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Making Your Own Meal Plan

written by Shiv Simani 14th May 2019

Shiv is the owner of Shiv Simani Fitness and a Crossfit L1 trainer.  He also works as a fitness and nutritional coach, content creator as well as a social media influencer

There are mainly two kinds of people. The ones who think of ‘WEIGHT GAIN’ and the ones who think of ‘WEIGHT LOSS’ when they read the words ‘meal plan’. A meal plan is basically your daily diet. A good healthy meal plan gives you all the nutrients you need for the day while still allowing you enough calories to reach your weight loss or gain goal. Nutrition is the foundation for fitness and health.

In this article, I am going to break some common myths and misconceptions about fat loss and gain.

Whether you are trying to gain weight or lose weight, it is all about calorie manipulation versus activity level. That is calories IN versus calories OUT. If you’re confused about the terminologies, the below should help:

Calorie Deficit

You may have seen this term or heard it before in your quest for weight loss. If you are trying to cut down your weight, which is usually excess fat then you have to eat LESS calories than your daily required maintenance calories. Basically fewer calories in, more calories out.

Calorie Surplus

This is a term you have definitely heard on your weight gain journey. In order for you to gain weight then you need to eat more calories than your daily required maintenance calories. Basically more calories in versus calories out. Now, more or less all food and drink have calories with an exception to water, herbs and spices.

There is a lot of talk going around about which diet plan is ‘the best’. Well, here it is; None of the above and all of the above. We are all unique individuals with different ages, heights, meal preferences, work schedules, cultural backgrounds, body types and so on. So why would one shoe fit all?

The best meal plan is one that you enjoy, is sustainable, nutritious and helps you achieve your goal. Whether that’s a vegan, vegetarian, keto or omnivorous plan. It has to check the mentioned boxes. With sustainability being a major key as you are in this for the long haul. Weight management journey is a marathon and not a sprint.

The basics for a nutritious and sustainable meal plan would be for you to “eat meat, vegetables and nuts. Some fruits. Little starch. No sugar. Keep intake to levels that will support exercise but not body fat’ – Coach Greg Glassman, CrossFit founder and CEO.

Using all the above pointers we can make a basic plan on how to divide your plate into thirds with healthy servings of protein, carbs and fat:

 

Protein

This should be about 1/3 of your servings. Go for lean protein such as skinless chicken breast, lean beef, lean pork, fish and low-fat dairy.

Carbohydrates

This should be about 2/3 of your servings. Healthy non-starchy carbs with high nutritional value and low glycemic index (GI). These include colourful and leafy green vegetables and fruits. Examples, apples, oranges, kiwi, grapefruit, kale, spinach, sweet potato, butternut, quinoa.

Fats

Healthy mono-saturated fats such as nuts, avocados, olive oil and seeds.

It is important to note when you make changes to your diet, your body will take time to react to the new stimulus. Give yourself a minimum of 30 days before you start to see some changes and if after 60 days there are no changes then you need to revisit your plan and all other aspects of your lifestyle. Training while dieting is highly recommended.

Muscle, strength and cardiovascular health can only be built through some form of working out. Again this could be yoga, running, CrossFit, bodybuilding, swimming etc. It’s purely a matter of preference.

It is also recommended that you see a professional if you need help determining what meal and exercise plan would work best for you. 

Read more in our May issue in print and online: 

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