This diet is back to basics, the idea is to eat vegetables, protein and quality fats. It’s an easy to follow diet that allows for flexibility in your schedule.
Step 1 – The Prep Work
First thing first we need to know how many calories you need, hope you remember your grade 12 algebra. Use the formula’s below to determine your BMR (basal metabolic rate);
Women: BMR = 655 + ( 9.6 x weight in kilos ) + ( 1.8 x height in cm ) – ( 4.7 x age in years )
Men: BMR = 66 + ( 13.7 x weight in kilos ) + ( 5 x height in cm ) – ( 6.8 x age in years )
OK now that we have your BMR we know how many calories you need just to live, now we need to add your activity into the equation. Confused yet? Think about it like this your BMR is the amount of fuel you burn just to survive, if you were sitting down on a chair for 24 hours a day this is how many calories you would burn. Assuming you don’t sit on a chair for 24 hours a day we need to factor in your activity level. So take your BMR and multiply it by your activity coefficient (Harris-Benedict Equation) this give you your Daily Calorie Requirement.
- If you are sedentary (little or no exercise) : Calorie-Calculation = BMR x 1.2
- If you are lightly active (light exercise/sports 1-3 days/week) : Calorie-Calculation = BMR x 1.375
- If you are moderatetely active (moderate exercise/sports 3-5 days/week) : Calorie-Calculation = BMR x 1.55
- If you are very active (hard exercise/sports 6-7 days a week) : Calorie-Calculation = BMR x 1.725
- If you are extra active (very hard exercise/sports & physical job or 2x training) : Calorie-Calculation = BMR x 1.9
Here’s an example let’s say we have a 35 year old women who is 68kg and 1.62m tall. Her BMR would be 1435 kcal/day, now our example plays soccer 2 nights/week so we would multiply the BMR by 1.375, so we now know that our example needs 1973 kcal/day. This many calories with her exercise level will keep her at 68kg.
Step 2 – Time to trim it down
If you’re looking to stay the same weight you can skip this step, but most people reading this diet are looking to lose some weight. Here’s how we’re going to do it, take your Daily Calorie Requirement and subtract between 200-500 kcal/day. Remember that one pound of fat is 3500 kcal, so by subtracting 500 kcal from your daily requirement you’re looking at one pound of fat loss/week.
Looking at our example again; take the 1973 kcal/day and subtract 500 kcal our example will be eating 1473 kcal a day to get one pound of fat loss a week.
Step 3 – The building blocks
We are going to start with protein, protein is full of amino acids these are the building blocks of all tissue in the body. From my experience most people don’t eat enough protein, they usually under estimate their protein intake. For the average exerciser we’re going to say 1.5g of protein per kilogram of body weight, if you’re into more vigorous exercise push it closer to 2g/kg of body weight.
In our example the 68kg moderate exerciser will need 102g of protein. Now we also need to know how many calories are in the protein, this is easy math. Take the grams of protein and multiple it by 4, this then gives you the calories in protein. For example the 102g of protein contains 408 kcal.
We’re also going to try to divide the protein evenly between 5 meals/day. So if we have 102g of protein/day we’re aiming for about 20g of protein per meal.
Step 4 – Trim the fat by adding fat
Now this can be a confusing concept, most people would assume that to lose fat you limit the fat, wrong, well sort of. You need to limit bad fat and increase the good fat. Now how do you know which is which, well bad fat or saturated fat are typically solid at room temperature and good fats are liquid. This is normally the case there are some exceptions, so read the labels! Now we’re going to do something a bit crazy here, well not really but some people have trouble wrapping their head around it. We’re going to eat the same amount of fat as protein (by calories), so take your daily protein requirement and divide it by 9 (there are 9 kcal per gram of fat). Looking at the example of 408 kcal of protein, and dividing it by 9 we get 45g of fat. Now remember not all fats are created equal, remember this it is very important, in fact I’m going to say it again. NOT ALL FATS ARE CREATED EQUAL. Of our daily fat intake we want 85% of it to be from unsaturated fat. Remember that the protein in step 3 may have some fat in it so you will have to count that as well.
So taking our 45g of fat a day example we see that about 38g of that comes from unsaturated fat, the rest can come from saturated fat.
Step 5 – Filling in the gaps
Well we’re almost done, we just need to deal with a few more macronutrients. The big one and this might take some time to explain, carbohydrates, they get a bad reputation, here’s the truth. Not all carbs are bad, in fact they are very important, the problem people get into is they choose the poor quality carbs. For the sake of this diet we will say High Glycemic Index (GI) Foods, they affect your insulin level in a negative way. So we are going to say that low GI foods are good carbs. This isn’t always the case but for this diet it works very well.
If you take a look at the table above you will notice it is broken up into High and Low GI you can eat carbs from the right side of the table (low GI side). Now how many calories of these low GI carbs are you allowed. If you take the total daily calories and subtract the protein calories and then fat calories from it you get the remaining calories for carbs.
In our example we take 1473kcal – 408 kcal of fat – 408 kcal of protein and we get 657 kcal of carbs. Simple, eh? Well we still have more to go, we want 50% of our carbs to come from vegetables. So we have 329 kcal from vegetables and 329 kcal from other low GI sources. Yes I know there’s not very much fruit on that list, it’s ok you will get through it. You will be getting all of your vitamins and minerals from vegetables.
Step 6 – the unsung hero of a diet
WATER! Many people neglect to drink enough water, it helps with appetite suppression and helps your body’s metabolic processes. Now how much water? Well 8 cups/day is great, I usually like to have more than that, here’s an interesting way of doing it. Drink 2L of water for every 100lbs of body weight (45kg of bodyweight). So our young lady would drink 3L of water a day.
I know this diet will get some controversy, the big one; there’s no direct mention to dairy. In fact no dairy would be ideal, if you’re worried about getting your calcium intake, be sure to eat plenty of green beans and other calcium rich vegetables. Or you can always take a multi-vitatmin that has calcium. My opinion on dairy is that we’re not supposed to have it after we’re done breast feeding, think about it we’re the only animal that drinks milk past infancy and we’re also the only animal that drinks the milk of another animal. If you don’t believe me try not having dairy for 2 weeks and you will notice a difference, you will feel less bloated. The diet is also high in protein, and depending on who you talk to they may say that high protein is bad. My opinion is that if there is no underlying kidney problems your body should be able to handle the higher levels of protein, if you take in enough water. Here’s a summary of everything we just did, sort of like a cheat sheet. Let’s use our example;
Step 1) Determine Daily Calorie Requirement
- 68kg, female, 35years old – 1973kcal/day
Step 2) Trim it down
- subtract calories from the daily caloric requirement; 500 kcal deficit becomes 1473kcal/day
Step 3) Protein
- 1.5g – 2.0g/kg of body weight; 102g (408kcal)
Step 4) Fat
- Protein and fat calories will be equal; 408 divide by 9 = 45g of fat. 85% of fat from healthy fat (38g) and the rest is flexible
Step 5) Carbohydrates
- remainder of calories from low GI carbs and half of those coming from vegetables. 657kcal of carbs and 329kcal from vegetables and the 329 from other low GI sources.
Step 6) Water
- 2L of water for every 100lbs of body weight; 3L of water/day for our example.