The best diet for weight loss isn't complicated, expensive, or even that difficult.
It takes a little planning, dedication, and attention to detail, but it also guarantees results.
There are only four steps:
- Determine how many calories you should be eating daily.
- Determine how much protein, carbohydrates, and fat you should be eating each day.
- Create a meal plan based on these numbers.
- Adjust how your body reacts.
With just these four steps you will lose weight like clockwork and build a body to be proud of.
Let's start with step one.
Step 1: Determine How Many Calories You Should Eat Every Day
The first step in calculating how many calories to eat each day to lose weight is to estimate how many calories you are consuming (burning) each day. This is known as your total daily energy expenditure (TDEE).
To estimate your TDEE, open the Legion Macronutrient Calculator, enter your gender, weight, height, age, and activity level, and write down the answer (you'll need this later).
In case you're wondering how this works, the Mifflin-St Jeor equation is used, which gives very accurate results on par with other equations but doesn't require a lot of math or estimating your body fat percentage (which many people use too have to fight). .
To lose weight quickly, you want to maintain an aggressive, but not reckless, calorie deficit. That means you are eating roughly 75% of the calories you burn each day. This is calculated by multiplying your TDEE by 0.75.
For example, I'm 6-1.36 years old, weigh 195 pounds, and have around 10% body fat. I exercise about 5 hours a week.
The Legion Macronutrient Calculator sets my TDEE at around 2,800 calories. To find out my cut calories, I would do the following:
2,800 x 0.75 = 2,100.
Hence, I want to eat around 2,100 calories a day to lose weight quickly.
The next step is to figure out how this translates into macros – grams of protein, carbohydrates, and dietary fat.
Step 2: Determine How Much Protein, Carbohydrates, and Fat You Should Eat Each Day
In fitness circles, you often hear protein, carbohydrates, and dietary fat referred to as "macros," which stands for "macronutrients".
A macronutrient is one of the nutritional components of the diet that are needed in relatively large amounts:
- Minerals like calcium, zinc, iron, magnesium and phosphorus
When people talk about macros, they are only referring to the first three.
Macros are important because the way your calories break down into protein, carbohydrates, and fat affects yours a lot Body composition, Exercise performance, and overall health and wellbeing.
How to do it right:
- Set your protein intake at 40% of your total daily calories.
- Set your carbohydrate intake to 40% of your total daily calories.
- Set your fat intake at 20% of your total daily calories.
You will find that the Legion Macronutrient Calculator does all of this for you automatically.
This type of diet where you set your calorie budget and then break it down into macronutrient goals is known as flexible dietand it is a very effective strategy to lose weight quickly.
If you prefer a slightly different mix of macros, feel free to tinker with them, but try to keep your recording pretty close to these areas until you become more experienced in properly meal planning.
Okay, now that you've recorded your macros, let's move on to the next step: meal planning.
Step 3: Create a meal plan based on these numbers
The absolute easiest way to lose weight quickly is by following a meal plan.
While you don't need to count or track calories in order to lose weight, the chances of accidentally overeating are much lower (this is the main reason most people "mysteriously"). can't lose weight).
There are many ways to create a meal plan, but here is the one I've found most effective:
- Create a single day of eating that matches your calorie and macro goals and follow this plan every day.
- When you're tired of eating something on your plan – be it a simple snack or a multi-faceted meal like dinner – swap it out for something else with the same amount of calories and macros.
This way, you can have as much or as little variety as you want (tip: reducing the variety makes it easier to lose weight), while at the same time strictly regulating your food intake.
Don't worry either – this process isn't difficult or time-consuming. You can eat foods that you really like so you don't feel restricted, and it only takes 10 or 15 minutes.
In general, effective weight loss meal plans should:
- Be within 50 calories of your daily calorie goal
- Spread your protein intake fairly evenly throughout the day
- Specify exactly how much of each food to eat in each meal
- Include the calories and macros of each food to make substitutions easier
- Provide an abundance of whole, minimally processed, nutritious foods
Here's how to create a meal plan that has all of these check boxes checked. . .
1. Create your table with the menu.
The easiest way to create a table with a meal plan is to download it for free Legion Meal Plan Toolwhat you can do by entering your email address in this form:
Not only does this make it easier to plan your meals, it also automatically calculates your calories, macros, and even micros and turns them into a 100% custom diet plan for weight loss.
However, if you'd rather create a menu from scratch, you'll need to open a table (Here is a template you can use) and columns for create. . .
- Meal times
- Food and workout names
- Food names
This is how I like to do it:
Next, add a line to the bottom of your meal plan and label it as "Sums" and another line below that labeled "Goals".
The "Total" row shows the total calories, protein, carbohydrates and fat in your meal plan and the "Targets" row shows the target calories, protein, carbohydrates and fat.
The Goals row is simple: just enter your daily goals for calories, protein, fat, and carbohydrates that you found out earlier:
To set up the "Totals" column, create a formula that adds the total calories, protein, carbohydrates, and fat for all of your meals.
To do this, click on the cell for your total calories and use the SUM function to add up everything that is displayed in the Calories column for your individual meals. Since you have not yet added any food, 0 is displayed. Do the same for protein, carbohydrates, and fat.
2. Decide how many meals you want to eat each day and when.
In general, it doesn't matter when you eat.
As long as you properly manage your energy and macronutrient balance and get most of your calories from nutritious foods, Time and frequency of meals They won't improve or hinder your results.
That said, if you want to make weight loss as productive and enjoyable as possible, you should. . .
- Eat about 20 to 40 grams of protein and carbohydrates in an hour or two In front and after this Weight training because it can help you Maintain and gain muscle and strength better.
- Eat 3 to 5 servings of protein a day because it is better to maintain and build muscle than fewer servings.
With these points in mind, here's what I recommend for the timing of meals and what worked well for the thousands of people who have followed me Bigger, slimmer, stronger and Thinner, leaner, stronger Programs:
- Eat 3 to 5 meals a day with at least 20 to 40 grams of protein per meal.
- Eat one of these meals 1 to 2 hours before your workout and another meal 1 to 2 hours after your workout.
- Include 20 to 40 grams of carbohydrates in your meals before and after your workout.
The easiest way to set this up on your meal plan is to first enter your pre and post workout meals, and then plan the rest of your meals as desired.
For example, let's say you train first thing in the morning. Your plan could look like this:
6am: pre-workout meal
7 a.m.: lift weights
8:30 am: Post-workout meal
12 noon: lunch
4 p.m .: snack
7 p.m .: dinner
And this is what it could look like if you worked out in the evening:
8 a.m.: breakfast
12 noon: lunch
4 p.m .: Pre-workout snack
6 p.m .: lift weights
8 p.m .: Dinner after training
Now that you've planned all of your meals, it's time to decide which foods to eat with each meal.
3. Create your meals.
Now it's time to take your placeholders and turn them into real meals.
The first thing you should know here is the importance of eating mostly unprocessed, nutritious foods like lean proteins, fruits, and vegetables when trying to lose weight.
For example, my favorite pastimes are like cutting groceries. . .
- Lean red meat
- Lean seafood like tilapia, shrimp, and tuna
- Vegetables and fruits, especially fibrous ones
- Low-fat dairy products like cottage cheese, skyr, and Greek yogurt
- Oils like olive or coconut oil
- Grains like rice, oats, and quinoa
This is because of relatively unprocessed, nutritious foods like lean protein, low-fat dairy products, fruits, vegetables, nuts and whole grains, which are extremely filling and contain significantly fewer calories and more nutrients than sugary, processed "junk foods".
If you eat these types of foods most of the time, you can enjoy more fullness with fewer calories and fight off better Hunger and cravingsand avoid nutrient deficiencies that negatively impact your health and wellbeing.
That means, don't eat anything but "clean“Food like this can get boring every day. So include treats in your diet. Specifically, you can spend up to 20% of your total daily calories on sugary, processed, or otherwise "unhealthy" treats, if you choose.
Personally, I love dark chocolate (not exactly junk food as I know), so I usually eat ~ 150 calories a day.
To start creating your meals, open a website with food databases like calorieking.com, myfitnesspal.com, or the USDA grocery search tool.
From here the idea is to put your meals together food by food, entering in calories, protein, carbohydrates and fat.
(Or, you can save the hassle of looking up and entering food by downloading it the Legion Meal Plan Tool Instead, it contains a database of hundreds of macro-friendly foods and recipes that you can add to your meal plan with the push of a button.)
Personally, I want to start by entering foods that I know I want to include on my plan and then do the following:
- Include 20 to 40 grams of protein in my pre and post workout meals.
- Include 30 to 50 grams of carbohydrates with pre and post workout meals.
- Add 20 to 40 grams of protein to my remaining meals until I'm within 10% of my daily protein goal.
- Add at least 2 to 3 servings of fruits and vegetables.
- Add my "discretionary" calories (treats).
- Add healthy fats as needed to meet my daily fat goal.
- Quit eating high carbohydrate foods like cereals, legumes and the like.
- Finally, adjust meals and food servings until I'm 50 calories away from my daily goal.
That's all there is to it.
Step 4: adjust how your body reacts
The litmus test for any type of diet or exercise routine is twofold:
- Is it working for you
- Is it sustainable?
The first point is obvious.
No matter how good a diet or exercise program sounds, how famous its creator is, or how many books it sold, if it doesn't work for you – if it doesn't produce the kind of results you're looking for – you have to move on.
The second point is less obvious, but just as important.
If a program produces results but cannot be sustained over the long term due to complexity, difficulty, or anything else, it should also be abandoned. . . because it does not work to keep Give you results.
Sure, you can lose a lot of weight on a crash diet or starvation diet (like Water fasting), but what happens next? To the many peopleput it back on (or more!). The same applies to strenuous exercise routines (such as German volume training). They can speed up your fat loss and muscle building, but they can also burn you off.
That's why we want to go for the sweet spot: consistent, encouraging results without the pain or suffering that most people go through when trying to get fit.
To lose weight, the sweet spot loses 0.5 to 1% Your body weight per week, which equates to 0.5 to 2 pounds per week for most people.
If you have a lot of weight to lose you should be shooting for the high end of that range. When you are normal Body fat percentage and looking to get slim you should be in the middle (about 1 pound of weight loss per week). And if you are slim, in order to get really slim, you want to be on the bottom end of the range (about 0.5 pounds lost per week).
As long as things are progressing according to these guidelines, just keep going. Don't fix it if it's not broken and all.
However, if you are not losing weight enough or losing weight too quickly, you may need to adjust your diet.
Lots of people say that if you don't lose weight fast enough, you are simply overeating or not getting enough exercise. While this is usually technically correct, weight loss depends on it Calories in versus calories out– It is not always true and it does not necessarily help you solve the real problem.
First, it is possible that you will actually lose fat but hold onto water or gain muscle, masking your weight loss.
If so, you will likely find that your weight stagnates for a week or two, after which you lose several pounds (what dieters sometimes refer to as the "woosh effect").
Second, it is possible that you will gain muscle almost as quickly as you are losing fat. This process is known as Body composition. If so, you will likely find that your clothes become looser and your muscles become more defined, even though your scale weight hasn't changed significantly.
If you aren't experiencing either of these two things, the home truth is that you are not losing weight because you are eating too many calories and not burning enough. Check your meal plan again, make sure you weigh everything you eat, and look for ways to do it sneak more physical activity into your day, or consider adding some Cardio to your exercise routine.
If you're losing weight too quickly, check your calorie intake and expenditure.
No matter how lean you are when you start cutting, you can expect rapid weight loss in the first week or two as your body sheds and water Glycogen. After that, however, things should slow down.
If you don't – if you continue to lose weight significantly faster than described above – you are likely eating less or burning more energy than you think.
A common mistake for newbies is overestimating caloric intake due to eyeballs and servings instead of weighing them. Some people also assume that they burn fewer calories than they actually are, usually due to a physically active job (Walkburns about 300 calories per hour, for example).
So if you are losing weight too quickly, double-check your estimated energy intake and expenditure and make sure they are correct and that you don't accidentally run into a much larger calorie deficit than you intended.
If you are focused on one aspect of everything we have covered so far and want professional help (and guaranteed results), Click here to learn more about my diet coaching service.
The bottom line is that losing weight quickly doesn't have to be a confusing business.
In fact, once you know how to create proper weight loss meal plans, it can even feel like a game. Your goal is simply to follow the plan. When you do, you will be rewarded with a body to be proud of.
If you enjoyed this article, please share it on Facebook, Twitter or wherever you want to hang out online! 🙂
How do you see the meal planning? Have you tried it before? Do you have any other questions about losing weight? Let me know in the comments below!
+ Scientific references
- Helms, E. R., Aragon, A. A. & Fitschen, P. J. (2014). Evidence-Based Recommendations For Preparing Natural Bodybuilding Competitions: Diet And Nutrition Supplements. In the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition (Volume 11, Issue 1). BioMed Central Ltd. https://doi.org/10.1186/1550-2783-11-20
- A. G. Dulloo, J. Jacquet & L. Girardier (1997). Post starvation hyperphagia and excess body fat in humans: a role for feedback signals from lean and adipose tissue. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 65 (3), 717-723. https://doi.org/10.1093/ajcn/65.3.717
- Schönfeld, B. J. & Aragon, A. A. (2018). How Much Protein can the body use to build muscle in a single meal? Implications for Daily Protein Distribution. In the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition (Volume 15, Issue 1). BioMed Central Ltd. https://doi.org/10.1186/s12970-018-0215-1
- Aragon, A. A. & Schönfeld, B. J. (2013). Nutrient Timing Revised: Is There a Post-Workout Anabolic Window? Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, 10, 5. https://doi.org/10.1186/1550-2783-10-5
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