Weight loss is a term that is in almost everyone’s’ mind. Whether you are looking to lose weight from your entire body or you just want to shed some extra belly fats, you need to have a meal plan to achieve your goal.
The advantage of having a plan is that it will help you keep good eating habits with the result of losing weight. However, your meal plan should include the things you like, should always go hand in hand with your schedule, and meet your psychological needs. If you like snacking, then go for a 5+ meals plan but if you don’t like having breakfast, then opt for a lower meal frequency. Given the fact that you get to come up with this meal plan, it will be easier for you to follow it to the letter. So, what constitutes a good meal plan?
Determine your total caloric intake and amount needed to lose body fat
Know how much you are currently eating, what is your current calorie intake? With this in mind, you will be able to determine how many calories you need to remove from your daily food intake.
A safe weight loss is one where you lose one pound per week. One pound is 3500 calories. If you divide 3500 calories by seven days, you will get 500 calories. This means that you have to subtract 500 calories from your current calorie intake. If for example, you were eating 2300 calories a day, start eating 1800 calories a day to lose one pound in one week successfully.
Choose foods with low calories if you have 5+ meals a day. Do not lower your calories less than 1500 without permission or advice from a dietitian.
Determine your optimal meal frequency
This one varies from one person to the other. Some prefer to have 5+meals a day while others have fewer meals. Once you decide your optimal meal frequency, spread your calories accordingly and ensure you don’t exceed the optimal calories.
Learn your portions
Once you have decided on your meal plan, now it is time to know your portions in each food group. Remember your food should always be a balanced diet. To keep your calories in check, remember that each item counts as a portion. Go for fresh or frozen fruits as these have fewer calories than dried fruits and fruit juices.
With vegetables, you can consume as much as you like since they have the fewest calories apart from the starchy ones.
Protein snacks have fewer calories than a full protein portion. Go for the snacks as they will keep you full all day thus help you consume fewer calories.
Substitute smaller portions of high-calorie foods and also healthier foods that you like to maintain your new lowered calorie intake.
Some foods like broth, vinegar, salsa, lemon and lime juices, extracts, spices, and onions are considered as free foods since they have very few calories. Take them as much as you like.
Choose the foods with the lowest calories from each group. For example, go for fat-free milk instead of whole milk.
Even when dining out, always remember your portions and don’t go overboard.
Plan your meals ahead
Although it might sound ridiculous, planning your meals ahead is the best decision you could make. This way, you will not be tempted to step out of line and consume more calories than required. After all, you are trying to lose weight. Make sure you create your menus to accommodate foods from all groups since you need a balanced diet. Keep a 7-day food diary and ensure you follow it throughout the week. Remember your required calories intake and also your portions. Keep track of how many calories you consume daily. Divide your plate into three parts. Half of it should consist of fruits and leafy vegetables; a quarter of proteins and the rest should have carbohydrates. Replace polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats with trans-fats or saturated fats. Include nuts as they are healthy too.
Cultivate the discipline to make all this work
Make sure you follow your plan to the letter if you want to see positive results. What makes many people fail in losing weight is the lack of discipline. Even if you have all that is required but still don’t follow the plan, you will not shed even a single pound. You can have an accountability partner to help you follow the regimen.
If you are not an exercise kind of person, consider incorporating exercises into your regimen. If you follow everything discussed above, you will be able to reach your weight target within no time.
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