Acknowledging and wanting to lose weight are the first two steps in anyone's weight loss journey. The next logical step is planning out your road map and then executing it. Losing weight should be done with health as the main priority. Create a healthy weight loss plan that won't compromise your wellness for a few pounds. Follow this guide to lose weight naturally.
5 Steps to A Healthy Diet (Weight Loss) Plan
There is no one-size-fits-all method for losing weight. It's an individualized experience. Lose weight successfully by planning your regimen to meet your needs. Here are some tips for meeting your wellness goals!
1. Understand Your Body Type
Many things can impact your current body type, including activity level, diet, and stress. However, your "default" is your body type.
Natural body types dictate many important aspects of losing weight, including:
- How Much Fat We Have On Our Bodies
- Our Ability to Gain/Lose Muscle
- How Much Food We Require
- Metabolism Speed
- Hormone Production
- Difficulty or Ease of Losing Weight
A recent study involving 63 men found that those with leaner bodies tend to have less weight and fat. They can burn fat more efficiently than those with curved or hourglass figures.
Have you always been stocky? Lean? Perhaps fluctuate back and forth in between the two? Wherever you land on the spectrum can help determine your body type.
How to Determine Your Body Type
There are three major body types, or somatotypes with three additional sub-types that are typically used to create personalized weight loss plans.
- Ectomorph - Tend to Be Skinny, Lanky, Long
- Mesomorph - Medium Build with Muscle Definition
- Endomorph - Tend to Have Higher Fat Levels, Curvier or Stockier Bodies
- Ecto-Mesomorph - Tend to Be Lean and Muscular
- Meso-Endomorph - Strong, With Little Muscle Definition
- Ecto-Endomorph - Naturally Thin, But Gained Weight, Sometimes Called "Skinny Fat"
After you know your body type, you can tailor your nutritional needs to optimize fat burning. Let's discuss the proper diet for your body type.
2. Figure Out Your Macros
Cater to your body's needs by feeding it adequately. Eating too much fat when you are endomorph would be counterproductive. The same could be said for overeating protein when you're an ectomorph. Now that you know your body type, let's break down your macros.
Macronutrients are the three primary nutrition sources in every meal:
- Protein - Contains Amino Acids that Are the Building Blocks of All Cells
- Carbohydrates - Provide Your Body and Gut Bacteria with Energy to Power Us All Through the Day
- Fats - Help with Absorption, Maintain Gut Lining, Keeps Brain Healthy
Since each body type has differing amounts of muscle, fat, and bone density, their needs will differ. Let's discuss the ideal macros ratios by body type so you can lose weight efficiently.
- Protein: 25%
- Carbs: 55%
- Fat: 20%
Losing weight can be a little easier for ectomorphs. Their metabolisms tend to work quicker. So, ectomorphs looking to lose weight will want to increase carbohydrate intake to help promote energy for workouts. They'll want to consume less protein and fat than other body types to avoid adding more weight to their frame.
- Protein: 30%
- Carbs: 40%
- Fat: 30%
Mesomorphs should seek more balanced meals. They should remain heavier on carbs than other macros, but mainly around workout time. Since they have a medium-sized frame, it is easy for mesomorphs to pack on unnecessary calories. Stick to complex carbs that leave you full and burn slowly, like sweet potatoes, artichokes, and barley.
- Protein: 25% - 30%
- Carbs: 40% - 55%
- Fat: 20% - 30%
Ecto-mesomorphs lie somewhere between ectomorphs and mesomorphs. If you have more ectomorph tendencies, it's best to start with a higher-carb, lower-protein diet. Those with mesomorph body types will want to cut down their carb intake. If you are unsure, it's best to start with the lower percentages. Notice your energy levels that day and change accordingly until you find your right macro portions.
- Protein: 35%
- Carbs: 25%
- Fat: 40%
Endomorphs have the most difficult time losing weight. They must watch their macros closely. If you aren't burning off as many calories are you consume, you might need to cut back on portions. Fats are essential for endomorphs to lose weight. Consume more omega-3-rich foods, like wild-caught fish, legumes, and Antarctic Krill Oil.
- Protein: 30% - 35%
- Carbs: 25% - 40%
- Fat: 30% - 40%
Meso-endomorphs are tricker to plan for because there's such a large variation in potential carb intake. It's best to start in the 30%-35% range in carbs at first. If you aren't losing weight, then consider cutting back on carbs until they are 25% of your macros.
- Protein: 25%
- Carbs: 55%
- Fat: 20%
Ecto-endomorphs are people who have gained weight but have a naturally fast metabolism. They should adhere to the ectomorph protocol for their body type. Natural endomorphs should lose weight quickly when they return to their regular diet.
3. Follow Portion Controls
We live in a world that is designed for overconsumption. We must put the brakes on ourselves to regain control of our health.
Many of us adhere to the serving size on labels. However, these recommendations don't take into account all the other foods in your meal. What you choose to eat is your portion.
Serving size will give you the nutritional facts and the calories. You must then do the math to determine how much of these nutrients, calories, and ingredients you want in your portions.
Try to get a variety of foods into your diet. While servings will vary by person, you should try to incorporate the following food groups into your weekly diet:
- Whole Grains - 4-6 Daily (1 Serving = A Hockey Puck)
- Meat, Poultry, Fish - >6 Daily (1 Serving = A Deck of Cards)
- Vegetables: 4-5 Daily (1 Serving = A Baseball)
- Fruit: 4-5 Daily (1 Serving = A Tennis Ball)
- Fats and Oil: 2-3 Daily (1 Serving = 1 Rolling Die)
- Nuts, Seeds, and Dry Beans: 4-5 Weekly
- Sweets: 5 or Less Weekly
Once you understand your servings, it's time to figure out your portions.
Portions can be measured with your hand. This method is effective because hand size is typically proportional to body type. That makes controlling your calories on the go much easier!
An optimal portion of each food source for your body can be measured as:
- A Portion of Protein = Your Palm
- A Portion of Vegetables = Your Fist
- A Portion of Carbs = Your Cupped Hand
- A Portion of Fats = Your Thumb
Portions will vary by body type. However, those who are unsure should start with balanced portions.
A great starting point for a portion-controlled meal optimized for weight loss would be:
- 2 Portions of Protein
- 2 Portions of Vegetables
- 2 Portions of Carbs
- 2 Portions of Fats
Knowing your body type, you can adjust these suggestions to meet your needs. Ectomorphs might increase their vegetables and carbs but limit themselves to one serving of protein. Whereas, endomorphs might increase their fats intake but stick with one portion of carbs.
4. Realize That Change Doesn't Happen Overnight
Progress is ongoing, but real change doesn't happen overnight. You might notice some starts and stops with your weight loss journey. Don't get discouraged.
While you want to lose weight, that's only a part of the real goal. You truly want to be healthier. Everything you're doing to lose weight will also improve your hormones, energy levels, libido, mood, appetite, and more.
So, if you do not see the physical benefits immediately, trust that all these other great things are happening to the body.
Good health is key to burning fat. Instead of worrying solely about the calories, get concerned with the source of the calories.
Having a thick steak every night for your protein source will have different effects on your weight than leaner sources, like poultry or fish. Long-term overconsumption of high-fat protein sources can cause inflammation that leads to weight gain.
The same can be said about fruits and vegetables. Use whole foods for cooking, baking, or eating raw. They will have more health benefits than canned goods that can be exposed to BPA liners or fruit cups preserved in high-fructose corn syrup.
Eating cleaner will help you meet your weight loss goals. Sticking to portion control will also accelerate the process. However, losing weight and staying healthy will always be ongoing, and one will inevitably influence the other.
5. You Must Do Work
Nothing worth having is easy, including a healthy weight. You must always put in the work.
There is a heavy emphasis on the word "control" in portion control. You need to control your urges. Don't sacrifice your goals for fried foods or overindulging in protein. Staying on track is essential for healthy weight loss.
While eating properly is crucial, it's not the only way to lose weight. Exercise is vital to weight loss. Make sure you are getting adequate cardio in. You want around 150 minutes of intense cardio exercise per week.
In addition, incorporate strength training. Weight and resistance training will help tone the muscle in place of your fat. You will notice your results much quicker if you find a workout routine that compliments your new weight loss nutrition plan.