When searching for the right weight loss diet plan, it’s important to find one that sets us up for success. It’s about more than nutrition and workouts. We need to find a plan that supports our energy, our bodily functions, and lifestyle. When we feel great, our chances of sticking to a weight loss diet plan are much higher.
In this blog, we’re sharing the most important components of diet plan success for men:
What are Macronutrients (Macros)?
“Macros”, short for macronutrients, are the nutrients our body runs on. Macros include carbohydrates, fat and protein, with each serving their own unique purpose.
Each macro provides our bodies with energy and serves as the building blocks for various bodily functions.
Carbohydrates provide quick and readily-available energy. You can find carbs — consisting of sugars, starches, and fiber — in foods like bread, pasta, rice, fruits, and vegetables.
The amino acids in proteins are vital for muscle repair and growth, as well as the maintenance of body tissue. Protein-rich foods include red meat, poultry, fish, legumes, and dairy products.
Fats provide sustained energy and play a key role in the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins (A, D, E, and K). Fats are a source of essential fatty acids, which the body can’t make itself, and includes foods such as avocados, nuts, seeds, olive oil, and fatty fish.
Why are Macronutrients Important?
While our body generally runs best when we provide it with all three, we are all unique, and the right combination of macros can vary by individual. It’s helpful to understand each macro’s role for both energy and bodily functions. This will help you eat more intuitively, based on your activity level and what is happening for your energy and overall wellness.
The right balance of macros will ensure:
Balanced energy levels
Carbohydrates provide quick and readily available energy, fueling our daily activities and fitness routines. Fats provide long-term energy, especially during low-intensity and long-duration activities. Your energy levels, fitness activities, and overall weight and fitness goals will determine how much carbohydrates versus fat your body needs in order to function at its best.
H4 Muscle Building and Maintenance
Protein is made up of amino acids — the building blocks of the body — which build and repair muscles after exercise and prevent muscle loss, along with creating vital hormones and enzymes.
Finding the right balance of macros for your body — and activity level — can help you better manage your weight and prevent overconsuming calories.
Fats play a key role in the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins (A, D, E, and K), which are important for vision and bone health, and our immune system. Getting enough fat will ensure that your body can best absorb and utilize these nutrients.
If this feels overwhelming, a nutritionist can help you determine the right balance of macros for your unique health and wellness goals.
The Importance of Hydration
Water makes up nearly 60% of the body, and is needed by every cell, tissue, and organ in order to function properly.
There are a number of factors that can shift the amount of water we need daily, including:
- Activity level
- The temperature and humidity around you
- Sweat level
- Overall health
Wondering if you’re getting enough fluids? If you rarely feel thirsty and your urine is light yellow or colorless, you’re likely well hydrated. Very dark urine is a clear signal that your body needs more fluids.
Diet & Exercise
Nutrition is 80% of the weight loss equation. Once you’ve dialed in your meal plan, a great workout strategy can take your weight loss plan to the next level.
We can’t stress enough though that your nutrition and workouts need to work hand-in-hand. There’s a natural tendency when trying to lose weight to eat much less and exercise much more. But there’s a tipping point: We want to exercise in a way that burns fat and builds muscle, while also eating in a way that creates a calorie deficit and supports our movement and bodily functions.
Whether you’re starting a new fitness program or are an experienced athlete, we recommend speaking with an expert personal trainer who can provide customized workout plans tailored to your unique goals. Plus, the feedback, motivation, and accountability to help you get there faster!
How to Meal Plan
Planning a weekly meal plan has a lot of benefits. In addition to helping you confidently execute a meal strategy for the week, it will help you:
- Save time on grocery shopping, as you’ll walk in with a set plan
- Save money on takeout – a common side effect on not planning meals in advance
- Prevent food waste from produce, breads, and other items that don’t get eaten in time
- Eliminate the daily stress of thinking about what to eat at each meal
Below are our top tips for executing a weekly meal plan that suits your lifestyle as well as your dietary needs:
Consider your schedule
Meal planning doesn’t work if we aren’t realistic about our schedule. Note any work or family events that might prevent you from eating a pre-planned meal. This will prevent overspending on groceries. The goal here is to determine the exact number of meals you need to plan for.
Note what you already have in your fridge, freezer and pantry
Take advantage of what you already have. This can prevent food waste and save you a considerable amount of money. You can check out recipes online that feature items you already have on hand.
Check recipes to build out your shopping list
Now that you know how many meals you need, and what you already have onhand, begin building out your shopping list.
Need inspiration on recipes or meal ideas? Think about the takeout foods you most often enjoy, and let these be your inspiration for meals you know you’ll actually love eating at home. Example: Love Mexican food? Plan a taco night with fresh, healthy ingredients that fit your specific nutrition plan. If you’re going low-carb, you can put everything on a salad. Gluten-free? Use corn tortillas instead of flour. Pescatarian? Add grilled shrimp instead of ground beef.
Be realistic about what you will want to prepare at home
Yes, chicken and broccoli make for a healthy meal. But if you really don’t want to eat this, you’re setting yourself up for failure. Being realistic about what you’ll eat will prevent you from going rogue and ordering takeout instead of preparing what you already have in the fridge!
Healthy Meals for Weight Loss
The best meal plan will offer plenty of variety and flexibility, making meal planning effortless and intuitive. The meals below can be easily altered for those looking to prioritize protein and fat versus carbs.
The best thing about burrito bowls is the ease of preparation and ability to customize.
- Start with your base: Rice or lettuce
- Top with a protein: Chicken, steak, shrimp, or shredded pork are excellent options
- Throw in your favorite veggies: mushrooms, jalapenos, peppers, onions, or tomatoes are awesome options. You can add beans for additional protein and fiber as well.
- Top it off: Shredded cheese, fresh herbs, sauces, and sour cream are great finishers. Try fresh avocado for a great healthy fat addition!
Want a filling, protein-packed dinner? Stuffed peppers pack a nutrition punch!
- Prepare the peppers: Slice bell peppers in half, removing the seeds. Drizzle with olive oil and place cut-side down in a baking dish and bake at 400˚F for 20 minutes, or until soft.
- Cook your protein: We like ground meats like beef, turkey or chorizo (with the casings removed). You can also try extra firm tofu. Brown in a skillet with 2 tablespoons of oil.
- Saute some veggies: In a separate skillet, heat diced veggies such as onions, peppers, carrots, and mushrooms in 2 tablespoons of oil, stirring occasionally until softened.
- Add your mix-ins: Great carb options include brown rice, beans, couscous or quinoa.
- Finish it off: After mixing your protein, carb and veggies, divide among the peppers. Place upright in a baking dish, cover with foil, and bake at 400˚F for 20 minutes.
- Optional: After 20 minutes, uncover and top with shredded cheese, and return to the oven for an additional 6 minutes.
Diet Tips: How to Stay on Track
We get it: sticking to a diet can be tough. Below are our personal training team’s top tips for sticking to a healthy diet:
Give Yourself Plenty of Flexibility
Anything too regimented or specific can be tough to maintain. The best diet plan will flex with you, allowing you plenty of meal options whether you’re at home, at a restaurant, on vacation, or out with friends.
Get Enough Sleep
We can’t overstate the importance of sleep. Great quality sleep – at least 6-8 hours worth – will help to regulate your blood sugar and hunger levels, reduce stress, and give you the energy for your daily activities and workouts.
Eat Your Veggies
Think addition, not subtraction when it comes to eating. In addition to being loaded with nutrients, veggies will keep you fuller longer, potentially helping you lower your caloric intake. They will also add bulk to your plate, giving your brain the satisfaction of a large meal.
Move. A Lot.
In addition to your structured workouts, be sure to get in plenty of low-intensity movement. A post-meal walk or outdoor play with your kids are great ways to sneak in more calorie-burning activity that isn’t likely to increase your hunger levels.
Begin Your Weight Loss Journey at Method Gym!
Beginning a workout or weight loss plan that you can actually stick to isn’t easy. At Method Gym locations in Dale City, VA, Leonardtown, MD and California, MD, we have everything you need and more with newly renovated gym space and upgraded equipment, 20+ unique group fitness classes, helpful & friendly staff and knowledgeable personal trainers. Contact us to get started on your path to weight loss and fitness success!