being healthy is a lifestyle change that takes dedicated commitment and time but it is essential for anyone looking to improve themselves both physically & mentally. While most meal plans to lose weight give you a handful of cookie-cutter recipes for the hope to see results, I believe in providing you with the understanding of key techniques for building strong & healthy eating habits. This is a better approach because you can still enjoy foods while having a functional weight loss plan that works! Remember that success in weight loss is achieved when changing both eating and training habits. To get to your fitness goals faster, pair your meal plan with training routines consisting of cardio and resistance training 3x per week. Now let’s get started!
Understanding energy balance
The first concept you must understand to lose weight is “energy balance” (calories in vs calories out)
This is the difference between your body’s energy input (the calories you consume) & your body’s energy output (the calories you burn).
If we eat more calories and provide our bodies with more energy than it burns, that extra energy with be stored within the body as fat for use later on. If we eat fewer calories and don’t give our bodies enough energy through the food we eat, then the opposite effect will happen. The body will tap into your fat (stored energy) and use little amounts at a time to get the energy it needs for the body to function.
Track your calories
Tracking the number of calories (or energy) you consume in a day is the number one rule when it comes to losing weight. This is because no matter how hard you train or how many hours you spend in the gym if you are consuming more energy than you burn, you are never going to see weight loss.
Tracking these calories will give you a visual understanding of how much food you should eat to see the weight come off in a gradual and healthy manner.
But before you can track any energy intake, you have to know how many calories to consume to make sure you are in a caloric deficit. To do this, take your current body weight and times it by 12. This should give you a rough estimate as to how many calories you should intake to start seeing results. Take a look at the example below.
“190 X 12” = 2,280
A man weighing 190Ib should consume 2,280 calories a day to achieve healthy weight loss.
Once you have figured out how many you need to intake, I recommend you use a calorie tracking app such as “MyFitnessPal”. This provides the calorie and nutritional content of nearly every food imaginable and allows you to easily keep track of how much food you have eaten and how many you still have for the remainder of the day.
Try Intermittent fasting
Intermittent fasting has become a very popular concept in recent years due to its effectiveness to improve workout performance and help keep calories down.
This concept is a very useful tool that is a great addition to any meal plans to lose weight. has pro and it is essentially an eating pattern that cycles through periods of eating and fasting. This aids in weight loss by restricting the time you can consume food in a day and only allowing the consumption of food within a certain window of time. This structured way of eating guides us to take in fewer calories in a day vs snacking whenever we want
Intermittent fasting also has a load of other benefits such as
- Spiking anabolic growth hormone (which aids in muscle growth)
- Increased cellular repair
- Raises your insulin sensitivity levels
- Increases your energy and focus
- Burns body fat while in a fasted state
There are several different methods to try intermittent fasting but they all share the same principle of splitting the day or week into periods of eating and periods of fasting (where you eat very little or nothing at all)
The most common methods are
- 16/8 method: This method involves skipping breakfast & eating all your day’s worth of food within an 8-hour window such as 12 pm – 8 pm. Then you fast the remainder of the 16 hours. this is the method I personally follow
- 5:2 method: This method works by eating normally 5 days out of the week but eats very low calories two days of the week such as Monday and Thursday. These fasting days you eat no more than 500 calories for women and 600 calories for men.
- Eat stop Eat method: This is when you eat normally throughout the week but choose one or two days of the week to fast for 24h. For example, not eating from 6 pm one day to 6 pm the next day.
Cycle your carb
Carb cycling is a dietary approach in which you alternate carbohydrate intake on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis.
The aim of carb cycling is to time carbohydrate intake when it is of maximum benefit. You can think of the number of carbs you eat in relation to how active you are within that day.
High carb days after a workout or a very physical day and no to very little carb intake on days of no or little activity. Days of moderate exercise allows for about half the amount of carbs as a high carb day
A typical weekly carb cycling diet may include two high-carb days, two moderate-carb days, and three low-carb days.
Aim to intake carbs that follow along with your healthy meal plan such as brown rice.
Eat only when you are hungry
Unlike our ancestors who hunted for food, we live in a world where nearly any tempting food is always available.
On top of that, food has become more of an entertainment source as much as a biological human need. Basically, some eat for enjoyment more than for our body’s needs. The issue of boredom and emotional eating are one of the biggest causes of weight gain.
Learn to understand your body & the cues it gives you when it’s full. Learn to identify what triggers your cravings. Are you actually craving it because you are hungry or is it because of an emotion you are feeling? When these feelings come, you need to find other activities besides food such as hobbies, exercising, or reading.
Pro tip: drink water any time you feel an urge to grab a snack and see if the urge passes. If you are still hungry after this, stick to a healthy meal plan & grab a healthy low-calorie snack such as some Greek yogurt or some fruit.
Eat protein-rich sources at every meal
When it comes to a meal plan to lose weight, no macronutrient even comes close to a protein.
Becoming knowledgeable as to what foods build muscle mass and are rich in protein critical as high protein intake multiple times per day has been shown to produce an astonishing amount of benefits such as
- Appetite suppression
- Increased muscle mass and strength
- Acts as a thermogenic food, boosting the metabolism and increasing fat burning
- Lowers blood pressure
Aim to eat 1-2 grams of protein per pound of body weight per day spread out evenly between breakfast, lunch & dinner
Load up on low-cal veggies
Want to know a great way to keep the energy intake under control & avoid that dreaded feeling of hunger an hour after dinner is over? Simple! Fill yourself up with low-calorie vegetables!
Think about this, 1/2 cup of white rice is 200 calories while 3 cups of broccoli are 90 calories. Although that is a lot of broccoli, it provides much more food for far fewer calories.
Here some healthy meal vegetable options to fill up on when keeping your calories low.
- Brussel sprouts
- green beans
- Salad greens
Practice meal planning
One extra thing I would like to mention is the importance of meal prep. This aids in Meal plans to lose weight due to always knowing what & how much you are consuming. Start to prep by making a shopping list with your favorite foods within the diet plan. Look for good, easy foods that will make cooking simple such as olive oil, brown rice & rotisserie chicken.