Losing weight isn’t always as simple as “calories in, calories out”. Smart decisions and efficient planning plays a part in any successful weight-loss venture. Furthermore, there are considerable emotional as well as physical challenges that are often involved in the journey. Having the right resources and support is key for a happy, healthy, and life-changing experience in the quest for optimal health and obtaining your “set point” (research shows that each individual may have a genetically determined set point for adult weight) (1).
Following a “meal plan” may seem like a dated and lackluster approach, but it’s a proven strategy for achieving real results in a reasonable time-frame (2). We often need a bit of hand-holding and some accountability – especially when we’re just getting started.
Your 3-Step Meal Plan Strategy
1) Before you start – understand the key pillars of meal planning for weight loss
Powerful Protein: This macronutrient is a key factor – it’s part of every cell in your body, and is used to help build muscle, organs, and other tissues. It’s also vital for brain health and to help make enzymes, hormones, and other necessary chemicals.
Protein can also help prevent you from gaining unwanted weight in the first place. The fact of the matter is, when you’re eating enough protein, you’ll feel more full for a longer period of time, and have less of an urge to eat junk food. For example, this meal plan includes about 30% of your calories from protein – which is ideal for fat-loss and maintaining lean muscle mass (3).
Fat is Fuel – Not The Devil: It’s important to understand that eating fat does not make us fat. Healthy fats (like olive oil, avocado, nuts and seeds, Omega 3’s (found in fish), etc.) actually keep us feeling satiated.
The “bad” kinds of fat – i.e. trans fats, are what you will need to eliminate in your meal plan. Most trans fats that people eat have been cooked up in a laboratory kitchen where scientists “hydrogenate” certain oils so they have a longer shelf life. Trans fats are found in packaged foods such as baked goods, donuts, pie crusts, cookies, crackers, margarine, and a lot of fried foods. Look at your labels – and if you see anything labeled “partially hydrogenated” or “hydrogenated” get rid of it fast.
- Sugar is NOT your Friend: Sugar promotes inflammation in the body – the root cause of most chronic disease. Look for a meal plan that avoids ALL white and refined sugar, high-fructose corn syrup, and artificial sweeteners. Instead, make recipes that contain acceptable substitutes (in moderation, of course) like raw coconut palm sugar, raw local honey, maple syrup, dates, and stevia.
Furthermore, sugar suppresses the release of HGH (Human Growth Hormone) and promotes insulin resistance – which over time can lead to Type II diabetes (4).
2) Set Yourself Some Ground Rules
Before starting a new program or embarking on a weight loss journey, set yourself some basic ground rules. These will ensure you have more energy, have better focus and see maximum results.
- Eliminate all sources of caffeine (occasional green tea is acceptable)
- Avoid “liquid calories” (water, herbal tea and green tea)
- Gift yourself some shut-eye! Aim for 7-9 hours of uninterrupted sleep.
- Stay active and engage in regular exercise, between 2-3 times per week!
3) Find The Right Meal Plan For You Online
As mentioned at the start, following a meal plan is an excellent approach to help stay on track while still balancing the hecticness of your everyday life! Make sure you commit to following it throughout the length of a full program before you opt-out or “give-up”.
The best meal plans are those that stick to these guidelines:
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- A meal plan that follows the basics – nothing fancy or expensive
- Simple whole-food ingredients that are nutrient dense and help reduce inflammation
- Variety of delicious recipes to ensure you do not get bored or feel stuck in a rut
- Ideally they do all the planning work for you and make it easy to view online or on a mobile app to stay organized
While you can find many meal plans online with a simple search online, this is one of the best I have come across. Culinary Nutrition Expert, Kristine Peacock from Meals That Matter has a “T28: Total Nutrition & Exercise Program” which walks participants through the fundamentals of losing weight safely and effectively – for the long-term.
“My clients typically lose between 10-20 lbs in 4 weeks when following the T28 meal plan.” – Kristine Peacock.
Below are some of the key benefits of following the program outside of weight loss:
- Naturally, balance blood sugar and help eliminate cravings
- Support hormone production and rebalancing
- Improve brain health and help protect against dementia and other disorders
- Improve memory and clear brain fog
- Improve digestion
- Increase energy levels
- Improve fertility
- Improve quality of sleep
- Decrease anxiety and mood swings
Ready to get started? If you’re interested in the meal plan, you can view a sample HERE.
This meal plan is a sample from Meals that Matter, T28 -Total Nutrition & Exercise program. This program, and all the meal plans included in the challenge are designed for weight loss. They are gluten, dairy and refined sugar-free and based on a whole foods philosophy. The plan is designed for one – to feed a family, simply increase the portions!
Given the hectic pace of our lives, meal planning is crucial in order to incorporate healthy eating into the daily routine. Whether you start off slow with one meal a day or kickstart a meal planning program online to get maximum weight loss results, it’s a step that definitely needs to be taken!
- Set Point: What Your Body is Trying to Tell You. Set Point: What Your Body is Trying to Tell You | National Eating Disorder Information Centre (NEDIC). http://nedic.ca/set-point-what-your-body-trying-tell-you. Accessed July 12, 2017.
- Guidelines for Choosing a Weight Loss Program. Dietitians of Canada. https://www.dietitians.ca/Your-Health/Nutrition-A-Z/Weight-Concerns/Guidelines-for-Choosing-a-Weight-Loss-Program.aspx. Accessed July 12, 2017.
- How Protein Can Help You Lose Weight Naturally. Authority Nutrition. https://authoritynutrition.com/how-protein-can-help-you-lose-weight/. Published May 29, 2017. Accessed July 12, 2017.
- Garg N. OR4,22 Effects of IGF-1 receptor heterozygosity on glucose metabolism. Growth Hormone & IGF Research. 2010;20. doi:10.1016/s1096-6374(10)70030-7.
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