With so many different diets and weight loss plans out there, it can be difficult to know which is best and which actually work. However, there are some common factors that most weight loss meal plans have in common. These three factors should be included in any eating plan to achieve effective weight loss results and include:
- What you eat
- When you eat
- How much you eat
What You Eat
There are two groups of foods that you need to consider when thinking about what to put on your plate – what you should avoid and what you should include.
First, let’s look at the foods to avoid:
Currently, the most popular trending weight loss meal plans are low carb and high protein/fat such as the Paleo diet and Keto diet. Carbs or carbohydrates are largely responsible for weight gain. They provide the body with energy and when there is an excess, this energy is stored as fat. Although it isn’t necessary to eliminate carbs entirely, it is best to reduce carb intake drastically.
All processed, snack and other manufactured foods should be avoided altogether. Fruit is a source of carbohydrates and should be limited (including fruit juice). Avoid vegetables that are sweet such as carrots which are high in carbs. While some diets may reduce fat intake, fat is not actually what makes you fat as long as you stick to the healthier types such as olive oil, coconut oil and fat that is part of meat.
So what should you be eating?
Lots and lots of protein which includes meat, poultry, eggs, fish and even some nuts and beans. Plenty of vegetables, preferably raw to get the greatest nutritional value. Nuts and seeds (preferably raw and unsweetened) that contain low carbs and plenty of nutrients including essential fat. Lots of fresh herbs and spices to add plenty of flavor to your meals.
When You Eat
Instead of three regular meals a day, eating more often is mostly recommended. Eating regularly stimulates the metabolism allowing the body to use energy faster and prevent it from being stored as fat. Generally,five to six smaller meals per day is recommended.
On the other hand, intermittent fasting diets have proven results for quick weight loss that is easier to maintain. The diets have a fasting phase followed by a eating phase. However, during the eating phase, three meals are recommended which also means eating more often in a specified period of time.
How Much You Eat
Portion control is crucial in just about all weight loss eating plans. Smaller meals are recommended so swap out that large dinner plate for a smaller version. Some weight loss plans even restrict the amount of each food group that you eat in one meal and during the day. This is especially true for carbohydrates.
Another factor that many weight loss meal plans have in common is recommending exercise. Exercise allows your body to burn fat and no diet will provide the best results without including some form of increased activity.