Diet Planning Mastery | A 7-Step Process
Diet Planning is essential if you want good results. Nutrition and Diet are literally 70% of your results, so let’s take out a pen and paper and get going, shall we?
In this article, I will give you a 7 Step Process that will allow you to create a personalized fat loss/muscle-building diet plan for you.
Steps In Diet Planning
Step 1) Goal Setting
Decide How Much You Want To Lose/Gain And By When
When planning your meals, if your goals are unclear, you would be unable to figure out if you want to create a diet plan to build muscle or lose fat.
More than 95% of people (according to pooled data of more than one thousand gym members at my gym) start a fitness regime to look and feel good. Most of you reading this would have their body fat percentage in the range of 20-24% (for men) and 30-34% (for women).
And if you bring it down to less than 15% (for men) and less than 25% (for women), you will not only look super amazing but also optimize your health.
Here is a snapshot of me at various body fat percentages:
Related Article: Body Fat Percentage Pictures
It’s Also A Good Idea To Have A Written Statement Of Your Goals
Having a goal is not enough. It’s simply wishful thinking. Millions of people join a gym around New Year’s Time and quit after a few weeks. Why?
Because they have not crystallized their goals into writing. I want you to get a step ahead of everyone and be a Fabian (A term I coined for people who want to build a fabulous body…hehe)
Take a printout of this and paste it where you can see it every day (I stole this from my course Internationally Accredited Certificate In Diet Planning):
This practice may seem futile for a few days up to 10 days, but if you are consistent and read out your statement 3 times a day loudly and really start to feel and mix emotions and really dig deep and get your emotions out, you will start to see the magic of this step.
This practice will shake your subconscious mind that your goal of losing weight/building muscle is a serious one and it’s not just a mere wish. It will allow you to stay focused, especially when ‘going gets tough,’ and trust me when I say this, it will.
Skip this step at your own risk!
Step 2) The ‘Approach’
Decide What Approach Suits You The Best: Enjoyable | Realistic | Aggressive
Let me say this: You do not have to give up your favorite foods to get fit or lose weight/build muscle. In my course, I have given three approaches that you can select based on how you would like to get results:
The Enjoyable Approach
This approach is ideal for people who:
-Party out a lot
-Are Big Foodies
-Have a strong inclination towards eating junk food/sweets etc
They want to lose weight/get fit but are NOT ready to give up their favorite foods or their lifestyle to get results. I have provided videos to explain the estimated rate of fat loss/muscle gain based on this approach & other two approaches i.e.
Realistic | Aggressive
Life is too short of giving up Ice-Creams Anyways.:) Now some of your fitness freaks–who probably eat a super-clean diet might be scoffing at this idea!
30% of calories from Junk Food!
Akash, are you crazy?
As it is, people are overweight/obese, and you are giving people the freedom to eat around 600 calories per day (assuming the individual eats 2000 calories) from their favorite foods (ice creams, pizzas, burgers, biscuits etc).
This guy who lost 56 pounds is eating nothing but McDonald’s. Click on the link and read the entire article. Nia has really nailed it down. You will love the articles, epically if you simply cannot give up eating junk.
Nia has really nailed it down. You will love the article, especially if you simply cannot give up eating junk/favorite foods to lose weight. I completely agree with her as she says,
‘You gotta meet people where they are.’
Anyone who is not used to eating a single piece of vegetable or fruit, and as a health coach, you are asking them to eat 5-8 servings per day? They will quit even before they start! Start them off slowly by gradually reducing their calories from junk, even if it takes longer for them to achieve their goals.
Nia’s Article is about a teacher who lost weight on a McDonald’s diet. 1https://niashanks.com/teacher-lost-weight-eating-mcdonalds/
Here is another example of a professor who lost 27 pounds in 2 months with the Twinkie diet. 2http://edition.cnn.com/2010/HEALTH/11/08/twinkie.diet.professor/index.html
The point that I am trying to make here is this: The most important rule when it comes to weight loss is to eat less than your Maintenance calories (TDEE). This law is foolproof.
If you eat less than your body can burn (TDEE), you will lose weight. Even if most of the calories are coming from junk.
I obviously don’t recommend you start with a McDonald’s or a twinkie diet, but a 70/30 diet plan is something that literally anyone can follow and include in their lifestyle. It’s the best of both worlds.
Step 3) Calculate Your TDEE- Use This Simplest Formula
TDEE- Total Daily Energy Expenditure: The number of calories you eat to maintain your weight. It’s a sum of your BMR (Basal Metabolic Rate) and your Activity Level)
TDEE= BMR + Activity Level
Simplest Formula to Calculate Your TDEE:
Bodyweight (in pounds)
Note: To convert your weight from Kg to Pounds x by 2.2.
TDEE*: BodyWeight (in lbs) x 12 ( Sedentary lifestyle)
BodyWeight (in lbs) x 14 (Moderately Active, if you go to the gym 2-3 times a week and do 1-2 sessions of Cardio)
BodyWeight (in lbs) x 16 (Active, if you go to the gym 3-5 times a week and do 3-5 sessions of Cardio plus add some walking in your lifestyle)10% of the calories
*10% of the calories are burned when you digest your food. That has been accounted for!
Step 4) Calculate Calories Based On Your Goals
Calculate The Exact Calories You Plan To Eat Based On The Method You Decided To Pursue- Enjoybale| Realistic | Aggressive
An enjoyable way to lose weight is to follow the 70/30 diet, where 70% of the calories are coming from healthy foods, whereas 30% of the calories are coming from your favorite cheat foods (pizzas, burgers, ice cream, alcohol and so forth)
Let me illustrate this point better with this table:
The idea is simple. As a beginner (or someone who don’t have the motivation/habits to eat healthily), you work towards eating no more than 30% of calories from junk and gradually move towards the right side of the table.
If you simply cannot give up your foods or your habits/lifestyle/preferences won’t allow you, that’s fine too. You simply stay on the 70/30 diet for as long as you want and still lose weight.
Step 5) Decide Your Macro Split
Proteins, Fats, And Carbohydrates Are Your Macronutrients (Macros)
Let’s start with proteins. Numerous high-quality studies support the fact that you need an active individual needs to consume between [1.2 to 1.8]g/Kilogram of body weight.
Eating more protein also has a satiety effect that makes you feel full for longer. For example, when I eat this meal almost daily at around 11 am:
I don’t feel hungry until 7 pm.
For most of you, your protein will be around 25-30% of your total caloric intake. Say you are 80kg and your total caloric intake is 1800 calories. Your protein range will be between [96-144]grams per day.
Let’s move on to fats. Fats are good for you. Fats can be your best friend or your worst enemy. You need to know which fats to eat.
At least 20% to 40% of calories should come from fat. You can go up to 70% (low carb/ketogenic diets). The rest of the calories can come from carbohydrates.
Step 6) Decide Meal Combos
When we have limited options, it gives us clarity and allows us to be more consistent. We don’t have decision fatigue.
For example, for the past 20 years, I have been eating eggs & Oats for breakfast. I know the exact calories that I get from the eggs. I know how much oil I use for cooking the eggs and so forth. Same thing with oats. I eat roughly 80g, which I know gives me 300 calories. Milk and fruits add another 300.
If we have decided that we are going to eat 1800 calories daily to achieve our goals, how are we going to be certain that we stick to it?
Simple. We choose only 3-6 meal combos for a given phase [a period of a few months].
Step 7) Monitoring And Staying On Track
Monitor the change in your body composition every week, at the minimum. The basics here can include weighing yourself and, measuring your waist from the navel and ensuring that you stick to your caloric, and macro & micronutrient intake.
Step 8) Make A List Of The Core Ingredients Of The Foods That You Are Going To Eat And Ensure They Are Stocked Up
Don’t be surprised if you eat waffles/pancakes for breakfast if you don’t find eggs in your fridge in the morning! Eating waffles or cornflakes, or something sugary will cause cravings after a short time, and you won’t be able to resist the donut that is offered in your office as a mid-morning snack.
All this may spiral into a bad day of eating 🙁 So do ensure that you grocery shop one to two times per week and ensure all ingredients are stocked up!
Step 9) Cook Your Food [Duh!]
I know many people are taking out a lot of time to plan their meals, but when it comes to the action part i.e. cooking their meals, they give up and instead order in or opt for some food service companies to deliver food.
Nothing wrong with that. Just ensure you stick within your calorie target the company that you select is providing foods that are healthy, and the macros are tailor-made according to your requirements.
Stop relying on their gym trainers/fitness pals/ to give you a One-approach Cookie-cutter diet plan which is NOT according to your cultural preferences, habits/behaviors, schedule, lifestyle, and goals.
Be smart and learn this process of creating a personalized diet plan for you or your family.
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About Akash Sehrawat
Akash is a creator of 25+ programs and certificate courses in which more than 200,000 students have enrolled both on Udemy and Fabulous Body's native platform. Akash is also an author of three books that can be found on Amazon. His answers on Quora have gathered more than 12 million views in less than a year.