I really wanted to pretend here that I have come up with the greatest diet known to mankind by trying to trick you into believing that I have stumbled onto the cure all new way of eating by calling this post the “THE VARIETY DIET” Well sorry this is really nothing new however with everyone wanting to eat the right food, lower their fat intake, eliminate toxins, increase their antioxidants and consume the latest in the new fangled magic foods it is high time to look at what we eat and what we should be eating. While many people are well intentioned in their new eating regimes, often while in search of doing the right thing they miss out on all the foods groups and sometimes stick to limited food and choices. The key with our diet is in fact to eat a wide variety of foods, including dairy, fats, meats, vegetables nuts, and fruits. I live in Australia where we are fortunate to have access to nearly ever food known to mankind. While I am not against some good natural supplementation all our nutrients are best ingested from real foods. Some people believe they are lactose intolerant, a Coeliac, wheat intolerant or suffer from food allergies when in fact only about 2 % of people have these disorders. The other real key to good health and weight loss is a diet rich in nutrients and low in calories. We need on average about 1200 calories just for our organs and systems to work. So work out what you require in calories to lose or in fact gain weight. Then try selecting foods from a wide selection of appetising delights. The following is a calculation to work out how many calories you require to gain or lose weight.

CALCULATION: This calculation is the Harris Benedict equation for your resting metabolic rate. In other words what you require just so your organs and bodily functions work. You need to add in activity and increase your calorie intake depending on your activity. The calculation is only used for resting, in other words if you sat still all day in bed and didn’t move. It is imperative that you add on more calories in relation to movement IE moving around, exercise ect. Find the appropriate formula in the table below for your gender and age to calculate your resting metabolic rate (RMR)  

Basal Metabolic Rate formula for women - [655+ (9.6 x weight kg) + (1.7 x height cm) - (4.7 x age)]

Basal Metabolic Rate formula for men – [66+ (13.7 x weight kg) + (5 x height cm) - (6.8 x age)]

Therefore a male who is: 186cm tall, 105kg in weight, and who is 52 years old needs 2,080.9 calories just to stay alive without any exercise or movement…He would then add on more calories to just function in daily life and additional calories if he was exercising.

66+ (13.7 x 105kg) + (5 x 186cm) – (6.8 x 52years old) = 2080.9calories

The above equation does not take into consideration the composition of your body, which is a measurement of the percentages of both muscle and fat that your individual body is made up of. Therefore it is less accurate if you have a non-typical amount of muscle because muscle burns calories, whereas fat does not.

A person who has an above average amount of muscle will have a higher Basal Metabolic Rate or Resting Metabolic Rate than calculated; a person with a below average amount of muscle will have a lower Basal Metabolic Rate or Resting Metabolic Rate than calculated.

If your goal is to reduce your weight by burning off excess body fat, try to eat 500 less calories each day than your daily calorific needs, and also maintain or increase your exercise activity.

As your Resting Metabolic Rate only represents resting energy expenditure, an adjustment needs to be made to reflect your level of activity. You can do this by multiplying your RMR or BMR by an activity factor (this factor was put forward by McArdle et al 1996).

Activity Factor

  • 1.2 – Sedentary – Little to no exercise each day
  • 1.375 – Lightly Active – Light exercise or sports 1-3 days each week
  • 1.55 – Moderately Active – Light exercise or sports 3-5 days a week
  • 1.725 – Very Active – Hard Exercise or sports 6-7 days a week
  • 1.9 Extremely Active – Hard daily exercise or sports plus a physical occupation

Examples to help you answer the question ‘how many calories should I eat a day?’:

  • A woman who is 30 years old, 5ft 5 inches (165.1cm) tall and weighs 140 pounds (63.6kg)
  • [ 655 + 610.56(9.6 x 63.6) + 280.67(1.7 x 15.1) - 141(4.7 x 30) ] = 1405.23 calories per day
  • You will then need to multiply 1405.23 by the activity factor that applies to you.

If you deem yourself as sedentary then this is then 1405.23 x 1.2 = 1.686.27

A man who is 35 years old, 6 ft 3 inches (190.5cm) tall and weighs 196 pounds (89.1kg)

[66 + 1220.67(13.7 x 89.1) + 952.5(5 x 190.5) - 238 (6.8 x 35)] = 2001.17 calories per day

You will then need to multiply 1405.23 by the activity factor that applies to you.

Please note that the above calorie calculations are approximations.

The above calorie calculator works out how many calories that you need a day but if you want to be able to lose weight then you should be eating less than this consistently. Obviously by this we do not mean starving yourself and eating 200 calories a day but by reducing your total by 300 to 500 calories is a good start as well as getting more exercise.


The key is portion control to match your requirements. Try to be creative in food selection, keep it as Mother Nature intended and stay away from additives, preservatives, packaged foods, colourings flavours and chemically altered foods.  To make it easier for you I have put together some selections for breakfast, snacks, lunch and dinner. I could go on forever but the fun will be for you to find the natural good foods, herbs and spices and create your own concoctions. Avoid too much alcohol, drink water regularly and if you are a smoker then quit now before it is too late. Enjoy. BON APPETIT

With all your choices, and when buying foods ensure you find unprocessed natural products with no preservatives and additives. Where possible try and buy organic fruit vegetables and lean meats, fish. There is less chance that you will be ingesting pesticides and chemical sprays.

Breakfast Choices:

  • Natural muesli with skim milk and blueberries on top
  • Grainy bread toasted with avocado and sliced fresh tomatoes with cracked pepper
  • Berry Banana Smoothie: 1 frozen banana, peeled and cut up,1/4 cup fresh or frozen berries (such as raspberries, blackberries and or strawberries) 1 cup of orange juice, 3 tablespoons plain low fat Greek yogurt. Preparation Throw all ingredients into a blender and blend until smooth.
  • Grilled vegetable leftovers sliced on grainy bread toast
  • Fruit salad with natural Greek youhurt
  • Get low-fat cottage cheese, and add any kind of fruit like apples, citrus, berries
  • Oatmeal/fruit and almonds. After cooking the oatmeal, add ground flaxseed, frozen blueberries, sliced almonds. You can add a little cinnamon and honey (not a lot) if you’re using instant oatmeal. This meal is full of fibre, nutrients, protein and good fats, with only a couple of minutes of preparation time.
  • Scrambled tofu. Add some onions, green peppers, or other veggies, some light soy sauce or tamari, maybe some garlic and black pepper, stir fry in non stick pan and add a hint of olive oil. Eat with whole grain toast.
  • Dry fry onions, freshly ripe tomatoes, mushrooms, Italian spices, cracked pepper, and place on 9 grain bread then add a sprinkle of parmesan on top and place under the grill for a while
  • 9grain grainy bread (no preservatives naturally prepared) top with cottage cheese and add ½ a sliced banana on top
  • A serving of mixed berries with 2 tablespoons of low fat Greek yoghurt
  • 1 Small piece of fruit and add one poached egg on grainy toasted bread (2 slices)
  • 2 slices of toasted grainy bread with very thinly sliced natural cheese (no preservatives)
  • ½ cup of navy beans mixed with finely chopped tomatoes (dry fried) and in chilli and onions for taste if you so desire
    • 1 small fruit or 20g dried fruit (naturally processed),plus cereal 50grams of high fibre cereal avoid sugar laden
    • 1 cup of cooked natural porridge plus skim milk (organic)
    • Pizza for breakfast: Halve 2 wholemeal English Muffins, top with a little pizza tomato paste, grated cheese, (small low fat amount) and add some chopped chicken and or egg. Place under the grill for a few minutes.
    • Omelettes: Whole-egg or egg white omelettes with fresh finely chopped veggies, carrots, peas, corn, celery, peppers/capsicum, onions and even black beans.

Between Meal snacks:

  • Water, tea, coffee
  • One piece of fruit (any and mix it up don’t just eat the same thing)
  • Raw vegetable pieces with a glass of skim milk
  • Try Buying “DUCK NUTS” in pre-packed serving sizes
  • 3 Rice Cakes with a small serving of cottage cheese
  • High Fibre Vita-Weet crackers with freshly sliced tomatoes and cracked pepper
  • Frozen berries with low fat Greek yoghurt
  • Natural yoghurt

Lunch Choices:

  • 2 Slices of naturally prepared 9 grain bread or 4 crisp bread crackers use avocado as a spread, plus add 60 grams of lean meat or chicken or tuna or salmon or beef, or 30 grams of cheese, or 100 grams of cottage cheese, or 75grams of ricotta cheese or 25grams of nuts/seeds or 100 grams of navy beans/cannelloni beans, broad beans or ½ cup of low fat yoghurt…PLUS: a large salad with everything in it…..add also one piece of fruit or 20 grams of dried fruit (naturally dried)

Dinner Choices:

  • Soup: low calorie vegetable fat free PLUS: 150 grams of lean beef meat (cooked weight) 125 grams chicken breast (no skin) or 90 grams of chicken thigh meat (no skin) or 150 grams oily fish or 200grams of your favourite beans/lentils or a medium serve of casserole/stew or 120 grams of lamb fillet steak or 120 grams pork fillet or any other meat you like PLUS: 3-4 serves of vegetables or salad plus ½ cup of basmati rice or one small sweet potato or 1 slice of grainy bread PLUS: 1 small piece of fruit.
  • Dinner can be designed around these requirements and turned into a curry/tomato based dish or add your own selection of fresh herbs and spices to make your own exotic Moroccan/Italian/Greek/Turkish/Chinese ect dish…the above is the guide for meat and protein portions ensure you use natural no calorie herbs and spices to make dishes to your liking and let your imagination take over…remember natural low fat Greek yoghurt makes a great substitute for cream.


John Hart/Sharon Hanley-Hart

“Master’s In Education” (Disability) Newcastle University Australia

“Grad Cert Education” Newcastle University Australia

“Diploma Fitness/Recreation”

“Diploma of Sport and Recreation”

“Cert 4 Personal Training”

“Level 1 Strength and Conditioning Coach”

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