By Carol Anthony, accredited PN Nutritionist

on 19/02/2022

These are the most frequently asked questions from clients regarding what to eat, how to eat, how to use the meal plans etc. Diet in this context refers to the food you consume on a daily basis, it does not in any way refer to being ‘on a diet’. Diets simply don’t work. They are restrictive and have a lifespan. The concept of either being on a diet, or off a diet is diabolical for long term, sustainable weight-loss.

How many calories should I be eating a day?

This is a hard question to answer as it is so different for each person. It also depends on your age, activity level and goals. Too many calories, in relation to your daily calorie burn will result in weight gain. If you drop your calories too low you will not get all the nutrients you need to be healthy. A very low calorie diet is also not sustainable and may result in rebound weight gain as soon as you increase your calories.

84days2health meal plans are based on around 1400 – 1600 for women and around 2800 for men. This is merely a starting point and I suggest that you don’t start any lower. It is not healthy to drop your calories below 1200 a day. If you start too low, you have nowhere to go if you reach a plateau.

 What if I am not losing?

If you are not losing on that number of calories, and you are being very honest with yourself that you are sticking closely to that number of calories, you can do one of 2 things or a combination of the two; you can either slightly reduce your calories, or increase your daily calorie burn by upping you activity level, step count or exercise time or intensity, or a combination of both, slightly fewer calories and increased activity.

Important Are you being very honest with yourself? If you say you are only having 1600 calories a day and not losing, are you really only having 1600 calories or is there a calorie creep as a result of BLT (bites, licks & tastes)? This can account for a few 100 extra calories a day, which would most certainly wipe out any calorie deficit. So check your portion sizes, avoid BLTs and ensure that there is no calorie creep.

 Do I have to eat all the meals on the plan?

I have provided 3 meals and 2 snacks on all 84days2health plans. You do not have to eat all the meals and snacks, however, I would suggest you eat at least 4 meals a day and ensure that your calories do not drop much under 1200 calories a day. Our meals and recipes conveniently provide a full nutritional breakdown. Add up the calories of the meals/snacks you choose and ensure that you do not drop under 1200 a day. It is definitely possible to lose weight eating all 5 meals/snacks.

 Do I have to weigh all my meals/snacks?

The calories for each meal in the plan are calculated on the quantities given so I suggest that in the beginning, until you are visually familiar with portion sizes, you do in fact weigh your meals and snacks. You may then convert them to an easier measuring tool eg. 30g almonds is approx. equal to a ¼ cup. Some of the recipes may seem to have strange measurements, this is because they have been converted from lbs and oz. If you have to add 73g of corn, you may certainly round it off to 70 or 75g. If a recipe calls for 100g of chicken breast and you bought a packet of 4 chicken breast that weigh a total of 423g, you can safely assume that each breast weighs +/- 100g. That little will not matter. However, the caloric difference between 30g and 60g of almonds is quite significant. So if your aim is weight loss, I suggest you buy a small digital kitchen scale and weigh out your ingredients, especially in the beginning. It is also not a bad idea to check yourself every now and then to ensure that your portion sizes have not grown too big.

 May I substitute meals or ingredients?

I always tell my clients to look at their meal plan as a jigsaw puzzle. If they want to substitute a meal, would it still fit the puzzle? A chicken salad substituted for a tuna salad or a pear and walnuts instead of a nectarine and almonds would fit the puzzle perfectly. A Krispy Kreme donut would be out of place in the puzzle. So when socialising or eating out, choose something from the menu that would fit the puzzle and not derail you completely. Remember this is not a diet, it is a lifestyle. You need to eat similar meals to those on the plan 84% of the time, that way you will establish a healthy lifestyle that is sustainable for life. (See the Eat More Eat Less Infographic I sent out earlier this week for suitable food exchanges)

What is the 84/14 Principle?

In the wellness world we talk about the 80/20 principle, at 84days2health we like the 84/16 principle. What does this mean? For the sake of consistency, you need to stick to healthy clean eating, according to your meal plans and recipe books at least 84% of the time. 16% allows for celebrations, social events and circumstances beyond your control. If you are on point with your eating 84% of the time, you will definitely get results, be it improved health or weight-loss. The 84/16 principle needs to be applied consistently. Weekends can be challenging, where it can go very wrong for most people. All week they are able to eat healthily 84% of the time, 16% for those incidental meals, nibbles or special occasions. Come the weekend though and 84/16 becomes 50/50 or worse. This can wipe out all the good work you did all week. So remember . . . calories do count over the weekend and so too does the 84/16 principle.


                                           PART 2 to follow . . .

× How can I help you?