Tired of losing the same weight over & over? M&F Hers shows you how to lose 15 pounds forever.
Eat to Lose
Our straightforward approach to sustainable weight loss controls your total daily calories by fixing your daily protein intake at approximately 1 gram per pound of bodyweight and daily carbohydrate intake at approximately 1.5 grams per pound of bodyweight. That may sound like a lot, but the end result is a mild caloric reduction while expending calories in physical activity to promote a steady decrease in bodyfat.
For example, if you weigh 140 pounds, you'd consume 140 grams of protein each day with 210 grams of carbohydrate. To keep a tight check on excess calories, you'll keep your dietary fat low, but not less than 10% (no less than 155 calories, or 17 grams) of your total daily calories. That means your primary source of dietary fat will come from what's naturally found in your lean chicken breast, turkey breast, lean cuts of red meat and complex-carb foods. No fried foods, heavy sauces, creams, certain oils or butter allowed!
Meticulously adding up your total daily carbohydrate and protein counts can be time-consuming, but Monica recommends it if you're really serious about losing 12-15 pounds for good. "Read labels and use a carbohydrate and protein counter to keep track of how many [of each] you're getting each day," she suggests. "Within a couple of weeks, you'll have a good idea of what 35 grams of carbs from potatoes look like or how many egg whites add up to 23 grams of protein. Plus, you'll see a huge difference in your body." Food logs tend to keep you honest, and having one to look back on makes it easier to tinker with your diet a bit if adjustments are necessary.
As most physique athletes do, our meal plan has you eating six smaller meals a day, each roughly the same in protein, carb and fat content, to deliver these nutrients most efficiently, stimulate your metabolism and--last but certainly not least--burn extra calories. Nancy Betts, PhD, RD, professor of nutritional science and dietetics at the University of Nebraska at Lincoln, explains that eating a meal raises your body temperature, called dietary-induced thermogenesis, allowing you to lose extra calories to heat without having to do extra work. "The number of calories burned via the thermic effect of food depends on what's in the food. Whereas 20%-25% of protein's calories are lost to its thermic effect, only a very small percentage of fat calories are lost to heat. The thermic effect of carbohydrate is somewhere in the middle at about 10%-15% of calories."
In our example of a 140-pound woman who eats 210 grams of carbohydrates along with 140 grams of protein, dividing carbs and protein evenly into six meals yields 35 grams of carbohydrate and 23.3 grams of protein at each meal.
Although our eating plan doesn't reflect this, Monica and Kelly suggest eating more of your carbs earlier in the day to help reduce bodyfat. "I eat complex carbs [oats, brown rice, potatoes, yams, bread, pasta] in the earlier part of the day and phase in my vegetables later at night," Kelly notes. "Complex carbs are denser in calories than vegetables, and I feel my body needs that energy kick-start earlier in the day when I'm more active."
Monica agrees: "I like crunchy vegetables at night. You can't even begin to compare the caloric value of 3 cups of pasta to 3 cups of a vegetable mixture such as green beans, cucumbers and chopped green peppers."