In the grand scheme of things, a well-constructed meal plan is probably 20% of the total weight loss equation. It tells you how to eat, what to eat, and when to eat. Once you have the nutrition in place, all you have to worry about is the emotional eating, and sleep.
A meal plan tells you whether you’re on track or not. A meal plan saves you from having to count calories. A meal plan saves you from having to think about what you eat. You make the decision once, and it’s done. No need to further deliberate.
A poorly constructed, or nonexistent meal plan leads to confusion and frustration when the scale doesn’t respond, while a properly constructed meal plan gives you stable, consistent progress and a firm grip on why things are not working.
This meal plan was responsible for me dropping 20lbs of fat, from 22% bodyfat to 15% bodyfat.
Here is my meal plan:
* feel free to copy my meal plan, but adjust the calories according to your needs. I am 5’7” 175lbs and I am able to lose weight off of this. My maintenance is 2700 calories and I do about 1-2hours of exercise a day. I’m otherwise sedentary.
A Proper Meal Plan
Since a well constructed meal plan ideally lasts your entire life, it must be sustainable. The biggest mistake people make is being too strict on themselves. They overestimate their own willpower.
- Sustainable for life (Whole-foods based, convenient, tasty, variety, filling)
- Correct number of calories (300-400 below maintenance)
- Meals are timed to prevent hunger
- Meals are sized to prevent hunger
Steps to creating your own customized Meal Plan
- List 6 meals you like to eat. 2 meal options for breakfast, 2 for lunch, and 2 for dinner.
- Modify the meals so they include enough weight-loss encouraging foods
|Weight Loss Food (100g)||Calories|
|fage fat free greek yogurt||53|
|top sir loin TIP steak||150|
|raw 93% ground turkey||150|
|baked pork tenderloin||164|
|chicken breast cooked||165|
|sweet potato (raw)||86|
|Brussel sprouts (raw)||43|
Conversely, here is a list of no-no foods that are very easy to get hungry from. These foods are great to eat for gaining weight, but counterproductive to weight loss. Minimize, or ideally eliminate these from your meal plan entirely. If you include them, you must account for them in the meal plan. And you must weigh them using a food scale before eating.
|Weight Gain Food (100g)||Calories|
- Adjust the calories for each of the meals according to your needs
* the devil is in the details. As a rule of thumb, I usually count vegetables as 100cals or 200cals. 100cals of vegetables is approximately 1lbs of raw vegetables (no you didn’t read that wrong. 1lb, or 450 grams). However, If I’m only eating spinach, lettuce, or some kind of leafy vegetables, I’ll count it as 10-20calories since leafy vegetables are VERY low in calories.
* if you don’t already have a visible six pack, you can get away with not counting green vegetables. They’re so low in calories it won’t make a huge difference. It will make the meal plan easier to make
* Notice I didn’t include any cooking oils since that’s a no-no food. However if I were to add it, please believe I would write it out in my meal plan. Remember, cooking oil is the highest calorie food on the planet!
4. Select the most suitable meal timing for your lifestyle
- Your last meal should be timed about 4-5hours before you go to bed. Being too full or too hungry will prevent you from falling asleep. Sleep is 40% of the weight loss equation (food 40%, movement 20%), and what time you sleep is largely dictated by when you eat. If you eat at 2am, for example, that will have a big impact on your sleep. I recommend most people to follow an eating schedule similar to this one listed above. Similar calorie meals spread 3-5 hours apart is perfect.