Diet Basics: How a Diet Plan Should Look

Diet Basics: How a Diet Plan Should Look

21-09-2017
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For ladies, weight loss is a permanent dilemma. What can you eat and what should you avoid in a diet? All you can see are insane super-fast diets everywhere: “flat belly diet”, “cabbage soup diet” and the like.

First and foremost

There is one thing you should understand. You can only lose weight if you consume less calories than the amount your body uses up. Because, doing so, the energy deficit will be provided from your fat deposits, if everything is alright. As a result, your weight will decrease. However, you had probably gained the extra weight because in the past, you consumed more calories than what you used up. This means, if you return to your previous eating habits after you reach your target weight, it will all come back for sure. There is no wonder about is. In this respect, the body is a really simple structure. Most of the time, the problems are rooted in (the lack of) will-power, determination or knowledge. The third one (knowledge about weight loss) is the most simple to acquire, and that’s what I am trying to help you at with this article.

What’s wrong with these “wonder diets”?

These diets are typically based on following a nutritionally insufficient eating pattern for a short period of time, which will most likely lead to weight loss (even though most of this weight is made up by water), but you will put it back on, maybe with some extra, too, as soon as you return to your previous eating habits. The solution: you should be able to make compromises and be open-minded to new opportunities. It might be scary to read about lifestyle change, and it is boring, too, I know. However, looking back at my life, the same thing happened to me. OK. You can lose weight with “wonder diets”, too, but you have to suffer. And nobody wants that...

On the other hand, if you diet smartly, you don’t have to suffer to lose weight.

The basic criteria of weight loss

There are certain inescapable changes you have to implement in order to lose weight. You might say “no way” or “I’ll skip that”. However, in that case, the results are not guaranteed either. There are no compromises in these basic things. Because there is either no weight loss without them, or it will be a heavy struggle. If you stick to what I am writing about, it will bring you results for sure. You will learn about new foods, and you will master new habits which will guide you through your whole life. And you don’t have to think about it as some loathsome medicine you have to take for the rest of your life. Because, believe it or not, you will take to these foods. As you feel the quality of your life is getting better as you are consuming them, you will no longer consider them bad or unpleasant. Moreover, if you give up all that synthetic junk food that is loaded with MSG, you will be able to taste the real flavor of food again, and you will stick to it afterwards. In the beginning, you might only eat them because of necessity. And this requires will power.

The basic characteristics of a diet

1. Breakfast

Breakfast is a basic requirement in a diet. Of course it does matter what you eat, but we’ll return to it later. Because, breakfast will supply you energy which you will use up, so you won’t have to worry that it will make you fat. Just remember to observe the guidelines I provide below.

2. 5 meals

You have to eat about every 3 hours during the day! If you don’t eat, your metabolism will slow down and afterwards, each bite will add up to your fat deposits. Starvation doesn’t pay, even though every woman gives it a try. Then, they will eat like five times as much as usual, and no mental power can overcome this. For this reason, you should eat smaller portions. Doing so, you can also avoid blood sugar highs and lows. Your metabolism will rev up and, since your blood sugar levels won’t fluctuate, you won’t be hungry and you won’t have any cravings.

3. Water intake

Everyone should drink 3 to 4 liters of water a day. Everyone, not only those who are dieting. It is a necessity, as almost 70% of the human body is made up by water. Water also helps flush out the toxins and reduces appetite between meals. If you are thirsty, you are already late. You shouldn’t wait until that point!

4. Fruit

It is a misbelief that fruit is “diet food”. The sugar in fruits is mostly fructose. This is the worst of all: it will most likely turn into body fat. An apple or two are OK, especially green apples or the like, which contain less sugar. However, consuming them without restrictions will not work in a diet. Bananas, for example are particularly high calorie fruit despite the fact that they contain several valuable minerals.

5. Exercise

Although your diet is of primary importance from the point of weight loss, having some exercise also matters a lot. If you have exercised in the past and you still didn’t lose weight, it must have been because of your diet. Plus, if you exercise, the fat you lose will be replaced with tight muscles, instead of loose skin. Exercising also revs up metabolism, enhances blood circulation and relieves stress: because, while you are exercising, nothing matters but You and the sport. Find the type of exercise you like the most and make it a part of your life. Everybody deserves these 2 hours for exercising (1 hour for exercising and 1 more for traveling, changing clothes etc.)

6. Patience

You definitely shouldn’t set goals like “I wanna wake up as a supermodel the next morning”. You need a lot of patience to lose weight, and you have to know your body. You have to find out how your body reacts to different nutrients. But this can’t be a problem if you are ready for real weight loss, since you have plenty of time. You should calculate that -0.5-1 kilo per week is OK (can be more, if you are extremely overweight). You might lose more weight in the first few days, but this is only water. As you consume less food, it will also bind less water in your body. One more thing: Do not reward yourself with food! A new dress is better :) So, for example, if you wish to drop 10 kilos, you should devote at least 2-3 months of hard and consistent work for it, but you better count more. The human body is unpredictable in many ways; your weight loss might stop at a point. At times like this, you should make corrections to your diet plan, reduce calorie intake or start using a dietary supplement.

What to eat if I want to lose weight? How is a diet plan made up?

Nutrients are basically carbohydrates, proteins and fats. Plus, there are vitamins and minerals. The first three are called macronutrients, which you have to consume in the right amounts and proportions to ensure weight loss.

Also, you better make yourself familiar with the concept of glycemic index (GI). If you eat something that raises your blood sugar level quickly (high GI foods), your system will secrete insulin to outweigh this and reduce your blood sugar. Most likely, it will overcompensate, so your blood sugar level will be lower than it was before eating. This means, you will get hungry again soon. This is a vicious cycle, and a frequent cause of obesity. You eat, you get hungry, you eat again and so on... And, most likely, you will opt for fast food, snacks, cakes, pastries or candy.

On the other hand, low-GI foods are absorbed slower. So, first of all, they won’t kick your blood sugar up to outer space (which is a basic requirement for fat loss: as soon as you eat something that contains sugar, fat loss stops immediately). And second, you will feel full for longer. You can find several tables of low-GI foods on the Internet. The most prominent examples are oats, wholegrain pasta, beans, lentils or wild rice. Your carb intake should be based on these ingredients.

Your protein intake should be based on fat-free protein sources. Chicken breast, turkey breast, sea fish, egg whites, cottage cheese, low-fat yoghurt or protein supplements are fit for this purpose. During a diet, you have to raise your protein intake while lowering your carb intake to prevent your body from producing energy from your muscles as a result of the low-carb diet.

Fat intake is also very important. Of course it does matter what types of fat you consume. To rev up your metabolism, ensure proper vitamin absorption and proper bodily functions, you should opt for unsaturated fatty acids. (Omega 3, 6, 9). Needless to say, you’ll need them in restricted amounts, but consuming that amount is inevitable.

Vitamins and minerals are called micronutrients. They are essential for proper bodily functions and for supporting the immune system. The immune system is more vulnerable during a diet. For this reason, sufficient vitamin and mineral intake should not be neglected! It is important to point out that you should avoid anything that contains refined ingredients (flour, sugar etc), as well as alcoholic drinks (and food). Alcohol is particularly high in calories.

How much, when and what to eat?

Now I am sharing with you the simplest calculation method. This is a general pattern which should be adapted to the reactions of your body. Some of us lose weight faster, others slower; everybody reacts differently. This is just a starting point. This method requires the least time and calculation, and it is pretty simple to follow.

So, the point is: Take 1.5 grams of carbs and 2 grams of protein for each kilogram of bodyweight. For example, if you weigh 70 kilos now, you have to consume about 100 g of carbs and 140 g of protein. It is recommended to consume your daily carbs by no later than 4 pm. In practice, there will be breakfast, a morning snack, lunch and an afternoon snack which contain carbohydrates. These are 4 meals, with 25 grams of carbs each, in the above example. Your protein intake should be divided into 5 meals.

A diet plan in detail

Breakfast: oatmeal and protein powder. 100 g oatmeal contains about 60 g of carbohydrates. This means, you’ll need 40 g of oatmeal to ensure the necessary 25 g of carbohydrates. Pour 40 g of oatmeal into a bowl, add water to cover it, let it soak for a few minutes, then add 1 scoop of protein powder (which contains about 20 grams of protein).
So, the breakfast contains: 25 g of carbohydrates; 20 g of protein

As a morning snack you can have 40 g of oatmeal again, now with 100 g of cottage cheese and 2 eggs (use only one of the yolks). Put 40 g of oatmeal into a pan, add water and start to boil it. As it boils, add two egg whites and one yolk (you don’t need the other one because of its fat and cholesterol content). Stir until it starts to get thicker. Then, pull it off the cooking plate, add half a cup of cottage cheese (usually sold in 180-200-g cups), and your meal is ready to eat. Of course you can exchange the breakfast and the morning snack, if it is more convenient. You can also eat it with vegetables like pepper, tomato or onion, whatever you like.
So, the morning snack contains: 28 g of carbohydrates (because cottage cheese also contains some), 13 g of protein from cottage cheese and 10 g from the two eggs. Total: 28 g of carbohydrates; 23 g of protein.

For lunch you can have boiled basmati rice with grilled chicken breast and vegetables. 100 g of basmati rice contains 70 g of carbohydrates. So, you’ll need about 20 g of rice for a 25-g carb intake. Consume it with 150 g of grilled chicken breast, which contains 30 g of protein, and feel free to eat as much steamed broccoli, cauliflower, pepper or tomatoes as you like.
This means, you’ll have 25 g of carbohydrates and 30 g of protein for lunch (you don’t need to count the carbohydrate content of the above vegetables, as it is mostly fiber, which will support your digestion. However, you should avoid peas, carrots or corn).

As an afternoon snack, eat 40 g of oatmeal with 0.1 l of unflavored low-fat yoghurt, and protein powder. This is 29 g of carbohydrates (including the yoghurt) and about 4 g of protein from the yoghurt and 20 g from the protein powder. This makes 29 g of carbohydrates and 24 g of protein altogether.

For dinner you may eat cottage cheese with veggies or grilled chicken breast with veggies or salad. Or, the most convenient (and, in my opinion, the most delicious) dinner is made of 125 g of cottage cheese with 1 scoop of protein powder. The carb content of this meal is negligible, while it contains 40 g of protein.

All in all, this way you can provide 107 g of carbohydrates and 137 g of protein for your body, without starving. And, if you have a workout, you should consume one more portion of protein afterwards, additionally.

To ensure sufficient fat intake, you should either consume 2 tablespoons of flaxseed oil (in itself or mixed with a meal) or 30-50 g of nuts (cashew, almonds etc.) some time during the morning. And feel free to season your meals with spices.

You shouldn’t forget about vitamin and mineral intake either. We will return to it later, in the part about supplements.

What’s next?

Follow this dietary regimen for one month. You can freely vary the ingredients, but always make sure you check the nutritional values of the food you eat. It is a good idea to plan your meals for next week on the weekend, prepare what you can e.g. rice, and buy the necessary ingredients (oats, cottage cheese, protein etc.) in advance. With this diet you can lose 0.5 to 1 kg per week. Should your weight loss stop, reduce carb intake to 1 g per kilogram of bodyweight. Keep your protein intake at 2 g per kilogram of bodyweight or raise it to 2.5, and maintain it for a few more weeks. If it still doesn’t seem to work, the time may has come to start using a supplement. We’ll discuss it later.

OK, but when will I reach my target weight this way?

This depends on your persistence, patience and consciousness. As I have mentioned at the beginning, 0.5 to 1 kg of weight loss is ideal per week. If you are losing less, there is something wrong with your diet. If you are losing more, you are presumably losing not only body fat but muscle tissue as well. Of course, you might even lose 2-3 kg at the beginning of the diet, but most of this is only water. But, after the excess water is off, you should settle around 0.5 to 1 kg per week. Based on this, you can easily calculate the time you reach your target weight.

Supplements

Don’t be prejudiced. You shouldn’t be afraid of them. I know. Supplements probably make you think of huge male beefcakes, but believe me: they haven’t grown so big because of the supplements.

Supplements are concentrated foodstuff. Like any other food you can buy at grocery stores. The only difference is that unlike ordinary foodstuff, supplements do not contain excess fat or other unnecessary nutrients; only the useful nutrients are concentrated in a given product. For example, protein powders typically have a high protein content with a low carb and fat content. And proteins are of key importance in a diet, as they are the building blocks of your muscles, which your body is likely to break down if you are keeping your carb intake low. Plus, they taste delicious. You can also use them to add flavor (and useful nutrients) to several healthy meals (e.g. oat cakes, or check out our Builder Gastro column for a galore of delicious diet recipes). Doing so, it is also easier to ingest the necessary nutrients. As you can see in the sample diet plan, one scoop of protein is equivalent to about 100 g of chicken breast, considering its protein content. If you wanted to consume all 140 g of the necessary protein from chicken, you should eat 0.7 kilograms each day, which would be a huge amount.

Fat burners also belong to supplements. I will devote another article on this matter. The most important thing you should know about them is that they are only effective with a clean diet. So, if you consume fat burners with your everyday diet which had made you overweight, it is just a waste of money. However, even if you stick to your diet, you shouldn’t fall for the mistake of buying a lot of different products. Your system will quickly grow accustomed to their effects, so later, if your weight loss stops, there will be no “secret weapon” you could resort to. As long as your weight does not drop with diet alone, it is totally pointless to use fat burners. Later, if your weight loss stops, the most recommended supplement is L-carnitine during exercising. Thermogenic fat burners, which rev up metabolism by slightly raising your heart rate and body temperature, are also very popular. They will help you burn more calories during the day.

Also, do not forget about your vitamin and mineral intake. On the other hand, forget about the common misbelief that your daily fruit and vegetable consumption will suffice. You should definitely invest into a potent multivitamin product. It is recommended to visit a supplement store for this purpose, as the products available at these stores have a better value-for-money ratio than those sold at pharmacies. And they are quality-controlled just as strictly as pharmacy products.

When you are hungry and low on motivation

Never lose sight of your goal. You should always bear in mind the figure you want to achieve; the way you want to look. Anyway: if you can hold on for one week with the diet, your body will adapt to smaller portions. From then on, it will only depend on your will-power whether you eat any extra bites when you get hungry or not. Once you have completed 1 week, your chances for not giving up will rise dramatically! Still, you should bear in mind that you are battling for yourself. You want to achieve a goal, and you cannot rely on anybody but yourself. You better purposefully avoid bakeries, parties or any other occasions when you are surrounded with snacks or other food you should avoid. Do not fall for temptation and do not keep telling yourself “this is still OK”. Because it is not. Because, if one thing is OK, the next one will be OK, too, and then another one, and so on. And this is not called a diet any more, and You will not lose weight. Remember what I have written in the beginning: as soon as you ingest something that contains sugar, flour etc, with a high GI, the fat burning process will stop immediately. Take a deep breath. If you feel you must eat, have a protein shake, stir some protein into low-fat yoghurt, eat a green apple or some salad.

You might even get uncertain: “Maybe I don’t need to lose weight. Maybe I am OK like this” etc. At times like this, imagine how proud you will be of yourself if you can make it. You won’t sweat; you won’t bloat; you won’t stress; you will be more confident and it will bring you a lot of fun! Your joints will also be grateful, and healthy foods will make you feel better overall. Not mentioning the way guys will look at you...

Be strong, be persistent, and you will reach your goal!



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