Weight Loss: The Hard Truth
Losing weight is something we’ve all considered at some point in our lives. For the pencil pusher, it could be the extra holiday weight. For the gym rat, it could be trying to go on a 'cut.' Whatever your intentions are, chances are you’ve tried and failed in the past. Why is that? The problem isn’t in commitment, it’s the execution.
Too many of us start off with unrealistic expectations. Trying to lose 4 pounds a week? Sorry, that’s not going to happen. A person can lose up to 1 to 2 pounds a week safely through dieting alone. Anything more than that and you risk hurting your body and immune system.
Forget about controversial weight loss meal plans that promise rapid weight loss in 2 weeks. Read the fine print and you’ll realize that they always combine it with a high-intensity workout program. You’re not going to lose 4 pounds a week just by eating ‘healthy’ alone.
The only way you can lose that much weight is by cutting 2,000 calories from your daily diet. That’s right, if you ate nothing and drank only water every day for a week, you will lose 4 pounds. That’s the hard truth.
The Science Behind Weight Loss
Here’s a quick lesson in weight loss. It’s not rocket science; you just need a basic understanding of nutrition.
The average human requires between 1,800 to 2,500 calories a day to function healthily. Women typically consume less while men stay on the higher end of the scale. If you’re a male desk diver, you’re probably not expending extra calories, and your daily calorie intake could be 2,500. That number goes up if your job requires you to be physically active.
To lose 1 pound a week, you need to cut or burn 3,500 calories a week. In short, you need to cut 500 calories a day.
Our desk diver would have to reduce his calorie intake to 2,000 calories a day if he wanted to lose a pound a week just by dieting alone. Bagels with cream cheese, waffles with maple syrup, a Big Mac, a Starbucks Frappuccino, 2 Snickers bars – these are all 500 calorie foods.
For most of us, we fail at our weight loss eating plan because we start off with unrealistic goals. We say, “I’m going to lose 2 pounds this week!”. We trick ourselves into thinking that can be accomplished without exercising.
Try cutting out 1,000 calories a day. That’s the equivalent of lunch or dinner, or breakfast and an afternoon snack. Sure, you might power through for the first 3 to 4 days. But by the end of the week, with hunger hanging over your head, and with project deadlines looming at work, guess what’s going to happen? You’re going to crack under the pressure.
Frustration is going to get the better of you and the next thing you know, you’ll be in line at Starbucks ordering a Venti Frappuccino – right after lunch.
In this guide, we’re going to show you 3 healthy meal plans for weight loss that you can use without subjecting yourself to crazy diets. We suggest combining them with exercise if possible. You don’t have to sign-up for a gym membership or run 5 miles every day. Even something as simple as walking for an extra 15 minutes a day helps. But if you don’t want to exercise, that’s fine.
Because these weight loss meal plans are designed to last, you can use them for as long as you want to or until you reach your target weight.
Meal Plan 1: Low Carb Diet for Easy Weight Loss
One thing we consume in excess is carbohydrates. Bread, rice, pasta, sugar, cakes – these are examples of carbohydrates.
Our bodies process carbohydrates into sugar, which then breaks down to glucose or fructose (depending on kind of carbs you ate). Any excess sugar that isn’t used by our bodies is then stored as excess fat.
You’ve just learned a valuable lesson in fat storage. So to counter excess fat storage, we need to control our carb intake.
That doesn’t mean eliminating carbs from our diet. Your body has been programmed to love sugar after all these years, and cutting sugar out suddenly will send you into withdrawals.
What you need to do is reduce your carb intake progressively. This means eating a balanced diet that covers the 3 macros – carbohydrates, healthy fats, and protein. Fiber and vitamins are important as well. But you need to learn to spread out your food intake so that you hit all 3 macros in the right portions.
What to Eat
- Meat: Chicken, pork, beef, lamb.
- Fish: Haddock, salmon, trout, and others.
- Eggs: Pastured or omega–3 enriched eggs are better.
- Fruits: Apples, oranges, blueberries, pears, strawberries.
- Vegetables: Most vegetables are great, but eat more broccoli, carrots, cauliflowers, and spinach.
- Nuts and Seeds: Almonds (unsalted is better), walnuts, sunflower seeds.
- Healthy Fats and Oils: Coconut oil, olive oil, cod fish liver oil.
- High-fat Dairy: Butter, cheese, yogurt.
What Not to Eat
- Sugar: Candy, soft drinks, ice cream, fruit juices.
- Gluten grains: Wheat, barley, rye (including bread and pasta).
- Trans fats: Avoid this at all cost. Stay away from “hydrogenated” oils.
- “Low-fat” products: Look out for labels on dairy products that claim “low” or “no” fat.
- Processed foods: They are usually high in carbohydrates and have little nutritional value.
Don’t be deceived by “low fat” labels. These products have their fat content removed through processing. Fat is what gives food its flavor. Guess what they add to compensate for the flavor loss? That’s right – sugar, salt, and artificial flavorings. If you don’t see sugar listed under ingredients, that’s because manufacturers labeled it as “carbohydrates.” Sneaky, but true.
7 Day Low Carb Meal Plan
The great thing about this meal plan is that you still get to eat tasty food like bacon and burgers. The key is in carb moderation.
|Breakfast||Omelet with vegetables, fried in butter or olive oil||Bacon and eggs||Eggs and some fresh fruit||Omelet with vegetables, fried in butter or olive oil||Bacon and eggs||Omelet with various vegetables||Bacon and eggs|
|Lunch||Yogurt with blueberries, a banana and a handful of almonds||Grilled chicken salad with olive oil||Shrimp salad with olive oil||Smoothie with berries and almonds, topped with protein powder||Grilled chicken salad with olive oil||Yogurt with blueberries, a banana and a handful of almonds||Smoothie with coconut milk, protein powder and some berries|
|Dinner||Cheeseburger without the bun, served with vegetables and salsa sauce||Salmon with butter and vegetables||Grilled chicken with vegetables||Steak and vegetables||Pork chops with vegetables||Meatballs with vegetables||Grilled chicken wings with vegetables|
Meal Plan 2: Holiday Redemption for Shedding Excess Weight
Christmas or Thanksgiving is a time to connect with friends and family. It also means feasting, and let’s be honest – it usually includes a lot of cake and other delicious sweets. Combine that with a lack of exercise and a lot of sleep and you have a perfect recipe for rapid weight gain. Not the good type, though!
So what do you do? This 4-week weight loss meal plan is designed to help you get back on your feet, looking and feeling good. It’s a combination of high protein and high-fiber to help boost your metabolism and burn off excess fat.
Tip: Combine this meal plan with an exercise regime and you will lose fat and build muscle at the same time!
What to Eat
Write this down and make sure you get these items on your next grocery trip.
- Berries (strawberries, blueberries)
- Canned beans
- Canned tuna and salmon
- Chicken breast
- Fish (all kinds)
- Fruit (apples, oranges, bananas, grapefruit, etc.)
- High-fiber, low-sugar breakfast cereal
- Lean deli meat (roast beef, turkey, etc.)
- Lean pork and steak
- Peanut butter
- Plain yoghurt
- Protein powder (chocolate, vanilla, peanut butter flavors)
- Vegetables (all kinds)
- Whole grain bread
- Whole grain pasta
- Whole grain tortilla
4 Week Weight Loss Meal Plan
This meal plan is meant to be cycled for 4 weeks. You don’t have to stick to the plan religiously. For example, if you hate protein shakes, you can switch out the protein powder with peanut butter. But remember that you do need to stick to this routine for a month before you see any noticeable results.
You’ll notice that this meal plan is high in protein and low in carbohydrates. The key is to watch your daily carb intake and not eliminate carbs entirely. With this meal plan, you’ll be shedding off the excess holiday weight by the end of the month.
|Breakfast||Fruit and protein smoothie||Omelet with onion and cheese||Peanut butter sandwich and banana||Oatmeal or cereal with fruit||Fruit and protein smoothie||Oatmeal pancakes||Omelet with cheese|
|Lunch||Chicken salad||Tuna fish roll up with soup||Chicken pizza with roasted vegetables||Chicken burrito with salad||Grilled chicken salad||Deli sandwich and yogurt||Tuna sandwich with side salad|
|Dinner||Shrimp stir-fry||Grilled chicken with vegetables||Steak and vegetables||Pasta with grilled fish||Salmon with mixed vegetables||Steak and potatoes||Grilled salmon and potato salad|
Meal Plan 3: Beach Body Diet in 1 Month
This meal plan’s great if you’re trying to score a body for summer, or if you’re planning to fit in your dream wedding dress.
The secret to this strategy lies in preparation. You’ll need at least a month, and if you can cycle it for 3 months – even better. I’ll admit this meal plan is a little low at 1,600 calories. This means you will feel hungry at times, especially if you’re used to having 2,000 calories or more.
But if you stick it out for a month or two, you will see results and get that body primed and ready for the beach.
1 Month Meal Plan
This meal plan is full of tasty bites and includes a good selection of protein, fats, and healthy carbs. It also includes 2 daily snacks so you can stave off the hunger pangs between meals. One trick which we use is to consume smaller but frequent meals throughout the day. That way you only have to last 3 to 4 hours between meals.
|Breakfast||Oats with skim milk and 1 banana||Protein smoothie||Scrambled egg whites, 2 bacon rashers and whole wheat toast||Oats with skim milk and honey||Protein smoothie||Oats with skim milk and honey||Scrambled eggs on whole wheat toast and 1 grapefruit|
|AMSnack||Protein smoothie||Mackerel and whole wheat toast||Blueberries||1 orange||1 apple||Raw carrots and hummus||Protein smoothie|
|Lunch||Sardines with lemon juice and whole wheat toast||Turkey sandwich on whole wheat bread and 1 orange||Protein smoothie||Grilled chicken salad sandwich on whole wheat bread||1 can of tuna and 1 banana||Tuna and cherry tomatoes||Tuna sandwich on whole wheat toast and 1 pear|
|PM Snack||Radish with balsamic vinaigrette||1 banana||Cottage cheese and pineapple||Protein smoothie||Mixed nuts and berries||Protein smoothie||Fruit bar|
|Dinner||Chicken salad with walnuts||Steak with spinach and grilled tomatoes||Chicken and vegetable stir-fry with brown rice||Tuna steak with stir-fried broccoli and brown rice||Salmon with stir-fried broccoli, spinach, green beans and brown rice||Grilled fish with peas and baked potatoes||Chicken and vegetable stir-fry with brown rice|
These 3 weight loss meal plans should help you get the body you want without tremendous effort on your part. Whether it is a 1 or 3-month plan, you’ll need the determination to stick it out. You’ll also need dedication. Planning each meal every day can be troublesome if you think of it that way. But consider how you can minimize the effort required.
Could you prepare meals in bulk and store them in the fridge? How about preparing your next day’s meals the night before so you don’t have to scramble the next morning?
Losing weight is about eating the right foods, and eating the right foods requires pre-planning beforehand. Once you get a system going, you’ll realize that it’s not that difficult. You’ll also be more selective with your food choices. Choosing low-carb is not a diet fad.
You can eat low carb for as long as you like since doctors recommend eating less sugar and processed foods. If you really think about it, these weight loss meal plans actually prepare you to eat healthy for life!