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I don’t give weight loss meal plans.

I could, but it wouldn’t do you any good.

If I give you a one to follow what would you learn? 

Absolutely nothing. People learn by doing, not by having an arbitrary list of foods in a plan given to them at free random.

I would give you foods I like and you’d look at it like “WTF, seriously? You’re so boring!” Then, a week or two later you’d be jumping onto the newest diet.

Long story short, it won’t work. Believe me, I was in the same loop for years. I have a library of failed meal plans all promising I’d lose weight.

Which is why my whole online coaching program is about building a foundation for my clients to succeed on your own. 

I don’t want them to pay me forever. I mean I’m cool if they want to, but eventually they’ll want to do this on their own.

Which is why you are going to create your own weight loss meal plan with my help.

Keep in mind this is a living, breathing plan.  IT WILL NOT BE PERFECT RIGHT AWAY.  Things will change, which is expected, it just means you have to adjust.  I can’t tell you how many times my eating plan changed. I honestly can’t count that high.

I’m going to walk you through how you can create your own and illustrate the steps with mine.

Make Your Own Weight Loss Meal Plan

Step 1: Pick a Meal Frequency

1,2,10 meals a day doesn’t matter when it comes to fat loss.  Whatever you can fit into your schedule consistently is what you should do.

This is a good time to think about meal size.  If you like larger meals then you’ll need less meals.  Smaller meals then you’ll have to eat more frequently.

Consistency is the focus here.

This is also a good time to think about if you want to Intermittent Fasting.  You don’t have to and plays little into fat loss other than a way to restrict calories (by restricting the feeding window).

Step 2: Pick Meal Times

Your hormones have ebbs and flows based on time of day.  So eating around the same time each day is a good way to make sure you and your body are working together.

This will help prevent you from skipping meals only to binge later on.

Think about your work day.  What times are usually free?  Do you have a few mins to eat breakfast while combing through emails?

Think in terms of time ranges too.  I.e. Between 11:30-1 is lunch.

There’s always some d-bag that schedules a lunch meeting. Shit happens, let’s plan for it.

Step 3:  Build the Backbone

Now that you have your meal times and frequency, let’s get visual.

Grab a piece of paper and a pen.

Now every 4-5 lines write out the time you’ll eat and meal name.

Here’s mine (I apologize for my handwriting. And no I don’t write with my foot):

weight-loss-meal-plan-meal-times

I’ll get into why I mine looks like this later. 

Now, make protein the focus on every meal. 

weight-loss-meal-plan-protein-step

Once you have your protein for each meal, it’s time to add some veggies.

For veggies there’s a few ways to go about it.  

  1. Add veggies to every meal
  2. Have a lot of veggies at your later meals

I fall into the latter category just because I don’t like mixing breakfast and veggies.  It’s weird to me. Again personal preference. Where you put them is not important as long as you are getting some.

So go ahead and add some veggies to your meals.  

Once you finish that, you now have your Meal Plan Backbone. I’ll get into what this means more in a sec.

weight-loss-meal-plan-veggie-step

Step 4: Add Carbs

Now you’ll notice there are no carbs in your Meal Plan Backbone.  This is by design.

When it comes to fat loss or muscle gain your protein amounts won’t change a whole lot.  It might go up slightly in a fat loss phase but that’s mainly for satiety purposes.

Likewise, it’s always helpful to have veggies for fiber and nutrients. And again, for satiety purposes. So the only thing that really changes is carb amounts.

-> For fat loss it’s easy to remove carbs for a calorie deficit.

-> If you’re in maintenance it’s easy to add carbs to fill out the rest of your calories.

-> For building muscle all you need to do is increase carb portion sizes from maintenance.

Now looking at your Meal Plan Backbone, what time are you working out?  Put carbs around there at the very least.

Once you have carbs pre and post workout, you can start adding carbs to the meals next to those pre and post workout meals and start fanning them out.

weight-loss-meal-plan-carb-step

If you workout first thing in the morning and don’t want to eat before, just have your carbs starting from the meal immediately after your workout. Not a big deal. When I’m in a fat loss phase my first meal is the 7:30 Breakfast #2.

Now when you have to remove calories for fat loss, just remove the carbs from the meals furthest away from your workout.  Keep doing that until you hit the desired calorie amount which we’ll get to in a min.

In my Meal Plan, since I don’t usually have carbs for dinner I would take carbs away from Lunch first, then Breakfast #3 to get down to my calorie amount to lose fat.

Easy peasy.

Step 5: Filling in the Food

Starting filling in some foods that will fit into your plan. Lean proteins like chicken, turkey, pork, lean ground beef (>90%), Greek yogurt, and protein powder are good protein sources.

For carbs, things like oatmeal, rice, potatoes, and fruit are good.

Veggies, welp anything that is classified as a veggies is fine to fill in there.

weight-loss-meal-plan-food-step

Don’t worry about portion sizes yet.  That’s the next step.  

Don’t forget to add in foods you enjoy.  You’ll notice I have Rice Krispies and I usually add in a serving of Tostitos Scoops if I’m hungry at 4pm.  If this is going to be sustainable you need to factor those in.

The important thing is you now have a Meal Plan based on your preferences and schedule.  And don’t feel like you have to eat the same thing every day or every week. As long as you follow the high-level outline you made in Steps 1-4 you’ll be fine.

Plus, you have a way to change things depending on your goal without having to spend a ton of time.

This is going to make things a lot easier in the long run. 

Step 6: Figuring out Portion Sizes

Based on your goal you should have a calorie amount. 

If you don’t, here’s some fat loss guidelines in pounds because ‘Murica poo-poo’s the superior metric system:

Over 40% bodyfat: 7x your bodyweight 

30-40% bodyfat: 8x your bodyweight 

20-30% bodyfat: 9x your bodyweight 

15-20% bodyfat: 10x your bodyweight 

Under 15% bodyfat: 11x your bodyweight 

If your goal is building muscle, set calories to 14-16x your bodyweight. This is assuming you are sub 15% body fat btw. If you aren’t below that amount your goal should be to lean out until you are there. This helps with nutrition partitioning and making sure the excess calories are more likely to make you jacked and not doughy.

Once you have your calorie amount, go into MyFitnessPal and figure out portion sizes by copying what you wrote down in your Meal Plan into the app.

From there it’s just playing with amounts so your calories at the end of the day equals your calories per day.

Plan bigger meals when you tend to have bigger meals.  For example, dinner. If dinner is a big meal in your house don’t blow your load in the morning.  Save a bigger portion of your calories for this meal. This way you don’t have to feel like an outcast which is only going to hurt your motivation and compliance.

For the foods you enjoy; when it comes to fat loss, calories are the thing to pay attention to.  If you can hit your calories and keep your protein up by all means keep the foods you enjoy there. 

When I was sub 10% bf, I was eating Tostitos Scoops everyday. Every-damn-day. Even in my last fat loss phase, Scoops were a staple.

Step 7: Review

This is a very important but often forgotten part of a meal plan.  Remember I said this was a living, breathing meal plan? Well for it to thrive you need to review it every week to see how it’s working out for you.

This is when you’ll make changes to the foods, portion sizes or meal frequency.  

Spend a couple minutes on a Sunday to go through it and tweak.

The important thing is to not throw it away because it wasn’t right the first time.  It just means you need to revise. You’ll also want to change foods around to make things more enjoyable.

Why My Meal Plan Looks Like It Does

weight-loss-meal-plan-meal-plan

I’m up at 4am everyday to work on the site before I go to my day job from 7-3:30.  On some days I’ll hit the gym at 5am then head to work.  

I like smaller meals just because I feel like shit if I eat big meals which is why I have 5 meals.  

I like breakfast food so I want to make sure I have that in there.  I’m usually hungriest in the morning so that’s why I stack a bunch of meals there.

With the exception of my very first meal all my meals are protein focused.  My first meal is just something I enjoy so I like to incorporate it. I need some incentive to get up that friggin’ early.

When fat loss is my goal I usually skip the first meal and just have my coffee.  I do this because it’s easier for me. No other reason.

For dinner it’s usually protein and veggies.  Very seldom we have rice or bread. The carbs are dish dependent.

Going Forward

At the end of the day adherence is the aim. If you can’t adhere to your diet because you hate the food it’s useless. I don’t care if it is the best fat loss diet ever invented, if you can’t stick to it, it is crap.

Adherence leads to consistency and consistency leads to results. So spend a few minutes to set up your meal plan. 15 minutes spent now is a hell of a lot better than months or years bouncing from diet to diet in hopes one sticks.

Also, forget “optimal foods for fat loss” or optimal anything really. Focus on what you like and what you’ll stick to.

That’s what’s optimal.