Friday, March 30, 2012

Having a Purpose and Your Meal Plan

This is what I had for breakfast.  Chocolate milk, Blue Bell No Sugar Added Ice Cream, a banana and two scoops of whey protein isolate.  This is not misery, this is fun.  I failed many times in the past because I did not take the time to understand my body.  I only thought I had to eat chicken breasts, broccoli, vegan cheese, soy milk……the list goes on.  Anyway, the more I researched various schools of thought on nutrition, the most common theme among successful fitness enthusiasts was getting enough calories to fuel your workout, making sure your are getting nutrient rich foods in your diet, and hitting your macros based on your fitness goals.  That’s it.  I then thought, well, does this mean that I can eat crap all day as long as I’m hitting my macros?  Bottom line, you can lose weight by having a daily caloric deficit and eating Twinkies, Doritos, and Little Debbie’s (see here:  But, if you are like me, you will feel like crap doing it.  My body cannot process this stuff like other people, so I just stay away.  Also, my goal is to gain muscle and lose fat, I doubt Twinkies would be the optimal food to fuel my workouts.

With that being said, your meal plan should be fun, and should have a purpose.  What do I mean by purpose?  If you are like the old me, you exercise and eat, based on a plan someone created for themselves, and you are piggybacking on generalities and tips that they have passed along.  How many of you have actually taken the time to figure out exactly what you are trying to accomplish and model your diet around that goal?  If you want to lose weight, fine.  How will you do it? Running, weightlifting, sitting on your rear-end?  Yes, you can lose weight sitting on your rear end.  If you know your Resting Metabolic Rate (RMR), or the amount of calories you can burn resting and sleeping, you can shoot for a daily caloric intake around that number, and monitor your progress.  I can’t tell how much higher or lower than that number because I don’t know your body, but you get my point.  I am shooting for strength and fat loss, so my calories have to be much higher than my RMR.  Remember, there are plenty of calculators out there that will calculate your needs for, like here  I’m telling you, if you are like me, you cannot afford to exercise and not understand how many calories you need.  If you are underfeeding your body, your cravings and hunger are intensified, and you will immediately cave and start going back to the old habits. Know how many miles you are running, estimate calories burned (or use a heart rate monitor to get really accurate), really understand and obtain a ballpark number on how much activity you are getting a week through your desired program.  I truly believe I would not be where I am right now without knowing my personal caloric needs.  You will also have to adjust.  Like I mentioned, I came up with a daily caloric number, but had to increase after sixty days because my workouts began to suffer and I was feeling very hungry ( I am getting to know the difference between cravings and outright hunger, I think).

You have to get this your head right now.  The first month, your body (if it is like mine) may not adjust too well to the increase in calories and actually increase your weight.  Stay the course, do not be that person who jumps on the scale and whines about not losing weight, it doesn’t work that way, at least for me.  Have faith in the process.

Now…….on to the fun stuff…..what the hell am I eating and how is ice cream (no sugar added) and chocolate milk part of my good diet?

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