Diet is becoming more and more important for anyone, not just those into fitness. Growing media coverage and awareness of health markers means more people are trying to improve their diet than ever before. This great and has led to numerous ways to eat and diets to use. The majority of these diets give you a daily number to hit, I.e. Calories, points, macro-nutrients to make them easy to follow. Whilst a good baseline, it is important to understand this isn’t the be all and end all of your diet. Some unavoidable but essential daily activities will fluctuate needs making this number only a guide, here’s why…


Unless we’re born with a silver spoon in our mouth we have a job. The day-to-day requirements of this job may vary quite significantly. This is quite obvious for manual jobs as some days work may have more scheduled in than others. However, it also applies to desk jobs. Some days you may be up and about asking people different things, have a presentation to deliver or an off site meetings. Whilst these seem minimal, they will affect your daily energy expenditure and diet.

Work impact diet
Image credit: The Daily Buzz

Basically, some days you will use more energy in work and some days you will use less. This means that day-to-day, the fuel you need to get by will change. The effect on your diet is that your daily “number” won’t match your actual needs from one day to another.

For example, your diet may advise you need 2800 calories for weight gain based on information you input. However, if one day you don’t move from your desk, you may only need 2500 for the same effect.
This means our diet needs won’t be accurate to a specific number each day.


So, by this I mean your activities outside of your day job. What you do in the evenings, whether that be the gym, sport, relaxing or anything else. Whatever it may be, it will impact your total energy used (see the trend forming already).

For those that train in the gym, an easy way to look at it is like this. If one night you have 4 exercises and 6 on another, this will massively impact your energy used. In addition, if the intensity is higher on Tuesday than Thursday then you will use less energy on Thursday.

Workouts October 2016

Likewise, if you’re out with friends after work or have training for your sport, those days will spike your energy use. Therefore, the number you need to hit for your diet plan will not be accurate. If on one day you are more active than another it’s illogical to assume that daily number on you diet plan will be accurate for your nends on each day.

This means our diet needs won’t be accurate to a specific number each day.

We’re human

Thirdly, we are human. We are all living breathing organisms which means that we will have daily variance. Our base metabolic rate is essentially the energy used to live. For multiple reasons this will vary and more in-depth article can be found here. However, the important thing to know is that the rate we use energy at may be slightly different from day-to-day.

Realistically, the amount this varies is minimal from person to person, but it still exists. Therefore two people with the ‘same characteristics’ on a diet plan may actually have different needs. So, the number a diet plan gives may be slightly out for each person.

Image credit:
Image credit:

Things like stress, sudden change in events or just how our bodies recover day-to-day can also impact us. These factors, external factors, will have different effects on different people. This means that your daily energy, or diet requirements, may vary depending on how you react to different circumstances.

This means our diet needs won’t be accurate to a specific number each day.

The takeaway

In summary, what I am trying to say is that it’s impossible to know our exact daily diet requirements. Even if our days are identical, you may have varying needs just because your body decided to process a meal differently. Metabolic Effect has some great content on a range of topics about this.

Therefore, don’t stress about whatever the number is you ‘need’ to hit on your diet. If you’re slightly over or under that’s fine, chances are it’ll balance out anyway.

Try to look at your number as an average, something to be within 10% of. Doing this will stop you feeling like your diet is restricting you. It will also allow you to enjoy your food more and that’s always a good thing ?

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