Diet Week 1
As you scan this diet, we hope you notice that there's quite a lot of food. When you eat lean protein, fruits and vegetables, and whole grains, calories go a lot farther than they do with processed foods. FYI: You're averaging about 1,500 calories, 149 grams of protein, 130 grams of carbs, and 38 grams of fiber a day (more if you're breastfeeding and working out). Depending on how much you have to lose and how active you are, you can lose up to two pounds of fat per week on this plan. Read on for a month's worth of meal plans, dieting tips and tricks, and more info.
Diet Week 2
You've been following the diet for a week, and you may have made some dramatic changes in what and how you eat. It feels like you should have lost a ton -- but perhaps the scale isn't cooperating. Don't be surprised if you don't have a big loss yet. If you're following the diet, you may be eating more fiber than you're used to, which makes you retain water. Stay focused and don't obsess. The payoff is coming.
Diet Week 3
You should be seeing results by now, anything from a loss of 1.5 to 6 pounds. If you're on the lower end, chances are you've got less weight to lose. If you haven't lost anything, it's time to get honest with yourself. Double-check your portion sizes and consider investing in a food scale. But most likely you've had some success, so give yourself a pat on the back.
Diet Week 4
As you near the end of your first month, you may have had a slipup by now. It's okay. The important thing is to get back on track. Don't skip a snack or meal because you overdid it on brownies. You're much less likely to binge again if you know you're eating your next scheduled meal or snack no matter what.
The good news is that by now you should know what a portion size looks like, and you're familiar with eating five to six times a day. You've figured out how to work the substitution list, snack swaps, and frozen dinner ideas (see next few slides) to create endless options for meals and snacks so you don't get bored.
The carb, protein, and dairy foods are interchangeable in this diet. So if you'd like to substitute a different protein for chicken in your salad, or you want an English muffin instead of oatmeal for breakfast, no problem.
The Deal With Condiments
Condiments to use freely:
Herbs, garlic, onion, tomato paste (tomato sauce), no-sugar-added ketchup, powdered mixes such as Knorrs pesto or Alfredo sauce mix (unreconstituted powder only) mustard (not honey mustard), balsamic vinegar, lemon juice, pepper, cayenne, cinnamon, nutmeg, all spices/herbs.
Condiments to use in moderation:
Salt, lite teriyaki sauce, Worteschire sauce, nonfat mayo, sugar-free, fat-free Jell-O pudding (chocolate/pistachio/cheesecake or any other flavor), Crystal Lite, fat-free dressings (use equal portions mixed with balsamic vinegar), skim milk in coffee/tea, 10-calorie Jell-O cups, sweeteners (Equal/Splenda/Xylitol)
How to Handle Cravings
When you're craving something junky (i.e., sugar or salt) substitute one of your snacks for 200 calories of whatever you crave. To get a sense of how much that is, here's a list of the calorie counts of some popular snacks:
* 100 -calorie Pringles box (100 calories)
* One regular-size Reese's cup or 3 minis (120 calories)
* 1 sugar-free Popsicle (70 calories)
* One small serving McDonald's French fries (240 calories)
* Half a Snickers bar (140 calories)
* 1 ounce potato chips, about 8 chips (140 calories)
* 3 Twizzlers (130 calories)
* 1 Tootsie Roll Pop (60 calories)
No Time to Cook?
You can always replace lunch or dinner with a frozen entree. They're quick, easy and provide instant portion control. The downside: Frozen meals tend to be high in sodium, high in carbs, and low in protein and veggies. Still, they're an excellent solution when you're on the go. Look for meals under 350 calories and 8 grams of fat. Some good choices include:
* Weight Watchers Smart Ones Chicken Marsala
* Healthy Choice French Bread Pizza
* Kashi Sweet and Sour Chicken
* Stouffer's Lean Cuisine Rosemary Chicken.
On low-carb days (every fourth day) look for meals under 300 calories and 25 grams of carbs, such as:
* Amy's Black Bean Enchilada
* Stouffer's Lean Cuisine Cafe Classics (add 2 cups of frozen microwave veggies with 2 tablespoons of Parmesan cheese)
Why We're Nuts About Nuts
You may have noticed that there's an emphasis on nuts/nut butters in this plan. Dieters who eat nuts tend to stick to their diets because fiber and unsaturated fat make nuts very filling. As a result, you won't be as hungry. Plus, because these healthy fats are required in fat metabolism, eating nuts can also help you lose more body fat. In fact, one recent Purdue study found that nuts and nut butters may slightly increase your resting metabolic rate -- meaning you'll be burning more calories all day long, even when you're not working out.
Why So Many Egg Whites?
Eggs give you the most bang for your nutritional buck. They're super low in calories -- just 15 per egg white. Five egg whites provides 20 filling grams of protein at just 75 calories (plus whatever vegetables and low-fat cheese you throw in the mix).Why do we care about protein? If your body doesn't get it from food, it will break down muscle to meet its protein requirements. Not only will this make you look flabby, but muscle burns more calories than fat. The more muscle you have, the higher your metabolism.
The Benefits of Working Out
If you want to speed up your weight loss, get some exercise. If you hit the treadmill for 40 minutes, the benefit goes beyond that workout -- you'll boost your metabolism and burn more calories. Plus, now that you've done something good for yourself, you're more likely to stay on track and eat healthy the rest of the day. If you do work out, you get an extra 150-calorie snack, preferably something protein-based, like a yogurt with almonds, or string cheese with a hard-boiled egg.
More Diet Tips & Tricks
Follow these rules for more effective results on our meal plans:
* Measure accurately: The first week, measure everything, from the tablespoon of peanut butter to the 5-ounce chicken breast. Note: 1 tablespoon is a level tablespoon -- probably a lot less than you think.
* Drink water, but not more than you need. In other words, don't drown yourself -- it won't help you lose.
* Don't skip meals, ever.
* You can make substitutions within categories (as outlined). But remember that every fourth day is notably lower in carbs, so be careful substitutions on those days.
* Take a multivitamin, 2 flaxseed oil caps, and two Rolaids a day (for calcium and magnesium).
* Don't "taste" little things here and there on the program. They add up and you won't get the results you're after.
Lose the Baby Weight Success Stories
How do real moms lose the baby weight? Read on:
Originally published in and in conjunction with the January 2009 issue of American Baby magazine.
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