You’ve decided to lose weight. Congrats! You’re on the right track. Now, it’s time to make some serious lifestyle changes – like saying no to snacks, having regular meals, and getting some exercise. But, if you want to get the best results, you need to plan your diet in advance.
So how exactly do you go about planning a diet to lose weight? It’s not as easy as it seems. Not only do you have to figure out what works best for you but you also have to consider what foods are beneficial for the overall scheme of your diet plan. As you’ll soon discover, there’s no exact science to losing weight; however, there are some tried and tested methods that can help get you on the right foot. Let’s dive into the specifics.
Use An App To Track Food Intake
It would be best for everyone if we lost weight simply through exercises and decreased workouts. Unfortunately, this isn’t always the case. Sometimes, our bodies just don’t respond well to low-stimulus treatments. In these instances, it’s crucial to find out what are the root causes of our unwanted pounds. One of the best things that you can do for yourself is to track your food intake to pinpoint the exact foods that are sabotaging your weight loss efforts. There are numerous great apps for this exact purpose. For example, MyFitnessPal and LoseIt are pretty popular, accurate, and feature-rich apps that can help you keep track of what you eat. They also allow you to input the foods that you need to avoid and get accurate nutritional information about everything that you consume. Additionally, some apps like LoseIt will even help you create a budget and set caloric requirements for the foods that you’re tracking.
Don’t Count Calories, Use The 5-Factor Model
When most people think about losing weight, they immediately think about counting calories and following a rigid eating plan. While these are important, there is more than one way to skin a cat (or in this case, lose weight). For example, you can use the 5-Factor Model to lose weight. The 5-Factor Model, or the 80/20 Principle, teaches us to focus on the nutrients that our food provides instead of the calories. The basic premise is that you will achieve the best results if you consume foods that provide your body with nutrients rather than concentrated calories. The 5 nutrients that the 5-Factor Model focuses on are carbohydrates, fats, proteins, water, and vitamin D. If you want to follow the 5-Factor Model to lose weight, one of the best things that you can do is to swap out your regular breakfast and lunch foods for the following five food types:
- White meat
Why these five types of foods? Well, these are the foods that provide your body with the five essential nutrients that the Model suggests we should be eating in greater amounts. So, instead of having a doughnut today, have an apple! Instead of having a burger at lunch, have a vegetable sandwich.
If you’d like to see some of the research that supports the 5-Factor Model and the 80/20 Rule, check out this study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. In this study, the researchers compared people who followed the 5-Factor Model to people who followed a traditional diet plan and measured their body weight and waist circumference. What they found was that after 12 weeks, those who followed the 5-Factor Model had significantly decreased their body weight, fat mass, waist circumference, and serum vaspin levels. So, not only does this nutrition plan seem to be helping people lose weight, it’s also helping them improve their overall health.
Stock Up On Healthy Snacks And Drinks
One of the best things that you can do for yourself on your diet plan is to stock up on healthy snacks and drinks. Instead of having a candy bar or ice cream every afternoon, have a piece of fruit or some nuts. Have a soda with lunch instead of a juice drink. Buy some whole wheat pasta and brown rice instead of eating out all the time at restaurants.
The point is to have healthy alternatives available everywhere that you go. This will help alleviate some of the cravings that you’re sure to have while on your diet plan. Additionally, having these foods around will help you keep your eyes open for healthier choices when you’re out and about. If you start craving doughnuts, you’ll have the perfect opportunity to reach for a healthier option without feeling guilty.
Eat What You Need, When You Need It
If you have decided to lose weight, it’s important to understand that you are under a lot of stress. Your body needs nutrients to function properly and to allow you to lose weight. This means that you will have cravings for certain foods; however, you must listen to your body and satisfy these cravings when they come. Your body needs the nutrients that coffee provides, so don’t deprive yourself of this wonderful beverage!
Similarly, if you’re hungry at 2 pm and there isn’t anything good on your diet plan, it’s okay to have a snack. But, make sure that this snack is something that you need and won’t cause you to exceed your daily calorie goal. For example, if you’re trying to lose weight, have a diet soda rather than a regular soda because the former has zero calories and contains nutrients. Plus, diet soda is a healthier choice because it doesn’t contain any artificial sweeteners.
Not only should your diet satisfy your body’s nutritional needs, but it should also help you meet your daily calorie goal. This is where having a couple of snacks a day can help. Just make sure that these snacks aren’t too many and aren’t too close together. Portion control is key, especially if you’re trying to lose weight. If you eat a chocolate bar and a doughnut, you’ll never lose that weight. You’ll also never meet your daily calorie goal.
Don’t Forget About Exercise
Last but not least, we have exercise. If you’re serious about losing weight, you can’t forget about exercise. Even if you do manage to lose a ton of weight while strictly following this diet plan, you’ll still need to work out regularly to maintain that physique. You need to make sure that you’re not only getting the nutrition that you need, but that you’re also giving your body the right kind of fuel for it to work on. When you’re exercising regularly, your body will start producing new hormones that help regulate your appetite. Additionally, the workouts will help elevate your mood, which in turn, makes you more likely to want to avoid foods with added sugar and saturated fat. So, while it’s tempting to stay indoors all day and follow the food advice that you’re given, the workouts will offer you a plus side that will help you keep those unwanted pounds at bay.
Hopefully, this article will help guide you on how to plan a diet to lose weight. As you’ll see, it’s not as easy as it seems. But, by taking the time to plan, you can ensure that you’re making the right choices for your body and meet your goals. If you follow these tips, you’ll be on your way to a healthier lifestyle in no time!