Say goodbye to fiber-starved juice cleanses, copious amounts of cabbage soup, and lemon-cayenne-pepper concoctions: This is the year you adopt a simple—and sustainable—weight loss eating plan.
As I mentioned in Lose Weight Without Losing Your Mind, the My 5 plan is based on efficiency—finding out which health practices pack the biggest punch—and the food component of it is no different. What’s that mean? It means you don’t have to count calories (though you can if you have time!), weigh food, splurge on exotic ingredients, or avoid restaurants. No, all you have to do is follow three, easy guidelines:
- Eat 5 times a day—three meals and two snacks. This equates to eating approximately every three hours. Eating before you’re ravenous will help you stay in control of what and how much you eat. Studies also show that eating more frequently, compared with the conventional three-meals-a-day approach, can help keep your blood sugar and metabolism steady—both of which are good for weight loss.
- Make sure every meal contains the “big three of satiety”: protein (seafood, eggs, chicken), fiber (veggies, fruit, seeds) and healthy fats (olive oil, avocado). Snacks, too, must contain protein and fibrous carbs. Aside from their individual benefits—protein boosts metabolism, fiber aids digestion, and fats support heart health—these three nutrients also help you feel fuller faster and for longer.
- Ensure each meal is made up of the following: one portion of protein (fish, eggs, etc…) equal to the mass of one hand; a palmful of either a high-fiber fruit (blackberries, apples), a whole grain (quinoa, oats), or a legume (chickpeas, lentils); at least one thumb-size portion of a healthy fat (avocado, olives, nuts, seeds); and unlimited veggies (broccoli, zucchini, spinach).
It should also go without saying that you need to stay hydrated. Water is best—don’t drink your calories! I suggest eight cups a day for women and 10 for men.
If you need more guidance, check out my book, 5 Pounds: The Breakthrough 5-Day Plan to Jump-Start Rapid Weight Loss (and Never Gain it Back!) for shopping lists, meals plans, and sample recipes. And remember, diet is hugely important to weight loss, but it’s only one piece of the puzzle. If you implement the other four steps of My 5 Plan, your diet need not be drastic.
Next: Find out how to Get Fit in 5 Minutes a day. (Yes, 5 Minutes.)
This article is not intended to substitute for informed medical advice. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat a health problem or condition. Always check with your doctor before changing your diet, altering your sleep habits, taking supplements, or starting a new fitness routine.