"Health is a large word. It embraces not the body only, but the mind and spirit as well;...
and not today's pain or pleasure alone, but the whole being and outlook of a man."
~James H. West

Lisa's Blog

Low Calorie Diet Meal Plan

Lisa Cutforth - Tuesday, June 18, 2013

I am known for not being a fan of meal plans, or low calorie diets.  So why then have I spent the last six weeks painstakingly trying to create the perfect low calorie meal plan?

I'll start with the reason I am not a fan of meal-plans and low calorie diets. 

Low calorie diets focus primarily on "calories".  All calories are not created equally, and low calorie does not mean healthy or balanced necessarily.  I have rarely seen "low calorie diets" done well or nutritiously, partly because people end up eating "fake food" and counting calories rather than nutrients.  It is possible to get low calorie nutritious meal-plans all over the web, great software that you can punch in your stats and it pulls up a nutritious low calorie meal plan for you to follow, but they can be complicated (fancy recipes, specific foods not always to your tastes or your budget, individual so difficult to adjust for a family), and so despite them being a great resource they seem to have poor compliance.  And no matter how good a meal plan is, if you don't stick to it, you won't get results.  Personalised meal plans I have devised for my clients in the past have also had low compliance, people get bored or lose interest, and a meal plan doesn't address triggers, or teach you how to make choices in the real world.

So then why am I creating a low calorie meal plan?

Meal plans can be a great starting point, a guide or blue print for how to combine foods or structure meals, or gauge portions. Low calorie and low glycaemic load diets have been found to be an effective approach to weight management and longevity if they are done well.

So I figured if I created a meal plan that addresses some of the weak points in meal plans and low calorie diets, we might be onto a blueprint for "the perfect modern day diet".  If it is easy to use and practical for the whole family, if it meets nutritional needs, if it is low calorie and low glycaemic load, and doesn't leave you hungry, if it is easy to follow and gets you results and is the blue print for a system of eating... then I am REALLY HAPPY to promote it and encourage you to use it...  

I will let you know when it is available... and I will definitely be asking for some people to help me test and review it!!!

If you have comments to help me in this process... please get in touch and tell me what you would like this plan to include or need it to be to meet your needs!

Think carefully about what you want, when you say "weightloss"

Lisa Cutforth - Monday, June 17, 2013

People have become "obsessed" with a number on a scale and it is such an inaccurate reflection of "physique", health, and the amount of excess fat you are carrying.

When I say to my clients, be careful with what you are doing because you could be "losing muscle" instead of fat, they don't always get just how important this is for their weight loss long term.

Muscle is the thing that sets your metabolism, so the more muscle you have, the higher your metabolism.  Also although you may not weigh that much if you have burnt fat but increased your muscle mass, you will certainly have affected your frame and your tone.  You will be physically smaller, and that's because muscle is denser than fat so takes up less fat.  It also uses up more energy so helps you get the fat off.  Whereas if you just lose weight (some muscle, some fat), as you lose fat you send your body into a stress or "scared" state which will cause it to slow down or readjust your metabolism and as you have less muscle you will burn less anyway.  Then if you start eating more again... you can actually quickly regain lost fat, and more.

I really enjoyed this comparison of two friends approach to weight loss.

"If you gained 10kg of muscle at the same time you lost 10kg of fat, you would be smaller, about 1.4 liters smaller. On the scale you would weigh the same but your pants would be looser and your metabolism would have increased so now you're burning more calories even when resting, allowing you to tolerate eating more food to stay at that same weight.

Let's say you and your friend decide to start two different weight loss programs at the same time. After 6 months, you've lost 10 kg by working out, eliminating a lot of processed foods & replacing with good healthy foods, while your friend has lost 11 kg by lying in bed drinking coffee and smoking.

Your 10kg scale weight loss might equal a 10 kg muscle gain with a 20 kg fat loss. If so, you'd be 12.3 liters smaller.

On the scale, it would look like your friend who lost 11 kg (9 kg of muscle and 2 kg of fat) was doing better, but in fact, she'd only be 10.7 liters smaller, making her 1.6 liters bigger than you and not looking nearly as good for a similar weight on the scales. Ha!

Meanwhile, going forward, who will maintain her new weight more effectively? It sure won't be your friend."

This story does oversimplify things a little but it makes an important point.  You benefit most when you exercise and eat well.  If you just restrict calories you will lose weight (and maybe faster and comparitively more than others in the short term.  But if you don't exercise your weight loss won't be sustained and you may actually regain it all. It's not just about "losing weight", if you want to keep it off, you may need to be clearer and wiser with your goal setting. 

That's why the magic formula for lasting "weight loss" is:

1. A high nutrient, low GL, low calorie diet

2. Half an hour of exercise every day

3. Doing 1 and 2 until they become habit!

Strong is the new skinny!  Remember when you set your goals, perhaps also think about numbers like:  waist circumference, dress size, jean size and not just "the number on the scale"!

Source: Ben Longley: http://www.thefoodcoach.com.au/articles/?ArticleID=1362

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