If you’re an average sized person doing an average amount of exercise, then the meal plan will likely fit your needs. However, you may need to modify the meal plan a little bit if you fall into one or more of these categories.
- small person (under 5’2″ for a woman and under 5’5″ for a man) doing very little or no exercise
- large person (over 5’9 for a woman and over 6’0″ for a man) doing little to average amounts of exercise
- anyone doing a lot of exercise (more than 3 days of vigorous exercise per week)
- gaining weight on the meal plan
- feeling fatigued on the meal plan after being on it for at least three weeks
If you’re one of these people, then let’s talk about how to modify the meal plan for you. First things first.
Are you eating enough, too much, or too little on the plan?
If you’re fatigued or low blood sugar on the meal plan, you might not be eating enough. If you’re not losing weight, you might be eating too much. If you’re a 6’1″, 180 pound guy doing CrossFit or some other intense workout 5 times a week, the meal plan on its own isn’t going to be enough for you. It’s as simple as that. You’re going to be hungry and feel weak and fatigued. Your performance will suffer because you’re not getting enough calories. Even if you’re trying to cut calories to lose weight, you’ll be cutting too many calories to be sustainable. For instance, a 25 year-old, 6’1″, perfectly fit guy at a lean 180 pounds hitting the gym hard 3-5 times a week might need up to 3,300 calories a day to maintain his weight.
What The Meal Plan Provides
The meal plan provides between 1,500 and 2,000 calories per day on its own. The reason it provides this many calories is that it’s way easier to add to the menu than to take away in our opinion. If we gave a 45 year-old, 5’0″, 150-pound, inactive woman who’s trying to lose weight 3,000 calories a day, she’d gain weight pretty quickly. She actually only needs about 1,650 calories a day, and that’s to maintain her weight – not to lose weight.
So, if you’re that big, young guy we talked about before, or even a 27 year old, 5’7″, 140 pound guy who’s moderately active and doesn’t need to lose weight (who needs roughly 2,150 calories a day to maintain his weight), you need to add food to the meal plan.
How Many Calories Do You Need?
You can figure out roughly how many calories you need at the Mayo Clinic’s handy dandy little calculator. Your result is an APPROXIMATE. We can’t stress that enough, but it will at least give you an idea of how much or little you should be eating every day, and therefore how you should or shouldn’t tweak the meal plan.
If you’re trying to lose weight, subtract 200 or 300 calories from that every day and you’ll likely start losing weight. More info on that below. If you want to get more detailed about it, go sign up for a free account at www.myfitnesspal.com, and in the set-up process, it’ll tell you how many calories you should be eating in order to lose 1 or 2 pounds a week. By the way, 1 or 2 pounds per week is a healthy and sustainable amount to lose, although it may end up being more or less than that, depending on your metabolism, stress levels, sleep habits, etc.
How to Add Food to The Meal Plan
Add Meat or Dairy
3.5 oz chicken breast with skin = 197 calories
3.5 oz sirloin steak broiled = 212 calories
3.5 oz wild Atlantic salmon broiled = 182 calories
2 oz cheddar cheese = 229 calories
1 tbs coconut oil = 117 calories
1 tbs olive oil = 119 calories
1 tbs coconut milk (canned) = 112 calories
1/2 avocado = 160 calories
2 cups raspberries (raw or frozen) = 128 calories/30 g carbs
1 cup baked sweet potato = 180 calories/41 g carbs
1 large banana = 121 calories/31 g carbs
A note on carbs. Yes, this is a low-carb meal plan, but if you’re a very active person and your performance is suffering on this meal plan, you may actually need more carbohydrates to fuel your workouts. Even if you add 100 grams of carbs to this meal plan, you’ll still be “low carb” compared to most Westerners. So don’t fear the carbs if you’re active. Even if you’re active and trying to lose weight. You don’t want to starve yourself.
All of this information is from the USDA Nutrient Data Laboratory.
How to Decrease Food on The Meal Plan
- Subtract snacks from the meal plan. Just don’t buy that jerky or the nuts. Then cut your lunch in half. Eat one half of your lunch for lunch and one half as your snack.
- Use less oil when you cook. A tablespoon of oil is over 100 calories, so if you use half a teaspoon (or none) instead of a tablespoon, it will add up over the day.
- If you find that your partner on the plan needs more food and you need less food than you’re getting, then give your partner more food and you take less. No more even portions for two very differently proportioned people.
Remember that the meal plan is a template. Everyone has their own special caloric needs, and you might have to do a little bit of research to figure out what yours are, and if you need to add or subtract from the meal plan to make it work for you. It may sound daunting at first, but you’ll definitely get the hang of it over time!