Intro Going on a super-strict diet or spending every waking moment at the gym are the only ways to lose weight. However, what's the use…
Weight loss meal plans can be complicated to put together on your own.
Of course, you can follow a meal plan to lose weight that you see in a magazine or online. But you never know if the diet plan is based on smart scientific evidence. Following a plan created by an expert nutritionist or dietitian is usually the smartest choice.
Whether you are following a 1,200 calorie per day diet or a program with a higher calorie count, use the downloadable schedules and simple tips to reach your goal weight and keep the pounds off for good.
Before you choose the best low-calorie diet plan, it’s important to know how many calories you need to eat each day. The number can vary depending on your size, your gender, and your activity level.
Many commercial weight-loss plans assign women to a 1,200 calorie per day diet plan. The number might be higher, however, if the woman is physically active. For example, you might see that your weight loss calorie goal is 1,200 calories per day. But if you choose to burn an extra 300 calories per day through exercise, you can eat 1,500 calories and still lose weight.
Men are often assigned to a 1,500-1,800 calorie per day diet plan. Again, size and activity level play a role in the number of calories a man should eat.
Once you know how many calories you plan to eat each day, choose one of these meal plans for weight loss:
Once you’ve chosen a meal plan, then it’s time to schedule and track your meals.
If you plan each meal in advance and have foods ready to go, you’ll be more likely to stick to your diet. Use this printable weekly weight loss meal planner form to schedule your meals.
Use the form to plan when and what you will eat each day. The meal plan you’ve chosen above will provide the what to eat, but you’ll still need to decide when to eat. Is there an ideal time to eat each meal during the day? Not really. For weight loss, the number of calories you eat each day matters more than when you eat them.
Of course, that doesn’t mean meal timing doesn’t matter at all. Try to plan meals no more than five hours apart. Then schedule a light snack in between each meal. That way, you won’t get so hungry that you overeat or go for unhealthy choices. Use your intuition, follow your own personal schedule, and listen to your own needs as your guide.
Find success in shedding pounds by following a few strategies that’ll make meal prepping easier.
By prepping ahead of time, it’s easier to eat healthfully and therefore, lose weight.
Schedule time to plan. Set aside 30 minutes each week to schedule your meals and create a shopping list. Schedule your meal planning time just like you schedule all other important events in your life. This is also the best time to schedule your workouts so you’re sure that you get enough exercise to lose weight faster.
Shop and cook. After you’ve planned healthy meals, then it’s time to go shopping. Many people do this immediately after they fill out their meal plan so that they are fully stocked for a week of healthy eating. Then you can organize your refrigerator with diet-friendly foods so it’s easy to find the foods that’ll help you lose weight.
Post your plan. Your healthy weight loss plan won’t do any good if it’s sitting in a drawer buried beneath bills. So once you’ve filled out your form, post it in a place where you see it every day. It will serve as a reminder of your food choices and your commitment to reach a healthy weight.
Prep foods in advance. To make sure you stick to your diet plan, organize your meals in advance. You can do this after dinner in the evening. Lay out the foods you’ll eat for breakfast so they are ready to go when you wake up. Then pack your lunch and snacks for the next day. Finally, do any meal prep for the next night’s healthy dinner so that it’s easy to throw together when you come home from work.
Keep in mind that the first time that you sit down and plan meals to lose weight the process will take a little longer. But once you have a system in place, you’ll breeze through the ritual—you might even start to enjoy it. Getting organized feels good and reaching your weight loss goals feels even better. So, take enough time to follow through with the prep steps to get used to your diet plan and stay on track.