By far, the question I get the most is, “What exactly do you eat in day?” So I’ve set out to answer it for you. This is the first of many meal plans I’ll share with you, taken from my own log of what I’ve eaten. Please remember there is no one-size-fits all approach, so this may need to be tweaked for you. Also remember that it took me 18 months to lose 100 pounds, so don’t email me at the end of this week and ask me why you’re not sleek and slim yet. Conversely if you get rid of your stretch marks and saggy underarms, please call me immediately. Thanks.
I think that people really want to be told exactly what to do, and I understand that. When you’ve felt out of control with your health or weight you just want to know what to do. I’m more than happy to share exactly what I’ve done. Just bear in mind that just because I did something and it worked doesn’t mean it is tailored to your needs. For instance if you are male or taller than me, you’ll probably need to eat a little more. I’m one size above munchkin in terms of height and bone structure. True story. My workout buddy laughs because sometimes I am too short to use the machines at the gym. On the ab crunch machine my feet swing free about four inches off the floor.
My General Eating Principles
Throughout my weight loss I kept a few general ideas in mind. These were my “rules” and they served me very well. Yours may need to be different, but some of this is universal for those in need of a metabolic reset.
- Overall calories- This can be a tough one. If you are very overweight, just switching to a healthy diet of meats and veggies will probably start the weight loss whether you watch your portions or not. Eventually, though, most people serious about weight loss need to have a general handle on the amount of food going in each day. I chose to eat 1200-1400 calories per day throughout the losing phase. I really wanted to stop being fat, so I was aiming for the lowest bottom line that could still keep me healthy. It takes a lot of discipline and planning but obviously I believe it was more than worth it. You can use a food logging app to help you understand how much is going in at first. I used to use it every day, and now I rarely do because I know what is in the foods that I normally eat. It’s a great tool to help you understand how much you’re really eating.
- Carbs- I know, another hot-button issue. I did try low carb for awhile with some success but for a variety of reasons I decided that ketosis wasn’t for me long-term. However I still have very strong opinions about carbs when it comes to weight loss. Namely that if you are fat carbs helped you get there. In order to heal your metabolism and get insulin production under control, you must change your carb intake. I find Mark Sisson’s Carbohydrate Continuum a very helpful explanation. I aim for 50-75 grams of carbohydrates per day, in the form of veggies, sweet potatoes, and some low-sugar fruit. It’s true that fruit is nutritious but eating too much while trying to lose can shoot you in the foot metabolically.
- Sugar- This kind of goes without saying after the carb discussion, but I want to be clear. So many people say they want to eat healthy and then immediately ask for my paleo brownie recipe. It’s not that you can’t have occasional treats. But if you really want to change how your body works, sugar needs to take a back seat for a good long while. It may help to set a limit on treating or have a timeline, such as once a week. But even if you made your brownies with almond flour and coconut sugar, if you eat half the pan you’re not losing any weight. Believe me, sister, because I’ve tried.
- Fat- Here is the one where I get the most shock out of people. I make no effort whatsoever to limit fat except to stay within my daily calories. I put as much fat as needed for flavor and ease of cooking. If that pan of veggies feels dry, in goes some more coconut oil. As a repentant 90s low-fat dieter, I’m still almost as surprised as you are. I’ve seen the proof over and over again- fat does not make you fat! Fat storage is facilitated by insulin, produced in response to -you guessed it!- sugar. That is why getting your carbs in the sweet spot is so important to break cycles of insulin and leptin resistance. Dietary fat, however, is used easily for energy and keeps you fuller longer.
So here’s what I eat in a typical week:
- breakfast- 2 scrambled eggs and a clementine
- lunch- leftover beef and vegetable soup
- dinner- chicken coconut curry, cooked cabbage, and salad
- breakfast- 2 slices bacon (sometimes I eat very lightly or fast before doing cardio)
- lunch- deli turkey, raw veggies, apple slices
- snack- handful each cashews and dried dates
- dinner- sausage and veggie stir fry, salad
- breakfast- protein shake (Arbonne vanilla protein, frozen berries, almond butter, coconut milk)
- lunch- leftover Smoky Sweet Potato Chili
- dinner- spaghetti squash with turkey marinara, green beans, salad
- breakfast- Starbucks Sous Vide Egg Bites
- lunch- salmon salad made from canned salmon, tomato slices with olive oil and herbs
- snack after workout- Arbonne chocolate protein shake with almond milk
- dinner- Asian Zucchini Noodle Bowls
- breakfast- Banana Muffin
- lunch- 3-egg omelette with ham and spinach
- dinner- grilled chicken, green beans and half a baked sweet potato
- dessert- Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Protein Balls (recipe coming soon!)
- breakfast- protein shake (Arbonne vanilla protein, berries, baby kale, almond butter, almond milk)
- lunch- leftover chicken sausage and veggie stir fry
- dinner- baked salmon, roasted asparagus and half a baked sweet potato leftover from the night before
- breakfast- scrambled eggs with avocado
- lunch- chicken salad with veggies and half of a large apple
- dinner- pork verde carnitas taco salad (recipe coming soon!), green beans
You will notice that I ate very few snacks and desserts this week. That’s been my norm recently as I am trying to build muscle and lose those last few pounds of stubborn fat. In the week listed I lost about 1.5 pounds, but bear in mind I’m almost at my goal weight and doing a lot of weight lifting to build muscle. For me personally, putting my head down and doing the work to get faster results works best because I don’t get discouraged as easily that way. Some people would far rather take a few years to lose weight as long as they can have a few brownies and extra snacks along the way. It’s completely up to you.
I hope it was helpful for you to see what a week of nutritious, delicious, fat-burning eating can look like! I will post more weeks soon, and please comment or email with your questions or requests of what you’d like to see next. I’ll be more than happy to answer. Thanks for reading, and please share on Facebook and with your friends!