Because weight loss meal plans can be quite complicated to put together, we tend to follow a meal plan that we see online or in a magazine in order to lose weight. This sounds reasonable enough, but the sad truth is that you will never fully know if that diet meal plan you are following is actually based on smart scientific evidence, or even if it works.
You have to try it to test it, and you can only prove that diet meal plans work for weight loss after you have been at it for a while.
To get the best result out of using pre-prepared diet meal plans, there are 5 basic things you should know. Here they are:
Your calorie needs depend on your size
Most diet meal plans give a blanket assignation of calorie needs depending on gender. For example, most diet plans assign women to a 1,200 calorie per day diet plan, and men to a 1,500-1,800 calorie per day diet plan. What most of these diet plans do not do is take into cognizance the size of the person involved.
A larger person will need more calories than the person with the average weight because they burn more calories, and the reason larger people burn more calories is that their hearts work harder and their body needs a minimum to support the current body mass. Going below that minimum causes the body to act like it is in starvation mode.
So, if you are larger than the average sized person, a 1,200 calorie per day diet plan (if you are a woman or a 1,500-calorie plan if you are a man) might not work for you. The same goes if you are of a smaller size than the average man or woman.
A fitness expert recommends that everyone should eat his/her “bodyweight times 10” in calories.
Your calorie needs depend on your activity level
The more active that you are, the higher your daily calorie needs. And the less active you are, the lower your daily calorie needs. Have this in mind when following a diet meal plan for weight loss. Women who fall within the age range of 31 to 50 who do not exercise at all should aim for 1,200 calories a day while those who exercise less than 30 minutes a day need about 1,800 calories daily, with their counterparts in men needing about 2,200.
Women of the same age who are more active (perhaps by exercising more than 30 minutes a day) can eat about 2,000 calories daily, while more active men can eat about 2,400 calories. Very active women aged 31 to 50 need about 2,200 calories a day, while very active men need about 3,000.
Your calorie needs depend on your metabolic rate
Metabolism varies from individual to individual and it is affected by a host of factors such as your age, your height and weight, your gender and your physical activity habits.
Taller people usually have higher metabolic rates than shorter people while overweight people usually have higher metabolic rates than slimmer people. People with lean muscle mass also tend to have higher metabolic rates.
You will need to schedule and track your meals
Planning each meal in advance and having foods ready to go will increase the likelihood of you sticking to your diet meal plan. After choosing a meal plan, you will probably get advice/tips on what to eat per day, but you have the responsibility of deciding when to eat those meals.
This means that you need to plan a schedule that works for you. For a more effective schedule, go for major meals eaten five hours apart from each other, and a light snack in between each meal. This way, you won’t become so hungry that you go for unhealthy choices or overeat.
Make it a habit to plan by setting aside one hour or thirty minutes at the beginning of every week to schedule your meals and to create a shopping list.
You will need to become handy around the kitchen
Except you are very wealthy and can afford a private chef or have pre-packaged healthy meals delivered to your doorstep, you will need to become handy around the kitchen and learn how to prepare basic healthy meals. This is simple logic. It makes no sense to have a healthy diet meal plan to help you lose weight if you are unable to prepare the foods that the meal plan suggests.
One great way to avoid feeling overwhelmed is to prep your food ahead of time. Parboil that rice and keep in the refrigerator for proper cooking by meal time. Cut the veggies and bag them for use later on.
Lay out the foods that you are scheduled to eat for breakfast so that everything is ready to go when you wake up.
In conclusion, you should never blindly follow a diet meal plan without making allowances for yourself as an individual. This is simply because most meal plans assume that you fall within the normal range of weight, and do not take into cognizance the fact that we all have different metabolic rates, and different activity levels. It simply does not consider that some people sit at their tables for 8 hours a day while some others have jobs that require them to be on the go every hour of the day.