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RYAN CAIRNS: Smart use of a smart phone

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Try using Google to help plan healthy meals for specific caloric needs

It's a new year – again. Most people will be full of motivation because they flipped a page on a calendar.

I hope if you have been reading my articles for a while that you are not one of those people. Motivation comes and goes. It usually goes more though, unfortunately. It is exceptionally high at New Year's, but where is it in February? That is why it is important to set yourself up with a realistic routine you will follow, even when you don't feel motivated to do so. Since I have everyone's attention while they are super-motivated, I am going to give you some tips that I bet you have never heard before. Are you ready?

We all have smart phones. Except we mostly do dumb things with them. I am going to tell you how your smart phone can do everything for you.

The most common questions I get from clients are what exercises are the best and what should I be eating. I will answer question number one first. There are no magic exercises. The ones you will do with the most intensity and consistency are the best. As far as the second question, I’ll get a little more specific.

I don't believe there is any magic diet plan. I believe you need to eat on a calorie deficit to lose weight. You should aim for nutrient dense food, but you should still be able to enjoy treats as part of what you eat. Every diet that exists is based on eating fewer calories than you need. It is just packaged differently. So, how can you find a sustainable meal plan for yourself?

First, the Google calorie calculator will ask things like how old, how tall, how much do you weigh and how active you are. It will ask you if you want to lose or gain weight. Respond with what goal you have. That will then give you your daily caloric needs. Once you have that number, you have some options. You can use Google again to find out how many calories are in the foods you currently eat. You will probably find out that you are overeating. If that is the case, reduce your portion sizes to fit your daily caloric weight loss needs or change to lower calorie foods. Make sense?

Another option is to find a meal plan in Google. This is just an example. Say you need 1,500 calories a day to lose weight. Type 1,500 calorie meal plan into Google. You will get a ton of responses on that search. Most will have photos, recipes and how many calories are in each meal. If you don't like one whole meal plan, take a screen shot photo of the meals you do like. Keep these recipes and build your "diet" around what you like.

If you still think that it too hard to do, then I highly advise paying someone to do it for you. Just remember, you need to make whatever you choose realistic to sustain. Motivation to eat better and exercise will come and go. If you don't want to be in the same place next new year, give this a go.

Ryan Cairns is a certified personal trainer from Charlottetown. He currently resides in Sydney, Australia. His article Fit Happens is published monthly in The Guardian. You can reach him at or on Instagram as @tattooed_pt.

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