In my previous post Keep a Food Journal With Myfitnesspal (Part 1), I showed you where to go and how to set up an account. Hopefully, you’ve had some time to check out the site and maybe you’ve even begun to keep a food journal!
This time I’m going to go over setting your goals.
Log in using the user name and password you previously set up. You’ll see a page that looks like this.
Go ahead and clock on “Goals” and go to the next screen.
Click the green “Change Goals” button and choose custom and continue.
Then you’ll be presented with this screen where you can set your target calorie and percentage goals. You can see that I’ve set my target caloric goal of 2500 calories at 40% carbs, 30% proteins, and 30% fats and then I just let the rest auto-populate. I don’t recommend paying much attention to the Fitness Goals and Diet Profile boxes on the other half of the screen. I think they’re confusing to people and not entirely accurate. The important part is the Daily Nutrition Goals, as this is the overall picture that we need.
Now the numbers that I’ve entered are my numbers and I’m not recommending that you use these numbers. I’ve come to these numbers by adjusting week by week until I found a zone that works for me. I try to get a daily caloric range from 2200 calories on the low-end to 2500 calories on the high-end. Keep in mind that my height, weight, and amount of exercise have an effect on this. Everyone’s bodies are different and everyone’s workout routines and metabolic rates are different so obviously, you’re going to have to experiment a little here with finding your window.
I leave myself a window that allows me to eat a little more or a little less and it’s no big deal. Otherwise, and trust me on this, people will think you’re crazy if you beat yourself up over getting exact numbers. Consistently managing your calories over a period of time will have a more real effect on your weight management than worrying about 200-300 calories per day.
I know you’re wondering now about choosing your own caloric range.
The funny thing is, I was about to refer you to another website to help you figure that out but when I was looking around for a good site I realized that there’s not a lot of good choices. Especially if you’re looking for something official like the USDA’s Choose My Plate site. I’ve concluded, that their whole plate thing and their website sucks, and is not very informative or helpful. If I needed to learn how to manage my nutrition and started out there looking for a source of information, I’d probably cry!
Fine, I know your curiosity is going to make you Google it anyway, so I might as well give the LINK.
It’s now clear to me that I need to write my own article about choosing your caloric range but that’s outside the scope of this article. What I am going to do though is give you a general guideline.
- Men of average weight and height should use 2500 calories as a starting point. This is where I’m at and I’m 5 foot 10, 170 pounds and really active. At this range I maintain a steady weight and keep a low percentage of body fat. Adjust accordingly by 100-200 calories per week. If you need to lose weight then start lower and if you’re a bigger guy then eat more man!
- Women of average weight and height should start at about 1800 to 2000 calories. Everything else I suggested to the guys above applies.
It’s important to keep in mind here that this is not rocket science.
If you want to lose weight then consume fewer calories than you burn in a day! If that is the case with you, and it most likely is if you’re reading this article, then realize that this concept of caloric windows I’m discussing here is not about crash dieting, it’s not about starving yourself, and it’s not a gimmick! This is sound advice that is sustainable for a whole lifetime of healthy eating. If you control your calories on a day-to-day basis, for a consistent length of time, and be active, then pounds are going to come off in a healthy way without chemicals, without drugs, without starving, and without surgery!
It all starts with a plan and you can’t have a plan without knowing where you want to go. Keeping a food journal and knowing exactly what it is that you’re putting into your body is the first step!
I’ll conclude this topic next week when I actually show you how I meet my caloric goal and percentage range by actually putting together a whole day’s menu. Stay tuned!
Keep a Food Journal With Myfitnesspal (Part 2)