There are so many dietitians out there giving out the same programs or random programs without really analyzing the clients needs. Or they are giving out meal plans and spewing out advice that aren’t based on any real facts or science. We’ve heard clients tell us that their dietitian told them that going to the gym will make them fatter; their muscle mass is too high so they need to stop working out even though their body fat percentage is still in the obese range; or they are giving a weight loss client a meal plan that is meant for a bodybuilder.
As a trainer it pains us to see clients pay hundreds of dollars on meal plans that
1. Are very clearly not meant for their body type at all OR
2. Are so strict that it would be very hard for them to follow.
Here are a few guidelines and basics that you and your nutritionist need to determine before you receive your custom meal plan.
In order to write out a custom meal plan, your nutritionist needs to determine the amount of calories needed by your body each day. This can be determined several different ways, but my favorite is based on your body fat and muscle mass. From there your nutritionist needs to break down your total calorie goals down into macros. Macros is short for “macronutrients” which are protein, carbohydrates, and fat. So you should be provided with a break down of the total calorie count into macro percentages. Every plan needs to start by working out these percentages. That’s the only way you’ll know if a meal plan is custom tailored for you or not.
Your nutritionist should also ask about your activity level, how many times a week your workout, and the intensity of your workouts. If they are writing you a custom meal plan ideally they will also want to know when you workout so they can plan your meals around your schedule.
If someone has strict goals in place (athletes for example) or fat loss goals, then knowing these numbers is key. Keep in mind that in order for you to get a long lasting, significant effect that you will need to work with a nutritionist for a few months so that they can see how changes in your diet are effecting your goals and adjust your plan accordingly.
Hopefully these basic guidelines will help you in ensuring that your nutritionist has your best interest in mind and will work with you to help you achieve your goals!