Have you ever felt intimidated by the idea of starting a weight loss journey? The stigma that comes with weight loss is steeped in one-size-fits-all diet plans. Don’t think you have to deprive yourself of delicious meals, starve yourself to see the pounds drop and work out for hours every single day. It doesn’t have to be that way. With these simple menus that I used to lose 30 pounds, I’ve been able to keep the weight off for almost 10 years.
By eating whole foods, implementing portion control, and exercising regularly, I was successful. Even walking 30 minutes daily is a doable way to get started with an exercise plan. Build upon this daily ritual as you begin to shed pounds.
I’m often asked how I’ve kept 30 pounds off for such a long time, and the basis of my journey is all about: the key to maintaining my weight loss long-term, and what I believe is the most accessible and tried and true approach for others, was to create healthy habits that have become part of my routine.
I want to share some basic insight into my approach so you can understand how simple it is to lose weight and maintain a healthy lifestyle.
Before I get started, you should know that while it may be simple, it doesn’t always mean it’s easy. Getting started, staying consistent, and knowing how to allow yourself a treat here and there is all about practicing mindfulness, to which I invite you to take a look at how mindful meditation can help you in your weight loss goals.
My weight loss journey cheat sheet
Write down the following tips in a weight loss journey diary, and each week, ask yourself if you completed them. If you’re not seeing results, it may be because you’re not following the basic rules of weight loss.
Let the following tips serve as your cheat sheet for staying on track with as little amount of “rules” as possible:
- Exercise three to four times each week. Increase five to six times per week when you’re ready to bump it up.
- Eat three small meals and one to two healthful snacks each day.
- Hydrate with plenty of plain water.
- Manage portion sizes.
What you do for exercise is going to be different than me, or your friend. It is important to do a combination of weight training and cardio.
What you eat for weight loss and proper health will not always be the same as me or others, because you have your own tastes.
Make eating healthy fun and inspired
If there’s one thing about eating healthy that I can recommend, it’s to make it a mouth-watering experience. You don’t have to eat a bland piece of chicken with steamed broccoli for dinner if that doesn’t sound good to you. You can eat rich, creamy, saucy, and sweet foods using healthy, wholesome ingredients. So long as you keep your portion control in check, you will be surprised at how delicious eating healthy can be.
To maintain my weight loss, I have committed to planning menus filled with clean-eating foods that are nutrient-rich.
#1 daily menu sample:
- Breakfast: Whole Grain Peanut Butter and Fruit Toast
- Mid-morning snack: 12 raw almonds and one orange
- Lunch: Roasted Vegetable Quinoa Bowl
- Afternoon snack: 2 Skinny Bell Pepper Boats
- Dinner: Flatbread Veggie Pizza
Tips for creating your own successful meal plans for weight loss
Remember that healthy eating plans are not, as previously mentioned, one size fits all. To stick to a weight loss plan, it has to make sense for you, from the workouts you take on to the foods you eat. If you hate zucchini, why would you incorporate it? Don’t set yourself up for failure. Set yourself up for success!
Remember these three helpful hints:
1. Find tasty, healthy swaps for your favorite foods.
No need to deprive your taste buds when you’re working to keep weight off for good. Instead, plan your menu with healthier alternatives to your favorite foods. We love making comfort foods skinny in our kitchen!
#2 daily menu sample:
- Breakfast: Individual Egg and Spinach Bowl and Chocolate Meal Replacement Shake
- Mid-morning snack: 1/2 cup blueberries and 1/2 cup Greek Yogurt
- Lunch: Peanut Chickpea Buddha Bowl
- Afternoon snack: Spiced Green Tea Smoothie is a perfect pick-me-up.
- Dinner: Skinny White Chicken Enchilada
2. Plan ahead.
One of the biggest stumbling blocks for women when it comes to long-term weight maintenance is the dreaded busy day. You get caught up in caring for kids or aging parents. Or perhaps that meeting runs twice as long as expected. The next thing you know, you’re eating anything and everything within arm’s reach.
Don’t let your busy days work against you. If you know you’re going to be tied up, just plan ahead. If you set aside time each week to plan meals and snacks, you’ll be prepared.
For example, if you know a day is going to be filled with appointments, errands, and other to-dos, plan a slow cooker meal that allows you to prep in the morning and come home to a healthy meal.
The incredible aroma that fills up your home as you enter the door after a long day is enough to make you feel grateful for thinking ahead.
#3 daily menu sample:
- Breakfast: Healing Sweet Potato and Poached Buddha Bowl (my favorite breakfast in all the world)
- Mid-morning snack: Golden Delicious Apple with 2 tablespoons natural Peanut Butter
- Lunch: Barbecue Chicken and Avocado Quesadilla
- Afternoon snack: Cookie Dough Energy Bites
- Dinner: 6-Ingredient Mexican Style Quinoa Salad and Whole Grain Tortilla
3. Keep your meal plans fresh.
Even meal plans that work can bore the taste buds and nudge you toward unhealthy choices. Instead of sticking to the same foods week after week, freshen up the menu with at least one new dish each week. Not only does it keep eating from becoming boring, it also introduces nutritional variety to the body.
#4 daily menu sample:
- Breakfast: Open Face Scrambled Eggs and Avocado Toast
- Mid-morning snack: Banana Coconut Energy Bar
- Lunch: Chicken Teriyaki Rice Bowl
- Afternoon snack: No-Bake Workout Bar
- Dinner: Slow Cooker Vegetable Chili and Roasted Beet Salad
Healthy eating can be Instagram-worthy meals that melt-in-your-mouth, don’t break the calorie bank, give you energy, satisfy your cravings, and help you shed pounds. Whether you need to keep 30 pounds off or 100 pounds, follow the healthy menu planning tips above and be patient with yourself—you got this, girl!