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Losing weight is not easy for most people. And instead of reading about different exercises or foods to eat, sometimes we just need a meal plan example for weight loss. Don’t get me wrong. Exercising along with consuming a healthy diet works hand in hand. However, it’s so easy to get caught up in different fad diets and regimens that promise you a shortcut to losing weight.
That’s why I wanted to create this blog post to get you back to the basics of losing weight while providing you with a meal plan example for weight loss that I hope will jumpstart your journey.
How do you lose weight?
It all begins and ends with calories. As you know, calories are a measurement of energy that’s in our food. And by eating food, we feed our body with energy to function the way it does. Super simple right? It makes sense because your mind and body start acting up when you haven’t eaten.
Weight loss occurs when you burn more calories (through physical activity) than you eat. And weight gain happens when you eat more calories than you burn.
You’re probably thinking, “oh well, that’s easy. I’ll just eat once a day”. The calories in vs calories out concept sounds simple. But there’s more to it obviously or I don’t think you’d be reading this blog post.
Let’s use a dramatic example. You decide to eat just a salad once a day and maybe a small bag of chips with a soda. And you’re still within your calorie means. And you do a 20-30 minute moderate-intensity exercise. Yes, you might lose weight. But you’re depriving your body of the nutrients it needs to function properly.
We have 3 macronutrients- carbohydrates, fats, and proteins. I go moreover macronutrients in another blog post. A bag of chips and soda is what is described as a high-calorie, low-nutrition food item. Basically, what you’re going to want to strive to eat are food items that are high in nutrition value (healthy carbs, fats, and protein) while having lower calories.
How many meals a day should I eat to lose weight?
There’s no magic number of meals a day you should eat to lose weight. Some people have definitely only eaten once or twice a day and have lost a significant amount of weight. But the number of meals a day you should eat all depends on your weight loss goals and what is considered maintainable to you.
You might’ve heard people say that you should eat about 5 or 6 times a day. Or 3 to 4 times a day. Don’t confuse this with eating 4 to 6 full-sized meals. A protein shake that has 200 calories can be considered a “meal”. And a greek yogurt with a banana can also be considered a “meal”.
Honestly, I recommend eating 3 solid meals- breakfast, lunch, and dinner. And adding 2 to 3 snack “meals” like a protein shake, greek yogurt, or cottage cheese in-between the main meals.
What are the benefits of spreading out my meals?
The reason why I always recommend eating more than 1 or 2 meals is that when you eat throughout the day, your appetite is better controlled (decrease hunger). And you are less likely to binge eat.
Also, when you eat throughout the day (protein-filled meals), you’re preserving lean muscle as you’re exercising and getting into a good workout routine. It has also been proven that eating a consistent meal schedule (increased frequency in meals) helps keep your blood sugar stable and lowers your LDL (low-density lipoprotein aka “bad” cholesterol).
How spread out should my meals be?
This all depends on your daily schedule and how many hours of the day you’re awake. If you can, it’s best to spread out your calories pretty evenly throughout the day.
I personally suggest 3 to 4 hours in-between meals including the snack “meals”. And I’ll go over my meal plan example for weight loss further down this blog post so that you can have a visual.
What should I eat every 3 hours to lose weight?
I’m not going to tell you that you need to strictly eat rice and chicken, egg whites, asparagus, and only drink water. Because for one, you’d be absolutely miserable. And two, we are aiming to build a long-term, healthy eating habit, not a quick, temporary weight loss leading to burnout.
You want to keep your portions reasonable within calories. Essentially, if you’re going to eat 5 to 6 meals a day, your meals will be portioned much smaller than if you were to eat 3 to 4 meals. Along with keeping your portions reasonable, you’ll want to make sure you’re eating high-protein meals especially if you’re working out. This way, you’re not letting your hard work go to waste by feeding your muscles the right macronutrient to recover.
Cut unnecessary calories where you can. The easiest ones to start off with could be eliminating soda from your diet. If you have a hard time drinking plain water, there are lots of different zero or low-calorie powdered beverage mixes like Crystal Light and MiO.
Meal Plan Example For Weight Loss
I’ve always been asked what I eat on a day-to-day basis. And I’m here to share with you what a couple of my days may look like (depending on my schedule). Although I wish I could eat the same amount of meals each day, life can get a bit out of hand and I’ll forget to eat a meal or drink a protein shake.
However, the first meal plan example is what I strive to eat daily. And these are the meal plans that have helped me shed my baby weight during postpartum along with working out.
Meal Plan Example 1
I’m not going to include the exact measurements I eat because I don’t currently weigh out my food. And also because the amount of carbs, protein, fats, and calories you eat is going to be completely individualized depending on your fitness goals and current lifestyle. But I’ll go over the food items that I do choose to eat during the day.
Meal 1 (breakfast) – white rice, fried eggs, and water
I’ll drink my black coffee mixed with 2 scoops Vital Proteins collagen powder.
Meal 2 (snack) – lean protein shake
Meal 3 (lunch) – white rice and chicken (marinated in Korean sauce nothing super healthy but not super unhealthy either). Or white rice and eggs again with water.
Meal 4 (snack) – protein shake again or greek yogurt or (1 slice of bread) peanut butter sandwich
Meal 5 (dinner) – white rice and chicken or noodles and a choice of protein. The choice of proteins you could choose from are pork, steak, chicken, eggs, fish, or other.
Meal 6 (snack) – This is where I mess up because I have a sweet tooth at night. I should probably eat a boiled egg or something but I’ll eat a lime popsicle.
Always check the nutrition label. And try your best not to eat a balanced portion of carbs, protein, and fats. If I’m hungry, I’ll do my best to eat more protein than carbs.
Meal Plan Example 2
This meal plan example is for my busy days where I’m on the go or not at home.
Meal 1 (breakfast) – I always try to eat a decent-sized breakfast because it helps me from binge eating the rest of the day. I’ll normally eat my usual white rice and eggs with water.
Meal 2 (lunch) – lean protein shake and maybe a toast
Meal 3 (dinner) – I’ll eat a larger dinner than normal (not a good habit). Dinner would probably consist of a choice of protein and carbs with water or coke zero.
As you can see with meal plan 2, I didn’t eat throughout the day. I try my best to stay away from eating meal plan 2 because I don’t like eating a big dinner and feeling really full before bed. And when I eat more like the meal plan 1, I have a steady intake of proteins to help recover my muscles after working out. It also helps control my appetite and I’m less likely to binge-eat.
I hope this meal plan example for weight loss blog post gave you some insight and a general idea as to what my daily meals look like. You can have so much more fun with your meals but I tend to make the easiest thing I can which is normally white rice (because I have a rice cooker), eggs, and chicken (I marinate in batches and throw it on the grill).
And one of the best ways to stay on top of eating right and losing weight is to prepare. Create a plan and figure out your meals for the week on Sundays. If you don’t like eating food that’s been made days before, then cook again on Wednesdays to prep food for the rest of the week.