The perfect meal plan is based on three principles:
Simplicity, Satisfaction and Science (duh!).
Most experts talk about the scicne-y part of a meal plan, but in this article let me also talk about the first two principles that are as important as the latter.
My dad (who is 60+) is healthy despite few glitches here and there. He has been eating a simple meal plan since childhood. And so has millions of people like him, who belong to his generation.
Back then, dieting, weight loss was not a big industry. There were no diet foods—low carb, low fat, etc. Most of all, there weren’t many distractions back then.
They used to eat a simple diet of ‘dal roti’ (lentils and chapatis) as he puts it, exercise a bit and stayed healthy.
So in essence its not really what you eat but what comes in the way!
A trip to supermarket say it all! All the food that YOU SHOULD NOT BE BUYING is at eye level.
The most simple diet plan will consists mainly plant food and few other core ingredients that you can find easily at any grocery store.
Some of the ingredients of a simple diet would be:
Vegetables: Spinach, Carrots, Cucumber, Tomatoes, Onions, Garlic and Ginger
Fruits: Oranges, Apples, Papaya, Coconuts
Carbs: Brown (& White) Rice, Sweet PotatoesPotatoes, Whole Wheat Breads, Roti
Protein: Milk, Eggs, Lentils, Chicken, Fish
Fats: Coconut Oil, Desi Ghee, Olive Oil, Nuts
I just cannot eat peanut butter. Period! No matter how many studies are quoted of its health benefits. I just cannot. Can you think of such food item that you just cannot stand the sight of and most health experts are going ga-ga over it? Is it the avocado? Is it whole eggs?
Most of us treat losing weight as an event, and words like “dieting”, “restrictive”, “boring”, “bland” comes to our mind. That’s the very reason why more than 90 percent “dieters” gain all the weight back once they are off their diets. Because they force themselves to eat stuff that they don’t like (divided equally into six meals a day). I had done all this bullS$%t long enough to know that it’s not sustainable.
Guys, there are way better strategies for losing weight than killing yourself by limited yourself to boiled chicken and broccoli or just salads.
Sustainability doesn’t mean eating healthy foods 100 percent of the time. Instead what I recommend is the 80/20 pareto rule-where 80 percent of the time you are eating healthy and 20 percent of the time, you can indulge in food items like pizzas, ice-creams, alcohol etc (but in limits).
I personally allow, my FBX clients a luxury of around 100-200 calories from their favourite food items almost everday, depending upon how fast they want to reach their goals.
No matter how simple your meal plan is, or whether you are able to sustain it all your life, but if you don’t eat less then you can burn (i.e. <TDEE) you WILL NOT lose weight. Its the first law of thermodynamics.
Majority of people tend to underestimate the number of calories they eat. Why do they do that? Because they are not aware of the number of calories in the food items they are eating.
I know what you thinking: Dude, but I don’t want to count calories. Well, fair enough. Then why don’t you start eating “mindfully” and chew 32 times before you swallow your food. Take at least 15 minutes or more to finish your meal so that your tummy signals your brain that you are full, which then tells you not to reach out for the second serving . Huh?
Counting calories (at least in the short term) is not that bad to be honest, especially if you don’t have any time to waste and want to reach 10 percent body fat and look your best for the beach vacation you have planned few months from now!
Once your meal is simple and you have very limited ‘meal combos’ you will realise that there are no more than 20 food items that form your ‘core ingredients’.
Counting calories is not rocket science and certainly easier than counting cards in a casino.
For starters, buy a food weigher, weigh everything before you eat it. Immediately google the caloric content and use softwares like fitness pal, or chronometer else just use pen and paper.
In my [0-20] program I have done the hard work for you: I have made a list of around 30 food items, that majority of us eat and enlisted their caloric content along with their macro-nutrient profiles (carbs, prtiein, and fat content). I have even gone further and provided the exact caloric content of various meal plans (including lot of Indian food menus) both vegetarian and non-vegetarian so that you don’t need to spend lot of time doing just that. You can check out the program here.
Sample Vegetarian Diet Plan-Meal Combo-1 (taken from my [0-20] program:
What do you think about these three principles? Let me know in the comments below!