[This is a guest post by Luke Mitchell. Luke S. Mitchell is an MS Undergraduate in Sports Journalism and manager of ExerciseBikesExpert. He is interested not only in the mind-body relationship and how motivation shapes our bodies but also in how we draw energy just from one simple yet powerful thought.]

There are plenty of modern and trendy diets on the market today. Some are developed by medical professionals, others come via athletes, and them some are created by healthy living practitioners. This is why you can do the very same thing and customize your own meal plan so that you achieve your fitness goals and stay satisfied as well.

# What You Need to Do

Coming up with a custom diet isn’t easy, but it’s achievable as long as you are aware of the technicalities behind it. To help you accomplish just that, we have prepared five practical steps to help you create a personalized nutrition program.

## 1.    Calculate the Optimal Number of Calories

Intaking more calories than you burn off during a day is a sure way to gain weight. Thus, any successful diet relies heavily on controlling this aspect of your nutrition and tailoring it according to several factors. To customize yours, you will first need to crunch some numbers and compare the results.

To determine how many calories you burn each day, you will need to use your Basal Metabolic Rate. To determine yours, use the formula 655 + (4.35 x weight in pounds) + (4.7 x height in inches) – (4.7 x age in years) if you’re a woman and 66 + (6.23 x weight in pounds) + (12.7 x height in inches) – (6.8 x age in year) if you’re a man.

Now that you know your BMR, multiply it with 1.2 if you’re sedentary, 1.55 if you’re moderately active and 1.9 if you’re intensely active in your daily life. This is the number of calories that you burn daily on average. Now add up how many you ingest via breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks. If the number is far larger, you need to make some changes.

## 2.    Determine Your Daily Meal Number

When it comes to how many meals each of us eats per day, numbers may vary. While the traditional set up consists of breakfast, lunch, and dinner, there are actually multiple possibilities out there. You might eat five, even seven times per day in smaller quantities, or keep to the classic formula.

No matter what your choice is, it’s most likely fine as long as it’s regular and you don’t end up eating less. True digestive health doesn’t come from eating three meals per day, but rather keeping a balanced and nourishing schedule. So, the essential thing here is to determine how often and in what quantities your body responds best to dishes and conform to that.

## 3.    Shop Carefully and Plan Meals in Advance

Starting out with the best intentions in mind can be totally derailed once you enter through the doors of your local supermarket. Even with a shopping list in front of you, you might feel tempted to overstep and buy a lot of junk food, candy or some ingredients you are simply never going to use, which impedes your fitness goals and leads to waste as well.

Thus, you need to practice caution and self-control when you shop for groceries. The best way to go about this is by planning meals in advance. Before it’s time to do your weekly rounds around the food and drink aisles, think about what you want to eat next week. Make sure the recipes contain diet-friendly foods and stick to buying just those.

## 4.    Cook Using Healthier Ingredients and Methods

And speaking of recipes and meal planning, how you choose to cook the food you buy is also very important. First of all, it’s essential that you use only organic ingredients and avoid processed goods entirely. And if possible, steering towards the plant-based alternative is always a good idea, according to several studies.

And remember, all those natural fruits and veggies and free-range meats, eggs or dairy are worth nothing if you end up deep frying them, so choose your methods wisely as well. Boiling, braising, baking, roasting or poaching are always good ideas, and when the need arises, sautéing is also acceptable as long as you use healthy oils.

As for getting some ideas on what to make, you can always consult various sources and pick the options that speak to you most. Some Cruise Control Diet recipes can help you get started in this direction, but it’s important to remember that you can customize them even further to achieve the desired results.

## 5.    Be Disciplined No Matter What Happens

The final thing that you need to keep in mind once you go down this path is that you must always be in control of the situation. Following a diet that you designed yourself requires more discipline due to the fact that the crucial steps behind it seem easier to ignore or disregard if someone in a position of authority didn’t impose them.

While we as humans are more inclined to listen to experts in one field or another (nutritionists or personal trainers in this case), when it comes to our own knowledge of a topic we might be tempted to find loopholes at each step along the way. Thus, remember to stay on top of the game no matter what, and benefits will appear soon enough.

# Final Thoughts

Once you come up with the perfect calorie count and number of daily meals, you can start shopping for organic ingredients and cooking them in healthy ways. And as long as you remain  disciplined, there’s nothing that you can’t achieve, so stay focused on your fitness goals no matter what.

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