When starting a fat loss diet plan, you will have to find a nutrition level that is sufficient for fat loss without depriving your body of the nutrients it needs for energy, recovery and muscle building.
As a starting point for your fat loss diet plan, I recommend consuming the following amounts of carbohydrates and proteins for each of 5 meals to be consumed throughout the day. There is one chart to be followed on days that you are working out with weights and another to follow on days when you do not workout with weights. Both charts are shown below.
I have provided nutritional guidelines to follow for 5 meals throughout the day for days that you workout with weights and for days that you do not workout with weights.
On the days that you workout with weights, you should consume a meal before and after you workout, a meal before you go to bed and 2 other meals throughout the day.
Your pre-workout meal should be consumed about 1 hour before starting your weight workout and your post workout meal should be consumed within 30 minutes of completing your weight workout.
All other meals should be spaced approximately 3 hours apart with your pre-bedtime meal being consumed within 2 hours of going to sleep. See my page on increasing metabolism for more insight on why you should space your meals approximately 3 hours apart.
On days that you do not work out with weights, you will simply eat the 5 meals in order as shown in the fat loss diet plan above.
If this schedule is not clear to you yet, don’t worry, I will give a couple of examples to help make things more clear.
Examples of Meal Schedules On Weight Workout Days
If you like to perform your weight workouts first thing in the morning, you will want to eat your pre-workout meal as your first meal of the day – about 1 hour before starting your weight workout. Within 30 minutes of completing your weight workout, you will consume your post-workout meal as your second meal of the day.
3 hours after you have eaten your post-workout meal, you will eat one of your “other meals” and will consume the second “other meal” 3 hours after that.
3 hours after eating your second “other meal” you will likely be ready to eat your pre-bedtime meal. If this schedule does not cover enough time to fill out your day (i.e., your pre-bedtime meal would have to be eaten at 6pm), you may split one or both of your “other meals” in half to give you one or two more meals for the day.
By splitting one of your “other meals” in half you will be consuming 17.5 grams of protein and 26.5 grams of carbs two times (giving you 6 meals for the day) instead of 35 grams of protein and 53 grams of carbs once using the 5 meals per day split.
This will allow you to consume the same amount and ratios of carbs and proteins throughout the day while adding another meal or two to ensure that you are able to eat every 3 hours and adhere to the fat loss diet plan guidelines given above.
If you prefer weight training in the afternoon, you will start your day by consuming one of your “other meals”. Depending on your schedule or when you want to workout, your second meal will either be your second “other meal” or your pre-workout meal.
If you consume your second “other meal”, you will then consume your pre-workout meal 3 hours after that and workout an hour or so later with your post-workout meal to follow within 30 minutes of completing your weight workout.
If you consume your pre-workout meal as your second meal, you would workout an hour after eating the pre-workout meal and then consume the post-workout meal within 30 minutes of completing your weight workout. You would then consume the second “other meal” 3 hours after eating your post-workout meal followed by your pre-bedtime meal about 3 hours after that.
Please feel free to split one or both of your “other meals” in half if you need to add another meal or two to your fat loss diet plan in order to be able to eat every 3 hours while you are awake.
Example of Meal Schedule on Non-Weight Workout Days
On days that you take a break from weight training, or if you do not work out with weights, you will follow the fat loss diet plan provided for non-weight training days.
This plan is more simple to follow than the weight training days because you will simply consume the five meals in the order they are shown.
You should do your best to space all meals 3 hours apart to help increase your metabolism to burn fat more quickly.
Although the non-weight workout fat loss diet plan is fairly simple to follow, I have displayed an example daily schedule just to ensure that there is no confusion on how this meal schedule should be followed.
For the non-weight workout days fat loss diet plan, you can split any meals except for the pre-bedtime meal in half in order to give you an extra meal (or more) for the day if you need to fill more time before you plan on going to bed.
Here is an example non-weight workout day eating schedule with one of the meals split:
Calculating Carbs and Protein Amounts
You may be wondering how you are to determine that you are eating the indicated amounts of carbohydrates and proteins for a given meal. If so, I am going to give instructions on how to correctly calculate the number of carbs and proteins you are eating for a given meal.
In order to accurately account for the carbohydrates and proteins in a given meal, you will need to have a digital food scale (available at most department stores) and a calculator.
Before I go any further, I want to make sure that you know what types of carbohydrates and proteins should be consumed for each meal as part of your fat loss diet plan. I have provided this information on my pages dedicated to nutrition and you will want to visit my these pages for more information on fat loss nutrients.
Using the protein and carbohydrate amounts in the fat loss diet plan above, you will determine the number of each nutrient that should be consumed for a given meal based on which meal you are preparing. As an example, let’s say that you are preparing one of the “other meals” for a weight workout day that consists of 35 grams of protein and 53 grams of carbohydrates.
You plan on eating grilled chicken breasts and mashed potatoes for this particular meal. You will start by calculating the amount of grilled chicken breasts you will need to reach 35 grams of protein.
Before you can determine how much chicken you need to consume, you have to know the serving size of the chicken and the amount of protein contained in a serving size. To retrieve this information, you will need to use the nutrition label of the food you are eating. Here is a sample nutrition label in case you are not familiar with them.
If you are eating a food that does not contain a nutrition label, you should refer to the USDA food database to determine the amounts of carbs or protein in a given serving size of food. Here is a link to the USDA database for your convenience: USDA Nutrition Database.
Let’s say that the nutrition label for the chicken breasts indicates that a serving size is 28 grams and that each serving size contains 7 grams of protein. Since you know that you need a total of 35 grams of protein for this meal, you can simply divide 35 grams of protein needed by the 7 grams of protein in each serving to determine the number of servings you will need to reach your 35 grams of protein total.
Dividing 35 by 7 will give a total of 5 servings. Since you know the serving size is 28 grams, you can simply multiply 28 grams by 5 to get the total amount of chicken that you will need to consume to reach 35 grams of protein. Multiplying 28 by 5 gives a total of 140 grams of chicken for 35 grams of protein.
You will then use your digital food scale to weigh out 140 grams of thawed chicken breasts before seasoning and cooking and you will have your 35 grams of protein for that meal.
Determining the carbohydrates works the same way except you will subtract the dietary fiber from the amount of total carbohydrates indicated on the nutrition label.
For this meal, we have decided to eat mashed potatoes for our 53 grams of carbohydrates. After referring to the USDA database we have determined that mashed potatoes contain 4.03 grams of carbohydrates and 0.6 grams of dietary fiber per 28 gram serving size.
In order to determine the amount of mashed potatoes needed for 53 grams of carbohydrates, you will first subtract 0.6 grams of fiber from the 4.03 grams of total carbohydrates per serving size giving an amount of 3.43 grams of carbs per 28 gram serving size. We can then divide the 53 gram requirement by the 3.43 grams per serving to determine the amount of mashed potatoes needed for 53 total grams of carbohydrates.
Dividing 53 by 3.43 gives a total of 15.45 servings. You will then multiply 15.45 servings by the 28 gram serving size which gives a total 432.60 grams of mashed potatoes needed for 53 total grams of carbohydrates.
It was definitely a change for me to start measuring the food that I was eating, but this is the only way to effectively make sure you are accurately following your fat loss diet plan and eating the right amount of nutrients necessary to build and maintain muscle mass, control your blood sugar levels to prevent additional fat accumulations and quickly melt away unwanted body fat.
After measuring your portions for a week or two, you will become used to the process and it will just be a natural part of preparing your meals.
Don’t let the small amount of additional preparation keep you from starting a fat loss diet plan. The minute or two extra you will spend preparing your meals will seem like nothing when you see the measurable fat loss results that you are able to consistently achieve week after week.