Fad diets and deprivation have literally never done anyone any good.
To lose weight—and, you know, actually sustain the weight loss—you need to fuel your body with real, whole foods and enough flavor to prevent boredom, says Women’s Health nutrition advisor Keri Glassman, R.D.
Glassman suggests starting with a calorie baseline: If you’re trying to lose weight, she recommends a meal plan that contains (roughly) 1,500 calories, with 40 percent coming from whole, fiber-rich carbs, 30 percent from protein, and 30 percent from healthy fats. That balance is ideal for keeping energy levels up and helping you build lean muscle while squashing hunger and the cravings that come with it, she says.
From there, focus on the quality of your food—fill up on fresh veggies, lean proteins, and healthy fats (think: grass-fed beef and avocado), and cut out as much added sugar as you can stand, says Glassman.
Then, make adjustments based on your own personal needs. If you’re always at the gym, for example, ramp up your protein portion by a few ounces and add in an extra pre- or post-workout snack, suggests Glassman.
Need an extra push to get started? I got you—Glassman came up with a simple, seven-day meal plan (a.k.a., the best diet plan for weight loss ever) that will help you de-bloat, get energized, and start your weight-loss journey the right way. Try it for a week and just try not to get hooked (you totally will).
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4 oz salmon baked with 1/4 lemon juiced, 1 Tbsp Dijon mustard, and 1 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley 2 cups sautéed spinach
Per serving: 317 cal, 18 g fat (3 g sat), 12 g carbs, 3 g sugar, 500 mg sodium, 5 g fiber, 28 g protein
Oatmeal pancakes: 1 whole egg, 2 egg whites, 1/4 cup old-fashioned or quick-cooking oats, 1 pinch of ground cinnamon, 1/2 cup low fat cottage cheese (get the full recipe).
Per serving: 414 cal, 10 g fat (4 g sat), 35 g carbs, 6 g sugar, 550 mg sodium, 5 g fiber, 34 g protein
5 celery sticks with 2 tsp peanut butter
Per serving: 63 cal, 5 g fat (1 g sat), 3 g carbs, 1 g sugar, 47 mg sodium, 1 g fiber, 2 g protein
Green salad with shitake bacon: 1/2 cup cooked chickpeas, 1 1/2 Tbsp olive oil, 1/2 tsp paprika, 1 teaspoon turmeric, 1 pinch black pepper and sea salt, 6-8 large shiitake mushrooms, 2 cups torn butter lettuce, 1 Tbsp Parmigiano-Reggiano, 1/2 small clove garlic, 1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice, 1 Tbsp white balsamic vinegar (see the full recipe).
Per serving: 436 cal, 24 g fat (4 g sat), 47 g carbs, 9 g sugar, 43 mg sodium, 11 g fiber, 13 g protein