Summer is getting close, and many of us would like to start it out on the right foot. You can follow one of the many weight loss meal plans that promise incredible results in a short amount of time, or you can try to get in shape on your own.
No matter what you choose, it’s always great to know the main principles of eating healthy and feeling light.
Here are the main principles that weight loss meal plans use that you can adopt today:
1. Balance your meals
When you eat a balanced diet, you ensure that you’re getting all the required nutrition for your body.
The main principle here is to eat more whole foods instead of refined and processed foods. These will keep you full and prevent any sugar spikes that lead to hunger pangs.
Including more fruits, vegetables, and whole grains in your diet is the #1 strategy to weight loss because they make you feel full longer.
Here is how your plate should look like:
- Half your plate should be covered in non-starchy vegetables, including leafy greens;
- One-quarter should consist of any form of complex carbohydrates in the guise of whole grains or their products;
- One-quarter should consist of lean protein. It may be white meat, chicken, fish, low-fat cheese, tofu, soy, legumes, beans, or other proteins.
Simply having a balanced diet will help you shed unwanted pounds. Remember: 80% of weight loss results come from your food!
2. Try intermittent fasting
Intermittent fasting is another weight loss method that you can follow. By restricting your eating time frame, you can lose weight, improve digestion, and boost your metabolism.
Follow any kind of intermittent fasting type you find the most convenient. Most of the time, it’s wise to begin by fasting 14 hours per day.
The 16:8 plan means fasting for 16 hours and eating during an 8-hour window. You might want to try this plan, too.
3. Limit processed foods
When you eat the right foods and avoid unhealthy ones, you can lose weight – it’s a simple tip that you can find in any weight loss meal plan.
Cut out all high-calorie and processed foods such as:
- Salty snacks like crisps, french fries, and other snacks that are packaged and that you nibble on like the ones available in vending machines
- Sweets like doughnuts, stodgy pies, cakes, candies, desserts, cookies that are rich in fat, cream, and sugar
- Sodas and other beverages that contain a lot of sugar
- Fried foods
- Fast foods like burgers, pizzas, and rolls
Often, what you think are hunger pangs can be simply your body requesting more water. So make sure you’re well-hydrated and drink at least 8 glasses of water a day.
4. Make time for sleep, rest, and recovery
Being healthy is inseparable from getting adequate rest and sleep. If you don’t get restful sleep, you may feel that you have to get up in the middle of the night to snack.
Establish a night routine so that you can sleep around 7–8 hours every night.
When you’re stressed, you might indulge in stress eating.
Adopt a mindful approach to life and include meditations or deep breathing exercises into your daily routine.
These practices will reduce stress and ensure better sleep at the same time.
5. Pick healthy ingredients
Make your meals as easy to cook and straightforward as possible.
Here are some tips on how you can easily make your next meal healthier:
- Choose lean sources of protein, such as chicken, turkey, or fish (like salmon, halibut, trout, or tuna).
- If you’re vegan or vegetarian or just want a change, go for low-fat cheese, beans, or lentils.
- Add half a plate of colorful vegetables, some cooked and some raw.
- Avoid heavy dressings on your salad.
- Try and have 4–5 differently colored vegetables and avoid starchy vegetables.
- Enjoy healthy carbs such as brown rice, quinoa, buckwheat, or any other grain which is not processed.
- Instead of dessert, have some fresh fruit.
You can follow any weight loss meal plan after learning the main principles of healthy living. By opting for healthier meal options or following intermittent fasting, you can lose weight steadily and for the long term.