This isn’t really a “diet plan”, it’s more of an explanation of a couple important concepts and a couple guidelines to follow that I think should get you some good results without being too restrictive.
The Point of a “Diet”
Many people start a “diet” because they want to lose weight and change how their body looks. Eating less than you burn is the best way to lose fat, but if you take the foam padding off a pole, you still just have a pole.
Resistance training is the best way to change how your body looks and to give you a fit, healthy look. Don’t trust the influencers you see doing bodyweight hip thrusts or booty blasters to no end, that’s not how they got their results. Following random routines you find on IG won’t get you the results you want either.
Calories and Macronutrients
There are 3 macronutrients, protein, fat, and carbohydrates. Protein and fat are essential for life, carbs are not but they are important. Protein and carbs have 4 calories per gram while fats have 9 calories per gram. These 3 macronutrients are the building blocks of all food, everything you wat is made up of these.
Protein – Minimum of .6g per lb of body weight, ie 90g for a 150lb person. Protein is an essential macronutrient, protein is the building blocks of your organs, muscles, bones, etc. All lean body mass (the parts of your body that aren’t fat, are made up of protein. Good sources of protein include beef, chicken, pork, fish, tuna, milk, greek yogurt, eggs, tofu, cheese, protein powders/shakes, etc. Typically, women struggle to eat adequate protein more than men. A tip to help get more protein is to eat it early and often. Eat it in your first meal of the day, and make sure to eat it at each subsequent meal.
Fat – Minimum of .3g per lb of body weight, ie 45g for a 150lb person. Eating fat won’t make you fat, that’s not how it works. In fact, fat is an essential macronutrient. Without any of it, you cannot survive and without adequate amounts, you will develop hormone imbalances. Good sources of fat include eggs, dairy, nuts, avocados, beef, olive oil.
Carbs – There’s not an amount of carbs that you must eat each day. However, they are useful for energy and athletic performance. Carbs aren’t evil and won’t make you fat. They will cause you to retain some water in your muscles (carboHYDRATE) but that water is not body fat.
Fiber – Minimum of 25g/day. good courses of fiber include fruit (apples, mango, oranges, berries, etc.), vegetables (zucchini, broccoli, peas, carrots, etc.), nuts, beans, lentils, oatmeal, and whole wheat/grain bread.
Undereating is so common among women trying to lose weight. 1200 calories is the amount a 2-year-old should eat each day, it’s not enough food for an adult. Yes, it’s true you need to eat less than you burn to lose weight but your goal should be to eat just less than you need. Dramatic cuts in your calories will lead to binging, hormone imbalances, and poor relationships to food, and more. If you want to count calories, you can but if you follow the steps at the end of this, you will most likely get the results you want without needing to weigh everything you eat.
A Healthy Body – What Success Looks Like
Shape your body through weightlifting, not dieting or cardio. Healthy nutrition is good for decreased body fat and correct body function. Cardio is great for heart health and a little boost of energy expenditure. Weight lifting is how to build and shape your body. The minimum you should shoot for is to do a full body routine at least once per week where you work your legs, back, arms, chest, and abs.
Healthy body fat. Without body fat, you would die. Minimum body fat levels are around 5% for men and 15% for women. Women need more body fat than men because their bodies require it. A healthy range for women is 25-18% lower than that and you are risking health problems.
NEAT (Non-exercise Activity Thermogenesis) – This is calories you burn from doing everyday tasks like walking/cleaning/etc. This is a great way to increase the calories you burn each day without a huge toll on the body that you’d have from running or other forms of cardio.
Cardio. If you want to do cardio you can. It’s less important than weight lifting and you probably want to make sure you have high levels of NEAT before really worrying about cardio. If you do want to do cardio, it should be done on different days than your weight training if possible. If you do want to do cardio, try for once per week.
Sleep. You know how much I talk about sleep! You need 7-9 hours consistently. A study found that for people trying to lose weight, 5.5 hours of sleep made them lose 55% less fat and 50% more muscle compared to those who slept for 8.5 hours. The more you sleep, the more fat you’ll lose and the more muscle you’ll gain. This is just one of the amazing things about sleep.
Tracking bodyweight and weighing your food – If you track your bodyweight, individual days don’t matter, each day is literally just a snapshot of your weight at that point in time. Your weight can fluctuate day to day based on stress, salt and carb consumption, your training, menstrual cycle, etc. When it is 2 pounds higher than the day before, you did not gain 2 pounds of fat. But if you are 2 pounds higher over the course of a month, you likely have gained some bodyweight. Only look at trends. Daily and monthly fluctuations don’t tell the whole story. Monthly trends do. Finally, unless you’re very obese, the goal is never to lose bodyweight. If it were, to reach your goal you could cut off your arm and the number on the scale would drop. The goal is more accurately fat loss, and that is accomplished slow and steady over time by eating just less than you burn over weeks.
If you do want to track your calories, you’ll need to commit to logging everything you put in your mouth. It’s not super sustainable and can make you neurotic about certain foods. I like the “Fat Secret” app for tracking. You’ll also need a food scale to weigh everything.
What you need to do
Start with these for a month or so and see how things go. To find out how much fiber or protein is in what you eat you can use the Fat Secret app or just googling it. If you don’t know exactly how much of something you’re eating, be conservative on your guess.
- Eat at least 25g of fiber each day.
- Eat at least .6g of protein per pound of bodyweight each day
- 1 full-body lifting routine each week