1. Determine Average Daily Caloric Expenditure:
The number of calories you need each day in order to maintain your current body weight is considered your average daily caloric expenditure.
1) What you need before you begin: a food scale, measuring cups and a calorie counting reference book that breaks down food by grams/ounces into total calories, grams of protein, grams of carbohydrates and grams of fat.
2) Next you start by taking a beginning body weight: Keep a food journal for 5 days. Do not attempt to be good or bad as we are trying to determine your current metabolic rate. On the 6th day take an ending body weight.
3) If your beginning and ending bodyweight are equal then the sum of the calories consumed divided by 5 is your average daily caloric expenditure.
2. Evaluate Your Food Journal Qualitatively and Quantitatively:
Now that we know your average daily caloric expenditure, we can take a closer look at the timing and specific quantities of each meal, total calories and nutrient value of the foods you consume each day. Next, we will identify and prioritize the things about your program that can and should be changed or tweaked during the 1st phase of your program.
1) Specific quantities of each meal as well as how many times a day you eat and even the length of time between meals can all affect your body composition.
2) Total calories are an important part of the mathematical equation as well. Because we know how many calories a day your body burns on average, we can adjust that number you consume to create an energy deficit. A deficit not a “crisis”! A deficit is a narrow margin between the amount you consume and amount you burn resulting in a loss of bodyweight (body fat when we apply the rest of the system). A crisis is too wide a margin between consumption and expenditure leaving the body afraid of starvation so it stores fat and sacrifices muscle for energy. What happens then…our metabolism slows to a crawl and no body wins.
3) The nutrient value of you meals is the third and an extremely important component of the program. Your overall health and the efficiency of your machine depend greatly on the quality of the food. If food is fuel and you are a machine then consider this; in terms of fuel types, you can put unleaded regular, super unleaded, racing or rocket fuel into your machine. How well your machine operates is strongly influenced by the type of fuel you decide to use.
3. Establishing Proper Ratios of Proteins, Carbohydrates and Fats:
Whether your goal is to reduce body fat storage while maintaining lean muscle tissue or gaining lean muscle without adding body fat, you must first establish the correct ratios of proteins, carbs and fats. Although the specific needs of each individual may vary, it is a good idea to begin with a conservative ratio, which is followed for the first phase (about 4 weeks). By standardizing the amounts of foods in each serving and ratios of proteins, carbs and fats for 30 days, we often see modest body composition changes. More importantly, we have created an environment that allows even small changes in values to be both recognized and responded to by the body. When consumption is too erratic, a small change goes unnoticed by the body and is ineffective.
4. Perform an Initial Assessment:
In order to measure the effectiveness of any program, there must be a beginning set of measurements that changes can be compared to. Changes in those measurements let us know how we are doing along the way. These measurements should be re-evaluated at pre-determined intervals that can be used to chart your results. Knowing you are going to be re-evaluated may keep you on track and help avoid temptation to stray from the program.
Six indicators give us a clear picture of your program’s effectiveness:
We determine your body fat percentage by using a skin fold caliper, your circumference measurements by using a tape measure and your body weight by using a scale
If any one of these six categories is not what we expect or predict then we can go back to the program and re-evaluate the components, make the necessary adjustments and get you going in the right direction.
5. Develop and Implement a Nutritional Plan:
Now that we know how many calories your body needs to remain the same, have determined the proper ratios of proteins, carbs and fats and have a beginning assessment, we are ready to develop and implement a nutritional program designed specifically for you.
One of the reasons you keep a food journal is to identify the good things you do and to try and keep as many of your food choices in your program as possible. It makes no sense to change your whole program around, possibly including foods you will not
continue to eat and have you quit before realizing any benefit.Your body will respond more favorably to small changes that are meaningful but not too stressful. Altering too many things at once puts your metabolism under attack and often causes it to shut down trying to defend itself. The body will eventually adapt to these changes. Additional changes will be required in order to keep your progress going in the right direction.
There is another benefit to a step down process instead of a change it all at once method. Remember that your body eventually adapts to any environmental changes. Therefore, if we change everything conceivable all at once, we are less likely to achieve our goal before adaptation stalls the progress, leaving us without any additional adjustments to make. A lifestyle change is often required in order to achieve and maintain a positive body composition and relative improvement in your overall health and wellness. This is usually best accomplished gradually, allowing the small changes to become new habits in your daily routine.
During the evaluation of your food journal, we identified those things about your program that needed to be changed or adjusted in order to achieve your goals.These changes were prioritized by importance to the success of your program. We will now begin by modifying your nutritional program, systematically; making only those changes you can live with. We will define the ideal model and then try to duplicate it or come as close as you are able and willing. Remember this is your program and you decide how much sacrifice and how many changes are reasonable and manageable not just for a while but long term.
6. Inspect What We Expect:
Food journaling initially allowed us to determine your average daily caloric expenditure and evaluate your program from the inside out. Continue the food journal during the initial phase of implementation. Without a crystal ball it is impossible to guarantee your body’s response to the changes we make. Keeping a food journal allows us to evaluate what you are doing; in the event we are not getting the predicted or desired response by the body. If all is going well and you are a creature of habit, as most of us are, then you can discontinue keeping the food journal until the next time we want to make an adjustment or tweak your program.
7. Re-evaluate and Make Adjustments:
In about 4-6 weeks from the day you implemented your new program, we want to complete another assessment and re-evaluate your nutritional program. If the body composition changes are within the accepted standard (decided upon in the beginning) and your program is still effective then we will allow it to continue until we reach the inevitable plateau. At that point, we would want to implement another level of changes to stimulate forward progress.
This step is accomplished as many times as necessary to get you to your body composition goal.
8. Develop a Maintenance Program:
Once you have reached your desired goal or have made as many changes as you can live with it is time to develop a maintenance program. The maintenance program is designed to help you keep the body composition changes you have made while still living life. Most programs stop at 6 weeks or when you reach your individual goals. This is a life plan that promises to help you keep the changes and manage or control your healthy body for an indefinite period. We know a great many things can affect your body’s chemistry. You will learn and understand more about how your body reacts to different foods and develop the good habits necessary to meet life’s changes head on and be able to adapt to them with confidence and success.