How to Establish Healthy Eating Habits
Often, people who are new to fitness and healthy eating turn to fad diets in hopes of losing weight quickly and easily. But if you’re looking to change your eating habits over the long term, it’s best to stick with a diet plan that will help you learn how to establish healthy eating habits and keep them throughout your life. Below are eight steps that will get you on the right track toward healthier living, no matter where you are in your fitness journey.
Step 1: Find your weight in kilograms
Divide your weight in pounds by 2.2. For example, if you weigh 160 pounds, multiply it by 2.2 (160/2.2=72). This number is your weight in kilograms. Now that you know how much weight you want to lose, you’ll want to start thinking about what an appropriate calorie intake is for that goal.
- Get your weight in pounds
Divide by 2.2
Round to the nearest 10 to get your weight in kilograms
Example: 198 pounds / 2.2 = 90kg
Step 2: Find your height in centimeters
When you know your height in centimeters, you can calculate your BMI. If you aren’t sure how tall you are in cm, here’s a quick way to find out For men, add 172 cm to your height in inches; for women add 165 cm (just divide inches by 2.54). Your result is in centimeters—round down to three decimal places if necessary. Check out our BMI calculator on Active for more help with that. Entering 0 as your weight will cause an error message indicating that measurements are required. Most of us have a good idea of what our weight should be and Active makes it easy for you record both measurements so you get on track with health goals fast! Maintaining healthy eating habits is imperative when making lifestyle changes and exercise is equally important in achieving results for both fitness enthusiasts and athletes alike.
Find your height in inches
Multiply by 2.54 to get your height in centimeters
Example: 72 inches x 2.54 = 182.88 cm
Step 3: Find your Resting Energy Expenditure (REE)
How much energy you burn at rest every day. Before you can determine how many calories you should be eating every day, it’s important to know your Resting Energy Expenditure (REE). This is a measure of how many calories your body burns daily at rest. Determining your REE is as simple as estimating how many calories you burn doing daily activities and taking in all of your activity levels over a 24-hour period. For example, if you eat 2,000 calories per day and exercise for two hours five days per week, then 1,000 of those calories are burned off from physical activity. So what about that other 1,000?
Your REE is the amount of calories you burn if you lie motionless in bed all day.
- Male: 66 + (13.7 x kg) + (5.0 x cm) – (6.8 x age in years) = REE calories
- Female: 655 + (9.6 x kg) + (1.85 x cm) – (4.7 x age in years) = REE calories
- Example: 66 + (13.7 x 90kg) + (5.0 x 182.88cm) – (6.8 x 18) = 2,091 Calories
Step 4: Find how many calories you need per day
To find out how many calories you need, first, you need to find your basal metabolic rate (BMR). To do that, multiply your current weight by 10. So if you weigh 120 pounds, your BMR is 1200 calories per day. To find out how many calories you need to maintain that weight, subtract 10% from that number. This means if your BMR is 1200 calories per day, maintenance should be 1108 calories a day.
REE calories x 1.6 = low range of calories
REE calories x 2.4 = high range of calories
2,091 Calories x 1.6 = 3,346
2,091 Calories x 2.4 = 5,018
Step 5: Calculate how many carbs you need
One gram of carbohydrate provides 4 kilocalories (kcal) of energy. To calculate how many grams of carbs you need per day, multiply your total daily energy expenditure (TDEE) by 4. For example, if you expend 2,000 kcal/day and you have an 80 percent carbohydrate threshold then follow a 2,000-kcal diet with at least 200 grams of carbohydrates per day.
Carbs should comprise about 50% of your total caloric intake.
- Multiply your daily calories by .5 to determine many carb calories you must eat
- Divide this number by 4 to find how many grams of carbs you must eat
- (3,346 x .5)/4 = 418 grams of carbs
Step 6: Calculate how much fat you need
Losing weight can feel like a constant struggle, especially when you are trying to avoid foods you enjoy. Instead of focusing on these healthy eating pitfalls, create a game plan that focuses on finding and implementing healthy eating habits. You should consult with your doctor before starting any new exercise or diet plan. Get a baseline assessment of your health at least once every six months from here on out—it’s good for you!
Fat should comprise about 20% of your total caloric intake.
- Multiply your daily calories by .2 to determine how many fat calories you must eat
- Divide this number by 9 to find how many grams of fat you must eat
(3,346 x .2)/9 = 74 grams of fat
Step 7: Calculate how much protein you need
Protein makes up your muscles, hair, skin, and nails. Men require more protein than women because they generally have higher muscle mass. The recommended daily amount of protein for men is 56 grams per day and 46 grams per day for women. To calculate how much protein you need each day: 1) Take your weight in pounds and multiply it by 0.36; 2) Divide that number by 4; 3) Subtract 4 from that number. This will be how many grams of protein you need each day.
Protein should comprise about 30 percent of your total caloric intake.
- Multiply your daily calories by .3 to determine how many protein calories you must eat
- Divide this number by 4 to find how many grams of protein you must eat
- (3,346 x .3)/4 = 251 grams of protein
Step 8: Establish healthy eating habits
Once you’ve established your goals, it’s time to establish your new eating habits. Don’t get me wrong; I’m not saying that it isn’t possible to lose weight without them, but a well-established set of healthy eating habits can make achieving your fitness and health goals much easier and more likely. Make sure these five habits are part of your daily routine!
Eat six times a day: three main meals and three small meals/snacks
All meals should have a carbohydrate source from a fruit or vegetable
All meals should have a protein source
Drink water throughout the day, and avoid sodas and sugary beverages
Always have breakfast to give your body the fuel it needs for the day
Eat a small meal or snack 30-60 minutes before practice and workouts—e.g., almonds and fruit or a peanut butter and jelly sandwich
Eat a meal or drink a protein shake 30 minutes after a workout, practice, or game
Consume lean sources of protein, like fish, chicken, turkey, beef, nuts, and dairy products
Eat whole-grain wheat breads instead of white breads
Avoid fried foods
Avoid eating right before bed. If you do, stick with something light, like a protein shake, grilled chicken or egg whites