of you getting hungry and craving an unhealthy snack. 

On a perfect day your meals might be made up of the following proportions:

Breakfast: 20%

Snack: 5%

Lunch: 30%

Snack: 10%

Dinner: 30%

Snack: 5%

Again, sometimes life doesn’t always work out like this. You might have a business lunch or a colleague’s birthday party in the evening in which case these percentages would have to change. This isn’t the end of the world, you might just have to be stricter at different parts of the day/days of the week. If you are going out for lunch, stick to a protein breakfast (which will make you feel fuller for longer) and have a light dinner. Even with eating out, it is still possible to stick to your calorie goal. The worst thing you can do is to have an ‘all or nothing’ mentality. Just because you fall off the wagon once, or have a birthday party to go to, don’t say, ‘stuff it, my week is ruined so I’ll eat what I want’. That is far from the truth. Just be a bit stricter over the following few days and you won’t be going too far wrong.

In an ideal world your meals would probably look like this:

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You might not be able to eat perfectly every day, the important thing is to plan for these occasions and make the best choice possible.

Do the best you can to stick to the calorie goal which you have been set. The stricter you are, the better the results you will get!

Good Luck!

Andy Letham