One of the bigger hurdles in any fitness journey is almost always nutrition. It really doesn’t have to be hard though, we’ve just been taught by diet culture that it is hard. It’s not. I promise. It’s actually really simple. If you want to lose weight you need to be in a calorie deficit. That does not mean only eating 1000 calories a day, it means burning more than you take in. If you workout that helps you achieve this a little more easily, but seriously you don’t have to deprive yourself and it doesn’t need to be this complex crazy thing you do either.
There are a couple numbers you want to be aware of.
Your TDEE (find that here)
Your BMR (find that here this calculator gives you your TDEE and BMR)
How many calories you’re currently eating. Keep track of everything you eat for three days. Treat these days just as any other. Add up your calories daily and find the average. If you are eating ABOVE your TDEE you are in a calorie SURPLUS which would explain why you are gaining. If you are eating BELOW your BMR this can also explain why you aren’t losing or potentially start to gain when you follow a meal plan.
Let’s start with the more likely scenario which is that you are eating in a surplus. A lot of people think they are in a calorie deficit because they aren’t eating a lot. Chances are though you’re eating high calorie foods and just feel like you aren’t eating a lot because you end up being hungry a lot, snacking, or binging. This is an easy fix. If you’ve calculated your TDEE at 2600 and BMR at 1800 (random numbers I picked) you can start by cutting to 2400 cals/day and you will start to see changes in your weight. You do NOT eat back calories your burn in workouts, those are already considered in the calculation.
If you are eating BELOW your BMR you will need to reverse diet. This is a process of adding 50-150 cals/day while maintaining weight or only gaining a pound or two here and there. This process allows you to bring your caloric intake back up to a healthier number. You see our bodies are extremely smart and if you’ve been in a calorie deficit for a long time your body adjusts and you stop losing weight. So then you have to cut again, again, and again until you’re eating 500 calories per day. Thats not sustainable and will make your life suck a lot. Not to mention it’s incredibly unhealthy to be doing that. Your BMR is the bare minimum number of calories you should be eating once you get close to this number you should consider a reverse diet before doing any cut in calories. In my one on one coaching I help clients with this, so if this is the case for you and you don’t know where to start I can help. Just fill out this form here and mention in the space available that you need this coaching. It’s not extra cost on enrollment, just helps me know where we need to start.
Now that we have that out of the way, here are some tips that really help me when it comes to meal prep. Just some steps I take to make sure I get the most out of my time, my meals, and don’t get bored.
FIRST: Clean out my fridge and take inventory what do I have in my fridge that I can use already, what am I missing. Are there things that have expired or spoiled? This is NOT a throwing out all the “bad” food party. You don’t need to rid your house of the foods you enjoy, this just leads to binging and starting the cycle all over again. Keep the yummy stuff, you’ll thank me later.
SECOND: Make a menu. Write out every meal for the week. Have it mapped out ahead of time.
THIRD: Make a grocery list based off of your menu and the inventory you took of your fridge.
FOURTH: Prep your food. Cut up veggies, wash fruit, have it easily accessible and if you like more snacks type foods have some of that prepped and easy to grab for yourself. I like having hard boiled eggs and mini sweet bell peppers on hand for quick snacks that are also aligned with my goals.
FIFTH: IF YOU WANT A TREAT HAVE THE TREAT– this is huge. Instead of depriving yourself completely of the things you like to eat, have them available to you. If you’re tracking macros which I have my clients do, work the treat into your day. Thats one of the reasons I like tracking macros so much; you have so much flexibility with your food and you can really live a super balanced lifestyle and still reach your goals.