As you figured out how many cals you need a day in order to maintain or lose weight, you probably have no idea how to spread those calories during the day – CORRECTLY.
One of the common mistakes people do (and what I did too) is rely on one, full meal of the day and hope to get over the rest of the day just snacking – well it doesn’t work. What I did was trying to eat a lot for breakfast – since it is the most important meal of the day. I ate about 600-700 cals for breakfast hoping that they would get me through the day and I won’t feel hungry until like 2pm. Then I hoped to eat a very small lunch (about 300 cals) and a tiny tiny dinner (about 200), plus snacking 2 times during the day with an apple or a carrot.
Well, guess what – it didn’t quite work! It didn’t work for 2 major reasons:
1. you cannot pack in one huge meal during the day and hope that it will get you through the day (don’t even try – you’re abusing your body)
2. when you are on a diet, it is not allowed to eat huge meals at a time (it will not help you lose weight)
Once I realized that, I had to change my eating habits. And that’s where the difficult part comes for all of you. You have to adapt and teach yourself to eat small portions of food at a time. If you want to lose weight I would strongly recommend not eating more than 400 cals per portion. (Your food journal will help you track that correctly).
Why is it so? Because if you pack in a meal that is 700-800 cals worth, even if you’re on a diet, it is more than your body needs at that point. Your body will digest and use as much energy of those 700-800 cals it needs, and it will store the energy excess into your butt for example. Sad but true…So DON’T OVEREAT!
And important advice: THINK BEFORE YOU EAT NOT AFTER YOU EAT. When you’re making your food choices for the day – chose wisely. Think of the consequences before it’s in your mouth, not after.
So that was the first thing. Not more than 400 – 500 cals per portion. In order to give you a better overview I will describe how a weight-losing food journal should look like (variations are allowed of course, this is just an example).
For a 1700 daily calorie intake your eating schedule should look something like this:
– Breakfast (8-9 am) – one boiled egg, 2 toasts (brown whole-grain bread). One toast with ham and a half a slice of cheese, one with jam. You can also have one small cup of yogurt (I strongly recommend plain yogurt). Tea (take care with the sugar, I use a half of tea-spoon – that’s enough. Get used to taste the TEA not the SUGAR, it’s not a syrup). (This will be about 400 calories)
– Snack (11-12 pm) – one apple or two oranges or if you feel hungry you can have a tiny piece of chocolate. By saying tiny I mean literally one square out of the entire bar. (your snack shouldn’t be more than 100 cals)
– Lunch (1 – 2 pm) – caesar salad WIHOUT dressing or vinaigrette dressing if you can’t toss it in without any kind of dressing. Any salad would be fine, just take care it doesn’t contain mayo, any type of dressing and fried stuff. Try to pick a salad with rice, vegetables, meat, eggs, fruits, nuts (any of these is fine). Grab a slice of toasted brown bread with your salad (AVOID buns, rolls and anything like that). If there is no bread, eat an apple or a cup of yogurt with your salad. (The meal should be about 500 cals).
– Snack (3 – 4 pm) – a banana or an apple would do. (Bananas have a lot of fiber and sugar (approx 135 cals) and should kill the food cravings)
– Dinner (6 pm) – you can have a fish with baked veggies, or a light soup. Say a bouillon with a few vegies and chicken and a slice of toasted bread. If neither of these are in your house, have a good sandwich. Just one. Chose what you prefer to put on it (jam, or a slice of ham with veggies or plain yogurt). I strongly recommend chopping a few vegies such as bell pepper, carrots and cabbage in a bowl since this is probably the first time you’re gonna try to NOT to eat after 6 – it’s gonna be tough! (The dinner should be about 350 cals, and the veggies with yoghurt about 200).
Since every food and portion size is individual, the calorie counts are approximations. The foods that I mentioned are healthy for you and definitely won’t harm you. Of course you have to figure out for yourself which portions you take and what you put in your mouth. And I am sure that in the beginning you will eat more that what I’ve mentioned, since food cravings will persist for a while, but you have to get somewhere close to what I’ve described.
So, as I just mentioned, this is basically the last meal of your day. You have to try to not to eat after this time, and I know from my own experience – it is difficult. That’s why I recommend chopping a bowl with these veggies for the evening and you can mix them with some plain yogurt. This should get you through the evening.
One important rule you have to remember, not only while on a diet, but in general: Eat DIFFERENT kinds of foods. Don’t stick to one type of food and eat it everyday – it is not really healthy. Your body needs all the nutrients (from fish, meat, nuts, milk, spinach), so try to vary your meals. Have fish at least once a week and meat at least twice. Try to eat fruits and vegies everyday, since many of them supply your body with magnesium (soybeans), iron (spinach, parsley), healthy sugar (fructose) and vitamins.
Here are some tips you can use to overcome your food cravings during the day and the evening.
– drink a glass of water in the morning when you woke up and your stomach is empty (helps your digestion)
– drink a glass of water 20 min before your meals (it takes space in your stomach and you tend to eat less)
– drink tea (tea helps eliminating the food cravings and is a great drink for relaxation of your body)
– try to think of it less (it is important that your mind is on the same line with your body. Don’t focus too much on your diet and the fact that you’re eating less. If you’re feeling hungry (especially in the evening), go for a walk or for a jog. Sports take away your appetite within an instant)
– follow the 20 min rule! In fact many of us don’t know that the feeling of “being full” comes 15 to 20 min after we had a meal. It is because it takes a while for the stomach to start digesting the food and send a signal to the brain that there is food in the stomach. Most of us eat until they’re really full and that’s because of lack of patience. If you ate your 500 calorie lunch and you’re feeling hungry right after it – give it some time. You will see that within 15 to 20 minutes your hunger will fade and you will be just fine.
This is it for today, I’m sure you have a lot of things to work on already!
GOODLUCK AND STAY FOCUSED! WE’RE GONNA GET THERE!