Meal plans & general guidance

Someone recently asked me for advice about losing weight. Keep in mind I’m not a nutritionist or health care professional, but I have lost weight in a healthy way and kept it off. This is what I came up with:

Breakfast:
Green smoothie: coconut water and/or nut milk base, at least one cup of frozen leafy greens, can add green peas and/or edamame, banana, berries, mango, sweet potato/butternut squash, can add seeds (1-2 T pumpkin, hemp, ground flax) or nut butter (1 T), vegan protein powder, cocoa powder, vanilla, cinnamon, add dates or more fruit if not sweet enough
Oatmeal: ½ cup oats with fruit (banana, apple, berry), sweet potato/butternut squash, 1-2 T nuts/ seeds (pumpkin, hemp, ground flax, sunflower), 1-2T dried fruit (raisins, dates, apricots, prunes) (no added sweetener besides dried fruit, try cooking the oatmeal with dried fruit in to sweeten)
Lunch:
Soup or stew with beans, greens, veggies, optional grain (quinoa, barley, brown rice)
Salad with lots of leafy greens & raw veggies; toppings: beans or tofu (1/4 c-1/2c), nuts or seeds (1-2T) optional grain (quinoa, barley, brown rice) (1/4 c-1/2c), avocado (1/4-1/2), nutritional yeast (1-2T), fruit (chopped apple, raisins, cranberries)
dressing: tahini & lemon juice & water; or mustard & lemon juice & a tiny bit of oil or no oil; or apple cider vinegar and lemon juice and a tiny bit of oil or no oil
Dinner:
Veggies( lightly steamed or sautéed with a tiny bit of oil or just water/veggie broth, make sure to always include lots of leafy greens and a variety of other veggies); Grain (quinoa/brown rice/barley pilaf with onion, garlic, dried fruit, nuts, seeds, etc.; Protein beans or marinated and baked or grilled tofu
Snacks: fresh fruit (with 1 T nut butter if you want something more filling), carrot sticks/celery sticks other raw veggies with 1-2T hummus, ¼ cup trail mix (nuts, seeds and dried fruit—no added sugar or oil)
Exercise: 30-60 minutes per day, strength AND cardio, 6 days/week
Sleep: at least 7 hours
Water: at least 100 oz per day. Don’t drink anything besides water (cold or hot, plain or with squeezed lemon), herbal tea, coconut water, or fresh veggie juice, all natural flavored seltzer (no added sugar or chemical sweetener) if you are really craving something fizzy & flavorful
Avoid: meat, dairy, eggs, sugar (no added sweeteners aside from fruit—bananas and dates and raisins are your best bet), processed/packaged foods, refined flour, processed grains (i.e. white rice), fried food, alcohol, limit gluten, limit oil
In general: measure your fats, nuts/seeds/ nut butters should be 1-2T per serving or no more than ¼ cup, avocado should be ¼-1/2 per serving, also measure dried fruit, 1-2 T or no more than ¼ cup per serving , eat unlimited veggies. Pay attention to your body, you should eat until you are satisfied but not completely full and you should get hungry again within 3-4 hours. If you are getting hungry sooner than that, you did not eat enough, if you are still not hungry after 4 hours, you probably ate too much, so adjust for the next time. Always eat within 1 hour of waking up and within 1 hour of working out. Try to finish your last meal 3 hours before bed. Try to notice the difference between emotional and physical hunger. Don’t limit calories too much as that can mess up your metabolism, so don’t starve yourself! If you mess up, forgive yourself & move on, get back on track, don’t dwell or beat yourself up. It’s ok! Be patient. True healthy lasting weight loss does not happen quickly.

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