Sustainable Weight Control – Nutrition and Observation

Two weeks ago I spoke about my approach to Sustainable Weight Control by using a project from my Sports Nutrition course as a case study. In that blog I introduced my client (John Doe, sedentary office worker), highlighted the metrics I used to reach daily nutritional/calorie requirements for John and documented an exercise routine I designed for him. In this article I want to complete the sustainable weight control plan by highlighting the nutrition targets I set for John and discussing continued observation and monitoring of the overall plan.


Caloric Deficit Target

weighing scales for weight control

Last time out we found that John’s daily calorie requirement to maintain his weight while completing his new exercise plan is 2812. Of course John’s goal isn’t to maintain his weight, it’s to lose 8 to 10 lbs over an 8 week period. In order to achieve this, we need to set a daily calorie target for John that is below his current calorie maintenance requirement level i.e. create a caloric deficit. We want to do this in a way that will maximise fat loss, minimise muscle loss and be as sustainable as possible.

Research has taught me that the ideal rate of weight loss is 0.5 to 2 lbs per week. This is a realistic and healthy target for John taking into account his current weight of 175 lbs. This target will also allow the diet plan to maintain a sufficient nutrition level and energy balance for John. Further research has shown me that the best way to achieve this target is to use the recommended daily caloric deficit of 20% below maintenance level. For John this means that his daily calorie target for the 8 week programme will be as follows:

2812 (Maintenance level) 562 (20% of 2812) = 2250


Repeatable Nutrition Plan

detailed diet plan

I developed a 7 day diet plan for John for him to repeat across the 8 weeks as part of my project. I have shared two days of the plan in this blog as an example, I’ll leave the rest of the week up to you! I have targeted an average daily calorie figure of 2250 calories per day based on the findings above. I have included specific nutritional breakdown for each day which shows that there is no nutritional deficiency in the diet as a result of the weight loss goal.


Day 1


  • Two slices chia wholegrain toast
  • One turkey sausage
  • One orange
  • One cup non-fat milk
  • One cup herbal tea or black coffee

(Macronutrients: approximately 543 calories with 26 grams protein, 84 grams carbohydrates and 15 grams fat)


  • One pear
  • One cup milk
  • Glass of water, hot tea or black coffee

(171 calories, 6 grams protein, 34 grams carbohydrates, 2 grams fat)


  • Chicken soup with four wholegrain crackers
  • One small salad with one teaspoon salad dressing
  • Water

(329 calories, 8 grams protein, 38 grams carbohydrates, 17 grams fat)


  • One apple
  • One slice cheddar cheese
  • Sparkling water

(151 calories, 5 grams protein, 21 grams carbohydrates, 6 grams fat)


  • Serving of turkey breast meat
  • One cup baked beans
  • One cup cooked carrots
  • One cup cooked kale
  • One glass of red wine

(784 calories, 84 grams protein, 76 grams carbohydrates, 3 grams fat)


  • One cup frozen yoghurt
  • One cup fresh raspberries

(275 calories, 7 grams protein, 52 grams carbohydrates, 7 grams fat)

healthy salad idea


Day 2


  • One cup corn flakes and one cup low-fat milk
  • One large banana
  • One hard-boiled egg
  • One cup black coffee or herbal tea

(Macronutrients: approximately 401 calories with 18 grams protein, 72 grams carbohydrates and 6 grams fat)


  • One cup plain yoghurt with one tablespoon honey, one cup blueberries, and one tablespoon almonds
  • Glass of water, hot tea or black coffee

(322 calories, 15 grams protein, 46 grams carbohydrates, 8 grams fat)


  • One cup wholegrain pasta with one-half cup chopped tomatoes
  • Medium garden salad with tomatoes and onions and two tablespoons salad dressing
  • Glass of water

(413 calories, 11 grams protein, 67 grams carbohydrates, 12 grams fat)


  • One and a half cup low fat cottage cheese
  • One fresh peach
  • Glass of water

(303 calories, 43 grams protein, 23 grams carbohydrates, 4 grams fat)


  • Serving of pork
  • Small garden salad with tomatoes and onions topped with two tablespoons oil and vinegar (or salad dressing)
  • One baked sweet potato
  • One cup asparagus
  • One glass red wine
  • Sparkling water with lemon or lime slice

(520 calories, 46 grams protein, 35 grams carbohydrates, 10 grams fat)


  • Five wholegrain crackers
  • One cup low-fat milk
  • One cup strawberries

(279 calories, 10 grams protein, 50 grams carbohydrates, 3 grams fat)


In order to highlight the importance of regular reviews and monitoring of a sustainable weight control plan, I created an imaginary check point at 4 weeks and a summary at the end of the 8 weeks showing how the metrics and plan should be updated as you proceed through the schedule.


Continued Observation – 4 Week Checkpoint

We are now at the half way stage of the plan. John has been struggling to get to the gym on the specified days each week however he has recovered any missed resistance training or cardio exercise at the weekend. He is happy with the diet plan and is enjoying the healthier food on the menu. He has not noticed any side effects as a result of the change in diet, in fact he is feeling a lot more energetic thanks to the diet and his renewed exercise routine.

gym routine idea

John’s weight at the half way point in the programme is 170lbs (77kg), that’s a loss of 5lbs (a loss of a little over 1lb a week) which indicates that the plan is working. We can use the BMI formula to review John’s updated body composition as follows:

Weight in kg / height2 in meters = BMI

77 / (1.78m) 2 = 24

This has reduced from 25 before the start of the programme and is now within normal body composition guidelines. We can also update John’s BMR at this halfway point:

88.362 + (13.397 x weight in kg) + (4.799 x height in cm) – (5.677 x age in years) = BMR

`               88.362 + 1031.569 + 854.222 – 193.018 = 1781

And subsequently his new calorie requirement to maintain his weight:

BMR x 1.55 (moderately active) = Calorie Requirement

                1781 x 1.55 = 2760

And finally the updated Caloric Deficit Target:

2760 (Maintenance level) 552 (20% of 2760) = 2208

We are halfway through the plan and John has made great progress to date. He is on target to meet his weight loss goals. Given this progress, and the small difference in Caloric Deficit Targets (2208 vs 2250) I don’t believe there is a need to make any changes to his diet plan at this stage. Weight loss may be a little slower in the next few weeks however he only needs to lose a further 3lbs to come inside his weight loss target (between 8 to 10lbs of weight loss over 8 weeks). Having discussed this with him he is happy to remain on the same diet plan with an average daily target of 2250 calories.


Continued Observation – Summary at end of 8 Weeks

John remained focused on his exercise routine for the remaining 4 weeks. He increased the distance of his runs from week to week as well as gradually increasing the intensity of his resistance training programme. He stuck to his diet plan diligently apart from one lapse on St Patricks Day when he had a little too much to eat and drink.

His weight at the culmination of the 8 week plan was 166lbs (just over 75kg). This means he lost 9lbs over the course of the 8 weeks thus hitting his weight loss target. Therefore his concluding BMI is as follows:

Weight in kg / height2 in meters = BMI

75 / (1.78m) 2 = 23.5

John’s final BMR reading is:

88.362 + (13.397 x weight in kg) + (4.799 x height in cm) – (5.677 x age in years) = BMR

`               88.362 + 1004.775 + 854.222 – 193.018 = 1754

body builder posing

Finally his new calorie requirement to maintain his weight (assuming he continues with the same exercise plan):

BMR x 1.55 (moderately active) = Calorie Requirement

                1754 x 1.55 = 2719



The overall programme can be judged a success based on the figures and on John’s own feedback. John’s discipline in executing the diet plan in parallel with the exercise plan was the key to him reaching his target of 9lbs of weight loss across 8 weeks. John feels leaner, trimmer, healthier and happier.

For John, the programme has also been successful in highlighting the importance of diet and nutritional values in conjunction with a regular exercise plan in order to lose or maintain weight. John’s new goal is to maintain his weight at the current level. Thanks to the detailed breakdowns above, John is aware of his new maintenance calorie target of 2719 and is developing his own diet plan around this.


I hope this case study has been helpful as a basis for your own weight control plan, whatever your goals are. Educating yourself regarding exercise and nutrition can really help in understanding your body and its requirements. Including the metrics above in a weight control plan combined with a bit of discipline can help to set and maintain targets no matter what your objectives or schedule.

Best of luck with your goals - let me know how you go.

I publish a new blog every Wednesday on Office Worker Health so be sure to check back!