You will often be told that there’s no such thing as a faster way to fat loss. I agree with this statement, but you will shed weight if you are obese and adopt a healthy nutrition plan. Paired with regular exercise, clean eating will force your body into shock which causes the pounds to fly off. In the beginning, it is common to have weeks where you will lose 10-12 pounds. Most of this is water weight, but there is of course some fat being lost.
What Does a Healthy Nutrition Plan Consist Of?
A healthy nutrition plan is balanced, diverse, and wholesome. It is generally recommend that you focus on consuming whole foods as opposed to processed foods. Processed foods contain a lot of sodium, which can in turn have negative health effects.
According to the NIH, a healthy nutrition plan consists of:
-vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and low fat dairy products
-lean meats, poultry, fish, beans, eggs, nuts
-low amounts of trans fat and saturated fat
-controlled portion sizes
Determine Healthy Foods You Enjoy Eating
While it may be difficult to consume the recommended foods all the time, you can start small. My first recommendation to people looking to change their nutrition is finding clean, simple eats that you enjoy. Adopting a healthy nutrition plan is easy when you enjoy the foods you’re eating. Start by coming up with a list of say 20-25 food choices. Take your time to look into the macronutrients and other nutritional information. Focus your attention on the total calories, carbs, fats, and protein in your choices, and then jot these numbers down. Once you’re done with this, you will have a chart like the one shown below which gives you potential food choices. Keep in mind, that this process is a lot more beneficial if you make an effort to single out healthy foods.
After compiling the list, you will have to make sure your choices are actually good for you. Foods that are high in protein but low in carbs and fats are ideal in good nutrition plans (see tuna in the example above). Furthermore, wholesome carbs like fruits and vegetables are great, as well as whole grain bread. Avoid anything with an outrageously high fat content or combined carb and fat content.
There are three main macronutrients in human nutrition which provide calories. Carbohydrates, fats, and proteins are essential for providing energy to the human body. We will go further into depth regarding macronutrients and the IIFYM meal plan in our nutrition category, but it is worth mentioning regardless. Carbohydrates and protein each provide 4 calories per gram consumed of each nutrient. This implies that if you eat a piece of bread with 20 grams of carbs and 3 grams of protein, you would be consuming a total of 92 calories. Fats contain 9 calories per gram consumed, making them the most calorie dense macronutrient.
Unless you are an athlete or have extenuating circumstances, it is generally recommended that 50% of your daily calories come from carbs. Therefore, 25% of your calories will come from proteins, and the last 25% from fats. It is fine to play around with these numbers, I am just providing the standard. You will commonly see ranges between 40-65% for carbs and 20-35% for fats and protein. A majority of your calories should always come from carbs because carbohydrates are the main source of fuel for your brain.
Although they are often overshadowed by macros, micronutrients are just as important in nutrition. Micronutrients are what you would consider your vitamins and minerals. Despite the fact that micronutrients are required only in small amounts, they are vital to development. It is no surprise that the NIH recommends eating a lot of fruits and vegetables because they contain a plethora of micronutrients. Generally, if your diet is poor, you will not get all of your micronutrients from diet alone. For this reason, I recommend a multivitamin to anyone who asks me about supplements. Rest assured, you will be getting all of the necessary vitamins and minerals your body needs.
Changing Your Nutrition Plan To Lose Weight
A drastic change to your nutrition plan will undoubtedly help you lose weight. It is important, however, to make sure that you approach your weight loss correctly. You lose weight when you are in a caloric deficit, meaning you’re burning more calories than you’re consuming. A caloric deficit is essential, but you don’t want to overdo it and risk losing muscle mass. Seeking out a faster way to fat loss is fine and dandy, but if you are fat to begin with, you’ll risk having loose skin. We cover fat loss extensively in many articles, and we even recommend certain programs to jump start your weight loss. If you choose to follow your own path, remember that 3500 calories is equivalent to a pound of body weight. Therefore a daily caloric deficit of 500 calories will make you lose a pound each week.
You should never be in a caloric deficit of greater than 1000 calories. Losing two pounds per week is a safe maximum to prevent muscle loss and accumulation of loose skin. Knowing how many calories to eat in a day can be easily calculated here.
Changing Your Nutrition Plan to Gain Lean Muscle Mass
Personally I would never recommend adding weight to your frame unless it’s lean mass. Chances are you already carry substantial fat on your body, so why would you add more? Muscle on the other hand, is beneficial for everyone to pack on. Not only will your metabolism speed up with increased lean body mass, but you will feel and look better.
The same principle applies when you are trying to gain weight, except now you are in a caloric surplus. Just like when you are losing weight, you alter your daily calorie intake by roughly 500 calories. Consuming 500 extra calories a day will help you gain a pound of bodyweight each week. Now, if you are following a hypertrophy training program then this weight should be lean mass. This is also contingent upon hitting your daily recommended protein intake (1 gram per pound of lean bodyweight).
Cheat Days Are Okay, Staying Consistent Is Key
Cheat days are perfectly acceptable every once in a while, but consistency is key. If you are looking for a faster way to fat loss, the process will definitely speed up if you’re consistent. The better your nutrition is day in and day out, the better you will look each day. Although a cheat day won’t hurt you, it is better to have the mindset that you don’t require a cheat day. If you follow my suggestion of finding healthy foods you enjoy eating, a cheat day might not even be necessary. At the start, if you can only manage to eat clean 4 out of the 7 days each week, then that is fine. It’s better to be eating clean for a majority of the days than none at all. Chances are, you will still make progress. Changing your nutrition plan is certainly a challenge, but one that is worth facing.